15 Corker Cricket Terms, Deciphered

While cricket is often thought of as a British sport, evidence of the game being played in the U.S. dates back to the early 1700s, according to Smithsonian. It was on May 6, 1751 that a U.S. match—between a team of Londoners and a team of New Yorkers—was first publicly reported. In honor of that game, and to decipher some of the seemingly complex intricacies for the uninitiated, check out these 15 corker cricket terms.

1. INNINGS

An innings in cricket is analogous to an inning in baseball, except that the plural is always used in cricket, whether about a single innings or more than one (cricket matches usually max out at two innings). To have a good innings means to have a good run or a long life.

2. GOOGLY

Also known as a wrong ‘un, a googly is a type of throw or bowl in which the spin of the ball causes it to veer sharply to the leg side of a right-handed batsman. The googly is sometimes referred to as a Bosie, named for its inventor, English bowler Bernard Bosanquet. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the origin of googly is unknown, although it might be related to goggle, which describes eyes that are protuberant and rolling.

3. DOOSRA

Related to the googly, the doosra breaks from the leg of a right-handed batsman, and it's bowled in a way to deceive. The term has been used in English since the late 1990s and means “another” or “the other one” in both Hindi and Urdu. The technique was created by Pakistani bowler Saqlain Mushtaq, who was often instructed by his wicket-keeper, Moin Khan: “Doosra abhi karna hai,” or “Bowl the other one now.”

4. JAFFA

A jaffa is a pitch that's exceptionally good. Also known as a corker, the origin of the cricket sense of jaffa is unclear. Jaffa originally referred to an ancient port in Israel, and then a sweet, thick-skinned orange grown near that port. Jaffa cakes are a kind of spongy chocolate-topped cookie with orange-flavored filling. A jaffa in cricket might come from the idea of a particularly good orange or a tasty biscuit.

5. PERHAPSER

A perhapser is a risky or erratic stroke. While the OED cites 1954 as the year of origin, A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English says it’s been in use by Australian cricketers since the 1930s.

6. LOLLY

A lolly is an easy catch. The term originated in the early 1920s and might come from lollipop or loll, to hang loosely or be suspended. Other words for easy catches include dolly, gaper,and percher (especially when the easy catch was missed).

7. HOWZAT

“Howzat?” a fielder might ask an umpire, meaning "How's that batsman? Is he out or not?" Howzat can be shortened even further to “zat.”

8. BREAK ONE’S DUCK

To break one’s duck means to score a first run in an innings, thus breaking a duck’s egg, or zero score. A duck’s egg is also known as a blob while a duck can refer to a player who hasn't scored.

9. RED-INKER

A red-inker is an undefeated or “not out” batsman. The term comes from the practice of using red ink to enter undefeated innings in a scorebook.

10. DOROTHY DIX

Dorothy Dix is Australian rhyming slang for a score of six runs. The term was originally Australian political slang referring to a question asked in Parliament which the respondent knows will be asked. This comes from the pseudonym of American journalist, Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer, who wrote an advice column for which she often devised her own questions.

11. STICKY WICKET

A wicket in cricket refers to a set of three sticks, or stumps, at which the bowler aims and the batsman defends. The ground between two sets of stumps is also known as the wicket, which after a rain can cause the ball to behave unpredictably, hence the phrase sticky wicket. The 1880s is the first time sticky wicket is used in a literal sense, and it's around the 1950s that the phrase began to be used to refer to any difficult situation.

12. SNICKOMETER

The Snickometer, also known as the Snicko, is an audio and visual slow motion device invented in the 1990s by British computer scientist Alan Paskett. The Snicko allows umpires to determine whether or not the ball has touched the bat or batsman, which in turn determines whether or not a batsman is out.

13. OFFER THE LIGHT

When an umpire asks a batsman if he wants to continue playing in bad light, he’s offering the light. However, as of 2010, umpires are allowed make decisions about bad light without consulting the batsman.

