The Family Resource Centre, the Portage Community Revitalization Cooperation, and Portage la Prairie Local Immigration Partnership have banded together to help bring a new sport to the area.
The organizations have a few coaches and are putting on cricket demonstrations for anyone in the area wanting to learn more. The first of the four sessions took place yesterday at Rotary Republic of Manitobah Park.
"We are working together to bring cricket to the community," says Family Resource Centre Wellness Director Vienna Muise. "We want to introduce kids that maybe wouldn't have the opportunity to play or don't know anything about it, but not just kids, all people in general, to the sport. Essentially, we want to connect kids to recreation."
Muise adds the Local Immigration Partnership was able to secure grants to make this free for anyone looking to attend.
"Through that funding, we were able to bring kids cricket. It started in the winter time, which worked really well because we know how long and cold our winters can be," Muise explains. "One of our things is, if there's not funding for families (to put their kids in sports), we try to find funding. We all figured, as organizations, this was a great opportunity to work together and introduce the community to something that hasn't been here before."
Coach Raj helped teach the game last night. He knows it can be difficult to get people invested in a new game but notes he's happy the Portage community is trying to make this happen.
"This is a good experience for me. It's a new experience. I've always played but never coached anyone. So, this is my first time but I like it," Raj continues. "I'm trying my best to spread this sport here."
Raj was born in India but now resides in Portage. He says he's grown to enjoy one of Canada's main pastimes in hockey, and adds it's nice to now share his passion with the community.
"I actually feel proud. People are trying to get into the game. I've seen people play hockey and stuff, which is a nice game, too, but it's a nice trade-off (to enjoy each other's sport)."
Muise says they will have three more free cricket sessions this month.
"This is something that we're doing through June. Next Wednesday (June 7) is actually going to be a match between the Manitoba Cricket Association and Portage la Prairie's Cricket Club here."
If you're looking to learn more about the sport of cricket visit Republic Park on June 7, 14, and/or 21.