Culture

Sport

The greatest waiting game on Earth— Auckland

Preface

Cricket. A match can take several days, everyone stops for tea and there’s no promise of a winner. What could the attraction possibly be?

Auckland, Cricket, Eden Park, England, Media, New Zealand, Patience, Sport, Stuart Broad

27 March 2013

“Good things come to those who wait” is perhaps a familiar mantra, and maybe one that doesn’t sit comfortably if you’re a time-poor, high-intensity, always-connected kind of character.

But dare I suggest to you that there is another way? I would like to cite an example from the world of… sport. Cast your eyes to Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, where that most traditional of sporting conflicts, a series of Test-match cricket, has been taking place. England, the much-fancied visitors, have been duking it out with the low-ranked hosts.

And what did observers of this tussle get? A draw. Not just in the overall series, but in each Test. So the final score, after 15 days of action in three different cities, stood at 0-0. And how has this essentially scoreless spectacle been described? As, variously, “thrilling”, “wonderful”, “the purest form of sport” and other superlatives.

It has long been a source of bafflement to some sports fans – particularly those on the other side of the Atlantic from the home of cricket here in England – that any fixture can last five days, can feature lunch and tea each day, and promise no decisive outcome whatsoever.

But the brilliance of England’s last-ditch rearguard action to avoid a humiliating and damaging defeat in Auckland and the increasingly dramatic desperation of the hosts’ efforts to skittle the brittle visitors should be plain for all to see.

In sport, as in life, those who don’t have the time to consider the nuances, appreciate some guile and craft, and admire the sheer sweeping scale of things don’t deserve to be heard as loudly.

So much impatience! In fact, immediacy has increasingly become a requirement and not just on the fields and in stadiums: the media is especially guilty of this. In many cases frivolity trumps seriousness, a soundbite speaks volumes above the substance.

Why have we become so incapable of taking our time?

Before you fill the internet and the atmosphere with inanities – even in only 140 characters – stop and ponder whether you might be rather more constructive after a little more thought and a bit more time. After all, England batsman Stuart Broad went one hour and 43 minutes before turning his score from “zero” to “one”.

And it was the best entertainment you could ever have wished to see.

Tom Edwards is Monocle 24's news editor.

Monocle 24

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