For Jessica Barbet, Sault College International Student Relations specialist, Saturday’s First Annual Cricket Showdown at the Northern Community Centre was her second exposure to the sport, wildly popular in other countries and gaining popularity here in Sault Ste. Marie and across Canada.
The Showdown marked the first time the Sault Ste. Marie Cricket Club offered free learn to play cricket workshops, organized by the club in partnership with the Sault’s Local Immigration Partnership (LIP), including players from the club and cricket-loving members of Sault College and Algoma University’s international student community.
“Last Saturday we played at the college in the old gym. It was my first time playing cricket. It was fascinating. It’s fun to learn a new sport. I didn’t throw the ball but I batted. It’s like baseball but it’s a different type of bat (using a leather ball) and you swing the bat differently, underneath and up. It was lots of fun,” said Barbet, speaking to SooToday.
Barbet said she “absolutely” recommends the public try out the sport.
“My eight-year-old daughter loved it (at the Sault College cricket event last weekend).”
“This is a sport international students all grew up with, so it’s nice that we have this indoor facility at the Northern Community Centre where they (and native born Saultites catching on to cricket) can play in,” Barbet said.
“For me it’s important to see this happening right now because when we formed the club this was a part of our vision (exposing the Sault to cricket),” said Dave Mornix, a Sault Ste. Marie Cricket Club founding member.
The Sault Ste. Marie Cricket Club team, over the years, has participated in tournaments in other communities.
International students who played Saturday hailed from countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia and, like Mornix himself, the Caribbean.
“That’s one of the great things about cricket. It brings people together,” said Mornix, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago and grew up in St. Vincent before moving to Canada.
Not intending to malign baseball (which can trace its roots to cricket), Mornix said “for me, in baseball there’s a lot of waiting around, but I think in cricket there’s always something happening. There’s more excitement to this game.”
Apart from introducing the public to cricket, Saturday’s Showdown included matches between the Sault Ste. Marie Cricket Club and Sault College and Algoma University respectively, with a third match between the two local postsecondary institutions.