As we all know, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the world we live in and a lot of people have really struggled to adjust to this new world. At first, I found it extremely difficult. I earn my living coaching large groups of young people, helping them to play and enjoy playing cricket, a sport that has been a major part of my life for 20 years now. This summer it looks like the cricket season is going to come and go without many, if any, games being played.
Although I am currently on furlough from my work, an easing in restrictions a few weeks ago has meant that I have been able to access the outdoor facilities at my beloved Farndon CC where I have been offering 1-1 coaching for junior and senior club members. And the response I have received has been incredible.
I have loved seeing all the junior players and senior teammates. Together we have been able to enjoy that little bit of normality squeezed into a 40-minute net session. However, since the lockdown has been eased, the biggest change I have noticed has been in my own mind and body.
The days of furlough were getting longer but I was being less and less productive, stuck in a rut of negativity and uncertainty. All of a sudden a new lease of life has been injected in to me and the cricketing bug is back. This got me thinking about how cricket for me isn’t just about being active and releasing that competitive side in me, but in how it effects the mind.
Cricket for me has always been a world away from day to day life. On a Saturday afternoon on the field with my mates, relaxing with drinks in the bar afterwards, it is an opportunity to be relieved of the anxieties and stresses of life; it reinvigorates me.
This made me think: how many people out there feel the same as I do? Not able to socialise within that close circle of friends. Not even able to have a care free world for one day at the weekend. Not able to have that break from life. Not having that close friend sat next to them to say ‘how are you?’
In the past I have struggled with mental health issues and through any therapy I have had, aside from family and friends, cricket has always had a massively positive impact on my recovery, it’s my happy place. And without it I wouldn’t be where I am today.
For that reason, I decided I wanted to do something to show my appreciation to Farndon CC for everything they have done for me and join forces with The Shaw Mind Foundation to raise awareness of mental health issues, which are on a significant increase because of this pandemic, splitting 50-50 of the funds raised between these two worthy causes.
So here I am, offering any cricketers out there the opportunity to take 20 minutes out of their day on June 20th to come and bowl to me, a slightly above average opening batsman from Farndon, and experience that release that we all get from sport whilst, at the same time, supporting a couple of worthy causes.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this and have been able to connect with my story. I look forward to seeing new and familiar faces, current teammates and even old ones too, it would be great to catch up over a 20 minute hit in the net.
**UPDATE** All slots to bowl on the day are now booked but I am still fundraising to reach my £2000 target and I would welcome donations from anyone wanting to support my two causes.