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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Senior Mag 2023:Football, basketball? Nah. I’ve spent months watching two more ‘out of the box’ sports

 In terms of sports fandom, I like all things New England. The Celtics won’t win the NBA championship after falling to the Heat, but at least they’re likely to be highly competitive for years to come; the Patriots, rising from post-Tom Brady irrelevance, might put something together after a rough couple of years; and the Red Sox are arising from a string of mediocre seasons. If you view American sports through this lens, life’s good.

However, I’ve also begun to broaden my horizons, focusing on some sports that receive minimal coverage in the states.

First is cricket. The fact that Saratoga has so many South Asians on campus might make more students here familiar with cricket than an average American school; however, it’s still a sport that is relatively unknown on campus in comparison to its popularity around the world.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the most popular top-flight cricket division in the world. In fact, its broadcasting rights fees per match are fourth most out of any sporting league on the planet — $8.5 million a game ranks the IPL only behind the National Football League (NFL), English Premier League (soccer) and Major League Baseball (MLB). 

Not only is cricket’s popularity undeniable, its entertainment is also next-level. Though start times are at 3 a.m. and 7 a.m., mostly on weekdays, I can’t help getting up early to watch matches. 

Fundamentally, the sport is a bat-to-ball game. However, that’s where any parallels with baseball end. Batters hit balls off a bounce, they run between two bases (known as wickets) to score runs and they have a fixed amount of balls to achieve a certain score.

People usually see me perusing the vast selection of illegal streaming sites during tutorials; indeed, to those who spend that 45 minutes adventurously, I could be classified as a nerd. However, my attempts to watch matches during that time is just to keep myself entertained. 

I derive extended enjoyment from seeing superstar batsmen like Virat Kohli and Ben Stokes wallop balls out of stadiums. My brain is captivated by mesmerizing deliveries from bowlers (cricket’s equivalent of pitchers) getting opposition batters out with tricky balls. Cricket is beyond riveting. Long may the days of getting up at ungodly hours continue. 

This next sport I’m about to mention might seem justifiably crazy: professional darts. 

When announcing this to a couple of group chats, I was almost immediately met with laughter. My messages saw eight skull emojis within minutes. 

However, darts is honestly one of the most riveting sports I’ve ever seen. It also throws me into a mental spiral whenever I ponder just how skilled pros must be to excel at it. How does a professional release the dart in literal microseconds and hit the targeted zone almost every time? I honestly marvel at the level of precision top players have. It inspires me to push myself to be more precise in the things I do, from writing essays to studying new Chopin piano concertos. 

With the rest of the academic year bound to present me with more free hours, I’m going to be taking my talents to different realms — Formula One and handball, you’re next up. 

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