GAN 2019, 4th May in Euskirchen, Germany
*A "GAN" - Gala Awards Night of the DCU (German Cricket Union) – is a celebration of sport and intercultural exchange which also provides a networking opportunity for cooperation in sport-centred social projects.
The following takes a look at the sport of cricket and how the DCU as an independent organisation has contributed over the past few years and sees its role going forwards. For sustainable success, new partnerships for European cooperation and the collaboration with other national institutions of Sport and the DOSB (German Olympic Association) within Germany are key.
The value and values of Cricket
As we are well aware, sporting activity offers benefits to both the individual and society. Participation helps improve or maintain health and fitness levels; it can aid personal development and provide fun, social contact and a sense of belonging. Sport promotes social integration, cohesion and inclusion as well as sporting values, mutual respect and mutual understanding.
With the benefits of a sporting mindset within an environment of increased transparency and directness, Cricket has something to offer everyone. As a primarily summer activity, it has complemented other sports such as football for many years in Germany – thereby ensuring that all year round team sport participation is available to everyone from university sides to families living and working in exclusive metropolitan environments.
the sport provides a great platform for intercultural exchange
Apart from general fitness and flexibility, cricket helps to develop hand-eye coordination, timing and even calculation skills! As a team sport, cricket is unusual in that when one bats or bowls, the levels of discipline, skill and concentration required are on a par with those demanded of individual type sports participants. Spread across all continents, the sport provides a great platform for intercultural exchange.
Members of the still relatively young DCU organisation are dedicated to getting people involved with cricket at all levels and to this end have initiated refugee and school support programs where, with the help of partners, participants received all the kit they need to get started. At the other end of the spectrum, some of the top players in Germany have been given opportunities to play in competitions abroad and to compete with and against some of the big names of the sport. Last year, North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) hosted the first German Premier League C10 competition where top players from Germany competed with and against world-class former international players. It was a great new experience for everyone involved including spectators new to the game.
Since the founding of the DCU in 2015, the founders are pleased to have been able to help raise the profile of Cricket in Germany and to accelerate the realisation of the sport’s potential in the country for everyone. Providing artificial wicket surfaces to a number of clubs in different regions, their greatest challenge remains getting access to and developing facilities – sports fields – suitable for hosting competitive cricket as well as training facilities to develop talented young players. Nevertheless, through collaboration with local authorities and other sports and institutional bodies, real progress has been made including training coaches and match officials as well as participating in sport-oriented social projects.
(*From excerpts from the talk given by DCU Chief Executive Neil Townsend at GAN 2019)