By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Carioca Cricket Club (CCC) of Rio de Janeiro, which was founded in 2011, has recently appointed Felipe Lima de Melo as their new Vice-President. As one of the few Brazilians on the team he has become a cornerstone of the CCC over the last five years, and is committed to helping grow the club and the popularity of the sport, as well as prepare to host the South American Cricket Championships in October.
Off the field de Melo is a math teacher at a youth detention facility in Bangu, and is keenly aware of the role sport plays in social development, and the sense of camaraderie that comes with it. And while cricket is not yet a household concept in Brazil, he loves the game and is excited about the future of the sport.
Mr. de Melo explains his first encounter with cricket, when he was looking for some relaxing recreation, “I first became familiar with [cricket] in my adolescence, and found it because I wanted to know the difference between cricket and croquet. For me [at the time] I only needed to understand the difference between the two, and only became interested in the cricket when I was an adult.”
Cricket has existed in Rio since the mid-1800s, when a substantial part of the city’s population was of British descent. Emperor Dom Pedro II opened Rio’s first official cricket pitch in 1860 on Rua Paysandu in Laranjeiras. Now the goal is to once again make cricket a major pastime in Rio and the Carioca Cricket Club is well on its way to being a success, not just across the state but nationwide.
Yet, Mr. de Melo knows it will not overtake football (soccer) on the primetime sports channels anytime soon. “We know the bureaucratic difficulties of making a sport growing in the country, […] or lack of penetration in the media. This hinders a lot the development of our sport. And taking into account situations similar to ours, such as the rugby and baseball, we may be on the map of the sport one day. But I do not believe in this generation.”
Still, he is drawn to the international sense of community in the CCC, and de Melo shares, “My favorite part of the club is undoubtedly meetings. Every meeting I notice a union of nations around me like never imagined.” He also adds, “My favorite part of the team as a player is when we start [playing]. I’m not very good at it, but I feel free every time I do it.”
Despite his modesty, the club recognizes de Melo’s efforts on-and-off the pitch, and is looking forward to his continued leadership as Vice-President through the 2016 season. Recently his contribution helped lead the club to an epic victory against rival São Paulo Cricket Club at their recent tour to Poços de Caldas.
Since then, the CCC held an inter-club match on Saturday, June 25th, and will hold the next on Saturday, July 16th. As always WAGS (wives and girlfriends), friends and anyone interested in trying the sport are welcome, with free transportation to the at the São Fernando Polo and Cricket Club near Itaguaí.
* This is a Sponsored article for the Carioca Cricket Club.