This trip changed me, or so I thought… I wanted it to change me. I came back from the trip into my normal club cricket match. The team we were playing were extremely upset that they had to play the Saturday after Australia Day. They asked our captain the two nights before if we would have the week off and turn it into a one dayer the following week, presumably so they could have a big night.
We declined… because we signed up to play cricket… and we like playing cricket.
I walked out to open the batting and the opposition were absolutely disgusted to be out there. I was being sledged for not being in a pub… I was being sledged for playing cricket by a cricket team… sledging is a normal part of the game… it is usually not personal… it can sometimes involve a well inserted swear word… it should be witty… it should play on the batsman’s mind… this is a normal part of the game… but complaining to actually be playing a sport that you love…. I’d never seen this approach… and maybe it worked on me.
My team don’t know this but in that very moment I wanted to give the game up… there was no positivity, gratitude, spirit or life in this game. It was the exact opposite. For a split second I actually considered walking off or even just letting the ball hit the stumps. I was done.
How could I go from a sport with so much spirit and gratitude to a sport where the players were actually complaining about playing.
I eventually cracked and told them to “fuck off to the pub and forfeit the match, we’ll take the 8 points.” I then proceeded to charge the bowler hit a 4 down the ground and told him to “fuck off” again.
In that moment I was extremely disappointed in my actions… had everything I just learnt gone to waste.
I think the lesson here is negativity breeds negativity and culture is the bedrock in which it all festers… this was completely acceptable behaviour…. If I did this in frisbee I don’t think I would have been asked back… in my sport it would be considered a heroic act.
I enjoyed the company of my team that afternoon more than I had before. I remembered why we play the game… it’s for the mateship and comradery after the game… but why could we not make this a permanent fixture in the game, all the time AND between teams?