Yes, cricket -- that sport where the guys dress all in white (well, in some forms of the game) and take breaks for "tea" in the middle of the action.
You see, when living in Brisbane, Australia for two years from mid-2001 - mid-2003, I became a crazy cricket fan, and a particularly strong supporter of the Australian national squad. (That's me in the photo below, in November 2002, just after watching a day's worth of cricket in the city of Adelaide.)
Cricket has many similarities to my beloved game of baseball -- namely, the strategy, deliberate pace (games can last five days, at 6 hours a day), and romance with players of yesteryear.
And did you know that cricket was being played in the US before baseball was, and that the two sports were competing for our national attention until baseball won out around the time of World War I.
But before abandoning this post in a fit of hilarious laughter, just work with me here. There is a Boston sports tie-in here.
Playing with a broken hand
Some drama unfolded at the conclusion of today's Test match (a "Test" is one of those games that can last up to five days) between Australia and South Africa that I simply couldn't not write about.
South African captain Graeme Smith, who had been ruled out of the remainder of the match after breaking his hand a couple of days earlier, came to bat in the final hour of play to try and deny Australia a victory.
In the end, Smith was unsuccessful -- he was bowled out by Mitchell Johnson a mere 10 balls away from securing a hard-fought draw with the Aussies -- but he's already being hailed as the "bravest man in world cricket." The Australians congratulated Smith for his efforts, and the home-town Australian fans even stood in applause.
Much like a baseball hitter, a cricket batsman needs his hands to play the game. And Smith had a broken hand, yet still survived for 17 deliveries!
Which American athlete would do the same?
I have vague recollections of Kevin McHale playing in the NBA Finals on a broken foot in the 1980s, and Bruce Armstrong doing the same for the Patriots some 10 years ago. And Schilling and the bloody sock in 2004. (And yeah, I knew offensive linemen sometimes play with broken hands, too, but they're kind of loose cannons anyway, right?)
But who else from the Boston sports teams today can we imagine displaying the kind of integrity that Graeme Smith did?
Would Paul Pierce or KG play with a broken hand in a regular-season game in April against Cleveland, just to help secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs?
Would Randy Moss play through a stress fracture in October?
Would J.D. Drew ... OK, let's not use that comparison. Would Dustin Pedroia or Kevin Youkilis stay in a game with a broken foot in the middle of May ?
We've seen former Red Sox superstars like Manny and Nomar beg out of games -- even critical games -- in the past with seemingly minor injuries (or non-existent ones, in Manny's case)?
We typically admire the tough-guy athletes, the ones who play through intense pain on the big -- and small -- stage, and potentially risk their careers in the process.
That's what Smith did for South Africa today. Wonder if one of "our guys" will ultimately do the same the next time that circumstance comes along?
Bryan Person blogs regularly at BryanPerson.com