Cricket! In LA!

It’s true I tell you. A. and I spent a wonderfully peaceful and bucolic afternoon last Sunday at the LA Open Cricket Tournament, organised by the Southern California Cricket Association at Woodley Park in Van Nuys. It was the last day of the three-day event, involving twelve teams from as far away as Chicago and Trinidad & Tobago. We got there about noon, just in time for the last half-hour or so of the semi-finals, and then the whole of the final.

Cricket in LA

This was definitely post-colonial territory. Most of the teams were of either Indian/Pakistani or West Indian origin. Other than that, the afternoon couldn’t have felt more oddly English. Despite being only a couple of miles into the San Fernando Valley, the Woodley Park grounds are huge, mostly-green oases of calm. The main pitch is shrewdly ringed by leafy trees, allowing badly-needed patches of shade all around the boundary. Granted in England this would have to have been a blisteringly hot day at the end of a long dry summer, but it could have been England.

Free (and yummy) Indian food was laid on by the caterers, and we also loaded up with free water and ice cream as we lounged lazily in the sun. The final itself was a clash of styles — both player and fan. It turned out to be between a Punjabi team, and a pseudo-national team from Trinidad & Tobago. Both Indian fans and players were aggressively passionate, loud and macho, whereas the Trinidadian fans were too busy having convivial — if hotly contested — games of dominos to concern themselves much with the cricket. As it turned out, they needn’t have worried: both teams’ bowlers were much of a muchness, but the Trinidadian batsmen quietly and professionally took the Punjabi bowling apart, and ended up winning at a canter.

The afternoon had a sleepiness to it that couldn’t have been more appropriate. Done properly, cricket has a meditative quality to it that’s soothing to the soul.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *