Countless members of the Gryllus bimaculatus clan, also known as field crickets, have faced off in the capital’s narrow alleys this fall in a uniquely Chinese blood sport whose provenance extends back more than 1,000 years. Nurtured by Tang Dynasty emperors and later popularized by commoners outside the palace gates, cricket fighting was banned as a bourgeois predilection during the decade-long Cultural Revolution, which ended in 1976.
But like many once-suppressed traditions, among them Confucianism, mah-jongg and pigeon raising, cricket fighting is undergoing a revival here, spurred on by a younger generation — well, mostly young men — eager to embrace genuinely Chinese pastimes.
Please tell me this is happening somewhere in New York. Chinatown? Sunset Park? If anyone has a line on an underground cricket-fighting ring, I will pay you money to get me in to a fight. Not like, in the fight against a cricket — that wouldn’t be fair. I just want to get in to the arena to watch the crickets fight, and maybe bet some cash on the cricket I think looks heartiest.
Same goes for cockfighting, and really any illicit animal blood sport. Not that I advocate animal cruelty — I don’t. I just want to check out the scene. I won’t narc you out or anything. Email me.
Actually, for my science fair project in high school I examined social dominance in crayfish, which essentially meant watching a bunch of crayfish fight in a tank in this weird lab-closet in the back of one of the school’s science classrooms. Most crayfish fights kind of suck, actually, but every once in a while they’ll really throw down.