Kensington’s Monastic Values

By Oscar Jefferson

03-Oscar-IMG_8738The order of the day for these pieces seems to be, if the work of my esteemed predecessor is anything to go by, a strange analogy that illustrates the values of Kensington. In that vein, an historical comparison might help get to grips with the subtly distinguished entity that is Kensington Cricket Club.

In a time before Blumberg, as St. Benedict was writing his strict code of conduct for monastic life, Sunil and San were drawing up a cricketing equivalent. In fact, both Kensington and the sixth century monastic movement share a commitment to a concrete set of principles.

Benedict said that “the Abbot who is worthy…, ought always to make his works square with his name of Superior”. In the same way, our cricketing abbots, San and Sunil, have striven to earn their titles, with copious runs and wickets respectively hard won.

A leader’s responsibility, however, is not just for himself and, according to Benedict, his role is also to “Reprove, entreat, rebuke”. At Kensington there is a subtle difference: “entreat” is all that’s required, with the greatest rebuke available to a weary Tim or Neeraj being “walking in please, Ledger”.

All players, however, not just the leaders, are subject to the law. Benedict said “humility is, when one hideth from his Abbot none of the evil thoughts which rise in his heart”. This can be seen when Eddy or Bernard or Saikat, having gone the journey, double teapots in the captain’s direction as he is banished to cow corner to “take a blow for a bit”.

The Benedictine demand for “regard for infirmities” manifests itself as younger players run down to the fine leg boundary from all corners of the ground to save the less mobile leg-side senior players the arduous journey.

The fundamental difference is, however, that whilst Benedict wrote out his law in a fashion as tedious and vibrantly coloured as the official San-certified scoring method, Kensington’s is unwritten. The Club has a shared understanding that is impossible to articulate except through some bizarre and laboured comparison. Nevertheless this unwritten, mutual respect for each other and the game makes the Club great.

Whilst the Benedictine Rule has faded into obscurity over the centuries, the Kensington mindset will thrive for many years to come.