HIT AND GIGGLE OR THE DEVOLUTION OF HUMANKIND?
In the lead up to Christmas a strange phenomenon will resume. No, not the frantic shoppers swarming Bondi Junction with bedraggled hair and wild looks in their eyes. I’m talking about the Big Bash League (BBL) – cricket’s contribution to the further dumbing down of our society.
Can the Scorchers go back to back? Does anyone care? If you are more than 12 years old – and it’s a slow twelve – how could you possibly? Teams cut and paste their rosters each year, sometimes mid-season. ‘Marquee’ signings tend to be older players, well beyond their best, or T20 specialists; mercenaries who can hit a six, take a catch, but can’t concentrate for longer than a few minutes – the next generation, basically.
I must admit, last season I was drawn into watching on a few occasions, and I hate myself for it. The bright colours and flashing lights, designed to hypnotise, sucked me in after long days of working at the coalface. Like the pokie machines down at the local, it lures you with its mindless chimes (Ricky Ponting’s commentary) and keeps you there until it has sucked every cent it can. Except the BBL didn’t chew down one of my fivers, it sucked out the very essence of my soul.
Call me the Cricket Grinch if you must, but I firmly believe that the growing success of the BBL is the first obvious sign that human civilization has peaked and we are now on our way down. Can you honestly tell me that the concurrent rise of the BBL and Donald Trump was a coincidence? I think not.
What happens when sixes no longer titillate? When flashing lights in the bails aren’t quite enough? Will Cricket Australia resort to public floggings of failing batsmen to get people through the doors? You can’t use sex to sell anything anymore, so violence is the next obvious answer.
Because attention spans are only going to shorten even more if we continue to pander to these sorts of things. Not to mention the fact we are surely going to run out of decent bowlers. Why would any kid growing up want to be a bowler? They’d have to be a masochist.
I’m starting to think Cricket Australia must be masochists though. If you’ve spent any time reading The Grade Cricketer, you will be familiar with the deep vein of self-loathing that is carried by most cricketers. By folding to the perceived demand for twenty-twenty cricket, they have basically admitted that their product is sub-par and needs to be improved.
You need only look at soccer, ‘the world game’, to see that sticking to your guns is a far better strategy. If any game could do with a bit of added excitement, it’s soccer, but you don’t see them bringing in ‘power plays’. They have doggedly remained unchanged and we respect them all the more for it.
But how can we respect cricket when it has no respect for itself?