Cockroach eating – England’s new national sport?

Posted by Laura
 
I hate to say it, but I warned you. No good was ever going to come of cricket. When I officially came out as a cricket-hater at the start of the Ashes I endured a barrage of ridicule, contempt and the kind of detestation that often comes in four-word format and sends firewalls into a frenzy.
 
But now, as hopes have been dashed, the optimism has faded and – despite being only two-fifths in – even staunch supporters are consigning England’s attempt to retain the Ashes to the ether of national sporting dreams failed, I can’t help but feel a tiny bit pious. I predicted what a waste of time it would be to spend so much time watching 22 men get sunburned and build the nation’s hopes up to “We’d have to really mess up to lose this test now” proportions, only to manage – in true English style – to do just that. And all I got was grief.
 
As our homepage feature on what this latest setback means for English sport shows, there’s not a great deal of optimism around at the moment. How the mighty have fallen. The glory of England’s last Ashes victory makes this week’s performance even more difficult to swallow for cricket fans. English rugby – enough said. The two words have somehow become synonymous with legendary sporting anticlimaxes. From World Cup victory parades to losing against, um, everyone. English football – there’s actually hope here. Football gets points for consistency. Few people actually believed England would win the World Cup – and they didn’t.
 
Scotland seem to be on the up in the football stakes, beating France in the Euro 2008 qualifiers. The Welsh are proving that pride in their national game can herald results in the rugby, and likewise Irish rugby is making great progress. So what should England, a nation of sports fans, do to keep up with its neighbours?
 
Contrary to what you might think, I’m not going to furnish you with a list of so-much-better things you could be doing with your time than watch cricket/rugby/football* (*insert desired sporting let-down here), although believe me, there are so many I’d be here all day if I did. I think there’s something positive to be taken from every setback, and now maybe it’s time some of the lesser-known sports heroes get the air time they deserve.
 
Yes, it’s time to cut our losses and figure out just what the English are good at. Well, a quick look through our MSN homepage archives shows that the English, and indeed Britain as a nation, are good at spending, taking drugs, binge-drinking and eating (read our report on Fool Britannia). Perhaps the latter two could explain why English darts players are among the best in the world, although the good at spending part doesn’t explain how so much can be paid out on footballers’ and managers’ salaries for relatively little national reward.
 
So who are England’s unsung sporting heroes? Well, the nation has world gymnastics champion Beth Tweddle and 14-times world darts champion Phil Taylor to add to its sporting hall of fame. And the English lacrosse team are world champions, as are the English angling team. Hmmm, on closer inspection lacrosse could be even more arduous to watch than five test matches. Its North American history suggests the game was originally played on a field that could be up to 15 miles wide and with up to 1,000 players. Imagine sitting through a whole tournament of that and suffering defeat? And angling – do fish feel pain? – that debate in itself is probably more exciting than the sport.
 
But cheer up, the news isn’t all bad. In the search for a sport England can be truly great at I have found two possibilities. The most pole vaults in an hour, a feat achieved – according to the Guinness World Records – by the Blue Falcons Gymnastic Display Team from Chelmsford, Essex, in 2003. They managed 5,685.  More repetitive than cricket? Quite possibly. But if there’s one pursuit where England could excel it’s cockroach-eating. Ken Edwards, of Glossop, Derbyshire, ate 36 cockroaches in one minute in 2001 and became the world record holder. But is it a sport? Well, it’s exciting, takes stamina and has the potential to be competitive, but not so competitive that there’d be enough skilled players out there to pose too much of a significant threat. Sounds like this could be one contest England have sewn up.
 
What do you think? Should England’s successes in other sports be publicised better?
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38 Responses to Cockroach eating – England’s new national sport?

  1. Chris says:

    Which world game is Australia good at?  Rugby League – who plays that?  Rugby Union – ditto.  Cricket – come on, world game I said.  So you did qualify for the Football World Cup – which was really well done.  Must be difficult qualifying against Pitcairn and the Christmas Islanders.  And as for Aussie Rules – no-one else plays that at all.  So, take the piss all you want but you live in a bubble.
     
    Your self delusion matches North Korea\’s.

  2. Robert says:

    Generally, anything we are good at is as boring as an hour of Emmerdale. So perhaps less said the better?As for the cricket, if you ask me they shouldn\’t have even got on the plane. Why England had such high hopes going into it after all their previous test matches (in which their performance was lacklustre at best), I\’ll never know.

