Cricket

In 1858: Viewed from “across the pond,” Americans seemed a sickly lot, but at least we had cricket!

I recently happened upon the London Times article “Bad Health and Body-Fragility of Americans” which was published in 1858 in many US papers including the Long-Islander (Friday, 12 March 1858; article below, courtesy of Fulton History dot com).
Cricket

It’s quite a curious read, the writer observing how weakened the American populace had become compared to their ancestors, the early colonists, and he had various theories for that, as did Americans themselves—they also found this phenomenon distressing. He mentioned feeling somewhat encouraged by America’s adoption of cricket as a sport, and indeed if you troll through 1858 newspapers, you will find plenty of mentions of cricket being played around the US. Click here to view a digital image of the printed engraving “Cricket Match Between Canada and the United States, at Hoboken [NJ], August 2, 3, and 4, 1858.”

Cricket1902

A cricket match in Newport, Rhode Island, 1902 – Credit: Library of Congress digital images (Catalog number 2007663759)

Cricket had been played in America since the early 1700s. George Washington is even said to have joined in a game with his troops at Valley Forge during their winter encampment of 1777-1778. Philadelphia, which once had as many as 100 cricket clubs, became its epicenter. While the sport’s popularity began to wane when baseball gained a foothold during the Civil War years, it was still being widely played into the early 20th century (up to the WWI-era). Interestingly, efforts are underway to rebuild this most English of sports in America where it is experiencing a revival in places like Atlanta and Los Angeles. For the interesting 2006 Smithsonian article “The History of Cricket in the United States,” click here. The Atlantic‘s 2014 article “Cricket Is Back” is also worth a read.

Bart King of Philadelphia, 1897. King is considered to be America's best cricketer ever.

Bart King of Philadelphia, 1897. King is considered to be America’s best cricketer ever.

Cricket or no cricket, at least on the surface we seem to be doing better as a nation today than in 1858, when the average American was viewed as a “thin, frail creature.” That said, as we all know, the pendulum has definitely swung in what could be argued an equally undesirable direction: approx. 66% of Americans (and 62% of UK residents) are now categorized as overweight or obese.

And, while the US and the UK have garnered high numbers of Olympic medals (the US garnering the most of any nation), neither country can claim to be the most athletic. When comparing a country’s population to its medals, the US ranks 17th worst, and neither the UK nor the US makes it into the list of the top 20 healthiest countries in the world. So it looks like both sides of the pond still have some work to do. I wonder what they’ll be saying about all of us 158 years from now, in the year 2174? And, will they be viewing us from a Wall-E-world type of environment and marveling at how slim and mobile we are? Or will, fingers-crossed, the pendulum have swung back for them and stopped in a much healthier place? For their sake, I hope it’s the latter!

Resources:
The book of American pastimes: containing a history of the principal base-ball, cricket, rowing, and yachting clubs of the United States by Charles A. Peverelly, published 1868

TheLong-Islander_Fri_12Mar1858_p1_LT1

LT2

LT3

LT4

LT5

LT6

LT7

LT8

LT9

Categories: Cricket, Health Matters | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

Powered by WordPress.com.

Nothing Gilded, Nothing Gained-Period Drama on Paper at Middlemay Farm

Fiction Books, History, Memoir by Adrienne Morris

Jane Austen's World

This Jane Austen blog brings Jane Austen, her novels, and the Regency Period alive through food, dress, social customs, and other 19th C. historical details related to this topic.

Travels with Janet

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Do Svidanya Dad

Exploring Dad's Unusual Story From NJ to the USSR

La Audacia de Aquiles

"El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto" / "The Visible World is Just a Pretext".-

Spared & Shared 2

-- rescuing history from old letters one page at a time

Parrotfish Journey

I travel , YOU should too...

TOWER AND FLIGHTS

In The Beginning Man Tried Ascending To Heaven via The Tower Of Babel. Now He Tries To Elevate His Existence Using Hallucinogenic Drugs. And, Since The 20th Century, He Continually Voyages Into Outer Space Using Spacecrafts. Prayer Thru Christ Is The Only Way To Reach Heaven.

London, Hollywood

I'm Dominic Wells, an ex-Time Out Editor. I used to write about films. Now I write them.

Uma Familia Portuguesa

A história da nossa família

Trkingmomoe's Blog

Low Budget Meals for the New Normal

The Good, the Bad and the Italian

food/films/families and more

dvn ms kmz time travel

This is all about my travels to the past... my reflections and musings about yesteryear, as I find the stories of a people passed away and learn how to tell them.

newarkpoems

350 years of Newark in verse 1666-2016

Russian Universe

Understanding Russia with a Russian

Bulldog Travels

Everything and Nothing Plus Some Pretty Photos

Dances with Wools

knitting, spinning, dyeing, and related fiber arts

Life After Caregiving

On caregivers, faith, family, and writing...

Why'd You Eat That?

Food Folklore for the everyday scholar. These are the stories behind the foods we eat.

Cooking without Limits

Food Photography & Recipes

Circulating Now

from the historical collections of the world's largest biomedical library

The Pioneer Woman

Plowing through Life in the Country...One Calf Nut at a Time

Almost Home

Genealogy Research and Consulting

Old Bones Genealogy of New England

Genealogy and Family History Research

ferrebeekeeper

Reflections Concerning Art, Nature, and the Affairs of Humankind (also some gardening anecdotes)

Map of Time | A Trip Into the Past

Navigating Through Someplace Called History

Out Here Studying Stones

Cemeteries & Genealogy

WeGoBack

family research ... discover your ancestry

the Victorian era

Did I misplace my pince-nez again? Light reading on the 19th century.

"Greatest Generation" Life Lessons

This is the story of an ordinary family, trying to live an ordinary life during an extraordinary time frame, and the lessons they learn through experience.

The Civil War Gazette

Keeping the stories alive from the American Civil War

Moore Genealogy

Fun With Genealogy

Meeting my family

RESEARCHING MY FAMILY TREE

Shaking the tree

musings on the journey towards knowing and sharing my family's stories

Among My Branches

Exploring My Kernan, Lapham, Hamilton, & Sebok Ancestries One Branch at a Time

A Hundred Years Ago

Food and More

Scots Roots

Helping you dig up your Scots roots.

Root To Tip

Not just a list of names and dates

Food Perestroika

Adventures in Eastern Bloc Cuisine

My Aunt the WAC

Marian Solomon's midlife transition from the farm to the Women's Army Corps (WACs)

Being Em | From Busan to America

this journey is my own, but i'm happy to share.

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

The Daily Online Genealogy Newsletter

Irish in the American Civil War

Exploring Irish Emigration & Irish Involvement in the American Civil War

TWISTED LIMBS & CROOKED BRANCHES

Genealogy: Looking For "Dead People"!

Cemeteries of Brunswick, Maine

To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die. ~ Thomas Campbell

Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

%d bloggers like this: