So what happens when in an American Community you have 20+ Indian families? Nothing much, but a wild surge of cricket fever in the form a tournament called ‘The GPL Tournament‘!
You might think, it is a tournament of men playing cricket – big deal! But what if I tell you that they conduct this tournament every month? That they have an official auction for players on the lines of IPL. That they convert a tennis court into a cricket field. Also that they party hard after each tournament! Now we think, we have your attention!
Let’s dive into the world of Cricket played overseas and known as the GPL Tournament –
Where it All Started
If you are wondering what GPL stands for then, it is Gardens East League. Gardens East is the name of the Community where all these men live in Florida, USA. The men from the community had been playing casual cricket since a long time. But one day discussions over coffee led them to this brilliant idea of starting a league cricket tournament. This was two years ago and thus started the tradition of GPL Tournament!
Sharad More, one of the pioneer members of the league reminisces “GPL started through a discussion during coffee break and got converted into reality. Idea was to have a boys get together once in a month and involve each and every member of Gardens East irrespective of their cricketing talent.”
The Evolution of GPL
As they say, as things evolve they mature too! This was true in case of GPL too! The tournament started with captains picking up their team members by collecting chits thrown in air to now a sophisticated software developed by them for the player bidding process.
Suraj Sukumaran, also one of the pioneer members of the League who has now shifted outside Florida comments, “I still remember that GPL started off in a very amateur, yet entertaining way by a group of crazy cricket freaks including me. I can recollect the papers going up in the air with player names , and the designated captains picking up their ‘Kismat’ (lucky players). It slowly transformed into a very organized and improved tournament at Gardens East and boy, don’t ask me if I miss it.”
The Technology Effect
What do you expect when more than half the GPL members are working in the IT industry? Of course, they will develop their own auction software and test it too! What caught our attention is the fact that this auction software pulls out data and statistics about each player and his performance in the previous tournaments. The organizing team has also carefully formulated the rules and regulations of the auction.
The tournament is also characterised by score keeping apps and live mobile recordings which act as a third umpire. Technology indeed plays a major role in this cricket world!
The Actual Tournament
The actual tournament is action packed with enthralling moments! Each team player brings something to the table and the cohesion of all these talents sparkle the sportiveness of the tournament. Some players even dive on the hard tennis court, which just goes to show the seriousness with which this tournament is played! The tournament has it own nail biting moments, sometimes entailing a super over to decide the winner! A few matches have been so thrilling that fates have changed on the last ball!
The Players Speak Out
The players recently conducted their 17th tournament last month. Many players have come and gone, but what has remained constant is the camaraderie between players and the true essence of cricket.
Bharat Ramineni reiterates the above sentiment, “Passion for the game and Compassion for each other is the main Motto of GPL”.
Suraj Sukumaran further says, “OH YEAH, I TERRIBLY MISS THAT FUN. In spite of being away from Gardens East since GPL 6, which I can proudly say, my team won :), I still follow each tournament. Big Kudos to the entire GPL family for bringing it to this level and wishing everyone lots of fun. HOPE TO BE PART OF ONE MORE GPL IN FUTURE… as it was and is still my own baby :)”.
Sharad More talks about the controversies, “GPL is known for emotions and controversies over field and same being the teasing point in after match parties. PARTY and bakarbazi is main goal. Almost completing 2 years of GPL and I am very happy the way it’s going. But we also lost few cricket crazy players in the journey so far. Hope to see new horizon!”
Ashish Ahmed who is one of the newest entrants in GPL speaks his heart out, “GPL is a rapid sequence of thrilling incidents, each ball being a potential crisis or ultimate fun to respective teams. More than a game, GPL is all about celebration of all teams irrespective of who wins or loses. GPL proves that ‘Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind’!”
The GPL tournament is indeed one of its kinds. Back home we are being divided based on our religion and caste, outside India is a community uniting in the name of cricket! Sports indeed does that, unites hearts and dissolves hatred!
Stylewhack team wishes that GPL grows and prospers, filling the gap of regional differences!