Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,


One of the worlds great sports contests is taking part in Australia at the moment.  I am talking of course of the Ashes cricket series.  Cricket is an intensely tough game mentally, it’s hard to imagine this when your youngster starts off playing section four have a go cricket; no matter what they get with 12 hits and 12 bowls.  Often who won is lost in the joy of taking part and hitting a four or taking a wicket.

But as players progress through the grades the expected standard rises, now when you are out then you are out!  Players need to be selected for teams, some make it, most don’t, every duck or dropped catch weights heavily on the player involved.

But cricket is still a team game and the longer we can maintain this as a focus the better because  it at least partially defeats the pressure from the individual.  In few team sports is the individual player so exposed if not nurtured by the team.

Cricket like all sport was designed initially as a pastime something to be done for fun.  Over it’s long history the intensity with which it is played has changed, I remember the story of the great Victorian cricketer W.G. Grace being bowled without scoring, he calmly picked the bails up, put them back on the wickets and said “more people came here to watch me bat then you bowl” and prepared to start again.  Imagine Michael Clark doing that!

But even at high level sport we can go too far.  The sledging or name calling in the series has already resulted in fines being levied and I have heard this morning that the English batsman Johnathan Trott is returning home with a stress related illness.  A number of top level cricketers in recent times have either stopped playing or at least stopped playing at the top level due to the stress that they have felt.

I’m not sure if it’s a factor only in modern life or if stress has always been significant in people’s lives.  Maybe it’s the speed we now travel or the amount we try to cram in.  Recently in our year eight class we have talked about spirituality and nurturing the soul.  Communication and taking down time are vital, but also so is looking at the big picture.

Few people look back at getting a ‘golden duck’ or coming last in a race, or not making a team in year 5, when they are 50, as a disaster!

Have a great week, Mike Brosnahan


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