Stood idly as an 8 year old, watching a brightly coloured butterfly get taken upwards by the breeze in the evening sky, settling on a nearby fence, I was daydreaming an array of whimsical and unrepeatable nonsense when suddenly I was sharply awoken to my senses by the yell of ‘CATCH IT!’ from a man some 40 metres away.
My feet slide from beneath me as I panic. I regain my footing and make my way to where I believe the ball will land. It was high, soaring in fact. A dot in the cloudless blue sky. A flutter of hope flashes through my head, perhaps the hard red thing will sail over me, or even land short to take some of the sting from the inevitable blow. No, I’ve judged it correctly and expectantly raise my cold hands, not long out of my cosy trouser pockets. Suddenly it’s on me, it bullets through my limp hands, avoiding any hint of palms, bending my thumb back and deflecting through to my collar bone. It trickles limply over the nearby rope.
I jog to fetch it. I turn and throw it back from where it came as hard as I can, trying to avoid eye contact with team-mates, spectators (parents), everyone. It bounces three times before it gets to the square. I begin to think I might not make it as a cricketer.