Cricket - alive and well in Quebec
22 July 2005
In the Montreal area there are close to 900 cricketers registered in 28 clubs affiliated with La Fédération Québécoise du Cricket Inc., playing in three divisions of the local league.
I had several reasons to visit Montreal, which were all related to cricket. There was a cricket blazer to see in a fabric museum, some research on the unsubstantiated claim that cricket was played on Isle St. Helene in the late 1700's, and to have a look at some of the cricket fields in La Belle Province.
As is common with cricket, there was the social engagement which took up a disproportionate amount of time. That is not quite true, as the one day of heavy rain eliminated both cricket and the usual/normal social interactions which are integral to our game.
The game, at the cricket field in La Salle, was between an Ontario club and a Quebec club. The Ontarians disappointed their hosts with mediocre batting. The team was not up to par to merit playing for the Atholstan Trophy, (or was it the Ross Robertson). The Quebec club used their innings as batting practice with a humiliating slug-fest, much to the enjoyment of the 200 plus spectators.
From my interactions with many of these Quebec cricketers, and a couple of their administrators, I was given a crash course on the social responsibility of the Québécoise. The story of used cricket gear being delivered to newly arrived Sri Lankans was an outreach gesture demonstrating the ideals of our game. Another was the cricket demonstration at L’Université de Trois-Rivières, which included eleven young women.
Members of the vibrant Montreal cricket community expressed being isolated from the national scene. As such the community reflects the reality of Canada. The recognition, and embracing, of the Québec cricket scene, by the rest of Canada’s cricket community and the national association, is essential to any application for funds from the Government of Canada. These matters, perceived by those I spoke with to be a lack of representation on the national scene, would be apparent to Federal Government officials considering any funding applications.
What is basic, is that it is imperative to understand the process of application evaluation, and the politics of the process. Cricket and politics have always been bedfellows. Two historical examples of this are:- 1) the funding of princely outfitting for ‘le cric’ recorded long before the game was introduced on the village green in England. 2) The first order given upon the arrival of the imperial authority in Kahbul, Afganhistan was the laying out of a cricket field, which is still in use.
Until the national cricket association can demonstrate and assure inclusiveness at every level of cricket, including children and women, it will be irrelevant to tout the 'champion' Rt. Hon. Donald MacDonald. To do so would probably be exploitive. (Jon Harris)