By Christie Melhorn, September 5 2017 —
Those of us who grew up in Calgary have likely spent considerable time in a hockey rink. However, for many international students, playing or watching cricket is a much more familiar tradition. The UC Cricket Association is introducing the game to the University of Calgary.
Executive member Nishant Joshi says the club was formed as a response to the limited accessibility to cricket in Calgary.
“There are no teams or clubs on campus that expose people to cricket,” Joshi said. “Initially, we thought of creating a video game cricket club, or getting people together to watch it. But we decided to plan tournaments for people to play in.”
As cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world, Joshi says the club could help international students feel more welcome on campus.
“There are so many international students who want to play cricket but don’t know that there is cricket in Canada,” Joshi says. “We actually have three players from England in our club.”
Joshi says experience isn’t required to join the club. While the club’s committee helps regulate games, the UC Cricket Association also provides training for those interested in learning more about the sport.
Joshi says that cricket is valuable to students not only for stress relief and leisure, but because it fosters patience and critical thinking skills.
“Cricket is known as a gentleman’s game — a lot of patience is involved,” Joshi said. “It’s not just about skill. It’s also about strategy. You have to place your fielders and bowl in a way that manipulates where the batsman will hit. How well you do depends on how calm you are. It’s very much a mental game.”
The UC Cricket Association accepts both team and individual submissions for their tournaments, which are hosted throughout the year. Currently, 12 teams are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Joshi says that entering as a full team of eight to 11 players guarantees playing time in the tournaments.
“Individual entries are more than welcome. If we get enough individual entries, we can form a team for you,” Joshi said. “But if we have any remaining players, we are hesitant to carry through with the submission. We could use them as substitutes but don’t want to risk them not being able to play,” he said.
The tournaments are generally held at Rotary Challenger Park by the airport or at Huntington Hills Community Center. Joshi says that while these spaces are well-suited to the club’s needs, playing on campus would be ideal. However, the U of C does not currently have a cricket pitch and holds a ban against playing indoors.
“A few years ago someone brought in a harder ball and ruined the floor in the gym,” Joshi said. “It was silly of them and the university’s concerns are just that it’s expensive to replace that flooring. However, now we have to use spaces off campus. It is more expensive and not as easy for students to play off campus.”
The club holds a $5 membership fee. Members are also asked to pay a voluntary $10–15 dollars to help cover off-campus rental fees.
“We understand that getting to some of these locations off campus isn’t as easy — especially for international students who have to learn transit routes — so we offer rides and we try provide free food,” Joshi said.
Non-members are also welcome to participate in the UC Cricket Association tournaments. Joshi says that members are also invited to other social events during the year, such as cricket video game tournaments and live screenings of professional games.
To join the UC Cricket Association, visit their booth during Club’s Week or email firstname.lastname@example.org.