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Definitely Not Cricket, Sir!....
or my contribution to the morale of the republic...
by

Gyan Fernando
Great sporting moments.....
Whilst surfing the net for stories for our prestigious publication SCN SRILANKA CRAZY NEWS tm (now syndicated to several news services and affiliated with Moreover) we came upon this apalling piece of drivel from an uneducated arrakku preserved brain who not only condemns our national sport but is of the belief that playing football etc is more morally uplifting etc. goes on to deride etc. other cricket playing countries like England, Australia and NZ and finally has the audacity to suggest that the game should be abolished. His piece appeared in the Sunday Observer of 12th Aug 2001 and is published below verbatim
Cricket - the detrimental time-killer
During the early 1970's I was in the staff of a leading government boys' school situated in the heart of the Kandy town. At that time I was in charge of junior sports. A boy of about 13 yrs, the son of a University Professor, who had been studying in the United States for a few years when his father was doing some research work there, was admitted to our school on his return.

He had been a student of our school earlier. One day I had a very interesting conversation with him during the interval. I asked him about sports in the United States. He spoke at length about baseball, basketball, boxing, rugby football, tennis and many other sports but never mentioned a word about cricket.

So I asked him "Son, what about cricket?" This is what he told me: "Sir, the Americans and the Russians do not play cricket and they have gone to the moon. But the British and their cronies are chasing a ball 5 days of the week. Look at the industrially developed countries like Japan and Germany and even China. Do they play cricket? No - only time saving, quick and interesting games like basketball, football etc. Cricket is an utter wastage of precious time. It is a game that is not suited at all for poor developing countries as it results in so much wastage of valuable man hours with people glued to the TV at all times of the match. "The purpose of a game is exercise on the part of the player and entertainment on the part of the spectator. Nothing like a quick game of basketball, football, rugger etc. it's a good exercise for the players and very interesting for the spectators. Walking is a good exercise and some who were walking for the sake of exercises would have felt bored and started hitting a stone or a ball whilst walking and golf came into being. The same with cricket, sun-bathing is enjoyed by those in the cooler climes. One day while sun bathing some smart guys who were bored would have started hitting a ball and running for all their might while his friends were chasing the ball and cricket came into being. What is the need for those in tropical countries to sun-bathe? It only saps your energy. "cricket is an utter wastage of precious time and it is definitely not suited for developing countries situated in the tropics."
At that time (early 1970's) we did not have TV. Now we do. Do we as a nation, especially our leaders think in terms of "Man-hours" lost or gained. What do our readers and our honoured guests, the Englishmen think about the comments of the young but intelligent boy about the game they introduced to us.
M.V.N. De Silva-Moratuwa


(As we say in British cricketing circles "My God Sir! You are a cad!" Thats about the least we can say about you. You of course had the gall to sign the letter in your own name rather than hiding under a pseudonym. We admire you for that and that is about the only good thing we can say about you!)

Old Cricketing Days!

Readers of the MadPage and personal associates of ourselves are of course well aware of our achievements in the field of sports. In athletics, the high point of this page was the The Sack Race of 1957 at the Annual Sports Meet of Holy Cross College at Kalutara (where we came in one-before-the-last and cheered by everybody!)

In cricket, the highest point of our career was the time we were delegated the most challenging of tasks: that of the scorer. We have of course been actually on the field before we retired from active sports due to injury.....
In 1957 we remember playing a rather challenging and historic match as captain. The proceedings took place on our front lawn. Our team consisted of our sisters and a few assorted cousins who happened to be living with us at that time. The opposition was rather formidable and consisted of assorted kids from the neighbourhood led by Manel the girl next door who even though handicapped by a skirt could outrun this page anytime. I felt a little bit like Charlie Brown! The equipment consisted of four pick-'n'-mix stumps, a rather old-but-linseed-oiled bat, a coconut frond (Pol Piththa) and a Gutta Parcha (Ottapalu) ball. The coconut frond did double duty: sometimes as a bat and sometimes as a wicket.
Our late old Dad was the umpire of course and carried out his umpiring duties from the comfort of his favourite verandah chair whilst drinking endless cups of tea and smoking cheap cigarettes. Mum made us refreshments.

SPORTS INJURY
The injury that caused our retirement from the field of sports was of the type best described as an unfortunate-contact-of-our-personal-regions-below-the-Equator-with-a-kicked-foot.
The other end of the kicked foot was of course attached to Manel (who could never understand the difference between the Gentleman's Game and that of the morons.)
This encounter with M's foot made a lasting impression on overselves.
We of course have digressed as usual....to get back to business...

