By John L. Aaron
Come Saturday, October 10, 2015, Spring Creek Park Cricket Ground at Gateway Drive at the Erskine Street Exit of the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn, will be the scene of an Inaugural Celebrity Cricket Match honoring the life and legacy of the late Roy Sweeney, and his many contributions to the sport of cricket in America.
In so many ways the legacy of Roy Sweeney is inscribed in the pitch at the center of the small oval adjacent to the hustle and bustle of the big box stores, and parking lots overshadowing the hallowed fenced ground, listed simply as part of B165, a 54.78 acre piece of park property, known more for its salt marshes, than for the cricket played there.
Like every one of the more than 1,700 parks in New York City with a name of historical or geographical significance associated with it, the small oval dedicated to cricket, should be dedicated and renamed in the honor of Roy Sweeney – A pioneer cricket promoter, up until his death two years ago. It was through the persistence and diligence of the late Roy Sweeney that the Spring Creek Cricket ground, now with bathroom facilities attached, became a reality.
Hopefully at the urging of some local cricket stakeholders, the small patch of green interrupted by a 22 yard strip of jute at the center, will become known as the Roy Sweeney Cricket Ground – a fitting tribute to a man who gave so much to the promotion, development and growth of the sport in the United States. Roy Sweeney, a visionary and a man of humble beginnings from his native Jamaica, walked among Presidents, Mayor’s, State Senators, Congressmen, Assemblymen, City Councilors, District Leaders, and the man in the street.
Not only did Roy Sweeney talk the talk and walk the walk; he delivered the goods, a testament to the number of celebrities invited to participate in the Celebrity Match at Spring Creek next Saturday, October 10. Celebrities from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to the property manager of Gateway Plaza Mall. An indication of the caliber of government, religious, business, and civic personalities petitioned by Roy Sweeney, in the name of the sport of cricket and more adequate facilities for the growth of the sport.
The legacy of Roy Sweeney has already begun to carve itself into the landscape of cricket fields in New York City. The participation of those invited to the celebrity match is a fitting tribute to a man, to whom cricket came before self. Roy Sweeney; an unsung celebrity, with a petition in hand and a handshake in the other, would for generations stand as a tall statuesque figure over almost any cricket ground in New York.
Among those invited to participate in the celebrity match are, The Hon Yvette D. Clarke, Congresswoman, 9th Congressional Dist., Brooklyn, Hon. Akeem Jeffries, Congressman, 8th Congressional Dist., Brooklyn, Hon. Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President, Hon. Charles Baron, NY State Assemblyman, 60th Dist., Brooklyn, Hon. Inez Baron, NYC, Council Member, 42nd Dist., Brooklyn, Hon. Alan Maisel, NYC Council Member, 46th Dist., Brooklyn, Hon Nick Perry, NY State Assemblyman, 58th Dist., Brooklyn, Hon. John Sampson, NY State Senator, 19th Dist., Brooklyn, Commissioner Julius Speigel, former Brooklyn Parks Commissioner, Martin Maher, Chief of Staff, NYC Parks & Recreation, Michael Chambers, Director, Cricket Hall of Fame, Vincent Hosang, President & CEO, Caribbean Food Delights, Dennis Hawthorne, President & CEO, Dennis Shipping, Hon Frank Sedio, Brooklyn Democratic Party Chairman, Hon. Kevin Jeffrey, Brooklyn Borough Commissioner, NYC Parks, Bishop Dr. Cecil G. Riley, Freedom Hall Church of God, and Norma Bang, Property Manager, Gateway Center, Brooklyn.
Organized and presented by the United States Cricket Promoters Association, the Celebrity Match will also involve several local cricket stars.
The activities start promptly at 10:00am and it promises to be a day of fun cricket and reflections on the life and unselfish contributions of Roy Sweeney – a cricketer’s friend.