Cricket in the USA

Not many people know this, but cricket was once a very popular sport in the US, who were one of the participants in the first international cricket match (the match was attended by some 10,000 spectators, and is the world’s oldest international sporting event).

As late as 1855, the New York press was still devoting more space to coverage of cricket than to baseball.[ref], and it was only during the Civil War that baseball properly took over.

There was a great article in this morning’s Metro about an very unlikely modern day cricket team in the US:

LA’s Compton Cricket Club to embark on historic tour of Australia
30th January, 2011

It has become infamous as a place of gang war, gun deaths and drug abuse – all a far cry from village greens and the gentle sound of leather on willow. Now, they are about to make history by touring Australia – the first time a team of US-born players has done so.

Compton Cricket Club player Isaac Hayes said: ‘It has been hard keeping the team together. Some guys had kids, some got shot, some got killed and some went to prison. We’ve lost a couple of guys. But that’s two guys in more than ten years. Coming from where we do, we are blessed it has only been two.’

The team – aka Homies And Popz – plan a series of exhibition games in Melbourne, Alice Springs and Sydney as ‘ambassadors of peace and goodwill’.

And they want to help charities dealing with similar problems to those in their home community – which was made famous by rappers such as NWA and their album Straight Outta Compton.

The club was formed in 1995 by homelessness activist Ted Hayes – Isaac’s father – and British film-maker Katy Haber, who aimed to fight poverty and crime with ‘the civilising qualities of… cricket’. They have already toured Britain, in 2001.

Team member Richard Salgado, who cannot travel Down Under because he is on parole, said: ‘If it hadn’t been for cricket, I would have been in a lot more trouble.’

Richard Salgado of the Compton Cricket Club

Richard Salgado of the Compton Cricket Club

This is from the Compton Cricket Club’s website:

“This or that, is or is not Cricket”

While all aspects of what is or is not Cricket won’t be covered here, the items listed below will present a general attitude of the nature of Cricket play.

  • Physically attacking, yelling, cursing or rolling eyes at the umpires, the Captains or fellow players of either side – Not Cricket
  • Obeying the orders or suggestions of the Captain – Is Cricket
  • Acknowledging and encouraging the good work of other players, especially the opposing side, even congratulating them on plays done well or “well played” – Is Cricket
  • especially the opponents – Is Cricket
  • Foul language – Not Cricket
  • Honesty – Is Cricket
  • Negatively sledging playas, especially batsmen or bowlers – Not Cricket
  • Congratulating the winners and those who lost the match by cheer offers – Is Cricket
  • Teams greeting each other before and after matches – Is Cricket
  • Sharing tea-lunch-half inning breaks with opposing teams – Is Cricket
  • Batsmen slamming gear upon returning from pitch – Is not Cricket
  • Batmen carrying or displaying the bat incorrectly – Is not Cricket
  • Arranging gear neatly on the ground and placing it properly back into carrying bags – Is Cricket
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