- 19 Feb
In the past, when you said the word cricket around Laurel Park racetrack a chirpy insect came to mind.
Times have changed. In early February the Washington Cricket Center opened on the second floor of the Laurel Park grandstand. That’s cricket, as in the ball-and-stick game, better understood in England, Australia and other countries once ruled by the British Empire.
“I’m from Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon when it was under British rule,” said Dr. Ajith Silva, a professor on aging at the University of Maryland, University College, who owns the new facility. “I grew up playing cricket. I’ve been here [in the United States] for 25 years. I have a passion for the sport and I do a lot of cricket coaching.
“My philosophy is to train young kids. You’ve got to catch them early, train them and build up the game. It’s the only way to promote the game.”
It is a philosophy that management at Laurel Park can certainly relate to. The Maryland Jockey Club and its new general manager, Sal Sinatra, are working hard to attract young families with children to the racetrack, to instill a love for horse racing that will carry into later, adult life.