Cricket: The UK’s National Sport

cricketWhat is the United Kingdom’s national sport? Many people would commit the mistake by screaming ‘football’ and with utter vigor no less! The correct answer would be cricket. Care to know more about it? If you do then read on.

Cricket as a sport has nothing to do with the insect but rather its etymology comes from the Old English term ‘cricc’ or ‘cryce’ which translates to a crutch or staff. Certain accounts suggest that it has since been present since the 16th century where it was first a game played amongst children. Eventually it became an inter-village and inter-parish activity among adults as well. It was not until the 18th century when the game underwent some serious development and various rules and regulations have been set some of which we can still observe up until today.

It is defined to be an outdoor sport played chiefly in England and Commonwealth countries by two teams of 11 players using a flat bat, a small hard ball, and wickets. To score, a player bats the ball and runs, while the defenders can get a player out by bowling and hitting the wicket, catching a hit ball, or running the player out. It is one of the most popular team sports and is played in over 120 countries all over the world with only football and basketball exceeding it in popularity.

The ball here is pretty much the same size of a baseball and cannot be larger than 9 inches in circumference with a weight of between 156 and 163 grams. It is made up of alternating layers of cork and wool and is then covered by either red or white leather. The bat on the other hand is flat and elongated, often made of willow, which is fitted with a cane handle that comes with a rubber grip. It measures 38 inches long and 4.5 inches wide. Cricket is played in grassy, large circular areas between 114 and 160 meters in diameter.

The sport is governed by the International Cricket Council (ICC). It represents the national bodies from over 70 countries. The council visits member countries maintains the code of conduct, qualifies umpires, promotes the game worldwide, and organizes the World Cricket Cup which is to be held every four years starting in 1975. The IWCC or International Women’s Cricket Council is a similar governing body and since 1973 has been hosting world championships every four years.

The Link Between Tony Bloom and Football

Tony BloomTony Bloom. Does the name ring a bell? If it does then we’re not surprised. This man has made a name for himself during the past couple of years so he’s bound to come up somewhere. Perhaps one of, if not the most, noteworthy things about him would have to be football.

Does he play in the World Cup then? No but his contributions to the sport are pretty much groundbreaking and extremely remarkable.

During the 1970s in the English seaside resort town of Brighton, Anthony Grant, nicknamed Tony, was born to a family of football aficionados and fanatics. As a child, he would often attend matches at the Goldstone Ground together with his brother, father and grandpa.

In the same decade, his grandfather Harry who was a well-known hotel owner and motor trader became vice chairman of the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club (also called the “Albions” or the “Seagulls”) with Mike Bamber as chairman. This was a groundbreaking time as the club rose from the old Third Division to the First Division of the Football League. In the 1980s his uncle Ray served as director.

By the year 2000, Tony himself has supported the sport and the club by becoming one of its major stockholders and investors. He even personally financed the construction of two groundbreaking structures namely the American Express Community Stadium aka the Amex which serves as the home of Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. and the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre. The two have long since opened their doors back in 2011 and 2014 respectively. These two, Tony helped finance from his personal pocket. Talk about fan devotion!

And as fate would have it, Tony Bloom like his grandpa Harry and uncle Ray served a very important post as the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club’s chairman officially as of May 2009 and up to the present. He succeeded the 12 year post held previously by Harry Dick Knight.

Anthony Grant “Tony” Bloom unlike his predecessors appears to be more timid in comparison. Known to be a man of a few words, he may not come with as much long and grand speeches but he is someone who definitely can walk the talk. All his achievements and contributions to Brighton, to the club and to the sport has earned him the respect of many which was why he was voted and awarded as “Brightonian of the Year” in 2009.

Tony Bloom and His Wife’s Battle with Multiple Sclerosis

Tony BloomChairman to the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club, property investor and businessman, Tony Bloom has fought several drawbacks and challenges in his career. One of the most noteworthy of them would have to be Multiple Sclerosis.

His Australian born wife Linda, to whom he has a seven year old son with, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) more than a decade ago. It is a degenerative neurological condition that affects the central nervous system (e.g. brain, optic nerves, spinal cord) and disrupts the information flow between the brain and the body and within the brain itself.

The immune system of a person with MS attacks the protective sheath called myelin that covers the nerve fibers. This is what causes the communication difficulty between the brain and the rest of the body. Over time, this deteriorates the nerves where they can become permanently damaged. Mild cases are characterized by numbness of the limbs and eyesight blurring among others while severe ones may result to blindness and paralysis. Its symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, vision problems, difficulties in balance, bladder issues, muscle stiffness, spasms, memory gap, troubles in speaking and emotional instability.

Furthermore, this disabling condition comes as relapses which are untimed with the frequency and intensity uncertain. It has no known cause nor is an exact cure discovered and is even considered to be rare with only 0.035% of the world population suffering from it. Treatments are however available but they are merely to deter the relapses and hopefully prolong the patient’s life.

Tony recalls of Linda’s initial months with Ms to be “tough and discouraging”. He remembers that she was “in such a bad way she could not get off the sofa and couldn’t even lift up a pen”. Thankfully and miraculously, she has managed to control and manage her condition through proper and healthy diet, meditation yoga, exercise and self-hypnosis.

It is because of this that Linda established the OMS Foundation which stands for ‘Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis”, something that her husband Tony ardently supports. In fact he has run two Brighton marathons, one in 2011 and the other in 2015, in an effort to raise awareness and funds for the cause. During his second race, he aimed to raise £100,000 for the said charity. The race takes place every April in Brighton and covers a total of 42.2 kilometers.

Tony Bloom himself has a charity of his own known as the Bloom Foundation whose main goal is to provide relief and solution to poverty in various developing countries focusing on education, food, water and safety.