14. NERVOUS NINETIES

The nervous nineties might occur after a batsman has scored more than 90 runs in an innings and is feeling the pressure to score a century, or a hundred runs, considered a milestone in cricket. Analogous are the yips in golf, a state of anxiety that causes the golfer to miss easy shots.

15. THE ASHES

The Ashes refers to a long-time rivalry between England and Australia in the form of the Test cricket series. Test is the longest form of cricket, with matches lasting as long as five days. The series is held every two years and the winner is awarded the Ashes trophy, a tiny urn that legends says holds the ashes of two burned cricket bails.

The tradition started in 1882, when Australia beat England for the first time on English soil. British weekly The Sporting Times printed a mock obituary of “English cricket which died at the Oval,” a cricket ground in London. The obit noted that “the body” would be “cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.”

The English cricket team vowed to regain the figurative ashes, and at one point the English captain, Ivo Bligh, was gifted a small urn by a group of women, including Florence Morphy, who’d later become his wife.

To this day the Ashes gets passed between the two countries (metaphorically), depending on who the winner is, which at last count was England.

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On Top of the World: Remembering the Lost Trend of Flagpole Sitting
Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly sitting on a flagpole atop the Hotel St. Francis in Newark, New Jersey
Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly sitting on a flagpole atop the Hotel St. Francis in Newark, New Jersey
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Flappers and bootleggers might be the most memorable aspects of the 1920s, but there's a lesser-known, yet no less colorful, trend from that decade: flagpole sitting. From the glamorous hills of Hollywood to the blue-collar dwellings of Union City, New Jersey, this unusual pastime turned eccentric showmen and ordinary people into overnight celebrities, before the crushing reality of the Great Depression grounded their climb to stardom.

Flagpole sitting is exactly what it sounds like: a person climbing on top of a towering pole, usually in the middle of a city, and testing their endurance by sitting atop it for as long as their body holds up. It began in Hollywood in January 1924, when a former sailor, boxer, steelworker, and stuntman named Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly was hired by a local theater to sit on a pole outside of the building for as long as possible to drum up publicity for a new movie. Kelly, a New York City native—whose nickname was supposedly inspired by his dubious claims as a Titanic survivor—wowed crowds by perching himself on the pole for an astonishing 13 hours and 13 minutes. The stunt worked, and once it got picked up by the papers, offers started pouring in from more businesses to perform pole-sittings. Kelly was eager to oblige.

News of Kelly's exploits spread, and before long, men, women, and children were climbing poles of their own. There was the three-week feat of Bobbie Mack, a young woman from Los Angeles; Joe “Hold ‘em” Powers, who sat for 16 days in Chicago in 1927 and climbed back down with six fewer teeth than he started with after a storm smacked him face-first into his pole; and Bill Penfield, who braved a pole for 51 days in Strawberry Point, Iowa before a storm forced him down. In 1928, a 15-year-old named Avon Foreman of Baltimore even established a juvenile sitting record of 10 days, 10 hours, 10 minutes, and 10 seconds (he practiced on an 18-foot hickory tree in his backyard). Foreman’s accomplishment was so inspiring to Baltimore mayor William F. Broening that he publicly declared that the youngster exhibited “the pioneer spirit of early America.”

Still, Kelly was the one making a big business out of pole sitting. Even when he wasn’t holding the record, he was the ambassador of the bizarre sport. He toured 28 cities, attracting massive crowds that jammed streets and lined rooftops just to get a glimpse of the daredevil poking out among the apartment buildings and businesses of Downtown, USA.

Kelly's notable feats included an 80-hour sit in New Orleans and the 146 hours he spent high above Kansas City's Old Westgate Hotel. But even those were overshadowed by his largest-scale stunts: 312 hours on top of Newark’s St. Francis Hotel in 1927, 22 days on a pole above a dance marathon (another endurance fad of the time) in Madison Square Garden, and 23 days in 1929 in Baltimore’s Carlin’s Park on a pole that was 60 feet high. By Kelly’s own calculation, he’d spend around 20,613 hours pole-sitting during a career that lasted over a decade.

