Old World game still resonates today
Mention the term cricket and people look at you like you have nine heads. “What’s that?” is the typical reaction, and not all that surprising since cricket originated in 16th England spreading with the expansion of the British Empire, especially throughout the Indies. Long Islanders generally relate a ball and bat to one thing: baseball.
Growing up in Jamaica, cricket was the norm, much like basketball or football is for Long Island youth. Instead of soccer moms, there are cricket moms. Cricket is the dream of young Caribbeaners, who idolize heroes such as fast bowler Curtly Ambrose, and the passionate pursuit of the old, who live, eat, sleep, walk and incessantly talk cricket.
Regardless of the time or day you venture to Alley Pond Park, chances are you’ll see cricket in action, whether a family having fun or a semi-professional league such as Floral
Park’s very own “ Blaze of Glory,” — which happens to be recruiting. “We’re always looking for new members,” exclaimed outfielder Ryan, with an unmistakable Indian accent.
Queens is an amalgamation of cultures, with an Indian population of over 15%–particularly high. Driving through the narrow streets with cars parked uncomfortably close, even a U.S. national can feel like a foreigner. And if it happens to be around lunchtime there is no shortage of fine Indian cuisine restaurants at which to dine.
Cricket holds a very high place in West and East Indian culture. The International Cricket Council ranks India at the top of the list in One Day Internationals, and number three in
Test Ranking. Much like soccer in Brazil, cricket runs far deeper than just being a sport; it’s part of the DNA. Often referred to as the “gentleman’s game” because English aristocrats in the 17th century deemed it be played in a “gentlemanly way,” cricket has fallen prey to ungentlemanly controversy in recent years with game “fixing” and riots.
As other cultures continue to seek refuge on our shores in hopes of establishing a future they bring with them many aspects of their life. No one would have imagined the formidable soccer team we have today promising 2014 World Cup contention. The 2019 Cricket World Cup is still a ways away, don’t be surprised to see our stars and stripes added to the mix. Maybe the Alley Pond cricketers will be there.