+
Most Shared

Think cricket's just for stodgy British types? Think again.

True
DICK'S Sporting Goods

When Neeraj Kher came to live in the United States, he thought he’d made a mistake. He couldn’t find any cricket.

He had always been a cricket player. Born in New Delhi, India, he had learned the sport young, and then lived in two other cricket-playing countries, Australia and England.

But then, he settled in Newport, New Jersey, in 2011 for work and to be closer to his sister.


“The first year here I almost went into depression,” Kher says. He thought, “I can’t live here. I have to go back to England or Australia.”

Luckily, one day while driving past a Target store, he saw a man “wearing whites” — traditional cricket-playing clothing. Kher pulled over and approached the man to ask where he’d played cricket that day.

Kher was surprised to learn there was a massive cricket organization serving the greater New York metro area called the Commonwealth Cricket League.

A group of Commonwealth Cricket League members. Photo courtesy of Columbia Cricket Club.

The Commonwealth Cricket League has more than 70 teams with players as diverse as the city and its outlying area.

But then again, perhaps it’s not actually that strange to think the sport would be beloved across the tri-state area. After all, cricket is played inmore than a hundred different countries, and that section of the Northeast is home to well over 5 millionimmigrants.

Kher quickly began playing for the nearby Hoboken Cricket Club, a team in the CCL. And today, he serves as the team’s vice president, working side-by-side with its founder and president Darragh Dempsey, an Irishman.

“What I really like about the CCL is that you don’t have to be from a specific background to play,” says Kher.

League games give people a chance to become friends with players, their families, and fans from all around the world.

According to Kher, there are other cricket leagues in the area that only cater to people from individual countries, aimed at strengthening bonds within their particular immigrant communities. But in the CCL, “As long as you have 11 players who are committed ... you can play in the league,” he says.

The players set a beautiful tone of inclusion — willing to put aside bitter sports-based rivalries originating in their respective homelands.

Kher and fellow teammate hold a Last Man Stands trophy for cricket. Photo via Kher.

“Given that I’m from India, we have a huge rivalry with Pakistan,” Kher says. On the field of play, Kher admits those in the CCL are highly competitive, but off the field, he says, “there’s no anger, or animosity; there’s no turf war, nothing like that.”

That said, cricket has faced challenges catching on in the majority of the United States.

Traditional cricket games can span three to five days, though there’s a shorter version where games last about six hours. Such lengthy gameplay can make it virtually impossible for working-class people to get into cricket, even though less equipment is required for a contest, compared to the likes of hockey or golf.

Moreover, the weather experienced by much of the U.S. means cricket can’t be played year-round, which obviously isn’t the case in the warmer, cricket-crazed regions across Africa and Southeast Asia.

Still, the highly inclusive CCL is growing, and many in the league are taking action to expand it further to ensure its future.

Kher's team on a trip to Guyana. Photo via Kher.

Kher’s Hoboken Cricket Club has done local outreach and set up camps where children can learn the sport. He’s sure that there will be interest in the sport, even with communities that have had less exposure to it, like the local Hispanic community.

“We want to send invites to local baseball clubs, so they can come, see the game, and learn the game,” Kher says. Like many others, he believes baseball enthusiasts might find joy in cricket, as the two sports share similar characteristics.

Cricket itself is also evolving, becoming far more exciting than ever. Over the course of the past decade, an even shorter version of cricket — called T20 — has taken hold, with games lasting about as long as a baseball game.The contests are action-packed, with players taking more risks with fewer opportunities to score. Some speculate this incarnation could help cricket gain greater fandom in the U.S., offering opportunities for cultures once separated by oceans to find common ground.

A day at the cricket field can be enjoyed by anyone who loves sports, no matter their cultural background.

Members of CCL hanging out on the field. Photo courtesy of Columbia Cricket Club.

The feel-good atmosphere is built on traditions reminiscent of those at football, baseball, or soccer games. Barbecue and all sorts of food and drinks are staples at cricket games — some of which have built-in breaks for chowing down and socializing.

So if you ever stumble upon a game of cricket, chances are you’ll be treated to a fun, educational experience that was once nonexistent in America. And if you run into an enthusiastic player and fan like Kher, you’ll no doubt leave the field with your curiosity peaked.

Dicks Sporting Goods - Cricket

All over the world, people are connecting over this sport.

Posted by Upworthy on Friday, February 23, 2018

This story was produced as part of a campaign called "17 Days" with DICK'S Sporting Goods. These stories aim to shine a light on real occurrences of sports bringing people together.

Correction 2/28/2018: Photo captions have been updated to correct identification.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


It's hard to truly describe the amazing bond between dads and their daughters.

Being a dad is an amazing job no matter the gender of the tiny humans we're raising. But there's something unique about the bond between fathers and daughters.

Most dads know what it's like to struggle with braiding hair, but we also know that bonding time provides immense value to our daughters. In fact, studies have shown that women with actively involved fathers are more confident and more successful in school and business.

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

This blind chef wore a body cam to show how she prepares dazzling dishes.

How do blind people cook? This "Masterchef" winner leans into her senses.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Christine Ha competes on "Masterchef."

This article originally appeared on 05.26.17


There is one question chef Christine Ha fields more than any other.

But it's got nothing to do with being a "Masterchef" champion, New York Times bestselling author, and acclaimed TV host and cooking instructor.

The question: "How do you cook while blind?"

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Two couples move in together with their kids to create one big, loving 'polyfamory'

They are using their unique family arrangement to help people better understand polyamory.

The Hartless and Rodgers families post together


Polyamory, a lifestyle where people have multiple romantic or sexual partners, is more prevalent in America than most people think. According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, one in nine Americans have been in a polyamorous relationship, and one in six say they would like to try one.

However popular the idea is, polyamory is misunderstood by a large swath of the public and is often seen as deviant. However, those who practice it view polyamory as a healthy lifestyle with several benefits.

Taya Hartless, 28, and Alysia Rogers, 34, along with their husbands Sean, 46, and Tyler, 35, are in a polyamorous relationship and have no problem sharing their lifestyle with the public on social media. Even though they risk stigmatization for being open about their non-traditional relationships, they are sharing it with the world to make it a safer place for “poly” folks like themselves.

Keep ReadingShow less

Gordon Ramsay at play... work.

This article originally appeared on 04.22.15


Gordon Ramsay is not exactly known for being nice.

Or patient.

Or nurturing.

On his competition show "Hell's Kitchen," he belittles cooks who can't keep up. If people come to him with their problems, he berates them. If someone is struggling to get something right in the kitchen, he curses them out.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

What I realized about feminism after my male friend was disgusted by tampons at a party.

"After all these years, my friend has probably forgotten, but I never have."

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

It’s okay men. You don’t have to be afraid.

This article originally appeared on 08.12.16


Years ago, a friend went to a party, and something bothered him enough to rant to me about it later.

And it bothered me that he was so incensed about it, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It seemed so petty for him to be upset, and even more so for me to be annoyed with him.

Recently, something reminded me of that scenario, and it made more sense. I'll explain.

Keep ReadingShow less