Australians are currently talking gibberish. Lately a whole new vocabulary has been added to their unique vernacular, leaving North American visitors more bewildered than ever. Everywhere you go, every time you switch on the television, you’ll hear talk of “the Ashes,” “wickets,” “googlies,”“the wrong-un” and “Bodyline.” What does it all mean?
It means that one of the oldest rivalries in world sports is about to resume. The sport is cricket; the rivals are Australia and England. From November through January the two nations will play five five-day Test Matches. At stake is the ownership of a fragile little urn that is much more than a mere sporting trophy. It defines the relationship between the two nations. This particular sporting contest goes back to 1882 when, for the first time in England, Australia’s cricketers beat the home side. In the wake of the defeat, The Sporting Times newspaper published the obituary of English cricket, concluding, “The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.”
In reality, it was two small pieces of wood, known as bails, which sit horizontally on the three vertical “stumps” of the “wicket” that were cremated and interred in the terra-cotta urn. And the rest is history, for since that time the two nations battle every two years or so for rights to the Ashes. England — which won the most thrilling Ashes series in living memory on its home turf in 2005 — is the current holder. This year, the drama moves to the cricket grounds of Australia where the Aussies will attempt to regain the Ashes.
The off-field banter will be every bit as entertaining as the action on the field. Opposing fans will tease and taunt each other with gusto. This good-natured repartee has occasionally turned serious, most notably during the notorious “Bodyline series” of 1932, when the English captain, Douglas Jardine, instructed his bowlers (equivalent to baseball’s pitchers) to aim the ball directly at the bodies of the Australian batsmen.
“I’m not here to make friends,” he said. “I’m here to win the Ashes.”
His hostile tactics caused a full-blown diplomatic crisis.
Cricket has proudly cultivated its reputation for fair play and gentlemanly conduct, but in truth it has a long history of sportsmanship and larger-than-life characters. One unofficial tradition is for Ashes teams to attempt to break the beer-drinking record on the flight between Sydney and London. The current holder is Australian David Boon, who, in 1989, reportedly managed to down 52 beers and allegedly had to be wheeled off the plane on a trolley. It’s one sporting record that may never be broken.
The most controversial current Australian cricketer — and one of the greatest players the sport has ever known — is Shane Warne. During his career he has been banned temporarily for alleged drug use and has made headlines for his sometimes complicated private life. But at his best he is a match-winner. His spin bowling — roughly comparable to curveballs in baseball — bamboozles even the best batsmen, deceiving them into thinking the ball will bounce one way, when in fact it bounces the other. Warnie (as he’s known) has a repertoire of sneaky pitches with names such as “the googly,” “the flipper” and “the wrong-un.”
It is impossible to outline the rules of cricket in this short space. For a clear explanation (written specifically for Americans), visit http://uk.cricinfo.com/db/about_cricket The f.ull itinerary of the Ashes series, together with latest news and merchandising, is posted online at http://www.cricket.com.au.
When the first match gets under way in Brisbane on Nov. 23, the whole of Australia will be gripped with “Ashes Fever.” If you’re visiting then, to ignore it would be worse than impolite. It would not be cricket.
With more companies around the world becoming more environmentally friendly, American Airlines recently announced it committed to set a science-based target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This move will sharpen the company’s strategy for reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and aligns its path with the global imperative of limiting temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
You probably didn’t know you needed to visit the Dominican Republic until you learned about the new, beautiful, modern, all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana.
Deep Dive Dubai, home of the deepest swimming pool for diving in the world, opened in Dubai, in the Nad Al Sheba neighborhood. Guinness World Records verified the pool as the world’s deepest swimming pool for diving at a depth of 60.02 meters, or almost 197 feet, holding 14 million liters of water, equivalent to six Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Family gatherings are extra special this year and we chose to celebrate a milestone birthday in New Orleans. The JW Marriott New Orleans, across the street from the historic French Quarter, is ideally situated for exploring the city. Streetcars roll in front of the property and are especially fun for first-time visitors. Within a ¾-mile radius, we could walk to the National WWII Museum, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Sazerac House, Harrah’s Casino, the Shops of Canal Place and numerous restaurants.
As more travelers return to the skies, American is here every step of the way to ensure an elevated and seamless journey. Experience flying freedom with AirPass, American’s all-inclusive, pre-paid travel membership program.
For the third year in a row, Regent Seven Seas Cruises broke the company’s world cruise opening day booking record. The 2024 World Cruise sold out around 11 a.m. on July 14, after going on sale that morning at 8:30 a.m. Fares started at $73,499 per guest for a deluxe veranda suite, up to $199,999 per guest for a master suite.
Now is the time to get out of the house, soak in the sun and try something new. From bread making to learning the latest TikTok dance, Americans picked up new hobbies since the COVID-19 pandemic. As travel gets busier, keep the momentum going with paddle boarding that can travel with you anywhere in the world.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
As the vaccine rolls out and travel picks up, it’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Okinawa with us.