Last night, my roommate and I went to our first cricket match (thanks to Amanda’s family friends who hooked us up with tickets) at the Beauséjour Stadium. The St. Lucia Zouks hosted the Guyana Amazon Warriors in game six of the 2015 Caribbean Premier League. The stadium holds 13,000 people and neither of us knew much about cricket – I knew there were players, a wicket, a ball and a bat but I didn’t know how it was played.
When we arrived, the seats were about a third full and all were wet from rain. We found seats pretty close to the field and watched workers remove the gigantic tarps from the field to prepare it for the match. Part of the tarps’ function are to keep the natural grass playing field from getting too wet in the rain. I think the machine in the photo below is used to soak up water.
— St Lucia Zouks (@SLUZouks) June 27, 2015
After the first few pitches, it rained again. And it rained hard. The game was stopped and the field was again covered with tarps so large that one could cover more than half of Calgary Folk Festival tarps at main stage (maybe). We took cover under the bleachers where fans continued the revelry of the social event that is cricket.
An hour or so later and we were back in our seats watching the game and most every seat was now taken. There were two young men in front of us and while they were both drinking whiskey from a plastic water bottle (commonly seen in the stands), one was more interested in hitting on women and the other helped teach us a little about “the greatest game of all” (cricket-rules.com). Listen to this clip as the pitcher runs and makes his throw to the batter in front of the wicket – feel the excitement.
We were also seated close to the Guyanese cheer-leading squad. To a white Canadian like myself, who spent the first half of his life in the Manitoba prairies, the things Caribbean/Latin American cheerleaders could do with their butts while dancing to loud music was entirely enthralling. The video below doesn’t display that particular talent but is still most impressive.
Okay back to the game. We were enjoying the match and the excitement of the announcer and the fans. That enjoyment only increased as we started gaining an understanding of cricket. I now understand why millions of people are so passionate for this game and watching it live is truly thrilling.
— CPL T20 (@CPL) June 27, 2015
I was happy to see a work colleague from the OECS at the game and we visited for a bit. He moved here from Germany to work on renewable energy policy and initiatives for the area. St. Lucia only has about 170,000 people living on the island (not including tourists) but it still feels cool when I run into someone I know – makes me feel at home.
The game didn’t end until after midnight and we weren’t sure where to find a bus to make our way home so we considered ourselves lucky that my colleague offered to drive us home. Turns out that he was a competitive volleyball player in Germany – he played at the national level. I might just take him up on his offer and join him for pick-up beach volleyball that happens weekday afternoons after work and weekend mornings north of Castries. Then again, I haven’t played since the kids were born…