LONDON — Trust a colonial to appreciate the iconic Olympic venue that is Lord’s Cricket Ground.
Jake Kaminski, an archer on the top-ranked American team, didn’t just want to turn up at Lord’s and admire the 19th century Pavilion and Father Time, the 86-year-old weather vane.
“I’m into history. I like historic things,” Kaminski said during a break in training on Monday. “I read how Lord’s has moved from several locations. To me, history like that makes these sports events more special.
“Lord’s has got a good energy. It’s very upbeat.”
This is the third incarnation of the ground set up by Thomas Lord, a bowler and entrepreneur at the turn of the 19th century. He moved Lord’s to its present site in north London in 1814.
Kaminski also made himself not-your-typical American in the fact he’s seen a cricket match, during a visit to Australia in 2007 for an archery tournament.
“I got there and was watching this (cricket) game, and friends told me it had already been going for four days. It’s pretty crazy,” he said.
Lord’s has hosted sports other than cricket before. Lacrosse was played there up until the 1950s, there was an expatriate baseball game for World War I charities, and field hockey on the main ground in the 1970s. But Lord’s hasn’t handed over the keys quite like this since World War II, when the grounds were requisitioned by the RAF as a reception area for crew.
Australian archer Taylor Worth loves the fact he’s competing at the home of cricket. Worth, who beat top-ranked Brady Ellison of the U.S. in a World Cup last month, was training in the shade of the Compton Stand, under which hung posters of cricket milestones at Lord’s by the likes of Australian greats Don Bradman, Glenn McGrath and Bob Massie.
“As an Olympian you’re part of a very rare group,” he said, “but even rarer is to step out on the ground of Lord’s. I feel very privileged.”
For another first-time Olympian, Bangladeshi teenager Milon Emdadul Haque, to shoot at Lord’s “is my dream.”
He didn’t compete in the test event last October, and he has yet to fire an arrow on the main ground. But he’s aware that his national cricket team has played only twice at Lord’s, and he can’t believe he’s in the same place where he watched, on TV, compatriot Tamim Iqbal score a century in 2010.
“I feel the history here,” Milon said.
The archery competition starts on Friday. London organizers have agreed to pay for a re-laid field, and less than two weeks later, England will face South Africa in the third and final test of their cricket series.