Leave cricket on Christmas Day to the backyard

Talk this week that the Big Bash League has developed a task force aimed at working out whether Aussies want a game of Twenty20 cricket on Christmas Day. Jingle Bash I believe it is called. While that is a cute name and ideas should be debated, this one needs no further discussion. Now I like sport more than most, but I think we have finally found the line. It has nothing to do with religion, but more to do with balance and fairness to all, as well as the worry that the removal of Christmas Day backyard cricket to be replaced by the attendance at the cricket will ruin the future of the game in this country.

364 days of the year. That is how many days there is some sort of live sporting event on, that if you wanted to, you could attend in this wonderful country of ours. Like Christmas Day, Good Friday was once another day of rest, but no more. Surely Aussies can cope with one day a year to sit back without having the beauty of supporting their favourite team and a good sporting contest in their lives. There should be a general rule in life, that if Bunnings is not open, that is a day to spend at home.

But it works in America they say, well good for America. Plenty of other things work in America too that do not translate here. Thanksgiving, super sized meals, electing questionable leaders… We do not have to be exactly like them. We have our own traditions and those work just fine.

Cricket is a big part of Christmas Day in Australia, but it is the part where we fire up the makeshift stumps and assemble teams in the backyard, while trying not to break too many windows. It is where shots are developed for future Australian selection purposes and fast bowling techniques are mastered. When are we going to do this if we are busy packing to head to the Christmas Day game or sitting on the couch watching it on television?

Comfortable is not a word I would use to describe how I am generally feeling at four or five o’clock on Christmas afternoon. I am usually full of food, sleepy and completely exhausted after a big day with the family. There is nothing I want to do more than sit back, nibble on some leftovers and have a Christmas shot or two. I do not want to have to head into town or even move myself away from the family banter and crazy hats into the lounge room.

Some people do not celebrate Christmas which is up to you, you cannot please everyone I suppose. Some people do not have families and I understand that too, but are these people going to head to games by themselves or be any happier because three hours of cricket might be on the screen? I am not sure that is a good enough reason to do it. Then there is the staff you have to employ, the players and officials who will be away from their own families. Plus what about extra public transport on Christmas Day? Yeah right.

The likelihood of people selling out a Christmas Day game is not great. It is just something we simply do not do in Australia. And that is perfectly fine. This would mean though that an event such as a Big Bash game on Christmas Day would almost be a sole television product. Although half empty stands on television is not a good look either and does not create the best of atmospheres for anyone. There just does not seem any point in pursuing this idea. The Big Bash is on almost every night of the holiday period. One night off will not halt momentum or starve audiences. If you want to spend a day at the cricket with the family, there are plenty of opportunities to do that throughout the summer.

All in all, Christmas is about family, first and foremost. That is what the majority of people spend their day doing. Sure you potentially might switch the cricket on in the background once the festivities have died down, but it really is not necessary. We have not needed in the past and we do not need it now. In a few hours time the sun will rise and the Boxing Day Test will fire up. Plenty of time for cricket then. After all it is jingle bells not jingle balls.

Merry Christmas!

2 Replies to “Leave cricket on Christmas Day to the backyard”

  1. I agree. IMHO it flies in the face of the Big Bash family-friendly ethos to even consider playing a match on Christmas Day, and their argument that “It works in America” doesn’t cut the mustard – their population is over 13 times that of us here in Australia! Bad idea and I really hope it gets shelved ASAP.


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