Yesterday, Australia and the cricketing world were rocked by news that young Aussie opening batsman Phillip Hughes had succumbed to a catastrophic head injury after being hit by a bouncer at the SCG on Tuesday.
I would have written this post yesterday, but truthfully, I was too emotional. To say that I am heartbroken over the loss of a man I have never met seems to sell the feeling short.
After news broke yesterday afternoon, myself and two of my colleagues gathered in my office to discuss the tragedy, all three of us were teary and surprised by the level by which we were affected – my two colleagues in particular who freely admit that they have no interest in cricket had difficulty reconciling their responses since they were not invested in the sport in any way.
So, why had it hit us so hard? I think the truth of it was that none of us really knew how seriously Phil was injured. Because it’s cricket – a beautiful game, a gentleman’s game. People don’t die playing cricket, Phillip Hughes wouldn’t die. But they do, and he did.
The death of a young man in any situation is a tragedy, but when talking about it further, we came to realise that the reason this death felt so wrong was because of how unprecedented it was given the nature of the sport.
Take a race car driver, or a rugby player for example. If an athlete of that type had been killed or injured whilst competing, I would be shocked and saddened, but it’s something that happens sometimes, and despite how horrible those occurrences are, the athletes are aware of the associated risks. They will have weighed up those risks with their desire to compete and decided that the risks are acceptable. I don’t believe Phillip Hughes would have ever had that opportunity since I can’t imagine a situation where a cricketer would step up to the crease and wonder if they would survive the next over.
And there’s the rub, and it’s infinitely sad.
A little legend, and by all accounts a super nice guy who paid a very steep price for playing the game he loved. Vale Phillip Hughes. Forever 63, not out.
And to you Sean Abbott, I believe I can speak for the entire country, if not the entire world when I say; mate, it’s not your fault. I wish the young paceman all the best and hope he gets what he needs to move past this tragedy, no young man should have to carry such a burden.