Arts, Culture & Media

Teaching cricket to The Ashes

The story of how a 22-year-old woman from Massachusetts with absolutely no prior knowledge of the game of cricket became a celebrity among English and Australian cricket fans.

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Every couple years, the national cricket teams of England and Australia play a series of matches against each other. For more than a century, that series has been called The Ashes.

The Ashes are sacred to cricket lovers. The name comes from a satirical obituary written after Australia first won a match against England, in England, back in 1882. English cricket had died, it said, the body cremated, and the ashes taken to Australia.

All of that was news to 22 year-old Ashley Kerekes, a nanny from Westfield, Massachusetts. Her nickname is �the ashes'. And @theashes is also the handle on her Twitter account.

About five weeks ago, as the first Ashes match was beginning, Kerekes started getting unusual messages there.

�It was right after Thanksgiving,� she said, �in the middle of night, and I started getting some buzzes to my phone; I had the notifications on because I would only get messages from friends.�

Kerekes posted something on Twitter to the effect of �sorry, I think you have the wrong Ashes. Please go away.'

�If you look at my profile it's obvious that I have nothing to do with cricket. I talk about knitting and taking care of children,� she said.

But the cricketing tweets kept coming many asking about the current score in the cricket match. Some tweeters were angry that she wasn't able to provide the information they were seeking.

Kerekes said, �I was, like, if you're going to get angry with me I'm going to get angry back!�

She tried to avoid looking at the messages. Meanwhile @theashes was becoming something of a Twitter celebrity. Kerekes' 300 followers had become become 3,000, then 13,000.

A campaign of hashtags was launched, including #gettheashestotheashes and #teachtheashestheashes.

Soon, only weeks after updating her Twitter status with �I'm not a freakin cricket match,� Ashley Kerekes was on her way to Sydney, Australia, courtesy of some corporate sponsors.

In the last couple of days, she's been wined and dined, even meeting Australia's Prime Minister.
Kerekes says she'll be hanging onto @theashes as her twitter name: the next series takes place in England.

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