The wicket truth

North Shore player brings world of cricket to schools.

To suggest Jonathan Snow’s sport of choice is unusual for a typical North Shore kid is something he readily acknowledges.

Snow plays for the B.C. U-25 cricket side and the North Shore Cricket Club’s premier squad. The Sutherland grad also played for the national

U-19 team and has travelled the world playing for both B.C. and Canada. In 1998 he was in Trinidad and Tobago as part of the U-19 national squad for an international tournament. The 21-year-old just returned from Australia, where he represented Canadian cricket.

Now, he’s devoting his time to promoting the game he loves locally.

“We’re trying to get some interest through the schools and get some more kids to play,” Snow said over hot chocolate this week.

North Shore Cricket Club communications manager Robert Adie said there is a need to give the game a higher profile because the majority of new players are coming from new Canadian families that have had previous exposure to cricket.

“With the born-and-bred players, we find their parents tend to come from Common-wealth countries,” Adie said.

“It doesn’t have the same sex appeal of hockey, baseball, football.”

So, Snow is touring North Shore elementary schools — four schools this month, four next and possibly more in June — to teach young students about the game.

“I teach them batting and fielding. I’m teaching some bowling this week and we’ll play some games,” he said. “I haven’t had a kid say, ‘Oh, not cricket today.’ They always want to play.”

He encourages kids to come out to the club’s kanga practices, where they learn the game playing with plastic bats, balls and wickets.

Snow recognizes cricket isn’t the foremost sport on young minds, and admits the game wasn’t foremost on his mind when, at the tender age of 11, he gave up softball to pick up a cricket bat. He got involved when the cricket-playing son of a mother’s friend invited him to come to a practice.

“There was just something about it,” he said, contemplating what the initial attraction was. “You bat until you go out so you bat longer. That’s good.

“In high school, most of my friends thought it was cool that I played cricket. They wanted to learn more about it.”

Snow said working with kids easily beats his Burnaby mill job because it is fun and a learning experience for him.

He must be having a great time because he’s spent Tuesdays this month at Plymouth, Wednesdays at Mulgrave, Thursdays at Gleneagles and Fridays at Canyon Heights elementaries.

Adie said Snow is an ideal candidate for the B.C. Cricket Association-endorsed school assignment: “He’s a really good kid. He’s worked diligently with the young cricketers.”

“I’m more of a bowling all-rounder,” Snow said, explaining that he serves up the ball to batters and fields pretty well anywhere on the circular cricket pitch. Snow will play for the North Shore premier side this summer and doesn’t rule out playing for a national squad again in the future.

For now, he’s as content promoting his game of choice as he is playing it: “Kids don’t hear about it or know about it. Their only exposure to the game is from me.”