The Wicket in Cricket

27 03 2010

“Is this experience what you expected it to be?”
is the most common question I get asked,
and the hardest one to answer.

First of all,
I don’t know what I expected.
And second of all,
the answer is no.

Probably my biggest learning
is quite simple:
studying the legacies of apartheid is not linear.

It’s like the difference between baseball and cricket.

Have you watched a cricket game?
A player stands in the center of a circle,
the circle being the field,
and when the ball is “bowled,”
he hits it any which way.

Picture someone standing in the middle of a circle
and hitting a ball
in any direction.
Including behind them.

Doesn’t really work for your American linear brain,
does it?
It’s confusing.

I can sit through a cricket match,
but I still can’t get my brain around the concept of the game.

It’s a new definition of linear.
And most of the time, I am just struggling to watch,
keep score,
figure out who’s out,
who’s up,
who’s batting when,
and what the heck a wicket is.

But there are moments,
in a conversation with a teacher,
or an interaction with a student,
where I feel almost ready to walk onto the field,
play an “over,”
or at least pick up a ball
and give it a bowl.

In short,
my definitions are growing,
my idea of linear is evolving,
and no,
there is no way to leave here with anything resembling
some neat and tidy package
of understanding
about post-apartheid history education.

Maybe instead,
my goal is to leave
with a big
every which way
treasure chest.

maybe my goal is simply to figure out
the purpose
of a wicket.




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