Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Do They Play Cricket at Microsoft?

At the Day Job, I work on a large corporate campus. There's a lot of open space and we have basketball courts, tennis courts, softball fields and soccer fields. After work, and often during lunch, there will be groups of employees playing some sport almost every day. A couple years ago, I drove through Microsoft's campus and they had much the same sort of playing areas. The main thing I noticed was a lot more Frisbee playing and Hacky-Sac. Younger crowd, I guess.

So tonight, as a wandered out to the parking lot, I noted the usual Wednesday night soccer game, but saw another group on the nearby softball field. I thought it was a softball game, but that was odd because the softball field overlaps the soccer field. But these guys were also playing in a different direction than the field is laid out. And the position players didn't seem to be the right number of people in the right spots... and the first hit that I noticed... was a golf shot... with an odd looking... oh yeah... that's a cricket bat.

Now I have seen cricket on TV while in the UK (and sometimes on ESPN, if memory serves). I've never really figured out the rules, but it is interesting to watch and try to figure out the rules. It's sorta like baseball, but the rules are just as opaque to the casual viewer. But I've never seen it live, so I dumped my backpack in the car and walked up to the bleachers to watch for a while. It apparently was a pickup game. Most of the players appeared to be Indian and there was a very spirited match going on. A trash container and its lid made up the "wickets" at each end of the ersatz "pitch". The players were mostly in work clothes and while the bat seemed official enough, the ball appeared to be a tennis ball. I think this made for a safer match -- perhaps like playing slow pitch softball over baseball.

Anyway, I stood and watched. The guys in the stands were having a great time teasing (alternately) the batsmen and the bowlers. Most of the time when the bat connected with the ball, the hit wasn't particularly square, but one batsman did get off a nice long drive. Based upon what I've seen on TV, the hitting was par for the course, but the bowling was pretty uneven.

It was interesting to me in a couple of ways... as a kid, I can remember playing pickup games of baseball or basketball in the alley and the periodic football game in the park. No uniforms, no coaches, no officials. Just a bunch of kids playing. You don't see that today -- maybe some basketball and a touch football game from time to time, but you rarely see a pack of kids getting together to play a sport without a coach. I wonder what happened there? And watching these guys play cricket, it seemed to me that most of them were probably born and raised in India and they probably had pickup games of cricket over there as kids. And here they were, far from where they were raised, playing a game that likely reminded them of home.

I think I was the only spectator and after a short while, I felt like maybe I was intruding a bit, so I headed back to the car. But it was one of those moments when you think about how small the world is and how far so many people travel to make a living. And in the midst of much turmoil at the Day Job, it is refreshing to see groups of employees hanging around after work to play and compete and relax. I think that's important. And it gives me hope that on the other side of the current state of affairs, there is hope for our company -- because of the teamwork of its people.


pakurilecz said...

Patrick a little bit of googling turns up the following answers to your question
Microsoft Cricket Teams Attract Indian Engineers,2933,296255,00.html

same article different link

pakurilecz said...

Turns out there is a league in the PACNW