01
Dec
09

This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Cricket Fights


Xu Moxiao is a dreamer, after thousands of years of Chinese history he wants to change the autumn fighting season, he believes that by making year-round cricket fights both the fans, and the people who make money off the sport will benefit.

“What I’m doing is trying to expand the good things,” Xu says.

Not everyone believes as Moxiao does, “The ‘autumn pastime’ is an ancient legacy,” says Li Jinhua, co-organizer of traditional-style cricket fights sanctioned by the government of the eastern city of Hangzhou. “Just three months. There is no better time to play with crickets than the three prime autumn months.”

Cricket fights have long been a form of cheap entertainment in China; crowds gather around to watch two crickets face off against one another, battling until one runs away — or is killed. Crickets from the Shandong province are favored these days, particularly the Velarifictorus micado species.

While it is illegal to bet on crickets, the practice is very widespread and with some crickets selling for hundreds or even thousands of dollars, the stakes are rising.

Xu, a trained lawyer, who recently has been selling bathroom fixtures has given it all up in order to raise crickets. His specially modified offices stay at a constant of 96 degrees to encourage breeding and tens of thousands of crickets are breeding and growing every day, being fed special diets that enable the crickets to grow up stronger.

While he admits that he is altering nature somewhat, unlike others, Xu doesn’t drug the insects (some unscrupulous owners feed their crickets ecstasy) or insert tiny metal spears into their jaws. His crickets have found success though, one happy customer sent Xu a text message recently bragging about winning 11 of 12 matches!

[WSJ]


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