By Sophie Gosper
COMPTON – In a nation where cricket is considered an emasculated version of baseball and in a neighborhood known more for gang violence than the gentlemen’s sport of tea breaks and ducks has found its way to this South Los Angeles County city.
The players wait patiently in their white slacks and caps, ignoring the sweat rolling down their necks, as they stand littered strategically across a grass lawn, waiting for the bowler to make his move. He stands out like a patriotic vision, dressed head-to-toe in red, white and blue; not exactly an ensemble one frequently sees in cricket. But today’s game is just for fun, and the bowler has opted to wear his nation’s stripes and a backwards cap rather than the traditional all-white attire. He straightens his arm and swings it around and around like a brightly colored windmill, attempting to throw off the batsman with his comedic routine.
Crack. The sound of the hard, red leather ball hitting the flat wooden bat echoes across the lawn. The fieldsmen cry out and scatter to catch it. The batsman makes his run, the players laugh, the match is over.
The team, formally known as The Homies & the POPz, is the only all-American cricket team in the world, sporting members from the African American and Latino communities. Their mission is to use the principles and ethics of cricket to curb the negative effects of gang activities amongst youth and address homelessness in Compton, South Los Angeles and all inner cities.