Last spring, the Public Schools’ Athletic League (PSAL) added cricket to their list of commissioned sports. This was a great and groundbreaking decision since New York is now the first city to officially sponsor high school cricket.
But not everybody agrees this was a positive addition. On the sports blog pologrounds.blogspot.com, a blogger with the pseudonym Mel Ott wrote, “Cricket is a niche sport that will never gain widespread popularity. Why are city schools fielding cricket teams for a small group of players? If anything, American sports and sporting culture should be encouraged.” Not only is cricket popular, but it qualifies as a truly American sport.
The popularity of cricket both at Stuyvesant and in New York City is indisputable. Since the winter of 2005, Stuyvesant has had an active cricket club. Every year when Battery park is open, I have seen kids playing with the flat cricket bat.
As for the rest of the city, cricket has a dedicated following, and its popularity is growing. On any given weekend, about 100 men flock to the Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx to play cricket.
Now, the question of whether cricket is American is tricky. However, it should not matter whether a sport is ‘American’ or not. Nonetheless, something about the sport is inherently patriotic. When our founding fathers were deciding what to call the new post George Washington would hold as head-of-state, John Adams proposed the word ‘President.’ Adams rationalized that since the leaders of cricket clubs were called Presidents, the same name should be given to the leader of our new nation. In addition, it is recorded that Washington himself played cricket once. If a sport is good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me.
Cricket in New York also represents the true spirit of our nation since is played almost exclusively by first and second generation immigrants. The American spirit is displayed not only by the acceptance of new immigrants, but also by the integration of their ideas and traditions into our culture. To reject cricket would be to violate all that America stands for.
As the smooth and successful start of Stuyvesant’s cricket season has shown, cricket is here to stay—in our school, our city and our country.