By Audrey Moore
“What a shot, yaar! SHABASH!” The batting team roars with excitement, cheering on the teammate who just successfully smashed our taped tennis ball outside of Cromwell and into Brittingham Field. Another six runs are added to the score. Immediately, I check my camera and scroll through the photos to make sure I got a good shot of the small white ball whirling past the bleachers; content, I kneel back down in the dugout and poise myself for another set of cricketing clicks. This is the focus of my life for the next six hours: it’s Friday Night Lights, and there’s no place I’d rather be.
In fact, this is my life every Friday night. From 6:00pm until midnight, I trek from my nearby apartment to the Cromwell Track and Field Stadium to manage our Trojan Cricket Club’s Cromwell Premier League (CPL) tournament and photograph our players. Now as the acting club President, it’s amazing to believe that just over a year ago I couldn’t even describe the rules of cricket, let alone partake in this fun, competitive pastime.
I owe that to USC.
Given that USC has the highest percentage of international students enrolled in the world, it’s no surprise that some of the first friends I met here came from countries far outside the U.S. In my freshman year, the International Residential College toured me around Chinatown for the Mid-Autumn Festival, where I tried my first moon cake (red bean is definitely the best!) and ogled over traditional dragon dances. My Kenyan choir friend taught me how to play the congas after a rehearsal session at the Caruso Catholic Center. And the Indian graduate students who worked in our dining hall introduced me to cricket.
With no description other than it being “similar to baseball” (I later discovered that was a lie), I went to my first cricket match excited to learn more about the sport which had become a second religion to nearly every South Asian I had met. I was not disappointed.
What I walked into that night was not only the Finals match for the season, but one of the greatest comebacks CPL has ever seen! With only two balls (equivalent to pitches) left in the game, a rookie player made the league Hall of Fame by smashing every ball over the rooftop of GFS and taking home the Cromwell Cup for his team. I was hooked!
Camera in hand, I returned the following semester (what was then Fall 2015) to witness every match of the season and capture the best moments for the players to reflect on. I made a point to become a yaar (friend) to each player I met, and started learning new languages like Hindi, Kannada, Gujarati, Marathi, Panjabi, Tamil, and Telugu. My favorite word was “shabash,” the Hindi equivalent of “bravo,” or “great job,” and I made a point to shout it out frequently during the matches.
Fast-forward to one semester later when I was brought on to the club E-board for my efforts. Now, one more semester forward, I act as the club President.
I often reflect on how working with the Trojan Cricket Club has been an amazing opportunity that could not have happened without the immense diversity and international presence at USC. It’s one more reason why I am proud to be a Trojan.
“Laghe raho!”– Fight On!
Featured image by Alessandro Bogliari on Unsplash
Audrey is a third-year student studying International Relations (Global Business) for her major and Spanish as a minor. She has traveled to 20 countries outside the U.S., and is an avid language-learner. In her free time, she loves to listen to music, take/edit digital photography, or go on boba or milkshake runs! She has lived abroad for three years, has experience working with students in ESL programs, and has had a blast learning cultural tips from her international friends here at USC.