Cartwheel cricket is a thing. It’s going to be huge. A grassroots movement created and driven by the greatest force in sport — women — set to revolutionise an ancient game.
I will be the first to write about it.
Let me explain.
I love sport.
Football ruled my life as a kid. I played field hockey, volleyball, basketball, cricket, squash, tennis. I still play golf. I like nothing better than to sit back with a suitable cold beverage to watch a game – just about any game – or a sports movie.
I must have watched a League of Their Own a dozen times. That’s how I know there’s no crying in baseball.
How about Bull Durham, Coach Carter, Remember the Titans? There are baseball, gridiron, even some soccer movies. Did anyone see Escape to Victory? You didn’t? Don’t bother. Seriously. **shudders**
So, why can’t I reel off a couple of dozen classic sports-novels?
I can point you to a few. Dick Francis books are terrific. You can smell the mud and feel the English drizzle on your back as the heroes lumber over fences at Towcester or Haydock Park. Dick knew of what he wrote as a steeplechase champion jockey who was aboard the Queen Mother’s favourite Devon Loch when it famously collapsed on the track a few lengths from a Grand National victory.
The acclaimed football writer, Brian Glanville wrote two wonderful stories Goalkeepers are Different and The Olympian
I’ve seen young reader series based on girls’ soccer and Australian Rules Football, but this stuff is the exception that proves the rule.
Did I miss all the bestsellers about baseball? I don’t mean the ones where the guy on the cover has ripped abs, a sexy grin and a baseball bat slung over his shoulder. I’ve enjoyed a few, but the game doesn’t affect the plot much beyond the risk of groin injury.
I want basketball mysteries, tennis thrillers or romances where football is more than the reason why the hunky hero is rich and hard-bodied.
I once wrote a cricket detective short story. I called it The Death Rattle. I still think that’s a cracking title. For my US readers — 75% of my audience according to Mailchimp – cricketers have their own patois. The death rattle is the noise a batter hears when the bails are separated from the stumps. I might resurrect that tale one day.
I’ve pushed a bit of sport into a few of my books – Australian Rules Football in Meet Me, baseball references in the Guerrilla books. There’s a golf short story on my website and this one where Stella from the Meet Me series is introduced to cricket by Sean.
I’m itching to write more substantial sports stuff.
I wrote the Sean and Stella piece after I went with my granddaughters to see some of the brilliant women cricketers named in the story.
Women’s cricket, football and golf are all booming and great to watch. Netball is a fabulous game. I find myself switching to women’s cricket and golf in preference to the men’s game. Sebastien in The First Guerrilla got his surname from my all-time favourite women’s golfer, Lorena Ochoa.
Girls bring a slightly different attitude to games — especially pre-teen girls at junior cricket. It’s a hoot.
There are loads of girls – a heartening ethnic diversity, too, but that’s a subject for another day. Boys don’t seem to notice their teammates or opponents are female. Skill levels and power are similar in the five-to-ten year age groups, but the girls really stand out. They charge in to bowl, then cartwheel back to the end of their run. They dash to field a hit, throw the ball to the wicketkeeper and return to their position twirling head over heels. When they’re a bit bored standing around waiting for the ball to come their way, you guessed it, they reel off a couple of cartwheels.
My granddaughters’ cricket practice has more cartwheels than Olympic gymnastics. It’s incredible. I love it. I think they should make cartwheels compulsory in the senior game – for men and women!
I have a junior cricket sub-plot planned for the second Hollins & Haring book.
I should make it cartwheel cricket, shouldn’t I?