His peak came in 1930 when he lasted 49 days and one hour on a 225-foot pole on Atlantic City’s steel pier. The feat was witnessed by as many as 20,000 onlookers during the weeks he spent up top, becoming one of the first of many spectacles that would grace the pier in the 1930s. (He’d eventually be followed by acts like Rex, the water-skiing “wonder dog”; JoJo, the boxing kangaroo; and the city’s infamous diving horse routine.)

Estimates of Kelly’s fees range from $100-$500 a day throughout his career, paid by whatever outlet needed the publicity and sometimes by crowds who spent a quarter to get a view of his act from nearby hotel rooftops. And what did those onlookers see, exactly? A man on a circular padded seat high above the rabble, sometimes reading the paper, other times enjoying a shave. For food, he’d stick mainly to a liquid diet of broth and water, along with cigarettes, all of which were lifted up to him in a bucket. When he needed to sleep, he’d stay seated by wrapping his ankles around the pole and securing his thumbs into holes in his seat before nodding off. That's if he rested at all—he was also known to deprive himself of sleep on the pole for as long as four days.

The big money would dry up soon after his Atlantic City stunt, and the realities of the Great Depression put an end to flagpole sitting as a career. With up to a quarter of the population unemployed, people were apparently less interested in opening their papers to stories of men and women testing endurance at the top of a pole for more money than the readers would likely see all year.

"As Shipwreck Kelly analyzed it, it was the Stock Market crash that killed pole-sitting as the golden egg that paid the goose," a writer for The Evening Sun in Baltimore put it in 1944. "People couldn't stand to see anything higher than their busted securities."

Kelly’s personal story ends on a similarly somber note. Penniless and stripped of his daredevil veneer, he died of a heart attack in 1952 at the age of 59, his body found not far from the room he rented on West 51st Street in New York City. Underneath his arm at the time of his death was a scrapbook of newspaper clippings detailing his accomplishments as a once-champion flagpole sitter.

Though flagpole sitting has fallen out of the public eye since the Depression, it has occasionally shown faint signs of life. In 1963, 17-year-old Alabama native Peggy Townsend cruised past all of Kelly's highest marks by spending 217 days on a pole for a radio contest. That time was later beaten by Kenneth Gidge, who topped her at 248 days in 1971 before becoming an artist, inventor, and New Hampshire state representative later in life.

Today, the occasional pole-sitter still pops up in the news, though they're now most likely perched for protests or as living art installations. Regardless of the purpose behind it, it's unlikely that a person atop a flagpole will ever attract a sea of thousands of onlookers again—and the days when a man like Kelly could become a household name and dub himself the "Luckiest Fool on Earth" seem long gone.

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This Water Bottle Doubles as a Foam Roller
Mobot
Mobot

It hydrates and it massages. The MOBOT bottle, as spotted by Outside magazine, is being billed as “the world’s first and only foam roller water bottle,” and many outdoor and adventure enthusiasts swear by it.

The stainless steel bottle is wrapped in non-toxic EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam, which can be rolled along your calves, hamstrings, glutes, or arms to soothe sore muscles and relieve joint paint. It was designed with athletes in mind, but we could see it being used by stressed-out office workers with stiff muscles who could benefit from a little self-care. Plus, the lightweight bottle is great for keeping your beverage cold all day, whether you’re at work, at an amusement park, or at the beach. A top loop allows it to be hooked onto a backpack or beach bag.

The bottle is available in three sizes: the 40-ounce “Big Bertha,” the 18-ounce “Firecracker,” and the 27-ounce “Grace.” There’s a range of colors and patterns to choose from, including neon-colored camouflage for those moments when you can’t decide whether you want to stand out or blend in.

You can order it on Amazon, but some styles have already sold out. Check out MOBOT's video below to see different ways of using the bottle.

[h/t Outside]

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