So it has been a huge few months for cricket in Peru!
We have all been keeping very busy with classes in Pueblo Libre, Lince, Magdalena, San Isidro, San Juan Lurigancho, Breña and Jesus Maria.
All the while it feels like at times we are just going through the motions, we have in fact been making huge groundwork for the development of junior cricket in Peru this year, a fact that I realized even more so today in the aftermath of an exciting event that we organized in the Coliseo Deportivo de Magdalena.
On Saturday 28th of May, 2016, we held a huge tournament that invited all the classes we are currently teaching to come together to play a round-robin modified cricket tournament.
Now before I start telling you all about the day, I will explain a little about our programs and classes so you understand the reasons behind the modified format of the event.
Below are some of the pictures of our current programs to give you an idea of the progress timeline of the kids development.
As you may or may not be aware, cricket is not a dominant sport over here in Peru, and as a result, introducing it into the curriculum and the culture can be a challenging at times, especially when you’re up against football, hockey and volleyball.
Those who are familiar with cricket will understand, it is a sport that has A LOT of rules and regulations, which can be difficult to take on all at once for someone who is new to the sport.
It is the little things that we all take for granted that are the most difficult to understand for a foreigner learning about: What is Cricket?
For example, these are a few of the concepts of the game that the kids (or anyone for that matter!) sometimes struggle to understand:
1.You can’t bend your arm when you’re bowling the cricket ball, but you can bend it when you’re in the field throwing at the wickets. Bowling and throwing are two different things.
2. There are 2 batters on the pitch at one time, they both have to run between the wickets, and they both need to work together to obtain runs for their team, they both need to finish the run inside the crease on opposite ends of the pitch, otherwise they can be eliminated.
3. Once you are eliminated, you can’t bat anymore in that innings, and once eliminated a new batter comes in.
4. Yes there is a bat and a ball, but cricket is not baseball!
As a result of some of these challenging concepts, our development program focuses on introducing cricket through technique based activities that involve working together as a team, gradually introducing the more advanced skills that are necessary for a proper game of cricket.
In the early stages of our development programs we simplify key concepts of the game such as fielding, bowling and batting, allowing time to enforce the correct techniques and also allowing the kids to gain confidence in their abilities as they develop.
Throughout our programs we have many kids at many different levels; some just beginning and others more developed with regards to their knowledge of the game.
In recognizing this vast array of abilities, we decided to modify the game to T-Cricket for the tournament, as you can see in the photos.
The format of the game was simple, allowing everyone to have many opportunities to participate both on the field and batting:
-2 teams, one team batting, one team in the field.
-Everyone in the batting team has 1 opportunity to hit the ball off the batting tee, the batsman then has to run in between the wickets until the fielding team hit the stumps at the keepers end.
-Once everyone has batted the teams change.
-Team with the most runs at the end is the winner of that game.
Obviously this is not a full game of cricket, but with the amount of kids we had on the day we had to create a format which would allow for everyone to get an opportunity to participate, as well as allow us to get through multiple games within our tight time frame of two hours.
In all we officially had 6 teams and 64 kids participating, plus the additional family and friends that came down as cheer squads. Certainly an exhausting undertaking for 3 people but ultimately we managed, as we always do! (also a HUGE thank you to Damien for coming down with his nice camera and taking photos all day!).
It was truly a sight to behold, a whole sports field full of Peruvian kids playing cricket!
We have never had an event such as this before where we have been able to bring so many districts together in the same place at the same time.
You get into the routine of doing all your classes, travelling here there and everywhere, but it is rare that we get to see the fruition of all our hard work in a giant event like this!
And as much as this event was just one day of the year, it was the accumulation of well over a year’s developmental work (Steven Hallett has been doing the hard yards for much longer than I have been here!)
Development work on any project is a huge undertaking, and you can’t expect to see results straight away, so that is why it was so rewarding to be able to take a moment to appreciate the incredible effort of all the kids and parents as we watched several distinct communities being brought together with the help of cricket.
It really warms your heart to see so much enthusiasm for a sport that is so far from the Peruvian culture.
Their fantastic energy and passion to learn is what keeps us working hard on cricket in Peru.
We still have a long way to go, but what an incredible pit stop to take a moment and appreciate how far these kids have come?
We are working towards bringing up the first generation of all-Peruvian cricketers, and from the results we have so far, I am confident that the future is very bright for these young Limeños, not only for their cricketing abilities, but for the opportunities they will have to learn from each other, and to create new communities and friendship groups, giving equal opportunity within Peruvian society for anyone to play sport, regardless of gender, race or socio-economic status.
So all in all, a busy, yet successful weekend, providing an important opportunity for these kids to see and feel the presence of cricket in Peru on a larger scale.
It is only going up from here!
If you would like to any more information of what we do over here, feel free to add our Facebook page where you can get all the photos and any new information on what we are doing!