The Fort Hood Cricket Club held the very first cricket match on a military installation Sept. 28 on a small plot of land in between Early College High School and Hood Stadium.

The first of its kind on a military installation, the Fort Hood Cricket Club boasts a diverse group of players. Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world, behind soccer and many Soldiers are happy to have the opportunity to play the sport that they grew up with.

Lt. Col. Paul Otto, III Corps chief of fires, was one of the people most involved in getting the club going. With help from the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare & Recreation, the dream became a reality.

“This thing started back in this summer, but the idea was about two years ago, to be honest with you,” Otto said. “On Fort Hood, there’s about 10,000 family members and Soldiers all together that are from different cultures. It was not represented on Fort Hood, so that started the idea.”

For those who don’t know, cricket is comparable to baseball in that the bowler (pitcher) bowls the ball toward the batsman. However, in order to get the batsman out, the bowler must knock pegs off of stumps, or the wicket, behind the batsman.

“I know we are here in Texas and cricket is new to a lot of people, so it gives you a chance to learn something else, to become a part of something that is really good,” Sgt. Sandrae Band, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, said. “It’s an experience that you probably wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else on a military installation.”

The passion that the players have for cricket is clear the moment they step on the field. It’s a part of their culture and they are excited to have the opportunity to share the game with those on Fort Hood.

“I was born in Jamaica where, being in the West Indies, cricket is a religion. Coming here, I represented III Corp in the Army Ten-Miler and I also represent III Corp in soccer, but when I had the opportunity to play cricket, this is a once in a lifetime,” Band said. “Nowhere here in Central Texas was there cricket. In the years to come, I guarantee people are going to talk about cricket on Fort Hood.”

For retiree Curtis Williams, who was born in Trinidad, cricket brings back childhood memories and it’s a great way for him to stay active.

“For me, it keeps me fit. I can tell you if you ask me my age, I guarantee you I’m older than everyone on this field, but I stay fit,” Williams said. “I got out of the military three years ago. I stay fit, I stay active and I love it.”

Saghir Khan is the captain of a cricket team in Round Rock and was happy to collaborate with Otto to help get the club going. He believes that cricket, like many other sports, makes you happy while keeping you busy with “positive work”. He said it gives the player a sense of accomplishment and it’s good for mental and physical health.

Anyone can join the Fort Hood Cricket Club. The members are more than willing to teach new members who may be new to the sport.

For more information visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/381373449463939 or call Otto at 678-764-1987.