There were several late nights last weekend in the C'lonial household. It was the first game of The Ashes, a big cricket series between Australia and England.
I have a soft spot for cricket, as I met G. on a cricket tour to Hamburg. Long story, I don't think I'll get into it now. But it was on this tour that I learnt what a wicket was, that the ball is "bowled", not "thrown" or "pitched". I even learnt the technical term LBW. Now, after 4 years of having watched the Munich Cricket Club (warning - it's a slow page to load and it's a frightening shade of yellow) play a number of times, I can easily follow a game. The subtlety might escape me, but not the score, who's batting and who's bowling and whether it's close or not.
However, as in most sports, watching a game is much more interesting when you actually care about the result. I cared about the MCC, but to be honest I don't really care about The Ashes. Of course being loyal to my husband over my new adopted homeland, I'd like Australia to win (sorry England, but us colonials need to stick together). But not to the point of starting to watch at midnight and cheering the Australian side on until 4am or later. Naming no names, but there were others who did this. Fortunately, we have a special satellite TV service that allows you to record things easily, so it wasn't necessary for G to stay up the entire time over all 5 days. Yes, for all the North Americans, one game of test cricket can take up to five days. And you thought Monday Night Football lasted a long time.
Anyways, by the end of day 4 of the cricket, it was pretty clear to everyone that Australia were going to win the test. The audience at the stadium on day 5 was a bit bare, so the English fans who travelled to Australia to watch the test were able to sit together. And for the first time in my life, I witnessed the "Barmy Army".
The Barmy Army are not a bunch of crazed soliders. Well, there might be one or two in the bunch, but basically they are English cricket fans who travel to the England away games. They say their goal is "To make watching cricket more fun and much more popular." They certainly looked like they were having fun. As the game was slow, the cameras went to the fans quite often. The Barmy Army were dressed in all manner of England (mainly) and British (some) fan gear - hats, face paint, flags, sunglasses, you name it. They were constantly jumping up and down, waving their flags and, get this, cheering themselves! They sing "Barmy Army, Barmy Army" over and over again. When I first heard and saw them on TV, I asked G why they were singing "Balmy All Me" (what the accent made it sound like to me). His answer "Because that's who they are". It took a while longer to realise it was Barmy Army, not Balmy All Me. After figuring that out, I was still really as baffled by them as before. But as long as they are having fun and not acting like hooligans, I don't have a problem with it. In fact, I look forward to seeing them at the next few tests. We know a few English from the MCC who are in Australia for the whole test series, so you never know, we might spot them singing along with the Barmy Army.
Barmy Army homepage