Monday, July 9, 2007

Muscular Christianity & Missionary Cricket

From classfellow L. McC.:

The Irony of the Mission: How the Trobriand Islanders Pervert the Spirit of a Jolly-Old Pastime
The facts about this unique form of cricket, as I presented them in class, were a little bit misinformed. The English Anthropologists (headed by the Polish father of modern anthropology, Bronislow Malinowski) did not introduce Cricket. It was the the English missionaries who followed them, around the turn of the century, who brought Cricket to the Trobriand Islands. The adaptation of the sport had not been intended by these misssionaries; they merely wanted to offer an alternative pastime to the highly sexualized "Yam Dance" already practiced among the islanders. It was the islanders themselves who "transformed the game into an outlet for tribal rivalry, mock warfare, community interchange, sexual innuendo, and an afternoon of riotous fun" (Berkeley Media LLC).

This, then, fits the view presented in lecture of organised sport as the method by which the 'muscular Christianity' movement countered degeneracy within, and promoted purity of, masculinity. The dominance of English sport -- Association football (also known as 'soccer), cricket and rugby are inorder the three most popular sports in the world: baseball and American football are variations of English games rounders and rugby respectively -- thus created throughout the world is an incalculable legacy of this movement.

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