Other John Davises.1: My life as an 18th century batsman

ImageIt can be a bit strange having a ubiquitous name.  But it can also be kinda fun.  This post is the first in a series of characters I found on the net that have the same name as me.  If you believe in previous lifetimes, you may even believe I could have lived some of these lives in a previous incarnation. 

My dad used to play in pick up cricket matches organized by various students at MIT back in the 70s and 80s, most of whom were from Pakistan and India.  I’ve never played, but I love watching cricket matches on ESPN3 from time to time.  If I ever did play and discovered I had a talent for it, I might conclude I had a genetic or karmic inheritance from the following figure I found on Wikipedia:

Sir John Brewer Davis (born 1741 in England; died 9 November 1817 in Westminster) is notable for his involvement in major cricket through his connections with the Kent county team. He was a noted amateur player during the 1760s and until 1773.

Davis was mainly active as a player before cricket’s statistical record began in 1772. In the 1773 season, he has been recorded in two major matches playing for Kent against Surrey. He scored 23 and 4 in the first match at Laleham Burway; and 4 and 0 in the return game at Bishopsbourne Paddock. He took 2 catches in the latter match.”

There’s one big problem with this previous lifetime:  my cricket career came down the pike too soon in the historical record for me to appear in my favorite sports book of all time, Beyond a Boundary by C.L.R. James.  If you’ve never read that book, or anything by C.L.R. James, you should, esp. The Black Jacobins.  I wish there were more left wing sportwriters like him around today!  From Wikipedia’s stub on the book:

“(James) approaches cricket as an art form, as well as discussing its political impact – particularly the role of race and class in early West Indian cricket. “Cricket”, he writes, “had plunged me into politics long before I was aware of it. When I did turn to politics, I did not have too much to learn.” Cricket is approached as a method of examining the formation of national culture, society in the West Indies, the United Kingdom, and Trinidad. Education, family, national culture, class, race, colonialism, and the process of decolonisation are all examined through the prism of contemporary West Indian cricket, the history of cricket, and James life as a player of — and commentator and writer upon — the sport of cricket.”

Here’s a clip of an interview with James’s widow Selma James, still active today. 

Check out her books too, including Sex, Race & Class and The Power of Women and the Subversion of Community.  The latter is available online at:   http://libcom.org/library/power-women-subversion-community-della-costa-selma-james

One response to “Other John Davises.1: My life as an 18th century batsman”

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