Thursday, March 22, 2007

Cricket Anyone? A Cricket World Cup Exhibit

The Art, Music and Recreation Center is currently featuring a small exhibit celebrating the 2007 Cricket World Cup. The exhibit is located in a display case on the Main Library's 4th floor and features material from our book, magazine, and digital collections.

The 2007 International Cricket Council Cricket World Cup is being played from March 13 through April 28, 2007. The games are being hosted by the West Indies countries of Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbadoes, Granada, and Guyana. Sixteen teams are competing to win this event that is held every four years.

While not of the same notoriety as its soccer counterpart, the Cricket World Cup is passionately followed by untold millions of fans, primarily from Great Britain and its former colonies. There is sizable fanbase for cricket in the San Francisco Bay Area owing to our diverse population. For many fans, cricket, like baseball, is not just about the game, but the atmosphere and rituals that a match provides.

The Library has books that introduce cricket to the novice, such as Robert Eastaway's Cricket Explained: From Grubbers to Googlies - A Beginner's Guide to the Great English Pastime. (The 2005 edition of this book, What Is A Googly, is on order at the Library). Beyond A Boundary by C. L. R. James is considered by some to be a classic of sports writing. This book is a memoir that uses cricket as a means of looking at issues of politics, colonialism, and race.

Lagaan: Once Upon A Time In India is a 2001 feature film from India where cricket plays a prominent role. The summary of the film reads: "A village in India asks the British lord to cancel their land tax after a drought ruins the crops. The lord offers to cancel the tax if the villagers beat his staff in a game of cricket." The Library has copies of this film at the Main Library and several branches.

While many Americans have never watched a game of cricket, it was once America's national game, and its history is tied to and precedes that of baseball. In California, cricket had a longer popularity since major baseball teams were established here later. San Francisco was the hub of the state's cricket activity by 1900. The following image is a 1875 photograph of the Recreation Field at the corner of Folsom and 25 Street from the Library's San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection.

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