By Sam Soopperesaud
“…the President of the United States of America Cricket Association already has one primary goal for cricket across the country and that is to attract a lot more Americans to play the game.” This is part of the information that appeared on the USACA.org web site a few days ago and is still on the site. So, I, the writer, being an ardent cricket lover and one who wants to see the game grow in this country, do hereby extend an invitation to Americans to play cricket. What an original idea from our distinguished president! Attract more Americans to play cricket! How come no one else thought of such an innovative idea?
Quoting more from the article, this is what Mr. Gladstone Dainty, USACA’s president said, “We will work diligently to implement the program to spread the word to try to get Americans to play the game.” While he is expecting to have a “mechanism in place to encourage Americans to play cricket,” others are actively doing something about it. We read about American-born Jamie Harrison who has introduced cricket to American kids in the primary school system across America, through his United States Youth Cricket Association (USYCA) and is distributing cricket kits to numerous schools. Also, the New York based Atlantis Cricket Club has donated cricket gears and kits to a K-5 Charter School in the Rockaways, Queens area. The club is ready to go into that school to conduct active coaching seminars.
In New York City, the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) and the New York Police Department (NYPD) are running cricket programs which have a large participation of American kids. For instance, the coach at Stuyvesant High School, Dr. Mohamed (Zaffie) Khan is proud to tell you that his high school cricket squad is made up of 100% American kids. He works conscientiously with them. After three years of hard work they won their first game in the 2011 PSAL cricket season. The kids are anxiously awaiting the start of the next season so that they can show how much better they have gotten under the tutelage of Coach Khan. In the meantime USACA “…will work diligently to implement the program to spread the word to try to get Americans to play the game.”
I would like to introduce the USACA organization to the future American cricket stars. USACA is the top administrative body for cricket in the USA. We are an Associate Member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) which “controls” cricket throughout the cricketing world. One of the things an Associate Member of ICC must have is a Constitution that governs its administration and activities. The Constitution must state “specific elections protocols” among the various Articles, and must be prepared to carry out the guidelines as specified in the Constitution.
So my American friends, when we ask you to put away your basketball, your baseball mitt, or your hockey stick, we are ready to receive you under the USACA banner as a cricketer. You would no longer be under the banner of the Major League Baseball organization, nor would you be under the banner of the NBA. You would have the privilege of being under the banner of USACA. Pay no mind to the fact that USACA was suspended twice for its failure, or refusal, to follow the directives of its Constitution. It appeared that the people at the top of the USACA administrative ladder just couldn’t interpret the Constitution correctly and missed its 2011 election date deadlines. There were other things that USACA messed up on, also. But hey, why worry? It is just the Constitution that was “kicked” around, nothing that’s very important!
In 2004, Eshan Mani and Malcolm Speed of the ICC wrote a “Dear Gladstone” letter to the USACA president which stated in part, and I quote in part. “…as a final comment, we have seen numerous sporting organizations in various states of disarray throughout our period of involvement as sports administrators. We have never seen a sporting organization that combines such great potential and such poor administration as USACA. From our observation, much of the blame for this lies with the current office bearers of USACA, including you (Gladstone Dainty). We question whether the current administration of USACA can play any constructive role in taking the game forward in the United States.” So, our new breed of cricket players, you can see that our present administration of USACA will definitely move the game in “a direction.” Any guess as to which direction that would be?
We want the Americans to play cricket. Once you start playing the game, you would not experience any difficulty in locating a cricket club with which to be affiliated. There are thousands of cricket clubs around the country. Good news for you new cricket enthusiasts. We have a structure. These clubs are registered in various cricket leagues. These leagues are assigned to various Regions, depending on the geographical location of the leagues. Each club, league, and region has its own Constitution. The top cricket organization USACA also has its own Constitution. So it appears, at least on paper, that the cricket player’s rights and obligations are clearly spelled out.
