Well, my American friends, it’s almost Ashes time again! It seems like it’s only been a few months since … oh … wait.
Anyway, for the next few weeks, you are likely to see my blog, Twitter, and Facebook blowing up with news from “The Ashes,” and I realize that when I say “The Ashes” is almost here, you are probably wondering what I’ve been burning. But “The Ashes” has nothing to do with burning. Well, it does, sort of, but …. Well …. Um …. So I guess I ought to take a brief moment to explain “The Ashes” to any Americans (or others) not sure what talk of cricket and Ashes is all about.
The Ashes is the name of an ongoing cricket series between England and Australia. It is what is called a Test series (that means it is the longest form of the game—five days per match—played between countries that are full top-tier members of the International Cricket Council). The Ashes is like the Superbowl or World Series, except every two years instead of every year, and always between these same two countries.
It all started back in 1882, when a team from Australia defeated England in a cricket for the ever on English soil. A newspaper article took aim at the debacle with an obituary for English cricket, stating that “the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.” During a return visit by England to Australia in 1882-83, the effort to win was called an attempt to “regain the ashes” of English cricket. During their trip to Australia, the English team was presented with a small urn with what is supposedly the ashes of a burned wooden bail—little pieces that go on top of the stumps (those sticks stuck in the ground behind the batsman).
Traditionally, this series is played every couple of years. So, since the last series wrapped up just about two months ago, then it’s time for the next Ashes series. HAH! Confused again? Well, this quick turnaround is thanks to the crazy scheduling rampant in international cricket.
I personally blame Barack Obama. Thanks, Obama!
If you want to learn more, you can check the Wikipedia entry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ashes