Test cricket, for a match that you get immersed in, is a very meditative experience. Any match which I have gotten into, for all the five days the television is always on, through the day, even if I am not watching it, even if I am sleeping through it. It is five days of involvement. It is like a music festival. A concert. A shared moment in time of what a lot of people went through. A culturally shared experience. Those who were there knew what it was. It is not about highlights, but about the long build up of gratification, very difficult to distil for those in a hurry.
And fuck purists, I am someone who is talking about watching test cricket stoned. On television at home.
It is a spectator sport that begs itself to be considered for st0ned viewing. The long slow build ups, the ebbs, the crests, the mood changes, session play, the extreme of emotions, the boredom of nothing happening, the smell of planned strategies … geez get stoned already! I have been reading about Flow, something I have been obsessive about after experiencing for a sustained period (that was a rush!!). Now I know they say passive activities don’t count for flow, but wait a minute, listen to this, from the same wikipedia link,
Flow is one of the main reasons that people play video games. This is especially true since the primary goal of games is to create entertainment through intrinsic motivation, which is related to flow. Through the balance of skill and challenge the player’s brain is aroused, with attention engaged and motivation high.Thus,the use of flow in games helps foster an enjoyable experience which in turn increases motivation and draws players to continue playing. In addition, game designers, in particular, benefit from the integration of flow principles into their game designs. Overall, the experience of play is fluid and is intrinsically psychologically rewarding independent of scores or in-game successes in the flow state.
Flow in games has been linked to the Laws of Learning as part of the explanation for why learning games (the use of games to introduce material, improve understanding, or increase retention) have the potential to be effective. In particular, flow is intrinsically motivating, which is part of the Law of Readiness. The condition of feedback, required for flow, is associated with the feedback aspects of the Law of Exercise. This is exhibited in well designed games, in particular, where players perform at the edge of their competency as they are guided by clear goals and feedback. The positive emotions associated with flow are associated with the Law of Effect. The intense experiences of being in a state of flow are directly associated with the Law of Intensity. Thus, the experience of gaming can be so engaging and motivating as it meets many of the Laws of Learning, which are inextricably connected to creating flow.
Now read this piece I wrote in 2008 about Undercurrents in a Cricket Test Match,
How does someone ever read this to understand it, say a year later, unless you have emotions associated with this moment, and you were definitely involved, with either of the sides. And watched this, of course, every ball, every moment of the building tension, every release of a muffled sigh every time the ball missed the bat, felt the curl of the lips in a mocking smile, and felt the bat swing next delivery again, on and on and on and on. I saw the highlights last night, but somehow it just wasn’t quite enough.
It is blissful, a test match in the background. As a discipline to the day, for 5 days. The Sunday that the match falls between is special. More special depending upon which day of the test it falls on.
Read this for example, something I wrote in 2009, Cricket Stories on a Monday Morning, a good day of test cricket adds hope, determination, a dose of stoic, a bit of magic in your step, in your life. Bolsters up an otherwise lackluster week.
And I’m not even talking about India winning.