From Spurgeon’s sermon on John 5:40.
Happy May Day! Do I say that with any particular celebratory delight? Not at all. But it’s still fun because spring is here and that means people are much happier than they were three months ago.
According to the most reliable source online, Wikipedia, the earliest May Day celebrations “appeared in pre-Christian times, with the festival of Flora, the Roman Goddess of flowers, and the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries.” The day also has roots in celebrating fertility (ancient Egypt), remembering political/social victories (U.S. and U.K.), engaging in sexual activity (Germany), warding against witchcraft (Germany), and commemorating the beginning of spring (England). If people in the U.S. celebrate today, they normally give a May Basket to a loved one.
Back in medieval times, during the festival in England, at the break of dawn on May 1, villagers would go out into the forest and gather flowers and wood for the day’s celebration. The largest piece of wood brought back would be used as the Maypole. This gathering of flowers and wood is calling “bringing in the may.”
The poem The Court of Love (c. 1346), written by Geoffrey Chaucer (died c. 1400), was probably an inspiration to the poem which contains this excerpt, dated around 1541. It gives us a glance into the practice of “bringing in the may”:
And furth goth all the Court, both most and lest,
To feche the floures fressh, and braunche and blome;
And namly, hawthorn brought both page and grome.
With fressh garlandes, partie blewe and whyte,
And thaim rejoysen in their greet delyt.
The Maypole, in England, in all its glory.
This past weekend I took a trip to the cricket cages for batting practice. I learned two things: 1) Cricket batting technique is not in the same universe as baseball hitting. 2) Bowling (pitching) uses muscles a baseball pitch does not. The next day, the right side of my torso felt like it was given a beating.
While bowling, you cannot bend your elbow as you throw. As far as batting goes, the point is not to hit the snot out of the ball like in baseball. Sometimes you only need to block the ball because the main point is to protect the wickets. So often I let quality balls go by me that were, in my mind, “out of the strike zone.” Other times, I tried a baseball swing. Word to the wise: this doesn’t work.
I definitely caught onto bowling more easily. I actually bowled well by the end of the afternoon. Batting was a different story. Very hard to unlearn nearly 20 years of baseball technique. In baseball, you extend your arms, throw your hands at the ball, swing all the way through, and turn your hips for power. In cricket…well, you don’t do any of that. Take a look…
* * *
Bowling. They bowl from 22 meters, which is a bit longer than the 60 ft. 6 in. from the mound to the plate.
I look like I play the part. You wear so much armor, as I call it, that it’s hard to actually focus on hitting.
There are no foul balls, since the field is circular. This ball, going behind me, would be in play.
My best connection of the afternoon. Looks like a baseball swing, huh?
And finally…this is what you call a “whiff.” I can hear my dad saying to me, “Keep your head in there!”