By Sham Ali | Photo Gallery
Cosmos celebrated of their 31st anniversary awards and dinner last Saturday at the elegant Flavor of India restaurant and ring in the holidays in grand style. It was an awards ceremony that embodied the spirit of the cricket; one that was filled with fun and laughter, a trip down memory lane as the master of ceremony Leonard Achaibar delivered the occasional googly to keep the inning of the various speakers short and the dinner warm.
Retired Professor Sam Soopersaud was pointed in his remarks on the spirit of the game. He expressed the need for cricketers to exercised self-discipline towards each other and to the umpires on the field, and for administrators to lead without partiality so that the intended spirit of the game shall be maintained. He sighted unequivocally many occurrences during the 2014 season and urged those in leadership position to show leadership.
Cosmos Cricket Club has been a leader over the years and has embarked on projects that served their members, the community and the game in a meaningful way. The Cosmos Cricket Lecture is one of those areas and it will be the feature address at their presentation ceremony. Clifford Hinds, the recipient of the International Cricket Conference Centennial Award in 2009, and the Dream Cricket Bart King award in 2013, was chosen to deliver the inaugural Cosmos Cricket Lecture, but was very much under the weather, however, he forwarded the transcript of his Lecture, and on behalf of Clifford Hinds, Cosmos president Sham Ali delivered the Cosmos Cricket Lecture on the Rise and Fall of Cricket in the United States of America and the prescription for development of cricket in the new York region.
It was a lecture that explored the early battles on the cricket field and the battles off the field. The US Civil War stunted the growth of cricket and favored baseball. Baseball was promoted as a native and patriotic sport, however, the following three events: World War 1 from 1914-1919, The Great Depression of the 1920s and 1930s, World War 2 from 1940-1945 were that which drove the final nails in the coffin of US cricket. Part two of the Lecture, “Prescription for cricket in the New York Region,” was a prototype for change in the management of the New York Region cricket, “ The objective of this project is to consolidate the cricket operations in New York and transfer jurisdiction over all inter club games from the leagues to the New York Region. “ The Lecture also delivered a strong opinion on the governance of the game in the region, “However, the standard of the game will never be lifted if all we do is maintain the status quo…The old league system has reached the end of the line…Our regional cricket teams, especially at the senior level needs complete makeover.”
Mr. Mascelles Bailey, the United States of America Cricket Association Executive Secretary, spoke on the pressing need for clubs, leagues, and regions to work together to strengthen their foundation for the betterment of the game in the United States. Trevor Walfall, the former president of the Metropolitan Cricket League, reflected on the glory days of highly competitive cricket in the league and the key role which cosmos has played in strengthening the league. He urged Cosmos to maintain their standards. Ricky Kissoon, the New York City Public School Assistant Commissioner and Cosmos vice captain spoke rather heartily on the positive impact which Cosmos has had on the development of the youths over the years as he was only 15 years old when he started playing and practically grew up with Cosmos.
The top honors for Cosmos in 2014 went to Keith Edie and Ralston Levy for most runs and most wickets respectively, while the all-round performances went to Cyril Choy, Rasheem James, Ricky Kissoon, and Faisal Taj. Undoubtedly, the highlight of the evening was the spirit of cricket award to 8-year old Mathew Achaibar. A young man whose presence illuminates the atmosphere among the boys at the cricket ground on match day, and he did so again when he took the microphone in commanding style. He said ‘thank you for this trophy, I really appreciate it. I like Cosmos and Cosmos is a good team. I will come to cricket again next year, thank you.’ It was a fitting conclusion to the 2014 awards. Christmas will be here very soon and the presentation ceremony ushered in the Christmas holidays for Cosmos. And in the spirit of giving at this festive time the Cosmos coat drive was very successful, all proceeds will go towards helping the needy in New York City.
The evening came to a rousing conclusion, a little too early, with an energized vote of thanks from former long-serving Cosmos president Mohan Kissoon who expressed his thanks to all for their support over the years. He affirmed that Cosmos will continue to lead the way forward, and with that breath of fresh air Cosmos extended a pleasant Season Greetings to all the families in the cricket fraternity as they drew the curtains on another successful season and 31 years of fun-filled cricket lovely cricket.