[Cricket at the Brighton High School baseball diamond. Batter dodging a thrown pitch. Photos by David Kramer except where indicated 4/18/21]
I’ve seen many games played on the playing fields behind Brighton High School: football, baseball, softball, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, golf, volleyball, badminton, kickball, ultimate frisbee, croquet (once) and disc golf.
On Sunday, I added to my list one of the world’s oldest sports: cricket. On weekends and on some work evenings, cricketers set up a makeshift cricket field on the diamond behind Brighton High School, laying down the wickets, placing bats and batting gloves by the fence and marking the boundaries with orange cones.
As explained by Sunil Cheriyan, the players are originally from India, now living in Rochester in a variety of occupations. The men brought with them a love of cricket, the most popular sport in India where some see cricket as a religion. While Sunil would not go so far as to call cricket a religion, he says most of the men probably first played in early childhood and have never stopped.
The gatherings at the high school diamond are really more like practices as 11 players on each side are needed for a real match. The guys are here for fun, exercise and to keep their games sharp.
I took a few swings with the cricket bat, a cane handle attached to a flat-fronted willow-wood blade. I did well enough on the first two pitches, but then looked more like a baseball player — Casey at the Ball — swinging wildly at the third throw.¹This was actually my second cricket sighting in Brighton. As seen in The inscribed brick pavers at Buckland Park in Brighton, in April 2020 at Buckland Park, I came across three cricketers practicing next to the baseball fields.
On Sunday the 24th, the cricketers again gathered. In the nearby batting cage, I tried my hand at the America version of cricket: baseball. Matt Kamm was helping his son Brody and friend Gavin DeBlase prepare for an upcoming tryout for the modified Brighton team (that both made).NOTE
¹ As seen in “An early-spring renewal of the spirit” over 10,000 fungos later, one Talker had significantly more success in his cricket debut:
When living in London and working for Xerox for three years, Dean Tucker was once invited to play in a cricket match at a country estate.
A Rochester Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, on his first swing, Dean made a prodigious wallop of the cricket ball, landing it far away into an English garden.
See also: football and softball on the playing fields of Brighton
Includes 5 years of stories on the Game at the Corners