Cricket brings families out for cultural experience


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Avinash Pariag learned how to play cricket from his father.

Jennifer H. Monaghan

It might be the second most popular sport in the world.

It is a bat and ball game. Two teams made up of 11 players each play on a field with a pitch and a wicket at each end. At one time, it was called the gentlemen’s game.

The game is cricket. Originated in England in the 17th century, cricket rapidly spread throughout the British empire, including its Caribbean colonies. Although cricket is said to have more fans worldwide than basketball, it is not a major sport in the United States.

Moolchand Pariag and his son Avinash play cricket almost every Sunday at the Judge Alli B. Majeed Cricket Complex in Palm Bay’s Fred Poppe Regional Park. They are members of Brevard Caribbean American Sports and Cultural Association (BCASCA) Cricket Club.

“As an organization — BCASCA — we try to promote togetherness as a culture, community and family,’’  said Courtney Morris, the manager of the Cricket Club, which has 18 members, all male between the ages of 21 and 60. “And, the game of cricket helps us to accomplish that.’’

Playing cricket affords the Pariags the opportunity to spend time together and with others of similar background. It’s an activity the father loved as a child in the Caribbean. The son, who grew up in New York, appreciates that devotion.

Stephen Bamfield, a former national cricketer for Guyana, once said, “It’s a great outlet to make sure that your kid is in a disciplined environment where he has something
to do.”

Morris is proud of the players’ dedication and their camaraderie.

“It is a pleasant thing to see the youngster embracing the culture and watching dad at his best, even at his worst,’’ Morris said. “Being the manager of the team, I am happy to see the father-son relationships. It is good for the community. It has helped me as a father as well to get along with my children and especially my son. I really cherish that.”

Everyone is welcome to enjoy the games and the social gathering after the game with musical entertainment and food vendors.

Jason Hanna, a resident of Palm Bay, regularly watches BCASCA teams play.

“It’s more than something to do. I like to watch. I like to see them hit the ball and run. Moreover, it brings back memories of my childhood in the Bahamas.”

BCASCA membership is open to all. More information, including the schedule of games, can be obtained at bcascafl.com.