What can I say?
Three cheers for Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Recently, Dick’s, a mega-sports store, has opened a couple of outlets in Phoenix. (And when I say Phoenix, I actually mean in the desolate wastelands of Phoenix’s suburbs.) Not too long ago, we stopped in the one just past the Hawaiian BBQ place and just this side of the Arctic circle and I made a fairly exhaustive search to see if they carried any cricket gear.
No such luck.
While I’ve located an “English” grocery in town (that’s really Indian) that carries bats, balls and protective gear, I can neither afford to spend hundreds of dollars on the gear, nor do I have any practical opportunity to play. However, my kids – Michelle at least – are getting old enough to try playing sports (and James is willing to give it a try, even if he hasn’t quite got the coordination yet.) The problem is, I just can’t really see handing Michelle a fine, expensive chunk of English Willow and letting her brandish it. That just seems a recipe for a broken skull and a broken wallet.
No, what I needed was something like those cheap plastic kids’ baseball bats that they sell at every toy store in America. Well? Come to think of it, why not? Surely they must do the same thing in the UK. If not there, then surely in Australia, where no doubt they wean their children by giving them cricket bats soaked in a mixture of beer and vegemite.
While I couldn’t find exactly that sort of thing online, I did finally come across beach cricket sets, which not only feature plastic bats, but include plastic balls, stumps and bails.
Except for one thing: Shipping to the US is quite literally $60 – that’s more than the cost of the actual set.
That’s where Dick’s came along. They might not have cricket gear in their stores, but they’ve got a limited selection from the mail order service, which included a Gray-Nicolls beach cricket set. It cost twice as much as the set from the UK, but also has twice as much equipment – two bats, two sets of stumps and bails and four balls, and shipping is only $10.
The set itself is considerably stronger plastic than I’d dare hope. Now I just have to figure out where to take the kids to practice… and find 18 more people to flesh out two teams…
One problem at a time. In the meantime, look at my son’s follow-through on his first attempt at bowling.