Nevispages weekly feature by Curtis Morton
The way I see it, as sporting fans, we place too much pressure on our sporting heroes, forgetting that they are mere human beings and susceptible to various forms of illnesses and diseases.
I guess my statement can relate to all forms of sporting activities, but for the purposes of this class, I prefer to zoom in heavily on the sport of Cricket.
I love the game of Cricket. I play it with passion. I love to watch it. I love to record it and do my own running commentary….those times, I am in seventh heaven. Speaking of heaven, I am truly hoping that God will allow the game to be played in Heaven when I get there (cause I do intend to go there, by his grace).
The only thing I cannot work out in my mind as yet is how you will ever get a batsman out if they are playing in an environment where everything is perfect—so maybe that game won’t be allowed after all.
Well, I newa!
My discourse this week, arises out of my concern for the players. When I listen to Cricket, this is how I support teams: Nevis; the Leeward Islands and the West Indies.
I just cannot understand how people born and raised in Nevis, could support, for example, an Indian team, over the West Indies. Any other team that will get my support will only do so if a player/s from one of the aforementioned teams, is a part of the makeup and more than likely, I won’t support the team, but simply hope the player/s do well. I feel really great when my team wins and I feel really badly when they lose. As a matter of fact, if I am watching a game and my team cannot get a wicket, I would turn off the TV and wait for some time and turn it back on, hoping that something good would have happened in the interim.
I know one particular mother who cannot watch television when her son is batting. Somebody has to call her and tell her that he has fifty or a hundred, or that he is out or something, but she ain’t watching until she is sure he is doing well.
So, the first thing we have to understand is that these cricketers are under serious pressure to perform. The batsmen would love to make a hundred in every single game and the bowlers would love to take five wickets in every single game, but that is not humanly possible. They want to do well for their family members and their country folks, knowing that all of them are locked into the TV screen.
So when they fail, how do you think they feel? Who empathizes with them? Who gives them counsel? Then there is the stress of constant travel, sometimes for long, extended periods, away from home and family. Everybody in this world, do not have the coping mechanisms to deal with all of these issues. These are things that are not said in the running commentary but are things that we need to bear in mind.
How can our star batsman perform well, if he has just received news that his loving spouse is back home cheating on him? Or maybe there is a serious problem financially with mortgage payments and the like. Real-life issues.
The Indian team developed a strategy that allowed wives and girlfriends of players, to go on tour with them. The players paid the way for their family members. Maybe more teams need to consider that.
When the youthful Nicholas Pooran is caught on camera, tampering with the ball, against a team like Afghanistan (with all due respect to them), what was he thinking and what could have caused that mental lapse?
Then we hear of the Australia camp being hit with its own worries.
Popular star cricketer, Glenn Maxwell, after slamming a wonderful half-century, withdrew from the team, due to mental issues. A young upcoming cricketer, by the name of Will Pucovski, excluded himself from possible national selection, due to mental health issues.
Rewind to some other great cricketers, who have been so affected: Marcus Trescothick; Jonathan Trott; Andrew Flintoff; Steve Harmison (who admitted in his autobiography, that even in his heyday, there were many times he considered doing serious HARM to himself); Sarah Taylor and David Bairstow who became depressed after his wife’s illness and eventually hanged himself. Those are only a few. There are more and a number of them in the West Indies too.
The warning is, that cricketers are supposed to look out for their teammates and note any behaviours that are not normal, with an emphasis on getting them help as quickly as possible. Family members ought to be more supportive and we as fans, need to be more understanding. They are only humans. They are doing their best to keep us happy, but many times they will fall short of our expectations. They are not doing for spite.
Let us help the brothers and sisters, if and when we can. We never know when our turn will come. God would have us to be more caring.
That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?