By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 42nd Anniversary): Cosmos brought the curtains down last Sunday in rasping style at their annual Presentation Dinner celebrating an illustrious history that spanned a coveted 42 years. It was one of those celebrations where some, at times, question their own sanity, and are in awe that it has been forty-two years since the boys started their run at Taft High School in the Bronx, and eventually converged at Skip’s (Ashmul Ali) apartment on the Grand Concourse where the team solidify its purpose, and pile on the years.
The evening was grand, glamorous, and glorified with sentiments that were full of humor and nostalgia as some of Cosmos’s members gave profound recollections of the ways in which the club influenced their lives from an early age and the bond which kept the fire burning forty-two years later. However, rarely would the string of successes of Cosmos through the decades, the guidance and, the brotherhood created, be referenced without invoking the name of Ashmul Ali, who was not only a champion cricketer but was much like a father-figure to the boys. While stalwarts like Ram Goolsarran, Vijai Ankumar, Tyrone Stewart, Shadi Khan, Mohan Kissoon, Nick Clementon, Shafiq Jadavji, Regional Benjamin, and many others gave of themselves unselfishly to ensure of the club’s success over the years.
The evening was special as it was quite pleasing to have our members and their families in attendance. It also had an added element of deep rooted respect as it was graced by some of Cosmos’s stalwarts of yesteryears who were notably gracious when they highlighted Cosmos’s achievements. Carl Bennett and Shafeek Ali did not minced words as they recollected in their decades of association that Cosmos is the mold of a club unlike any in these parts whose grassroots efforts were purely bread through unity, dedication and hard-work, and that ultimately became the hallmark of Cosmos’s achievements over the years.
The essence of the evening though was captured by the innocence, excitement, and pure joy that lighted up the faces of three of Cosmos’s youth players, Alvin Gobin, Ethan Silas, and Noah Silas. It was refreshing to see the joy on their faces when their names were called for them to receive their awards. Alvin bagged his first 5-wicket in a friendly match at Idlewild and will be one to watch while his colleague, Ethan, will make waves as a batsman in seasons to come, both are two excellent all-rounders. The names of these three young cricketers will be all over the United States cricket scene in years to come. They are indeed talented young cricketers.
No amount of accolades or hardware has ever matched the efforts which Cosmos has taken over the years to groom young players and provide an opportunity for them to play. And these new talents in Alvin, Ethan, and Noah, is in keeping with the Cosmos way by giving then a chance to feel that they are an integral part of the club. These three young cricketers simply stole the show of the evening with pure excitement as they brought a bundle joy on the faces of their parents.
It is also the time of year to look back, take stock, and be thankful for what we have. The pandemic has been hard on us all, but at least 2021 was not short on cricket and cricketers happily ply their pastime recreation, and Cosmos relished the opportunity to be out on field again. It is also a time for giving, so what better way for the club to say thank you to those that help fill our lives with joy and laughter and and present a few seasonal appreciation tokens. The evening highlighted the outstanding performances for the 2021 season, and it was Alex Chunilall and Towgeshwar Thakoordeen who walked away with the top awards for most runs and most wickets respectively, while the other top performers were, Yudesh Shivpersaud, Akash Rahim, Devindra Balgobin, Naresh Persaud, Khamraj Conyers, and Shane Grant, all of whom will be up to the challenge for the top prizes next season including new commers Yogeshwar Ramgobin and Ryan Ganesh. Cyril Choy has spent the summer assisting the boys, and he expressed his satisfaction in seeing them improving and is confident that they will be a much improved team in the next season.
The evening was also one which kept the banner of Cosmos flying high in keeping with a tradition that Cosmos is cricket a club that values their members. That the club is not only focused on playing cricket, but one that has a flavor of family at its core. Despite some trying times through the years, Cosmos members have clearly exemplified those values, and as such, the club has maintained its focus and purpose.
The dye has been cast and the baton passed to a new generation of cricketers, and Cosmos appeared poised with a good mix of players who are prepared to hold the reins in a new decade with a new generation of cricketers. Cricketers who are equally prepared to take on the challenges of a new cricket world; a world that is full of color and lights and parts that appeared to be moving faster than the speed of light.
And with the Christmas spirit in the air, it was nice for Cosmos to be back on track after the ongoing pandemic had put a pause on the club’s year-end celebration. The atmosphere was quite relaxing and full of fun and laughter. It was also encouraging and commendable to see that the lead role of the evening proceedings was taken by two of Cosmos young breed, Devindra Balgobin and Alex Chunilall, with the microphone, and did as well as was expected, as we close another successful season and ring in the new year. Best wishes to everyone for a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year.