Schisms in Canadian cricket reflect the reality of Canada

Jon Harris

The schisms in Canadian cricket appear to mirror the schisms within the country as a whole. In the far west the twin ribbons of rail and highway, the symbolic and physical links between Alberta and British Columbia, are rarely used by cricketers. To some degree this is also true of commerce and government. Saskatchewan, sandwiched between the other Prairie provinces, is an island to itself in the Canadian cricket scene and in a political sense has always been ‘different’ from its
neighbours. Manitoba, the quiet engine of youth cricket, is symbolically tied by the umbilical cord of the Red River to neigbours to the south and separated from the commercial engine to the east by vast wilderness. The divide between Ontario and Quebec is so well recorded as to be almost axiomatic, both in terms of cricket and history. And then there are the down-easterners somewhere on the other side of Quebec, surviving and struggling essentially on their own.

The task of administration for our country has always been mammoth, and this is also true of cricket. The point is particularly relevant at this moment in Canadian cricket history, now that the administration of our game is virtually a one man band. That may also be a truism for Canada.

Kipling wrote of the “flanneled fools at the wicket”, at about the time that cricket was introduced to areas beyond the Kybher Pass, (1860):

Would that our own fools were at the wicket,
for as cricketers we would know how to get them out.

Kipling’s observation pretty well summarizes and reflects the views I have heard in the last six months. I should clarify that ‘heard’ means communications in all modes and forms current in today’s cricket world.

I believe that the collective wisdom of the masses will always, eventually, prevail. I heard, or overheard, the word shambles and its equivalent, as a descriptive for the management of our game at the national level. Often, and in many places from Vancouver to Toronto, other more severe words replaced ‘management’. I do not expect to hear too much of a variation on the theme when I visit Montreal in the fall. It may happen that with a shrug characteristic of the Quebecois I will
hear an expletive in Canada’s other official language, for I know that many new Canadians from the sub-continent now take pride in the use of Joual and the Gaullic shrug. “Plus c'est change, plus c'est la meme chose".

Experiences this past month have shown me that the resolve of the average cricketer is to get on with his own game. To the average cricketer, whose aspirations are to play regularly for his club, the national association is no more than an irrelevant distraction. One might turn that around and ask, "What benefit does the CCA bring to the average club and its members". At the club level I have determine that cricket is alive, vibrant, and unfettered by massive debt and unrealistic expectations. And why would it be anything else? There is no game plan.
Let me re-phrase that. There may be a game plan. However, without making the troops on the ground aware of what the plan is, there is no possibility that they will assist in the implementation.

Of course everyone knows that in order to implement a plan there is a requirement for strategy and resources. All these factors are based on the pre-condition of intellectual capacity to comprehend the dimension of the task. Do I think that there is the resource of intellectual capacity? Most certainly I do, however it is at the grassroots of our game, and not demonstratably vested and focused in a few individuals who are at the locus of the power structure. You, the cricketers have to make a choice. As the song goes, you can ‘just keep dancing’ or you can be
proactive. It’s your game. Take it back, if that is what you want.

The tossed coin is in the air, and it is your call, but remember to keep playing with a straight bat.


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