Cricket's the ticket
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CW Tournament was covered in Longmont's Daily Times Call newspaper - In cricket, red balls are used during daytime, while white balls are used in darker conditions. Play ball.
Appearing today in Longmont's Daily Times Call is the following news article on cricket. It was featured in the top stories of Saturdays newspaper.
Game loved around the world comes to Longmont
By Trevor Hughes
The Daily Times-Call
LONGMONT — The most popular sport you’ve probably never seen is coming to Longmont.
This morning, members of the Colorado Cricket League Cougars will play in a regional tournament against the Houston Cricket League team at Garden Acres Park.
The Cougars hope to use their acclimatization to the altitude to outlast the Houston team. Some cricket matches can last for days, although today’s game will probably last only about seven hours. If the Cougars win, they could go on to the championship in Colorado Springs on Sunday.
“We built this team to win the regional championship all the way. It is not built to be second,” team member and CCL President Jarrar Jaffari said. “We have a very good, talented side, and we do fancy our chances of being regional champions.”
Cricket, if you’re not familiar with the sport played all around the world, is similar to baseball. But it’s exceedingly Colonial British. Players wear blindingly white uniforms, and the games can go on for days, with lots of breaks for tea and snacks.
The basic premise is similar to baseball — one player throws the ball, and another player sometimes tries to hit it — but the nuances and cultural importance can be hard to understand if you didn’t grow up in a former British colony, where matches have the draw of American football games, only on a larger scale.
The most important difference between baseball and cricket is that a cricket player is under no obligation to hit the ball, and instead defends three small posts called wickets from the pitcher, who is known as a bowler.
And the bowler generally caroms the ball off the ground in his delivery, which means the hard ball comes flying at the batsman with spin, float and bounce, after a lengthy run-up.
Acknowledging that the Longmont area has a fraternity of players, city officials recently permitted CCL to install a field or “pitch” at Garden Acres Park.
“Here’s a group of people who came to us asking for help. They were well-organized, had thought out what they were asking for,” said Don Bessler, the city’s director of parks, open space and public facilities. “Clearly, with Longmont becoming a high-tech center, there is a South Asian population moving into the area. And it’s cool.”
Players say civility and egalitarianism are what attract them to the game. They claim it’s the world’s second-most popular game, behind soccer.
“Cricket is primarily a game of skill rather than brute force. You will seldom find cricket players towering over six feet or tipping the scales beyond 200 pounds,” Jaffari said in an e-mail interview. “An ‘average’ person has as much a chance of becoming a great player as a burly one.”
Many cricket players in the United States hail originally from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, drawn here by high-tech jobs at companies such as IBM, Xilinx and Siemens. Their jobs brought them here, and they brought cricket along with them.
Cricket, though, has been played in the United States for more than a century and a half. On Sept. 24-25, 1844, the U.S. team played Canada in Manhattan for a $1,000 wager, legend has it. Canada won by 23 runs. The first officially recorded baseball game wouldn’t happen for another two years.
Jaffari said the game isn’t hard for Americans to understand, but he said most die-hard players are from other countries.
“The growing economy and abundance of opportunities in the heartland of America brought highly educated people from all over the world to the IT companies in and around Longmont,” Jaffari said. “These immigrants settled in Longmont and surrounding areas and must have been amazed to see that Colorado has a cricket league.”
Added Bessler: “One of the things we try to do is make Longmont stand out, and this is something that will do that.”
The Cougars of the Colorado Cricket League take on their counterparts from the Houston Cricket League at 9:30 a.m. today at Garden Acres Park, 21st Avenue and Daley Drive, Longmont. Another match will be played Sunday.
Trevor Hughes can be reached at 303-684-5220, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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