MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s a sport that pales in popularity to football, at least in the United States.
We’re talking about cricket.
But every year on Labor Day weekend, the MICC-Cavaliers Cricket Club has its big annual tournament at Bryn Mawr Meadows in Minneapolis.
Founder Charles Peterson says cricket is a “bat and ball” sport.
“It’s kind of like baseball except we’re anchored in the middle of the field and you can hit the ball in any direction,” Peterson said. “You run back and forth between the wickets, and that’s how you score runs.”
It’s a sport with a lot of tradition and history, dating back to the 1500s in England.
“As a matter of fact, there’s a record of some guy being put on trial for playing cricket on Sunday,” he said.
Its history in Minnesota isn’t quite that long, but cricket player Sandeep Hirekerur says this tournament has become one of the bigger ones around.
“For us, this has been like a ritual every year for the Labor Day weekend,” Hirekerur said.
Peterson started organizing games when he came here from Antigua in 1970.
“We found different people from the Caribbean, from India and so on, and we started playing pickup games at some of the parks,” Peterson said.
He says cricket’s history in Minnesota goes deeper than we might think.
“There are records of cricket teams in Bemidji, Mankato, in Minneapolis – going back to 1800-something,” he said.
And sometimes a game can seem like it’s been going on since then.
“The long version could be up to five days,” he said.
The ones they play at the tournament only take about three hours. But even if you don’t have a history with the sport, it doesn’t take much to get hooked.
“You don’t have to be big and well-built to play the sport, but it’s definitely hand-eye coordination, more so, and mental ability to play over a period of time, the endurance that you should have to play for five days, for a longer version of the game,” Hirekerur said. “That is what separates good cricket players from the average.”
The MICC-Cavaliers Cricket Club has its state tournament at Bryn Mawr Meadows over the next two weekends. They expect big crowds and some of the best competition around.