  3. Kavin says:

    Should England’s successes in other sports be publicised better?
     
    Now let me reply to that question. There is surely no harm in publicising England\’s successes in other sports but it does not mean that cricket should be consigned to the ashes, literally. Dear Laura, you must understand the force of market economics that come into play in big sports. When was the last time England won the football world cup? 1966. Does England\’s dismal world cup performances in football mean that people should be deprived of watching football? No. Not at all. It makes no sense at all. Just because few people like yourselves hate a particular sport, it sounds quite dictatorial to state that the rest of the population should follow your line of reasoning. That line of thinking is, dare I say, in tune with Hitlerian, Husseinian or communist type of mentality.
     
    People are free to choose to watch the sport they like. If you don\’t like a sport better argue and debate rather than laying down rules that the game should be given up. Moreover, it takes not just brawns to watch or play cricket, it requires brains too. The complexity of cricket is its beauty. There are people who do not like physics or mathematics or science because they can be quite complicated and abstract to understand. We often hear people saying that they hate maths, physics, chemistry and so on. It is not because they hate the subject but because they do not have the mental acumen to understand the nuances of those subjects.
     
    Same is the case with you, dear Laura.
     
    Thanks.

  4. Richard says:

    Miserable git! Half the fun is the let downs, the banter, the slagging off. We like our sport (while we drink our beer and sit in sofas!), so let us enjoy it. For as long as I can remember, England were in the top tier of all sports that are "major sports in the country" and have a chance of winning them all.

  5. Paul says:

    This negativity pains me. If you want to change your unhelpful cynical world then go figure these beauties:
     
    http://www.freewebs.com/paulshire
     
    Click English Sporting Greats. And next time consider that such cynicism broadcast to the world is damaging.

  6. Geoff says:

    Although I don\’t like to see us loose at anything, I strongly beleive we start everything off on the wrong foot. We play the National Anthem NOT the ENGLISH ANTHEM, its about time we changed that. As regards the cricket, it is common knoweldge that you will never get the correct decision with a committee or call them selectors. I have yet to see Englands strongets team play cricket. I would appear that you must either have gone to the right school or play for the right county. In the days when Gloucestershire ruled the one day game, I cannot recall a Gloucestershire player in the England team, indeed, Gloucestersgires Captain, Alleyne, was only allowed to play for the England A team and was removed as soon as possible, and the greatest wicket keeper was not even asked to play. Common England, we surely can do better.

  7. Dave says:

    I\’m actually welsh but taking Britain as a whole theres plenty of sports we\’re good at. Ok we may be failing at the mainstream ones like football cricket etc but we\’ve got many other champions. We\’ve got the world number 1 ranked womans cyclist Nicole cook, numerous atheletes with medals and various victories, more than I can even name. 2 other sports I\’m intrested in are gliding where GB have been world champions for about the last 10 years or something and totally dominate the sport. Also finally theres motorsport, Ok we may not have the world champion drivers although I can think of one british current world champ but go and have a look at most of the championship winning teams. Literally 90 percent of them are based in Britian and we are definatly the true world leadres in that sport. Ok we may not be good at the common sports but if you dig a little deeper we are still much greater at sports generally than most countries!!

  8. Tom says:

    Unlucky
    England\’s lacrosse team aren\’t world champions, far from it,
    in the Men\’s world champs this summer in London Ontario Canada England finished behind Canada, USA, Australia and the Iroquois nation.
    England\’s ladies fared rather better in 2005 winning the bronze medal.
    England Men are however current European Champions and i very much doubt they will loose that title next time around
    yours
    Tridentslax

