January 30, 2019

Here We Grow Again! Schools Cricket Expands to Frederick County

In 2018, Abhishek Mudireddy played for the Dragons Cricket Team at Dunloggin Middle School in the Washington Area Middle School (WAMS) Cricket League, which is the first middle school league in the USA. This league is primarily for beginners and introduces cricket in a fun way to new players. Taped tennis balls are used, so no protective gear is required. In 2018, there were 10 teams from Prince George’s and Howard Counties with 150 players. The Dragons was one of 7 teams from Howard County.


To take his game to the next level, Abhi was selected to play for the Bowie 13U Travel Cricket Team, which participates in the Maryland Youth Cricket Association (MYCA) Cricket League. Clubs from the Washington DC area play against each other for the state title. In 2018, there were nine 11U teams, five 13U teams, seven 16U teams and four All Girls teams with a total of 25 teams. At the 13U and 16U levels, the hard, leather cricket ball is used, so full protective gear is worn by the batsmen.


To move up one more step, Abhi tried out and was selected for the Maryland 13U State team, which participated in the Capital Youth Cricket Championship (CYCC) tournament over the Labor Day weekend in Laurel, Maryland. Teams from different parts of the USA participated in this tournament including New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Virginia. This tournament was organized by Future Stars School of Cricket. Matches were played on natural turf wickets at the Washington Cricket Center.


In fall of 2018, Abhishek and his family moved to Frederick County due to his dad’s job. He now attends Oakdale Middle School. His mom, Subhadra, was disappointed that there was no cricket at Oakdale. So, she approached Abhi’s PE teacher about starting cricket at the school. Mrs. Dana Angleberger was eager to hear about cricket and jumped at the opportunity. Mrs. Angleberger invited Sham Chotoo, Cricket Commissioner for the Bowie Boys and Girls Club (BBGC), to introduce cricket to her students during PE class. After seeing the cricket demo a few times, all the PE teachers at Oakdale can now teach cricket on their own. The BBGC Cricket Program also gave the school two free cricket sets for the teachers to use whenever they want to. Of course, all the students loved learning about the game and were eager to participate (see photos below). After the cricket demo, one boy wanted to know if they could do cricket during Fun Friday. Another girl wanted to get more information about joining a cricket team at Oakdale. For the rest of the week, the PE teachers continued doing cricket with their other classes. Now, all the students at Oakdale Middle School know about the second most popular sport in the word, and the majority of the students did not know anything about the game before.


With such enthusiasm shown by the Oakdale students, Sham then sent emails to other middle schools in Frederick County about starting cricket at the schools. Mr. Jared Nuse from New Market Middle School thought it would be fun for his students to learn about cricket. So he setup the cricket demos with Sham, and the students at New Market really enjoyed learning about cricket. Over the past 7 years, Sham has taught more 8,000 students how to play cricket during PE classes. And the result continues to be the same. Students really enjoy cricket even if they knew nothing about the game before. With the donated cricket sets from BBGC, Mrs. Tamela Frazier and Mr. Jared Nuse plan to do cricket with their other classes during Term 3.


Mrs. Frazier and Mr. Nuse were very appreciative of Sham taking time off from his job to do the cricket demo at no charge to the school and giving the school free cricket sets. Mrs. Frazier said that the school have paid other people to demo other sports for the students and also had to pay for equipment. It was very refreshing to get a free demo and free training for a fun sport and receive free equipment.


After seeing firsthand the positive impact of cricket on her students, Mrs. Angleberger believes that the other schools in Frederick County should definitely do cricket. She introduced Sham to the PE Supervisor for Frederick County, Mr. Brian Griffith. Sham will be doing cricket demos for PE teachers in Frederick County during their Professional Development Day in August. 


With such a positive start, things are looking good for the expansion of the WAMS Cricket League to Frederick County.


Photo Credits:

Oakdale MS: Dana Angleberger

New Market: Susan Chotoo

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