I love these lazy Saturday's at work...
So, what's going on the in UK today? Anything important? Oh, wait, of course there is... Football, Rugby and the return of Doctor Who! Oh, wait, I was looking for important things
Sport is a very British obsession, and lord knows we've invented enough of the buggers. But, as has often been raised, is so dudely about sport anyway? Well, we always look to find dudely activities and sports and I think we have a general agreement about most of them.
Football, as we've already covered in this thread, is not one of them. Often dubbed "the beautiful game" by all truly souless meatheads
football is mired in hooliganism, greed, corruption, on-pitch violence, farce and fame-seeking man-children. What a waste of money and a Saturday afternoon, if you ask me!
Rugby (or rugger, depending on how posh you are) is a great British staple adopted by counties such as France, Italy, Austria and South Africa... and not many other people. The forerunner of American Football, and a game for big, rugged men who are built like brick shithouses and have the faces of bareknucle boxers, it's not a game for the fainthearted. Rugby, unlike its more popular cousin, football, isn't often as badly publicised and maligned by general social critics (such as myself). The problem is, where football is the sport of the common man, rugby is often a more middle-class sport played by a certain type of gent (you know the ones I'm talking about, the chummy-chums who want to be toffs but don't have the breeding, but still like to coin the phrase "ya" when standing in a quiet country pub in their rugger shirt), and I'm stereotyping greatly there. As such, it's seen as somewhat elitist, as well as more violent and physically demanding that almost any other sport in the world (apart from maybe the tooth-looseningly violent game of ice-hockey).
Cricket. Ah, now, that is a true gentleman's sport. A game meant to be played with gentle ease and topnotch sportsmanship. A game where you are get dressed up in whites and meander out onto the green at the local cricket club on a sunny Sunday afternoon for a bit of standing around and saying "oh, I say" and "good show!". I do love the idea of cricket, I'm just not any good at it, and I find it dull to watch on TV. That being said, I'd love to watch it properly, lazing in a deckchair (the outdoor recliner) on the side of the pitch, in the shade of a willow tree, with my straw boater over my eyes and a glass of pimms nestled between my ankles, with a wasp swimming in it. Ahh, that's the way to watch sport!
An interesting take on cricket can be found by Rev Scott Oliver at the following link: http://dudespaper.com/the-big-lebowski-and-cricket.html/
Hockey. Ah, yes, a sport I actually wasn't completely shit at! Mostly because I was great at getting in the way, a good trait for a defender. Now, we're not talking ice hockey, or street hockey, this is field hockey, the original and best (not least because it's usually seen as a woman's sport and has a uniform consisting of short skirts and long sock... ding dong!). Ah, the majesty of the Indian dribble and grace of running down field and slipping the ball over the short-cut grass and into the opposition goal. Sadly, all my experiences with hockey were on hardcourts... gravelly hardcourts, where getting a sturdy wooden hockey stick in the face or shin will put you in a heap on the ground where tiny stones will immediately jump towards your open wounds... thankfully, my dudely sense of cowardice kept me from getting injured myself, but... hmm, i think we'll scratch that as a good dudely sport, shall we?
So, what is the best sport the British have invented?
Could it, crown green bowling? Also known as bowls? I'd certainly say it beats its french cousin boules (where they use metal balls and toss the thing and make nasty dents in a chap's lawn), and lambaste compeer croquet, where the the rules are mostly unknown and so people just whack the ball about with the mallet until some sense of satisfaction of it going through the metal hoops enough times has been achieved.
Bowls is a gentle, elegant sport that brings together the zen of bowling, the accuracy and focus of darts (and all without a pint of lager in your hand) and the outdoor goodness of cricket. Once again, a good, comfortable set of whites and a sun-blocking white floppy hat are all in good stead.
The idea of bowls is to roll your balls gently and accurately down the green to rest by the "jack", the little white ball which is initially rolled out as a marker for the game. Each player takes turns to land their balls as close to the jack as they can, with a little gentle competition by tapping the opponent's ball out of the way or nudging in closer yourself, or even knocking the jack's position to suit yourself. All done with good grace and manners. That is, unless you play like Paul Kay, who starred in the excellent film Black Ball http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackball_%28film%29
where he plays the bad-boy, hotshot maverick of bowls who attempts to light a fire under the stale and crusty arses of the old fuddy-duddies who rule the world of professional bowls.
Yes, I'd much rather spend this afternoon watching a good bowls match than having to listen to the yelling and cheering and jeering and disappointment that's attached to the avid fans of footy and rugger. I won't deny people these pleasures, but, by jingo, I'd love a good game of bowls to mellow out the sporting giants of the weekend!