Compton Cricket Club offers alternative to gangs for LA teens

The city of Compton, California has a cricket club, and it has been changing the lives of young people in the area since 1995.

In a short film produced by Grantland Network, the founders of the Compton Cricket Club talked about how they got started, and several players shared their experiences.

Social activist and co-founder of the Compton Cricket Club, Ted Hayes, talked about getting started:

“The thing originally started back in 1985 when I purposely went to live with the homeless on the sidewalks and streets of downtown Los Angeles,” Hayes said.

Hayes entered homeless life to better understand a solution for it.  He then founded Dome Village in downtown LA to house the homeless. Fellow Compton Cricket Club co-founder and film producer Katy Haber introduced cricket to Hayes when a local cricket club was in need of a player, and shortly after Hayes introduced the game to friends at Dome Village.

One of the first homeless players, Mustafa Khan met Hayes and Haber at Dome Village and decided to join the team:

“I went out there swung the bat, hit the ball for the first time and when I made contact there was a feeling that came through that bat, that I kind of got hooked on,” Khan said.

In 1995, the founders started a second cricket team in Compton. They chose to expand to Compton in an effort to make a positive impact on youth living there by offering an alternative to gangs and violence and the opportunity to travel.

The club’s president, Sergio Pinales, was introduced to cricket when Hayes and Haber did a workshop at Compton High School in 1997:

“It broadened my horizons, my thinking,” Pinales said. “I was the first person in my family to ever travel outside the United States.”

The team has consisted of members of the Los Angeles police department and youth from the communities they work in.

The Grantland video has been viewed over 59,402 times on YouTube since it was posted Tuesday.

Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals