This particular post has been banging around inside my head for a few weeks now.
Well, truthfully, it has been in me I think in one way or another for my entire life, and just in the last few years it has been bubbling near the surface, but three events over the last few weeks have finally brought it up to breathe.
I am really setting this up to be something spectacular, aren’t I?
Unfortunately, it’s really not gong to be anything, but bear with me – and apologies ahead of time because this all a ramble, I have no outline, just a series of ideas.
My wife and I talk a lot about doing something that isn’t a 9-5 eking out of an existence. Of actually spending our few short hours on this planet doing something we love for just enough money, instead of working jobs we hate to pay mortgages. To concentrate less on things, and more on moments.
Just last week, she (my wife) tweeted a link to a blog post about how to go about getting paid to do what you love, and it really amped me up about doing something that isn’t my mind numbing, soul sucking job, that there is a path there that I can follow if I want, that will lead me out of this cookie cutter existence does not make me all that happy. Off of the grid, in a way, but still with electricity and high speed Internet.
We know several people who do this: painters, musicians, poets. People who have figured it out.
Then, just this past weekend, I listened to an episode of the best podcast in the world that isn’t cricket related: Jordan, Jesse, Go. The two hosts themselves are two examples of the people I described above: self made, off the map, on the fringes, not doing the put the khakis on and go to the office and make money for someone else thing. Jordan is an aspiring comedy writer who puts food on the table by hosting podcasts and doing commercials and writing webisodes. Jesse started his own public radio program distribution company (for lack of a better term.)
On the most recent episode there were talking about what it takes to create your ultimate creation. To take something and put every last ounce of yourself into it. Make it something you are so terribly proud of. And if you can do that, if you can find the time and the means and the idea, then, well, you have accomplished what we are all here for to begin with.
And that brings me back to this blog. Despite the factual errors, and the lapses in posting, and the god awful typos (I am actually an above average speller), I am really quite proud of this silly little blog, and I really feel it could be the one thing that I do, that I make perfect, that I put everything into, that I sacrifice for.
And I know to everyone reading this that that will sound ridiculous. How many cricket blogs are there out there? Thousands? How many of those blogs are of SERIOUS high quality? Scores? What do I think that I, the silly American, could do differently? I mean, this blog was started on a whim in April, and while I think I have offered something a bit different than most cricket blogs, the writing and the opinions and the knowledge contained here at LimitedOvers are extremely, well, limited. In scope, in humor, in ideas.
But then I think about the article that I linked to above, and I ask myself: what gets me really excited? Well, lots of things: Arsenal Football Club, baseball, my studies, history, music, art, progressive politics…all things I have been incredibly passionate about at one point or another.
But then I think about it a little more, and with all honesty, two things jump out:
The former is easy. I mean, we all dream about traveling the world, seeing everything. But when I fantasize about travel, I start to get really, really amped up about the prospect of setting foot on as many continents as possible.
I dream of London, and Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe, and India, and Tasmania, and South Africa and Dubai, and wait a minute: those are all related, aren’t they? But how? Oh, that’s right: those are all places where they play test cricket.
This brings me to third recent event that inspired this post: the Boxing Day Test between Australia and India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
I have enjoyed watching this match so intensely, it almost shocks me a little. But then I remember that I have always felt this way about cricket, ever since I “discovered” the sport back in 2007, much in the same way that Ben Franklin discovered lightning, or Newton gravity.
It gives me a thrill that I cannot explain, and that hasn’t gone away in the four (almost five) years since I first started reading about the sport.
And then I think: oh, to be in Melbourne for this match. To be at the MCG with 70,000 other cricket lovers. And then I think, why do I have to be there as a fan? Why can’t I be there as a writer? Isn’t that the perfect marriage between the passions discussed above? This blog, travel, and cricket?
I think about traveling from Melbourne to the U.A.E. to cover Pakistan-England, and then to Mumbai for the IPL, and then back to London for County Cricket.
But then I come stumbling back to earth. I mean, isn’t that every cricket fan’s dream? And who the fuck am I to think that I could be the one that does that for a living?
I am thirty-five years old, I am an American, I am newer to the sport than seven year olds in Islamabad who live, eat, and drink the game.
But then I think, why the fuck not?
It is what excites me, it is what I love to do, so why should I not at the very least give it a try.
I look at my wife, who out of nowhere started playing her songs in front of people, and then recorded an album, and now is recording another – and there is my inspiration! Right in front of me!
And I look at Jarrod Kimber, who admits that his whole cricketing empire began with a blog, which led to a book, and a column and a videocast and a podcast and now HE is in Melbourne, in the press box, drooling over Eddie Cowan and writing about cricket.
So I ask again: why not me?
And if the answer to that question is: no reason why not, then the next question is simply: what next?
Continue writing, I guess. Make a real effort to do turn this into, well, a part time job that does not pay me.
In the above podcast, Jordan talks about how guys like Ryan Gosling and James Franco can afford to be Renaissance men because they will never, ever have to worry again about putting food on the table, which frees them up for learning the lute and getting multiple doctorates. And, so, I guess I need to figure out what I am wasting my time on, and stop doing those things. Simple, enough, eh? But that’s really about it, for everyone who wants to do something: figure out what’s really important.
Also, maybe Conan said it best: “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
Anyway, apologies for the all too personal nature of what is supposedly a silly little cricket blog, but hopefully you will all read this and we can all become full time cricket bloggers together and talk about the sport we love over coffee in Kolkata.
Until next time, I am going to watch this test match.