A dozen dreamers from the hood, one geographically displaced athletic passion. Dare we say Jamaican bobsled team?
Nah, but the Compton Cricket Club is nine times as street. Even streeter: These guys might actually have a chance at beating “comparably competitive Australian and indigenous teams in Sydney and Melbourne” at their own game this February, when CCC embarks on a two-week tour Down Under [Fishbowl LA].
And this is how much the Australians heart them:
Twenty-four-year-old Australian dude Hugh Snelgrove is inked in practically a full tribute sleeve that reads “Cricket Outta Compton.” He also commissioned a giant replica of the tat on a graffiti wall in Bondi Beach, Australia. Now that's love.
From the mean streets of Compton to the best cricket clubs of Australia, the world's most improbable cricket team will begin their tour January 29.
The first All-American Cricket Team, comprised of African American and Latino youth, was formed to provide an alternative to gang activities that ruled their neighborhoods. Compton's Homies and the Popz have been playing cricket for 15 years and credit the sport with their salvation. …
This historic journey to Australia is designed to increase the efforts of the Compton Cricket Club as Ambassadors of Peace and Good will to fulfill its epic mission to end gang violence and all other violence around the world.
Plus, they're trying to raise money for a cricket facility in Compton, and will somehow be raising funds on the side for Australian charities like Queensland food crisis. Really — could these motherfuckers get any radder? Oh yeah, they could:
Head “Popz” Ted Hayes tells the Weekly that when the team first started, the youngest member, Danny, was just 11.
“The idea is cross-generational,” he says. “If you do cricket correctly and live correctly, you will one day become a Person of Power [aka PoPz — get it?] like me, with gray hair.”
Of the Aussie with the Compton tattoo, Hayes says: “He was so enamored with us.”
“When his mother found out about [the tattoo], she hit the frickin' ceiling,” he adds. “But we didn't tell him to do it. He did it on his own. When he showed it to us, we were like, 'OK dude, that's you.'”
Another psycho move by the team sponsor: He set up one of their games against Melbourne University, which Hayes compares to a little-league team butting heads with USC — although “we do got a few little American tricks that we play.”
Writes Snelgrove of his first trip to L.A.:
“However the bright lights of Hollywood soon dimmed. The stark reality of team members still living in one of the most dangerous 10 square miles in America soon became painfully clear.
Team member Jesse Cazarez, 20, was not present at the UMBRO photo shoot with his older brother Emidio, because he wanted to watch the Superbowl. After the game, while standing in the street talking to his neighbours about the outcome,he was killed in a random drive by shooting. The humble performance fee the team earned from the UMBRO photo shoot to be used to expand training programs, was spent burying one of their own instead.”
But today's looking up. After showing Australia how it's done in Compton, the team lands back in L.A. on Valentine's Day. “Hopefully, the nation and world will show us much love,” says Heyes.
Worst case scenario, we got enough to go around.