By Sam Sooppersaud
Yes, cricket lovers, the indoor cricket practice facility in Westbury, L.I. needs your help to keep its doors open.
Cricket is a game that we, who have played it from a very young age, love very dearly. We have come from different lands, but have brought our passion for the game with us. Every summer we are out in the parks engaging in our pastime, playing either in a league or in a friendly game. It provides us with the opportunity to meet old friends and to make new friends.
How fortunate are the cricketers and fans that live in places where the weather permits the playing of the game nearly the entire twelve (12) months of the year. We, who live in the north eastern United States, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, etc, where there is a winter and a summer, are not as fortunate as the guys in California, Texas, or Florida, and the other states where cricket is a year round sport. In the long winter months when we in the colder temperature are closeted in our homes, the boys “out west” are having fun playing cricket.
However, an indoor cricket practice facility can alleviate the cricketers’ blues. In the winter they can get up a few of their friends and go to the facility and still enjoy some cricket. In New Jersey there is the Dream Cricket facility and the Indoor Cricket USA facility. Cricketers and fans in that state enjoy their game at those facilities. In the New York Metropolitan area there is the USAICC – United States of America Indoor Cricket Club- an indoor facility used by cricketers and cricket fans in this area.
I, myself, have gone to the facility many times to work out, practice, with other cricketers. During the cold, winter months the place is jam-packed with cricketers wanting to develop and maintain their skills while at the same time staying in shape. On any one Sunday, for instance, no less that forty to fifty (40 to 50) cricketers are at the facility, doing their thing. The rates charged are reasonable, enough to help keep the facility operating. The owner, Billal Ahmed, has assured me that he does not make a profit running the place (he earns his livelihood in another business that he owns). He runs this place as a service to cricket, he himself, being passionate about the game.
During the outdoor cricket months, from about mid April to October, the number of cricketers who go to the facility to practice drops drastically. This is understandable as the guys want to be in the outdoors. As a result the revenue intake drops also, to a point where the operator is no longer able to meet his operating expenses: rent, utilities, etc.
I have been assisting him since the beginning of the year, contacting various cricket organizations and business to get some sponsorship in order to meet the summer expenses of running the place. We have contacted several cricket organizations, local and national: USACA, NYCR, and ACC. We have spoken to personally or through an intermediary the Nassau County Executive’s office, private business owners, and numerous individuals. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in getting any sponsorship.
At this time, USAICC is indebted to the landlord for close to $30, 000 in back rent. The landlord is willing to work with USAICC if a payment of about $10,000 is made. He may even be amenable to lowering the rent if USAICC can show good faith is coming up with this amount.
There are seven (7) cricket leagues in the NYCR. If each league has a minimum of ten (10) teams, then there are seventy (70) teams in the NYCR. With each team having a minimum of twelve (12) players, there are 840 active cricket players in the NYCR, minimum.
This is the deal USAICC is offering. Each person sponsors $20, for a total of $16,800, enough to keep the place afloat. Each player/sponsor will be guaranteed a session or two of practice time when he comes to the indoor practice facility. Pay now to keep the place open, practice later.
This is a small price to pay considering the alternative. If you are interested in sponsoring the facility you may contact me, Sam, at 718-844-7236 or at Ssamrajs@verizon.net or call Billal at 516-320-4824.
See you at the facility and let’s bowl some ball.