THE KEYBOARD IS MIGHTIER THAN...
On reading the aforementioned missive-to-the-editor our immediate reaction was to phone the cad and give him a piece of our mind. Phone calls to the old Republic are not only expensive but are not easy to connect either. We were not going to waste our money and time (in that order!) on a cad who has absolutely no feeling towards the country and her people. We therefore decided to resort to the mightiest of all weapons, the keyboard!

Dear Cad!
Dear Sir,
("Dear Sir" is a standard form of salutation in the old Brit Empire and does not necassarily imply any fondness for the person being so addressed. Maybe you would prefer the American salutation " Hey Bud!")

We refer to your obnoxious missive to the Editor of The Observer dated the etc.
Cricket of course is a gentleman's game and played by gentlemen all over the civilised world which of course includes the old Rep. A few countries do their best to reach our standards but fail miserably. Some of these so called countries should not be recognised as countries at all...more as dumps and open sewers! We refer of course to India and Pakistan!

As far as non-cricket playing countries go let us have a look at the Americans.
It is of course well known that the Americans can't do anything right. Admittedly they were the first to fetch upon a barren piece of "real estate", the Lunar Corporation, just a little bit ahead of Aeroflot but do look at their record in other fields of achievement...
In particular Vietnam, Laos, Saddam Hussein Land, Kosovo...or..or look at their cultural achievements: McDonalds, backward facing Baseball caps, Simpsons etc...or...or.. their internal politics: vote counting in Florida, Presidents Reagan, Carter, Bush and Bush. Look at their record on human rights: electric chairs, Native Americans, General Santa Ana's Last Stand, persecution of Mexican "wetbacks" desperately trying to crawl across the dried-up bed of the Rio Grande, the Statue of Liberty ("Bring forth your huddled masses etc" but try to get to New York without a visa or on a Srilankan passport with a visa).....

The Americans that you so admire are a spent force Mr. Mervin De Silva. The US of A is kept going by Srilankans.

And as for Russia, Tchaikovsky and Vodka were the only two good things to come out of the frozen wastes.The less said about the place the better. Right?

The other non-cricket playing country you so admire is Japan but have you recently looked up the Nikkei Index? Ha!So? So much so for their finances. As to Japanese technology have you ever noticed the clapped out Toyota Hi-Aces on the Galle Road?.....
As far as Japanese culture goes Suki Yaki comes to mind. That's about it. I am not sure if you are aware of the unhealthy obsession that the Japanese men have with schoolgirls and in particular with their (ahem!) underwear!
And as for Germany all one can say is that if they had played cricket they could have won the war (The second WW that is. A man of your vintage should know about the second WW and should have been in the Second WW..) And who won? The Germans? The Eyeties? The Japs? No, the cricket playing Brits!

Enough of that! Lets have a look at the games you like.
Boxing! Beating the shit out of each other, admittedly wearing gloves and gum shields but nevertheless causing diffuse axonal damage and with the express purpose of knocking your opponent into oblivion. Sport? Ha! How many boxers have died during a match in recent times and how many cricketers!

Football! At present the world of football is well known for the activities of a skinhead by the name of Beckham married to a skinny bird by the name of Victoria Spice and with their combined vocabulary limited to Yash! Nope! and Er!. Their offspring is named after a rusty old bridge in New York: Brooklyn! Whilst this may be a decent sort of name for a bridge would you like a child by the name of Brooklyn?


As to people being "glued to TV sets" and wastage of man hours: the media, which of course includes writing letters to the editor, is a thriving industry! It keeps a lot of people in employment and a lot of mouths well fed and most imp. It keeps a lot of people happy.
The only sort of believeable material that my elderly Mum (80+) finds in the sunset of her life is the spectacle of young men hitting a little ball with a bit of willow wood.

In these times of darkness, made worse by the power-cuts, people find solace in cricket. As somebody greater than ourselves once said "Cricket is the opium of the downtrodden Srilankan Masses".

Don't spoil their fun Merv.
Don't ever put down cricket or Great Britain or I will send Manel around at night. To pelt your house with ottapalu balls ...drag you out...pull your trousers down and administer severe corporal punishment with the broad end of a Pol Pittha (coconut frond).
To descend to the sort of language your football "heros" employ may we, with great respect, offer you this warning: "Do watch it, Sunshine!"

I remain,
Your obedient servant,
Gyan Fernando of MadPage


Note: This article should be taken for what it is: a humorous piece, not political commentary and not a personal attack on Mr M.V.N. DeSilva whoever he is...Manel is a real person who was (and still is!) a nice girl.
©Copyright Gyan Fernando 2001 First written on the 16th of August 2001
Chandrika and I | Erik Solheim & I | My Part in the Census | Census Again! | I Crossed The Line | My Part in my Funeral | The Gamarala and the Temple | Gamarala and the Puhul | Two men and the bear | Incense and Candlewax | Fasting & Feasting | My Father & The Devil

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