Beach Cricket

Last week I was away for a few days at the seaside.

I was momentarily distracted from the book I was reading, as I sat overlooking the beach, by a family playing cricket on the beach.

Among them was a little boy, aged about 8, who was  participating as batsman in his red wellingtons.

After a while I notice that he was back-stump and a little later fielder.

Cricket is a game which is best played by the all-rounder – those men or women and children who can hit the ball, but also bowl the ball or catch it from the field of play.

As I watched, fleetingly this little boy move positions to support the family’s game of beach cricket, I felt a tug from within of emotion and disappointment.

At a similar age, I was also invited to participate in my own family’s game of beach cricket, but I was only ever prepared to bat.

I couldn’t bowl the ball straight and I loathed being sent out to field, as I had no interest in catching the ball either, or worse having to run miles down the beach to pick it up and chuck it back.

My recollections are that my family, that is my Dad and my brothers and sisters and cousins just accepted me for the part I was prepared to play, but as I reflect now, 40+ years later on my selfish participation, I wince at my inability at that time to participate fully in the game and for the enjoyment of others rather than myself.

In truth, I just wasn’t wired that way, at that time in my life,  but I think that beach cricket has something important to teach us all about playing our part, however small, and however lacking in skill in all aspects of the game/life.

Over time, fuller participation brings forward closer bonds, unity of purpose, developing strengths and awareness of weakness but this is supported by those in life who have contrasting strengths and weaknesses to those of our own.

To bat and walk away, just isn’t cricket, as they say, I knew it then, but I feel it now.

To live, and not to participate by exploring ones own sense of self, to make discoveries, to overcome adversities, is like thinking that all that matters is the need to catch the ball, but no it is not –  it is holding up your hands in the attempt which counts in the end, catch it or drop it the games goes on until its conclusion and so does life.

My next blog will be: Wanting to be Seen

William Defoe

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