I was logging into blogger yesterday when I discovered a strange set of number combinations. The days in the year, 333 and 666.*
I mentioned this to Adrian (who was sitting beside me) and he said, “quick, stand on one leg”.
It’s important to point out that Adrian is a cricketer. And in the world of cricket they have some very strange customs. And one of them is known as the Nelson. If the score is three digits and all of those digits are the same then you have what is known as a Nelson. And the umpires have to stand on one leg to ward off bad luck. No really.
Supposedly it started off with 111 being bad luck because it symbolised the three sumps without bails, aka a wicket being taken. But the name comes from the idea that Lord Nelson lost an eye, an arm and a leg. But actually Nelson never lost his leg so the name is a bit silly really (well the whole thing is pretty silly so maybe that’s how the name thing snuck past – everyone was watching the umpire standing on one leg).
Although the practice had been carried out pretty widely in the upper echelons of cricket for some time it wasn’t really known widely because the umpires fearing the silliness only raised their foot a little bit. However umpire David Shepherd was far more flamboyant with his leg raising and so simultaneously raised the profile of the Nelson. And now everybody is at it.
The Cricketer magazine decided once and for all discover if there was any truth in the rumour and went back through the records to see if Nelsons were actually unlucky. It turned out to be false. In fact the score you’re most likely to get out on is 0 – a duck. Of course the problem the Cricketer has is that the official records presumably don’t indicate whether the umpire raised a leg or not during play. As this wards off the bad luck these instances shouldn’t be included in the stats. But presumably they were – bad statistics in my opinion.
And so I’ve had to stand on one leg ever since I discovered it yesterday. Luckily this post takes me over the edge.
*You may be wondering why there are 365 gamboling posts now and 555 the other week. There are 190 articles which are on gamboling but aren’t in blogger. They’re in the Older Archive section there on the left.