I don’t know whether to post this, or even where it’s going, exactly.
I was numbed by the news about Phil Hughes this morning, completely numbed. 25 is ‘no age at all’, and thoughts must go to the family, friends, and, well, “the cricket family” who have all been affected.
25 is also the age I lost what was good friend of mine, to a roadside bomb in the Helmand province. I don’t really like to talk about him, and it is something I have definitely bottled up in real life. I don’t expect to chat much about him in future either, but for some reason this Hughes tragedy has made me want to open up. And by open up, I mean write a few words to the one bot and his dog that read this.
My friend, who I’ll call ‘Jack’, was a good bloke. I knew him for 14 years, he was a good bloke, funny in a self-deprecating way, a liability once he’d drunk anything. He was bright if not particularly motivated, bright enough to go to uni and get a degree (of sorts) in Chemistry. After that ‘Jack’ pottered around for a few years living back in his parents’ house, doing a load of dead-end jobs with no relevance to his degree (of sorts), until one day he got completely fed up of his non-existence and looked to the forces for some direction.
I don’t think Jack particularly wanted to join up, he just felt like it was the easiest option to give him something resembling a career. I know from chatting with him on R and R, that he had some camaraderie with his colleagues, but I don’t think they were necessarily his type of person exactly. That might come across as snobby, and it isn’t intended to. I’m sure he was with some good people there.
I think the point is, Jack wasn’t one who grew up desperate to be Action Man. Another set of circumstances would have led Jack to settling somewhere in civvy street and probably, if given the chance, doing pretty well for himself. I know others (in fact I have a sibling) who have intended to – and succeeded in – creating very successful careers courtesy of the forces, but this wasn’t Jack. He wasn’t a hero, he just felt like people expected him to do more than he was doing. I hate that he was out there.
I hope Hughes loved cricket.
I think he would have to have done; as it would be a poor sport to play solely for money, or just for a career. Given the way I remember him on the field, and the tributes pouring in from everyone and anyone who’s actually met the guy, I’m quite confident that Hughes enjoyed what he did. In that sense it’s fitting that he went out trying to belt a ball for a boundary. Utterly tragic of course, but it’s what he enjoyed, and it’s what he did well. Also, I know no-one blames Abbott, and I just hope he enjoys cricket enough to want to play cricket again. He’s too promising to jack it in because of a freak accident.
There are a lot of words that could be said and have been said elsewhere, but I’d be terrible at putting them in any sort of order right now. I’ll leave it by stating that I definitely had a hunch that Hughes would have gone on to reach 10,000 Test runs in spite of the Aussie selectors messing him around a fair bit to date – or at least that was the perception I had from afar. It makes me feel really down.