#Watermelonboy At The Cricket Makes The Watermelon Industry Really Happy

03/01/2016 2:32 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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#Watermelonboy was the only story in Australia last night. If you missed it, a kid ate a whole watermelon at the cricket.

And because it's summer and we're all in the mood for amusing diversions rather than hard news, and because a record 80,000 people attended the cricket while a massive 1.2 million plus watched it on telly, this became the number one trending topic on social media.

But what did it all mean? Lots actually. Here are five pink juicy things you might like to chew on.

1. First thing's first, Australia's peak melon body just about died of excitement.

Your Huffington Post Australia correspondent is at the SGC covering the cricket today. But since not too much happened in the morning session, we decided to use our valuable time making a quick call to the Australian Melon Association.

Yep, that's a real thing. It's Australia's peak melon body and it represents watermelon producers, rockmelon producers, honeydew melon producers (those are the big three) plus the growers of an increasingly wide range of lesser melons.

Mmmm.... lesser melon.

Anyway, Dianne Fullelove from the AMA told us that this was the best publicity the melon industry had enjoyed in years.

"The industry is worth 250 to 300 million a year," Dianne told us. "We've got 7,500 hectares of watermelon [under cultivation] in all states of Australia except Tasmania. That's because watermelons are originally a desert plant from Africa and love hot dry sandy conditions."

2. You shouldn't eat the rind. But you can if you like.

One of the big #watermelonboy questions was: did the kid eat all the way through the rind? Certainly it was unclear how he or his parents made the initial incision. Perhaps a sharp implement (of the sort you wouldn't be allowed to bring to the cricket) was used. If one wasn't, did he chomp his way through the rind to the juicy pink flesh within?

Whatever happened, Dianne assures us that the kid's tummy would be feeling fine today.

"Most people don't eat the rind but you can. It's certainly not in the 'Tony Abbott eats a raw onion complete with its skin' territory."

That's because nothing is. Anyway.

3. Nobody knows how to spell the sound of spitting watermelon pips.

Interestingly, Dianne Fullelove from the AMA told us that seedless watermelons are NOT a genetically modified Frankenfood, which is a common consumer misconception. She also said that seedless melons are not universally popular because many people actually enjoy spitting pips.

We get that. But what's the sound of pips being spat? We asked Twitter. Twitter had no idea.

4. Melons are really good for you, fellas.

Gentlemen, please don't read anything into that subhead. We refer here to the fact that melons contain lycopene, which is a thing found in lots of red and orange fruit and veg like tomatoes and carrots but especially in watermelon.

"Men should eat as much watermelon as possible because it's full of lycopene which is a natural anti-oxidant and very good for your prostate," said our favourite melon lady Dianne.

"Finish your beer and go home and have a nice piece of watermelon, fellas."

We might just do that, Dianne. After all, prostate cancer is one of the big killers for blokes. Which is worth remembering given this is the McGrath Foundation Test when the focus is on breast cancer and women.

5. The Meaning of Melon.

Why? Why did Australia go mad for a munchkin munchin' for a melon? Who cares how many pips the little pipsqueak spat? What's wrong with all of us?

This sentiment was well encapsulated in this tweet by Peter Lalor, who by this reporter’s reckoning is the finest all-round cricket writer in the country by the length of the pitch.

See, but here's the thing. Peter Lalor once wrote the definitive yarn on former Australian cricketer David Boon's legendary feat of drinking 52 cans of beer on the plane to London. You can read a copy of it here. It really is a great piece of writing.

But how is obsessing over a cricketer's beer drinking any different from obsessing over a fan's watermelon eating? We'd argue not a lot. The main difference is that watermelon is much, much healthier and sets a better example to all.

Cricket is a game that invites diversions and mental meanderings. With this in mind we say good onya #watermelonboy. And best wishes to Australia's 250 or so watermelon farmers, who Dianne Fullelove reckons are going to be nice and busy in coming months with a huge spike in demand.

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