  9. Peter says:

    why are the english so critical! after day one of the test match it was O WE ARE BACK WITH A BANG, then KP and colly batted amazingly and flintoff took a wicket day two- THIS IS OUR GAME is what the papers were saying. now they lose the game on a collapse and BOOM the papers and the media goes off with WE ARE USELESS, ARE WE GOOD AT ANYTHING?… the fact of the matter is that the reason england has not done so well at sport is because of you, the english people! i am english- i love my teams. i support them through thick and thin. if they lose i still say they are great- cause they are. you step in their shoes YOU COULDNT DO ANY BETTER! if you could, then you would b in the team. football- we RIP the players all the time. 98 it was beckhams fault, 2000 southgates fault, 2002 it was seamans fault, 2004 phil nevilles fault, 2006 rooneys fault. WHY? HUH? rugby- we were THE team in 2003. everyone was on top of the world with the vitory. YOU ALL JUST JUMPED ON THE BANDWAGON! some of us are england fans no matter what. and there you are "claiming" to be an england fan at their success. but hey when they lose what are you doing?? you are the first to cuss the manager, bring down the players and wish you were french (someone help you if you start wishing you are french) the media makes so much of circumstances. 2002 it was beckhams metartasal. Everything in the media was about his foot and o his foot must get better for us to win, o he is not 100% we cant win, o no o no o no. 2006 it was the same deal with rooney. think of it from the others players points- if they are reading that they cannot win without rooney then they are ganna get so knocked out and beaten down. we cant win is what they will go into the world cup with. BECAUSE OF YOU- THE MEDIA AND THE "ENGLISH FANS" once again jumping on the bandwagon.
     
    come on england! i love this countrys sports and I love the way that the players put 100% in. but unfortunately you fans on the street hate them winning and thats why you criticize them all the time. lets see a change please.

  10. Reehana says:

    You seem to be getting quite a bit of stick for your blog! I was going to say that I have always been a fan of cricket, I\’m not one of those people who jumped on the bandwagon when England won the Ashes but I admire you for your honesty, even though it hurts. We seem to be getteing whupped at everything, it\’s actually quite embarrassing. Well you have Sports Personality of the year to look forward to, maybe you could put down a list of worthy sports men and women from unknown sports.
    And Cheer Up!

  11. Julian says:

    It may be boring as a spectator sport, but we lead the world at full bore target rifle shooting where our team is rarely beaten.
    In addition, in spite of this governments crazy firearms laws which have removed pistils from law abiding citizens while failing to prevent a massive increase in illegally held guns, we have an individual target pistol shooter in Mick Gault who ranks among the very best in the world. 
     

  12. James says:

    There\’s a little rule I have that applies to sports and the English: If we invented it, we\’re crap at it, and if we didn\’t invent it, there aren\’t enough of us interested to care about it. The Aussies have something to prove, as do India and Pakistan, and all of it is political. England just want to get the formalities out of the way so they can get on advertising shaving products, snorting coke with models in nightclubs, and generally not doing anything sport related. The same goes for football, and as for rugby, the nightclub scene is dangerously short of thugs, sorry, doormen, when they\’re pretending to be sportsmen…

  13. Paul says:

    Aussies are all Englanders anyhow, compared to a national census in 1986, and not Irish as they love to think.
     
    I don\’t think cynicism is just an English cancer, I think it\’s a world wide one.  
     
    You\’re right Laura, non mainstream sports should be highlighted; Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms partnership at Badminton are a exellent one. You\’ll find some sports are published on teletext where I have counted many English achievements this last year or two that don\’t make the main sporting news. As for Rugby, somewhere like three 6-nations victories since 2000 for the national team so far. Some people conveniently forget that.
     
    I\’ve put a small collection on my site just for proving a piont, otherwise I\’d be all day included stuff. The links further down your comments page if anyone fancies a browse. I\’m up for adding further things in the future. One or two other sporting achievements have been mentioned in the comments on your blog. Nice.
     
    Anyway all the best,
     
    Tc x=) 

  14. brian says:

    this echos my thoughts for some time now,is is great at very little ,but the one that sticks out in my mind is tim henman –he really never shone at all.

  15. Unknown says:

    as an english man i do have to say one thing that us brits are good at and thats moaning about everything and anything

  16. Angus says:

    Most so called "fans" are not really that but your all encompassing  football malcontent who could"do so much better" and of course has the hands on expertise to prove it. Not . There is criticism which based on empirical knowledge has something to add  and then there is that moan/rant which passes for criticism ,which most of these fans have.Disinfranchised on the knowledge front these fans hide their lack of something incisive and pertinent to say with a "stands to reason " argument,thus making themselves so much more comfortable with their own grinding lack of achievement in this world. Didnt England win the Ashes last year? Hasnt the competition become extreme anyway ? I remember a test being won on the last ball ,how extreme is that. If the Team did that in the next Test ,what a fight back that would be . The football team reach the World cup again ,with our most successful manager post Sir Alf ,and dont progress,all Sven\’s fault ?methinks not, more the inability of his players to understand they are in a campaign,with tactics to get to the final. Italy only put in one good performance versus Germany.Four times winners!!!!But no Sven has to go .Of course,its all his fault ,it stands to reason.Really wouldnt you think having constantly gone out of tournament after tournament the super rich players of the team would get down the park and learn to take what is essentiall a free kick at goal ! Still what do i know,im not a "fan" ,i love sport and applaud those who get out in the arena and give it some .

