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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Southern California

Compton Cricket Club

The sport helps people get away from gangs.

One of the last places you might expect to find cricket is Compton.

After all, cricket is known as the gentleman’s sport and Compton is known as gang territory.

“Being from Compton,” says Emidio Cazarez, “you always think people are going to look down on you.”

The purpose of the Compton Cricket Club is to act an alternative to gangs.

“It beats sitting at home thinking about what to door or hanging out with people that could possible cause trouble, “says Andres Delgado.

One of their main competitors in the league is the Beverly Hills Cricket Club.

“This is the first time I’ve seen any Americans play cricket, let alone 11 of them together, let alone eleven of them from the same neighborhood in Los Angeles,” says Max Bird-Ridnell.

The program began as a form of recreation for homeless men from Compton.

“It’s an amazing game, it’s a gentlemanly game, it’s an ethical sport,” says Katy Haber. “[We said] let’s start a homeless cricket team, so we did.”

Haber and her co-founder, homeless activist Ted Hayes, decided to expand the program to students in local schools, and with that, the only all-American cricket team was formed.

For their players, it’s about learning to follow the rules of society through cricket’s strict code of conduct.

“I learned patience, because I had none,” said Cazarez. “And respect for people, not being so judgmental.”

Against all odd, the team flourished. They’ve toured England three times, and last spring, they went on a goodwill trip to Australia.

“The bonus is to travel anywhere else and play,” says Delgado. “Especially countries that you never imagined going to in you life.

Haber’s ultimate goal is to spread the program around the country, but it’s been difficult for her to find funding.  She says that anyone member of the team would give up their day job in a heart beat, if it meant they could teach cricket for a living.

“You get to see how different everybody is,” says Delgado. “How one sport can unite everybody. We’re all the same when we’re on the field.

 

 

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