As I was writing an e-mail to my good friend Nikki, it occurred to me that I never shared my cricket-playing experience from earlier this month, and that all of my American friends would probably be interested to hear about it. Every year, our office has an annual cricket match between the Hydrology and Climate departments, and the Forecasting office. The past two years the game has been cancelled due to rain, so the friendly rivalry really reached a peak this year. Again this year, afternoon showers showed up just in time for the game. Everyone was ready to go though, and since it wasn't an absolute downpour, the game went ahead. Even though everyone else was miserable, I felt perfectly at home, because the weather was not unlike a late August day in Alaska. In fact, I was a little grateful, because I think I would have broiled to death in the hot sun.
I was a little nervous, because I have bad memories of getting yelled at when playing sports in school. I knew some of my officemates were pretty competitive, so I was a bit worried, especially since I barely knew the rules. Of course, I forgot that we're all adults now, and that people don't yell at you when you try when you're an adult. Still, the morning of the game, I realized I didn't even know how to hold a bat, so I asked for an impromptu coaching session on cricket techniques, which fortunately did not end in my knocking over the Hydro fish tank.
My team put me first at bat, mostly because it was raining and they were all in the gazebo like a bunch of wimps, while I was already wet because I'd walked from the office. I managed to hit the ball a few times, and I didn't knock over my own stumps, so that boosted my confidence a little bit. I forget how I got out -- whether someone caught the ball or I got bowled out (the bowler, analogous to the pitcher in baseball, knocks over the sticks the batter is standing in front of).
Eventually we switched positions, and our team had to field, which meant everyone got a chance to bowl. This was very nervewracking for me, because all eyes were on me, and I had never bowled before. It is not at all like pitching. Basically, you have to huck the ball at the ground, while keeping your arm straight. I found it very unnatural. My bowls seemed to go okay, although I (apparently, since I couldn't tell what I looked like) did not keep my arm straight. Anyway, I only had to bowl 6 or 7 times, which was a relief. Then I went back to standing in the outfield, hoping desperately the ball wouldn't come to me.
Supposedly, my team won, although there was some minor squabbling about how the scores were kept. The result was finalized at the pub, which makes it a bit more suspicious, but hey! We won! And most importantly, I had a good time.