The Marvel Known as The Mavericks (Essay on Sport)
|📌Published:||23 April 2021|
The Manchester Mavericks is a cricket team composed of fifteen players who have all played some form of cricket in their lives. Whether it was by playing on their old school grounds with the elementary set of wickets represented by broken branches or by professional wooden wickets made up of wood stakes, each one of the players has always been interested in cricket. With this common interest in the cricket world, the Mavericks have established themselves as a local team that competes in informal tournaments with the other cricket teams in Connecticut.
To understand the Mavericks on a greater level, an understanding of the game of cricket will be necessary. The purpose of the game of cricket is to score as many runs as you can when up at-bat, and for those who are in the field, it is their purpose to get the batsman out. On the grounds, behind the batsman, are three wickets. These wickets look like stakes and they are pierced into the ground. Once the batsman hits the ball, they have to run from the wickets to a marked end before the fielders can hit the wickets with a ball. If the batsman can do this successfully, then this counts as one run. How the batsman hits the ball also accounts for some runs. For example, if the player can hit the ball to the boundary along the ground then this accounts for four runs. If the player hits the ball over the boundary, then this is valued as six runs. Both of these hits account for runs on top of the ones that the player has to run between the wickets until the end. Throughout the game, it is the bowler’s and fielder’s mission to take ten wickets. Each team is composed of eleven players and before they can switch and begin batting, the fielding team must get ten of the batsmen out. The rules of cricket are fairly complicated, as there are many more aspects to take into account, and this is only a basic version.
To be part of this discourse community, it is crucial for all players to fully understand the rules so that they can play the game fluently. If they do not understand these rules, it is difficult for them to be a fully participatory member, as there are many game analyses’ of their own tournaments, or of the Indian Premier League, in which everyone takes part. This team is fairly easy to join, but it has the pre-requisite to know the official rules and regulations used in cricket before joining. The team's newcomer is well accommodated by many seasoned veterans, because experienced players take their time to teach them techniques that would allow them to hit the ball harder, to bowl the ball at a certain angle, and even to dive for the ball. Since some have been playing since high school, while others since they were children, there are diverse playing abilities seen on the field. Typically, a newer player would not be bowling right away, but instead would be in the field to further practice their catching and throwing skills.
To communicate about upcoming tournaments and practice timings, the Mavericks have a WhatsApp group chat so that all members can stay up-to-date on the status quo. Here, one of the captains will post the game and practice schedule, and the line-up will be created based on the availability of each player. Since the team is composed of dads, the captains tend to be flexible, as they understand many dads have prior engagements.
However, this chat is also made up of various components. A few of them being highlights from the Indian Premier League games, tutorials on various techniques of hitting and bowling the ball, along with the occasional batch of memes. Most of the team members are well informed about the status of the Indian Premier League and like to talk about what happened during the games. If they're not talking about the upcoming game in their own tournament, they're most likely talking about their favorite player in the Royal Challengers Bangalore (their favorite team) and/or analyzing how they played. Participation is seen frequently, as all chat members are active and vocal during game analysis sessions. Discussions sometimes arise when examining a play in which more questions are raised than answered. Each Maverick tends to have a different perspective on what was supposed to happen, and he's sure to get his point across to the team.
Since this team always records their games, it's obvious to understand that when they communicate with each other during the game, their lexis changes. Not only do they start to speak more in a more aggressive tone in Hindi, but they tend to use an increased amount of abbreviated versions of their common terminology.
The Mavericks also use words, only seen within the cricket community, to describe niche circumstances. One of them is for the word “jaffa.” This is used when the bowler delivers a ball with such a spin that it is almost impossible to play. Usually, such spin is put on a ball, when the bowler can spin the ball away from the leg of the batsman, which is usually referred to as “leg spin”. If a batsman is unable to even a single run, then they are dismissed using the word “duck”. A “golden duck” is a rare instance when the batsman gets dismissed by the first ball. These words are not unique to the Mavericks, rather they are widely used in cricket.
The lexis of the Mavericks differs from when they play their games to when they message in the group chat. In the group chat, they communicate with a much less assertive tone, as their goal in the chat is to get their point across. But in their games, they talk much more urgently, because they're under much more time crunch, and they just want the team to understand what they're saying.
Lexis does not differ during practices and tournaments. During practices, the team tends to run through practice games and although they are playing within the team, they speak with the same sense of seriousness seen during tournaments. The tone of communication staying the same during both practices and tournaments was a bit of an interesting discovery, as it was expected to see the team relax and take their time practicing through the plays. Instead, they see practice games as another form of a tournament, so they bring their best effort.
The Mavericks all have a common goal of not only becoming better players but also of becoming closer friends. Since their practices typically start at 8 AM every Sunday, this group of dads usually has enough time to swing by gas stations on the way to their home to pick up a few sodas and talk some more. If they had a game that day, then they would go out to a restaurant for lunch. This goal of wanting to know each other better, allows them to spend much of their Sundays with each other during their annual cricket season.
The Mavericks would like to show inspiration to other towns around Connecticut, to create their own cricket teams. These hardworking dads aspire for their tournaments to be bigger and omnipresent so that they can play with many other people. They simply want to be seen as Manchester’s local cricket team, and by facilitating the creation of new teams and a bigger tournament, their goal is soon to happen.