Submitted by Sydney Berkey on the 2020 winter session study abroad program in Australia sponsored by the Department of English…
Cricket is considered to be Australia’s national sport. If I was being honest with myself, when my group members wanted to go see a professional cricket game, I didn’t think I would be the biggest fan. I imagined that it would be something similar to a baseball game, at which I normally get a hotdog, barely watch the game, and end the night early before all of the innings end with some ice cream. But, with the fear of “missing out”, I went.
Once we got off the tram at Marvel Stadium, I knew it was going to be an experience unlike any other. I was first greeted by the Avengers, hugely painted upon pillars, and then by one of the workers handing out KFC chicken buckets. At first, I was quite perplexed as to why I would need one, but, once I entered the stadium, I understood by the amount of people with them all on their heads. Our big group of eighteen strolled through the stadium, looking like fools, but fitting in, to find our seats.
With a big roar, synchronized clapping, and the singing of the national anthem, the game began. Cricket is a very unique game and isn’t anything like sports back in America, so a group member of mine, who had read “Cricket for Dummies” quickly before arriving, gave me a quick rundown of the rules and how each team had the ability to gain points. The first time the Melbourne Renegades did something spectacular, the crowd roared, and I just went along with it. As the game went on, the rules and scoring started to click, and I was the one the other girls on my program were asking about the rules and how the game was to run. I was normally the first in the group to hold up the red colored point signs that they handed out and could normally predict the amount of points a batsman would receive for a particular hit.
Not only was I able to enjoy and learn about the game of cricket, I was also able to interact with the other spectators. When the rules of the game weren’t completely making sense, those around me (“cricket experts”) stepped in and politely explained why or how things happened. The experience overall was completely different from what I was expecting. Although I did get some chocolate covered pancakes, I paid close attention to the game, had fun, and most importantly experienced a big part of Australia’s sports culture.