At the regional level of USACA the Constitution provides for each region to elect its own administration. Once the regional administration is in place they elect a Representative who sits on the Board of USACA. This person is the liaison between USACA and his region, and would further the cause of the region on the Board, supposedly. But in reality this is simply a fairytale, because when the Board meets, either in-person or in teleconferences, it does “its own thing.” The Board, rather than be the servants of regions, assumes the authority of being the Master of the regions. “The regions do not know what they want. We know what they want” is the rationale of the USACA Board. What was the term used for this in the metamorphosis from Socialism to Communism? Oh yes! The Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Dictatorship is what we have at USACA. So come on, you young American cricketers. You do not have to know what’s good for you; the guys at the head of USACA know it all.
As I mentioned above, each Region has the constitutional right to elect its own administration. But be warned that the USACA Board does not have to accept the results of the Regional elections if the “wrong” people are elected. The USACA Constitution gives the Regions the right to send a Representative to sit on the Board. Again, USACA does not “have” to accept that constitutionally elected Representative. Then again, the Regions have the constitutional right to recall their Board Representative and replace him/her with a new Representative. Again, USACA “does not” have to respect this Constitutional right of the Regions.
As a player you would be encouraged to work hard and improve upon your cricket skills. Coaches are around to help you improve. Once you have “cut the mustard” you may be called up to go to camp with others in the hope of being selected for an ICC sponsored tournament. Hey, you may even go to camp in Barbados and have the best coaches from the ICC and the West Indies at your disposal. After the camp you may be required to attend a final camp in Lauderhill Stadium in Florida, where the final touring selection would be made. Don’t worry, you have an excellent chance of making the final cut if you “agree” to everything that USACA throws at you. Agree to be treated unfairly, keep your mouth shut, don’t complain, and you are in. See, how easy it is to make a USACA side! No sweat! You may even be given a bonus in the form of new appointment of coaches. You would even have the honor of getting a Head Coach who is thousands of miles away at the time of his appointment. The new coaches do not have to know the skills of each player. Remember, they are USACA’s; they know everything. Preposterous!
In all organizations, be it in sports or business, there is always disagreement among the leaders. This is an undisputed fact. So too, with the USACA Board of Directors. Thank goodness, there is a remedy to take care of splits on the BOD. There is nothing more awakening than going on a USACA paid trip to an ICC event to watch the USA side compete! Chairing an important committee in the USACA organization is always desirable!
New cricket stars, American cricket stars, I will tell you more of what our leading cricket body has to offer you. Your league presidents would have the honor and the privilege, backed by the USACA Constitution, to elect the officers of USACA, its President, the two Vice Presidents, the Secretary, and the Treasurer, for a term period of three years. But there is a c-a-a-a-atch. These officers do not have to vacate their office when their term is over. All they have to do is “not call elections,” by coming up with excuses for not holding general elections. In other words, extend their term in office without amending the USACA Constitution in the proper manner.
Let me get back to some literal writing of facts. At present the USACA General Elections are long overdue. The three-year term of the present office holders expired in March of 2011. Elections are ten months overdue. Several articles have been written concerning this fact, USACA has been reminded of this fact, and there is a threat of a law suit against USACA to bring about a solution. All have fallen on deaf ears. The lame duck administration still governs our cricket. What makes it more brazen is that no one from the USACA board feels that they owe the cricket stakeholders a proper explanation.
My dear potential American cricketers, I have given you some information on our cricket and our chief cricket organizing body. It is now left up to you to make the choice “To play cricket.” Unless the people running USACA show transparency, fairness, and the inclination to work for and on behalf of the cricket stakeholders, cricket would remain a foreign game to the American sportsman.
I have chosen to write this article using sarcasm, frequently, because research has shown that sarcasm has a way of making an impression on a situation that continues to radiate negative vibrations. I elicit comments from my readers; all are welcomed, whether you agree with me or not. You may comment on this site or through email at Ssamrajs@verizon.net or phone (718) 945-0616.
The views expressed here are those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of www.newyorkcricket.com