Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ideal cricket pitch

Tucked away in the southeast corner of Warren Park, between the golf course and the neighborhood, is an ideal cricket pitch. (I think it's called a pitch. I was told that the spot is ideal.) A long, straight sidewalk allows the "bowler" to run and bounce the ball towards the wickets. The batter then can swing and send the ball in any given direction.

I know very little about cricket. I did try playing once a couple of years back, and on the very first ball thrown to me, I made an out. There I was, swinging this odd, flat bat, leaning over uncomfortably, and the kid threw the ball right at me. Naturally, I jumped out of the way. The ball hit the wickets. I was out. Apparently, you're supposed to protect the wickets by swinging and hitting the ball. For someone growing up playing baseball, however, the natural reaction is self-preservation, jumping out of the way. Anyway, I was out. On defense I was useless because I had no idea what to do with the ball once I caught up to it.

At Warren Park on Saturday, I saw a few kids setting up the wickets, swinging that odd bat of theirs. What happened next shows how communal the game is. An older man with three little girls walked past. He paused, asked the kids to show him the ball. Then, he started pitching to them. He played for 10, 15 minutes. I took a couple of pictures. He left.

I can't imagine an older man approaching a bunch of kids and joining a sandlot game of baseball or a pickup game of basketball. Kids and adults don't mix that way. Maybe this says something about the games. Or the cultures playing the games. Or maybe it doesn't mean much of anything.


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