A few days ago I didn't know what any of those words meant. Now I understand...some of them. There's far more strategy in cricket than it would appear, and I would have been entirely lost without someone to explain it. I still don't know if I could explain it fully to someone else, but I've fast become a fan. The sport is in turns utterly ridiculous, utterly English, and utterly awesome. They play in sweaters! They take tea breaks! Sometimes you actually try to make nothing happen, and if the bowler's angry he's completely within his rights to pitch at the batsman's head! What's not to love? There's so much going on in each play that it's actually a great game for people who like to think too much. And it's a lovely way to spend a day - outside in the sunshine, drinking (practically a prerequisite), picnicking, chatting with friends, learning and getting really into the game.
Lord's, which calls itself "the home of cricket," is very old-school - old white gents in suits sporting the red-and-yellow striped ties of Marylebone Cricket Club, the Members' Pavilion complete with dress code, and champagne stalls.* The sport itself is fairly laid back, though, as the test matches go on for five days. It's about stamina, not speed - hence the need for tea breaks. Much as I enjoyed the classy-relaxed vibe, cricket still seems very much an old boys' club, not least at this venue. Most of the audience was male, though happily there were some women around me who were knowledgeable fans. Cricket has had a big colonial legacy, too - it's popular in Australia, New Zealand, India, & Pakistan, to name a few. (Serious question though: how did America miss out on such a ridiculous treasure?)
Lord's was also one of the very few places in London where I've been wholly surrounded by Brits - nary an American or foreign accent to be heard. (I tried to speak softly.) Watching the cricket at Lord's with a Pimm's - it doesn't get much more English than that! I've never felt so properly integrated as when I was cheering along and hearing chants of "Rooooooot!" or "Good eye, Stokesy!" It's a complex sport that represents a complicated history, but it's also a fascinating experience of a part of English culture. I highly recommend it - so long as you have a translator.
*They also had beer, fish and chips, etc., but the predominant drinking culture of cricket is champagne and Pimm's. How could I not love a sport with that kind of accompaniment?