Brit Kicking 2002: An Archaeological Look at Brit Kicking

An article by Ben Harnett

The historical origins of this singular American holiday are murky at best. Various official documents trace it back to the time just before the War of Independence, when merchants, angry at increasing British control over trade hoped to stir up opposition to colonial rule. With America's shabby performance during the disastrous War of 1812, the holiday became far more vehement, and much less jolly. Sometime in the middle part of the 19th century, with the advent of that most American of sports, Baseball, a bat equipped with a boot was introduced as the preferred method of delivery of kicks to nuts.

In the American continent, this sporting holiday greatly waned through the early part of the 20th century, as Britons were viewed as increasingly irrelevant. But, the celebration was popularized throughout England's colonial possessions. In India, despite Ghandi's protestations, the boot batting craze struck thousands.

The academic study of this holiday is routinely seen by the general public as dull and misdirected. But I am sure you will agree with me, there is no more fascinating subject. My own, albeit small, contribution to the literature follows. I only cursorily relate my discovery of the text, in a musty locked trunk of Victorian era Chicago, and the subsequent hard labor of piecing together the fragmentary pieces with ingenuity and scholarly derring-do.

This poem, nearly complete but lacking its title, might represent a common call to action, recited at the start, generally early afternoon, of the Friday revels. Composed by an unknown hand, the work displays the true meaning of our hallowed holiday in all its glory. Without further ado, I reproduce for you the scholarly reconstructed ode to kicking Brits.

Unknown Title, Unknown Author (A 19th century poem for NKaBitNW)

[There] were no British [...] once,
no twinkly [-] toed ones dashing insults
one and all with cries of "dunce!"
[Ima]gine our blessd holiday
devoid of jolly sporting
stuck again [...] ol' work-a-day
alack, alas, no cavorting.
No Nigels to toss to booted bat;
no tea-sippers snorting.
But we [may thank the] reigning Queen*
and God and mercy alike
that long over the land ha' been
the jolly Limeys traversing, with
names like Molesworth**
and Chutney and Smythe.
So boys, when [...] Friday night
comes finally fair
and you ha' taken sigh[t]
of a bloke with a British air[,]
then [...] sling your bat
and cock that hat
and hope your aim is clear!

*Victoria
**Perhaps referring to the daring British explorer of Persia, Sir Percy Molesworth Sykes



Ben is a longtime scapegoat of usian.org, and although he loves 'The English Patient', he insists he's not British