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ACTIVIST KEEPING VALLEY KIDS AWAY FROM STICKY WICKETS.

Byline: Eric Leach Daily News Staff Writer

Ted Hayes, who has been a leading advocate for the homeless people of Los Angeles for more than a decade, went to the Santa Clarita area Saturday for his new crusade - teaching young people about the game of cricket.

Hayes said that since cricket has unique social elements that make its name synonymous with fair play and sportsmanship, it helps young people learn valuable lessons about life.

``The sportsmanship element makes this a perfect kind of challenge for inner-city kids,'' Hayes said. ``Cricket is a social game as well as a highly competitive kind of game. It teaches players to respect themselves and the authority that exists on the field.''

Hayes started a cricket team among homeless men from the Dome Village in downtown Los Angeles and took the team to England in 1995.

Because of the warm reception and success of that trip, he took the advice of one of the homeless men and started recruiting youths in Compton.

``In 1997 we took a group of kids from Compton back to England,'' he said. ``They had a chance to meet Prince Edward and have tea in Buckingham Palace. We went to the place where cricket was born, and our guys won.''

Hayes said he is now trying to expand the program into the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys.

``Today was our first venture into the Santa Clarita area. We started training Saturday. We want to help send them on a trip to England as well, hopefully by next spring. We also plan to expand this into Pacoima and North Hollywood,'' Hayes said.

Americans will eventually get so interested in cricket that it will surpass soccer in popularity, Hayes predicted, noting that at one time soccer was hardly known in the United States.

``These kids will become the fathers of American cricket,'' he said.

Although most Americans are largely unfamiliar with the game, cricket is England's national summer sport and has devotees throughout the world. It is played with a bat and ball between two teams of 11 players, with the nonbatting side taking up positions in the field, like baseball. The batsman tries to keep the bowler from hitting the wicket, which is a kind of goal.

CAPTION(S):

3 Photos, box

PHOTO (1-- color in SAC edition) Ted Hayes, the coach of a team of cricket players from Compton, throws the ball during a game in the Santa Clarita area.

(2 -- 3 -- color -- ran in SAC edition only) A team of cricket players from Compton, including, left, Steve Castenada hitting and Emilio Casarez catching, introduce the game to local youths at Val Verde Park. Ted Hayes, below, coach of the Compton team who wants to expand the game into the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys, throws the ball toward the batsman, while Steven Benson of Val Verde, above, reacts to being ``bowled out'' (called out) during a game.

Terri Thuente/Daily News

Box: Cricket

Bradford Mar/Daily News
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Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 9, 1998
Words:499
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