Since the 16th century, people have been playing the game of cricket. Although it started off as a casual game local to the south of England, over the years it has grown to become a worldwide sport beloved by millions. But how has it survived through more than 400 years and spread across seven continents? The answer is that, like many other classic games, cricket holds a universal appeal and it can be replicated by anybody, anywhere, so long as they have a few basic pieces of equipment. As well as being an international top tier sport, it’s also a fun activity played by people across the globe during holidays, breaks from work and as part of summer celebrations.
Of course, there are many other classic games and sports that hold a similar sort of charm. Let’s take a look at some of these examples and the reasons why they continue to attract new devotees across great distances and down the centuries.
No. 1: Fun
Perhaps the most important aspect of a popular game is how enjoyable it is to take part in. If it is not fun to play or watch, then it is unlikely to last. The appeal of cricket, for example, lies in the variety of action that takes place on the pitch, and the number of different skills needed by a team’s members in order to play a good match. Other bat-and-ball games, such as baseball or softball, also rely on this aspect to deliver a good performance for the watching audience, and allow each team member to play to their individual strengths. The satisfaction comes from watching a job well done by the members of your team, and the knowledge that you are watching or participating in a peak performance of the sport. Excitement is also drummed up in bat-and-ball games through the completion of runs, which can be fast paced and lead to near miss moments. The essence of any successful sport is to create an adrenaline rush during key points in the game, for both the players and the audience.
The nature of most games, sports and competitions means that each match is played according to a set of rules agreed upon beforehand. These could have been discussed casually amongst players in an at-home setting, or may have been formulated by an official party for professional occasions. However, it is when the rulebook transcends time, place and individual players that a game can really start to travel. This is also how a sense of nostalgia can be introduced to a sport. Twenty years after playing football in the park for the first time, a fan can feel that some euphoria watching their footballing heroes winning out on the pitch of an away game in a completely different country. Those pros out on the stadium pitch are playing by the same rules that every football fan follows and so everyone feels familiarity and connection with them. Nostalgia is one of the most important elements to a sport’s success, as it binds together all fans and players across the borders of time, space and culture.
Room for Innovation
However, despite this fact, there is always room for innovation in a good game. The introduction of reliable WiFi and mobile data connections across the globe has meant that an increasing number of people are turning to online apps, website and platforms to stay involved with their favourite sporting pastimes. Cricket enthusiasts stay abreast of the latest news via apps like The Cricketer, fans of mind sports access online versions of their favourite roulette through platforms like PokerStars Casino, and people discover new passions through social media like Instagram and Twitter. The internet has become a major part of the sporting world; sports stars are some of the most followed names on social media, and every move on the pitch is now uploaded in real time, to be reviewed by millions of users worldwide. There are also other technological innovations, like VAR in football or Hawk-Eye in tennis. Although these developments don’t come without their share of controversy, they are generally viewed as making positive advancements in well-loved sports.
It Takes Time
The bottom line is that it takes time to establish a popular sport. Except in very rare circumstances, a newly introduced game or sport does not become a global sensation overnight, but rather has to build a reputation in the public eye. People need to discover how much fun it is to play, and then build up a relationship with it over time, introducing it to subsequent generations and imbuing it with meaning. Though changes might be made along the way, it must remain recognisable and retain all the enjoyment of those initial matches in order to be counted amongst the success stories.