NY Mayor's Cup
Cosmos Cricket Club
A Tribune To Shadi
By Sham Ali
Sept. 10th, 2009
It was an epic era in West Indies cricket, a time when every boy played the game with pride and for the mere love of it. So too did Shadi Khan.
It was in St. Helena, Trinidad where Shadi began to develop his skills with the St. Helena Youth Team in the first division before migrating to New York. In his heyday, Shadi plied his trade as an excellent left-arm orthodox spinner, but his deceptive arm ball was the pick of his deliveries, which earned him many wickets. Additionally, Shadi was a peerless fieldsman with a wicked left handed whip back to the wicketkeeper and his ultimate pleasure was undoubtedly fielding in the covers. Though much of his days of youthful indiscretions are perhaps behind him, the many tumbling saves on the field to this day is but a brief glimpse into a storied past brightly illuminated by Shadi’s tremendous abilities on the field of play.
The story began in the early sixties in the small village of St. Helena, located just 10 miles from the capital city, Port of Spain. In his childhood glory days, Shadi along with many of his friends, in particular one tall lanky fellow named Jesse, would roam all corners of St. Helena and beyond from dawn to dusk. The ritual during school vacation was catching fish early in the morning, playing cricket after, swimming in the canal to wash away some of the heat, and then they would team up again for another cricket match. Thereafter, they were off to cutting cane, which on many occasions would serve as lunch, and another cricket match would follow soon. Usually, the matches would end in dispute when it was almost time to go home for the day. For Shadi, days would not usually end as uneventfully as for many other boys his age. On his way home, he would join in on another hurry-up match already in progress in the village street next to home, hoping that his mother who would be seeing him for the first time would not yell out his name to come home and water the plants and care for the animals. At the end of this routine, Shadi came to expect and ultimately became immune to a good Caribbean flogging that was in store for him once his mother got her hands on him. However, the punishment left him undeterred as he returned to the same routine the next day with the same old make shift bat, cardboard pads with twine on the sides and a composition ball that was as hard as a rock. These treasured days in Trinidad were left behind but not lost in the quest for a brighter future across the seas to the land of America.
The landing was in “the capital of the world,” New York City. The beginning of a new life in a land too vast to digest and an environment too intricate to comprehend began to take shape in his new home away from home. However, Shadi’s passion for the sport of cricket led him to inquire and to a find places where cricket was being played, and whilst working his way through college and holding down a few menial jobs, he once again became an active participant in the game.
During all his struggles for a better life, there was no excitement greater than the summer weekends, then and now, which were spent playing cricket from Van Courtland Park to Marine Park to Staten Island. It was the best way to stay in touch with the rich tradition of meeting old friends and making new ones whilst building a cricketing community in the process. With a strong desire for excellence, Shadi worked his way to become a very successful businessman in New York City and in the process was awarded the New York City citation for commerce. Through it all, Shadi never lost sight of his culture and his love for cricket.
As the years passed, Shadi has been a vibrant and diligent worker in administering cricket both at the club and league level for the past 35 years. Among his many contributions to the sport is his sponsorship of the Lowell (Slim) Sutherland tournament for the last eighteen years and counting, where cricketers from New York, largely transplanted West Indian players residing in NY and members of Cosmos Cricket Club, combine each Memorial Day to compete against the West Indian Social and Athletic Club in Hartford Connecticut. Each year the victor walks away with the Lowell (Slim) Sutherland trophy, named in honor of Shadi’s late father-in-law. Mr. Sutherland who had also dedicated most of his life to the promotion and development of cricket in Connecticut in the sixties and seventies was the architect of the West Indian Social Club, an 100 ft by 100 ft size clubhouse. Over the years, this facility has served as a venue where cricketers and friends meet to socialize and enjoy an atmosphere of home away from home. Much of Mr. Sutherland’s work is still manifested years after his passing. Shadi being the passionate cricketer he is was bent on not letting such great work go unnoticed. Consequently, Shadi has worked tirelessly to keep the Sutherland legacy alive.
Shadi has largely made the New York area the bedrock of his many accomplishments and his strong desire to elevate the standard of the game. He has engineered the road for cricketers from the Caribbean to come to the New York area to ply their trades instead of remaining in the Caribbean during their down time in the summer months. Such methods, though has been sometimes met with undue dissent, forced other teams to practice longer and harder, improving their own standards. Additionally, it also gave many an opportunity to measure their abilities alongside first class cricketers from the Caribbean. Shadi was the main artery for the NYWI Cricket Club for many years and his stint as manager and part-time player earned that club five championships in the premier Metropolitan Cricket League and four in the Brooklyn Cricket League. And now, with his active involvement with Cosmos over the last decade or so, Shadi has brought success to Cosmos that the Club had not seen in its history. Cosmos has already sealed four championships and has attracted a wealth of talented cricketers. Shadi’s keen interest in maintaining Cosmos’ longevity resonates in is his vision of building a youthful core nucleus that would be able to hold the reins for decades into the future.
His kind and spirited personality as Cosmos’ team Manager has brought a new flavor to the Cosmos camp and enhanced the Club’s profile and involvement in the broader cricket community with a generous philanthropic hand.
Though Shadi is now satisfied with watching the youngsters play, he’s still very active in organizing cricket tours and as a player on the team – one may add. His affiliation with Cosmos Cricket Club over the years has been both an inspiration and an excellent source of camaraderie to the Club, especially on the many tours, where his wealth of experience as a cricketer and a gentleman adds a new dimension to the cohesiveness of the Club. His stewardship will always be at the helm of the Club and Cosmos is privileged to have him in their family. It is with tremendous admiration that we offer this brief glimpse into the enigma of a man among men, Shadi Khan, which he has so gracefully earned with distinction in this glorious time of honor.
The very first thing that strikes you is the simplicity of the man – a simplicity, one soon senses, borne of indomitable will, strength of conviction, quiet confidence, and an intuitive understanding that collaboration and team building are the very foundations upon which success is built.
In celebration of the club's 28th anniversary, Cosmos has dedicated the 2009 season as its inaugural benefit year for a prominent contributor to its illustrious past. This year's honoree will be team manager Shadi Khan. The inaugural celebration is scheduled for Saturday, Sept 12, 2009 @ 11am at Floyd Bennett Field. All are invited.
Carl Bennett also contributed to this article.
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