The struggle continues for youth cricket in USA
Peter Whitehead is 12 years old, and president of his local cricket club. Following on from Gladstone Dainty's promise that "youth and female cricket programmes are the priorities of USACA," we print Peter's email and would welcome comments.
If you've had a similar experience to Peter, drop us an email
I am a 12 year old kid and the president of a youth cricket club in Mesa, Arizona, at Fremont Junior High. I would like to say that the USACA or the MLCUS has done nothing to help me start this club.
I started laying the foundations for this club in August 2005. I first contacted the USACA thinking that my national cricket association would be glad to help me. I first wrote to the president and the vice-president. After two weeks, the vice-president responded to me by saying that I should contact my local USACA representative. I then contacted the director in charge of Arizona. Two weeks later he told me that I should contact the California director. I then contacted the California director who after one week told me to contact the Arizona director. I contacted him again and he said that I should contact my local league, Arizona Cricket Association, but I got no response from them.
I then contacted Major League Cricket US (MLCUS) after pursuing help from the USACA for about three months. The MLCUS responded to me very [quickly] and told me they would help. For about seven months, they led me to believe that they would help me, but they were all talk and no action. I then refused to believe that they would ever help me. My assumption was right.
In the summer of June-July 2006 my family and I were in England. While there, I heard of Urban Cricket. I contacted them and they were very willing to help me, donating eight plastic bats and balls to start practice with. I was very pleased. Also, while there my father and I spent £200 each on equipment for the club.
After returning, I wrote to 20 different cricket companies asking for equipment. I only got responses from 3 of them and Kookaburra was the only company to help us by giving us 2 bats, 3 sets of leg-pads, 3 sets of batting gloves, 1 set of wicketkeeping gloves, and one set of wicketkeeping leg-pads.
Recently, I contacted the USACA for help with an artificial pitch since our numbers of boys and girls playing had grown from 10 kids per week to about 30 kids per week. They responded to my question about inter-USA matches, but I have never heard from them [regarding] a pitch.
Currently we have 20 to 30 boys and girls playing every week. They are divided into two teams and we practice weekly. From August until the middle of January, my father who is a teacher at Fremont JHS coached one team, and I coached mine. Recently one of the player’s fathers has come to coach my team when he is there. We had our first Twenty20 cricket match in January, and are planning to have one once per month until it gets too hot to play. Our next match is Saturday, February 23, 2007. All of the players are Americans and have only one citizenship, except for three players who hold British passports and citizenship.
In all, no USA cricket organization has helped me start this club. I have started it only with help from Kookaburra and Urban Cricket.
Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo