Take a bow, David Miller!
There has been many battles this cricket season, even before the Test matches have begun.
There has been the tragic battle of the Hughes family against the cricketing establishment following last month’s painful inquests, the implausible defiance of Australia’s selectors against those who doubt their decisions (despite evidence suggesting the validity of such concerns), or former captain Michael Clarke battling seemingly everyone on matters of egotistical triviality.
Yet when it comes to the revelatory disclosures of Bradley Hogg it seemingly came and went with minimal murmur.
In case you missed it, former Australian wrist spinner Hogg came out earlier this week with his own tome of tales via a book launch. While his releasing a book is of little news value, given its commonplace occurrence – the details of how he considered taking his own life is not worthy of the relative apathy it has been greeted with, given the scores of keyboard taps afforded to the aforementioned issues above.
Yet on the eve of Australia’s first Test assignment of the summer, this story becomes highly pertinent. The modern sporting landscape has become too accustomed to dealing with business first, at the expense of other matters. In one of his less trivial moments, Michael Clarke revealed as much with regards to the way in which the Adelaide Test that followed Phillip Hughes’ passing was organised in such haste.
While it can never be doubted that such momentous reveals have rich sellable quality, it is ludicrous that stories such as Hogg’s has generated minimal discussion, given the spate of stories relating to professional sportspeople’s mental wellbeing.
While it is unfair to apportion any culpability on the likes of Cricket Australia, it is shameful that the governing body has not made any public comment in regards to Hogg’s revelation. Furthermore, this further underlines the need for change in the culture of professional sport in this country.
The change has to relate specifically to how young budding sports men and women are not brought up in the bubble of fleeting stardom that afflicts most of them prior to them being spat out to relative insignificance. Such a fall explains the struggles of many sportspeople, including Hogg.
In his book, he cited his inability to adjust to life in an office job, coupled with his marital issues and losing the stardom that accompanied his time in the national side as what drove him towards the darker moments of his life.
The change needs to fall on sporting bodies enabling their young charges from living the ordinary life of people alongside the extraordinary lives of athletes. The accepted notion that young men and women of quality sporting stock can thrive within a temporary fishbowl existence, only to then be returned to the normal society from whence they originally came, is a furphy.
The stories of struggle across the sporting codes are too frequent to disregard as irregular.
The point isn’t about the struggle – c’est la vie – but is how the struggle is not being used to motivate change, or worse, not being discussed. Before the main game begins at the WACA tomorrow, it is critical to our young sporting prodigies’ future wellbeing to effect the change that can let them live both the ordinary and extraordinary.