Every year, with NYPD sponsorship, 200 young kids, most of them Muslim, gather in open spaces to yell and throw and hit. More specifically, they're praising glovesmanship, bowling carrom balls, and knocking Dilscoops: They're playing cricket for the "NYPD United."
It's an idea that came straight from Police Commissioner Ray Kelly as a way to reach out to Muslim youth in the city. It's run by Detective Jeff Thompson and Sergeant Adeel Rana of the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau and, according to them, it's having great success. Participation has doubled in the three years the league has been running. League standings are reported in local Pakistani-language newspapers. And, twice a weekday all summer long, uninitiated spectators in Queens and Brooklyn get a quick education on the world's second most popular game - and an introduction to the young Muslim men who are playing it.
Here's John donning his new NYPD Cricket team hat: