By Anthony Lopopolo
After hosting its first-ever cricket tournament on Jan. 25, the Ryerson South Asian Alliance (RyeSAA) is eager to finalize a program that will accommodate the athletic side of the student group.
While the 10-year-old RyeSAA has not been known as a sports-based organization, the group is currently in the process of etching a permanent spot for cricket in their agenda.
The organization was inspired to create a cricket program after over 100 students at Ryerson and other universities played in their tournament this semester.
“It was our first time and we didn’t really have a lot of time on our hands — we started planning about three weeks after school opened, so there was a lot of rushing and so forth. But what I really liked was the turnout,” said Roop Gill, a second-year journalism student and a Rye -SAA member.
“I liked the fact that so many people were interested. It was like a pat on the back just by the number of people who registered and the amount of exposure it got.”
Cricket is played in over 100 countries and more than two billion people watched the last Cricket World Cup.
RyeSAA wants to bring a little of that magic to the university.
The tournament, which featured squads from the University of Toronto, York University and Ryerson, was won by one of four teams fielded by Ryerson and led by cricket co-ordinator Faisal Hussain.
While the idea was originally conceived by Atif Rizvi, a second-year aerospace student and a member of the executive committee, Hussain called the entire operation a “collaborative effort.” adding it required his team of cricket players to “take initiative at our end.”
The spirit of the sport is a good way to reach out to more students from the South Asian community.
“We wanted to do something unconventional while fitting the purposes of the SAA, to have a sporting event which falls in with the cultural values of the Alliance,” she said.
It is a kind of sentiment that will need to be embraced to ensure the RyeSAA will be successful in their venture.
“Cricket is not that popular of a sport, so we do need contacts and people who actually play the game,” Gill said.
But that’s not the case in the GTA — some universities had to be turned down in order to arrange balanced pools of play.
And Gill wants to get an early start on planning next year.
“Judging from the turnout we had at the cricket tournament, getting teams involved won’t be a problem,” she said. “But if we can tackle all the administrative stuff beforehand, then we’ll see the same number of teams, if not more.”
The RyeSAA executive committee is the board that manages and delegates all of the organization’s duties.
Gill said they need to agree to the cricket proposal before any major plans can be put into motion next year.
And Sports and Recreation would have to grant sufficient playing time to use their facilities for the tournament next year.
“It depends on different things that are out of the control of people who just want to do it,” said Gill.
“It’s up to the new execs to take initiative of doing so and it’s also up to the school or whether there are facilities available.”
And if everything comes together, there is no reason to believe the tournament won’t be back for another year.
“We’re hoping that the tournament actually turns into an annual event.”