It’s a cricket kind of day, which is something I never really thought would happen here. I know that cricket is insanely popular globally; I know that as soon as the weather turns nice, kids from families of South Asian heritage start playing street cricket in my neighborhood; I know that cricket provided a nice backdrop to part of the closing triptych of Sports Night‘s first season. But that’s really about it, and I never expected to see the day that cricket dominated the front page of ESPN.com as it does for today’s India/Pakistan tilt.
Sure, it’s just a top story about cricket and the scoreboard up top defaulting to cricket, but — by cricket standards — that’s the equivalent of ESPN renaming itself cricketnet.com for the day. So, yes, this is an Important Cricket Match. And, like all capital-I Important sporting events, it was preceded by a few articles really pumping up it’s Importance.
Which is where the Redskins connection comes in.In one of those “cricket is significant” articles — on financial advice site The Motley Fool, of all places — writer Nick Kapur argues that it’s possible that fifteen to twenty percent of the POPULATION OF EARTH might be watching this match. Which is awesome. Kapur goes on to lay out the potential financial impact of this for advertisers, and ends by anticipating the chaos that is likely to envelop Mumbai and the rest of India after the match finishes. Which is … well, not exactly awesome, but certainly awe-inspiring.
But Kapur wraps up with this: “The last time I was in a city that won anything of note, I was in D.C. when the Redskins won the ’92 Super Bowl. As far as I could tell, the city and its citizens barely blinked. Tomorrow, I expect to see something big.”
Which is odd, because I certainly remember being part of a celebration on the National Mall that felt at least fairly substantial. There’s at least one picture to prove that it happened:
And it was a significant enough event to warrant an AP story, which featured this lede:
“Thousands of men and women shrieked, waved their fists, danced, sang and stomped in the mud near the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday to pay homage to the Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins.”
And, late in the AP story: “People dressed in burgundy and gold caps, scarves, T-shirts and sweat shirts sneaked their kids out of school, took long lunch breaks and canceled other plans to attend the rally,” and Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly was onhand to proclaim the day Washington Redskins Day.
The police estimates put the crowd at 75,000 — nowhere near the estimated 600,000 who came out following Super Bowl XXII or the 500,000 after Super Bowl XVII, let alone the 14,000,000 people in Mumbai, sure, but also not “citizens barely blinking”.
On the other hand, Kapur’s description of what he expects in Mumbai isn’t exactly a great thing — “Regardless of the outcome, most folks here are expecting chaos to hit the streets immediately following the match,” he writes. “Yes, it will be like a Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup victory multiplied by about a gazillion.”
So maybe I shouldn’t bother being even mildly offended. (Although if the Redskins were to win another Super Bowl now, after a 20 year drought, that description might apply here as well.)
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