Cricket in Brooklyn
On summer Sundays a group of men descend onto the green fields of Jamaica Bay’s Gateway Park in Brooklyn. Dressed in white from head to toe—trousers, sleeved shirts, and wide-brimmed hats—the scene almost resembles a religious ritual. But the men have gathered to play cricket, a bat and ball game that first originated in sixteenth-century England, and was later transmitted to the West Indies, Australia, and India through the country’s imperial pursuits—and that’s been continuously practiced about the globe ever since, taking on increased significance in the forging of post-colonial nationhood and identity. In the newly released A Gentleman’s War—a transmedia documentary that includes interviews with scholars of the sport, photographs of fans and players, as well as documentary shorts—filmmaker Madeleine Hunt Ehrlich follows one contemporary cricket team for a single season, staging a compelling story of black diaspora, belonging, and beauty.
When I lived in Brooklyn, I used to enjoy watching West Indian & South Asian immigrants playing cricket in Prospect Park (I never got out to Jamaica Bay). Before that, I’d watch the matches in Washington Park on Chicago’s South Side. Even here in Greensboro, there’s a group of South Asian immigrants who play at a local high school’s baseball field. I must see this movie.