  17. sharon says:

    I have to say that British are great, not pretentious like in France or smarmy like in Greece or staring at you like in Pakistan or cocky bastards like in Australia, the majority of British men are the sexiest in the world! I have been blown away by a Dutch man, very nice, looked like Simon Amstell. I’m not making a racist comment; I just mean that it isn’t fair that we put ourselves down so much when really there’s no need. I was so keen to leave the country a while back that I didn’t realise the loveliness of the people until I came back, was so happy to be home. So relaxed. BACK IN THE UK

  18. judith says:

    has anyone remembered our rowers quad and single lightweight scull. they are world champs.

  19. Miles says:

    Well, we are a fickle lot us Brits! Get successful and we work bloody hard to bring our heros down! How dare they succeed! We\’ve all seen it time and time  – good old media backs it every time. Sells papers don\’t you know! Let\’s not get all nationalistic in this international age of global sport coverage. Sit back, relax and allow yourself to be entertained. Give me any team with flair and imagination – Brazilian football team in action, for example. The Windies in their hayday! The All blacks in full charge! Who gives a toss if they entertain us and we feel we\’ve had value for money! It\’s Winter – where\’s Eddie the Eagle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     

  20. Darren says:

    amir khan britains greatest boxer EVA!

  21. Patrick says:

    There should be at lest some coverage of other sports that britain does well in such as cycling. WE have the WORLD NUMBER ONE WOMENS CYCLIST and yet the coverage is so limited is does not respect how good Nicole Cooke actually is. When we perform so disappointingly is sports like football and yet there is nicole cooke winning the biggest stage race of cycling yet there was nothing on the news about it.

  22. Unknown says:

    Chris Cotton, you have a short memory, where Australia Football team more than competed against the England team a few years ago.  Errr I don\’t seem to recall your England Football team setting the World Cup onfire either and so far in the Euro Cup England are struggling to win a game. What about Swimming ??? is that not a World Game ?  Australian\’s are very successful across a wide range of sports not just one.  As for living in a bubble well I would rather live in Australia than dreary old Brittain.
    Face it Chris, the current and I say CURRENT England Cricket side are just not up to it, important players are missing or out of form. 
    We had to take it on the chin in England now it\’s your turn, yes you may think that the Aussies are cocky, but at least they show they have the determination and drive of a young country and ALL our boys were born in Australia. I wonder whether Her Maj will be asking for the Gong\’s back when the England team try and slip quietly back into Blighty ?   All snide remarks aside… England\’s 1st innings here in Adelaide was a top knock, especially coming off the poor showing in Brisbane and that will be foremost in the English side\’s mind going into the next Test in Perth.  I see a better showing from the Pommies as the Tests progress. Yes by then the Ashes will have slipped from ther grasp, but it will make for a better Ashes contest next time around up there in England in a few years time when you will have a stronger side and hopefully will have got rid of that twonker Fletcher.  
     

  23. Unknown says:

    Chris Cotton, you have a short memory, where Australia Football team more than competed against the England team a few years ago.  Errr I don\’t seem to recall your England Football team setting the World Cup onfire either and so far in the Euro Cup England are struggling to win a game. What about Swimming ??? is that not a World Game ?  Australian\’s are very successful across a wide range of sports not just one.  As for living in a bubble well I would rather live in Australia than dreary old Brittain.
    Face it Chris, the current and I say CURRENT England Cricket side are just not up to it, important players are missing or out of form. 
    We had to take it on the chin in England now it\’s your turn, yes you may think that the Aussies are cocky, but at least they show they have the determination and drive of a young country and ALL our boys were born in Australia. I wonder whether Her Maj will be asking for the Gong\’s back when the England team try and slip quietly back into Blighty ?   All snide remarks aside… England\’s 1st innings here in Adelaide was a top knock, especially coming off the poor showing in Brisbane and that will be foremost in the English side\’s mind going into the next Test in Perth.  I see a better showing from the Pommies as the Tests progress. Yes by then the Ashes will have slipped from ther grasp, but it will make for a better Ashes contest next time around up there in England in a few years time when you will have a stronger side and hopefully will have got rid of that twonker Fletcher.  
     

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