The Greeks defined an Olympiad as “a period of four years between Olympic Games, used in dating events.” In other words, an Olympiad wasn’t about athletic contests, it was instead the space between those contests. The events were just moments to mark time by.
This is why tournaments that take place every four years are special. They are more than just bats, balls and medals. They are a chance for us to look back at where we were four years ago, and to look forward to where we might be four years from now.
And given the precarious nature of our time on this planet, we of course also wonder if we will be here at all when the first coin is flipped in England in 2019.
I started this blog a week or so after India lifted the cup in Mumbai. Four years ago almost to the day – give or take a fortnight or so. In that time, so much has happened. When I logged into WordPress for the first time that one morning in April, I was stuck in the worst job in my entire life, three (!!) jobs later, I am as happy with my employment status as I have ever been.
And that is just one, small part of the nearly 1,500 days that have passed since. Birthdays and Christmases and goodbyes and failures and successes. Little things, big things, smiles, bike rides, dinners, cups of coffee.
Change happens slowly, but it is always happening, and every four years when that Cricket World Cup final feed ends, we are forced to look back at that change, reflect on it, and wonder what will come next.
If it comes at all.
Also in that four years, I wrote (guessing) about 500 blog posts. Some great, some terrible, most average. And this past fall, I hung it up. I was tired of it. I was uninspired. I had become jaded by the sport which is oh, so common. Far too common.
But now, four years after its birth, I think it is time to start posting here again. I like this place. This is a good place.
It’s time to come home.
The whole of the cricket loving world – save Australia – wanted New Zealand to win last night, because every sports fan loves an underdog. The problem is of course that cricket does not love an underdog.
Despite a few glitches here and there, the game is relentlessly, tragically fair. In Test cricket, 99 times out of 100, the better team always wins. So while that ratio is a little lower in the one day game, it still hovers in the mid-90s in favor of the better team. And Australia are simply a more talented squad. Not on the day, not because of the MCG or the home crowd – they are just a more exceptional side than New Zealand.
The Kiwis, for all their aggressive, fun, swashbuckling cricket, just don’t have the chops on the pitch that their neighbors across the ditch have.
And that’s why we saw what we saw last night.
But it would have been fun if the cricketing Gods had given us a short reprieve before slamming the door shut on the party. The match effectively felt all but over when Starc bowled McCullum. And while the MCG exploded, you could almost feel the rest of the world’s heavy, resigned, sigh.
“Oh, that’s right,” we all said. “This is cricket.”
The partnership between Taylor and Elliot gave us hope, as did the early wicket of Finch, but we all knew better. We all talked about India’s defense of 183 at the 1983 World Cup, but we were well aware that we were fooling ourselves. This was Australia, at the MCG, on a perfect late summer’s day. While there wasn’t a Waugh or a Ponting or a Gilchrist, it was still Australia.
And it was still cricket.