Even cricket players make the most of Prexy's Pasture

Apr 15, 2014 By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

In the center of the campus of the University of Wyoming, surrounded by historic, beautiful buildings such as the Wyoming Union, the College of Agriculture, the Arts & Sciences building, the College of Engineering, and the Cheney International Center and the Dick and Lynne Cheney Plaza, is Prexy's Pasture.

Viewed from the air, the straight sidewalks in Prexy's bisect the beautifully manicured "pasture", and form a geometrically recognizable set of triangles.

Students walk across Prexy's, bordered by stunning blue spruce and mugo pine, at all hours getting to and from classes and labs.

I knew from my days of providing tours to incoming freshmen at Wyoming that Prexy's was where UW's president, as legend says, once was allowed to pasture his horse -- a perk for being UW's leader.

I would also tell the stories about the Wyoming Cowboys home football games that were played in Prexy's, and that, prior to 1950, there were also rodeos in Prexy's.

These days, for this alumnus, every walk across Prexy's is anticipated and enjoyed. In the center of Prexy's is a beautiful statue known as "University of Wyoming Family" which was installed while I was a student at UW, in the summer of 1983, by UW Professor Robert Russin in anticipation of the university's 1986 centennial celebration.

What I didn't know until Saturday, is that Prexy's now also is the home of cricket matches.

We broke for lunch during a Saturday workshop just before noon and, while most of my classmates headed west toward their cars parked near the classroom building, I looked forward to my stroll across Prexy's toward the Wyoming Union to meet son Cody for lunch.

I was amazed to see 20 or so primarily South Asian students playing cricket, a game that I had seen on television but had never watched in person.

Here's my admittedly uneducated, and maybe inaccurate, explanation of what I saw: The bowler, similar to a pitcher in baseball, takes a running start and fires a ball on one bounce toward a batsman who, with his flat sided bat, tries to hit it away from opposing fielders and run toward the wickets near the pitcher -- oops -- bowler, and maybe back to another set of wickets just behind where he hit the ball before the fielders can retrieve the ball and get them back to the wickets.

After lunch, my walk back across Prexy's saw the game still in full swing, and encouraging shouts among teammates were clearly heard.

Son Cody says the cricket games happen in the evenings and on weekends and that ultimate Frisbee is the other sport often played on Prexy's, but the sidewalks, he says, aren't as conducive to that activity.

There were no lines painted, or bleachers required. There were no officials or administrators hawking over every play. Just a bunch of friends enjoying a nice Wyoming day on beautiful Prexy's Pasture, playing cricket.

Sunday's weather, I'll report, kept the cricket players off their pitch in Prexy's.

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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