Refer to my post about cricket being the true gentleman's sport. This might not entirely be true. There is also a psychotic, vicious element of the sport.
Let me explain.
Two days ago I was playing cricket in Ajax. Our team was bowling. One of their batsmen was hitting all our bowlers out of the park. And then it was my turn to bowl. Now I may be generously defined as a 'medium-pace' bowler, causing his eyes to light up. He began to make comments about where the hit would go.
First ball up, an unintended short ball, a bouncer. It hit the ground, reared up and hit him on the eye as he mistimed his hook shot. He was shaking his head for a couple of seconds. And I did not even feel the need to go up and ask him how he was. This was hard cricket.
Two balls later, another full toss ball. Again swing and miss, and it hit him square on the crotch. Boy, did he immediately fall to the ground. What was amazing was none of our players asked him how he was. They have all been hit around the park, and now everybody was enjoying the physical pain he was under.
Cut to scene two.
We were batting, and had just lost a wicket. Out walked our captain. One of their close fielders then started to 'sledge'.
"Aw c'mon look how nervous this guy is. He can't even place his bat to the ball. Bowl him a quickie and let him slip and get out. C'mon [bowler name here], get him."
First ball to our captain, short. He hooked. One bounce and then the ball hit the same sledging fielder on his lip. He, ofcourse, did not know where the ball went after that, and our team scored two runs. Then our captain turned to the fielder and said, "So, ball got your tongue?" Never mind that the fielder now had a swollen lip, we all lapped up the moment.
I would be interested to know if this sort of sledging and one-upmanship goes on in cricket's cousin - baseball. In international cricket, the Australians are experts in this. Walk to bat, and you can expect comments about your wife to your long lost aunt. I have heard Indians and Bangladeshis don't sledge about women, maybe due to social reasons.
But then again, after the game, everything seems fine. The guy I bowled a bouncer at - he was my former neighbor.