On Thursday morning I woke, like countless other cricket fans and players, to the news that Phillip Hughes had passed away. It was a possibility that nobody wanted to believe could happen but eerily clung to the minds of everyone throughout the past two days.
It’s a cruel contrast; the live and blood of sport and the cold reality of death on the field. Fortunately death in sport is rare, even more so in the game of cricket. As has been well reported, Phillip Hughes’ injury was something seldom seen by doctors and medical professionals alike. Records indicate that only 100 cases have ever been reported. It would seem so easy to turn this into a heated legal debate on safety in cricket but that seems a little redundant when all things are considered.
We love sport for the competitiveness it brings. Danger and risk naturally follow. Sometimes it is more apparent in certain sports than in others but in whatever competitive sport you play or follow it will always be there. Perhaps one of the greatest reasons why cricket is so popular is the battle between batter and bowler. In a team-based game it is rare that you find such an intense clash between two opposing individuals. In football you might see a one-on-one between a goalkeeper and a striker three or four times a game. In golf the end of a tournament might simply be between two players. But in cricket the batter and bowler will face off hundreds of times a game. It’s hard to match that intensity. That is why cricket is in the hearts of millions across the globe.
Phillip Hughes was involved in so many of these battles at the crease. His fearless style got people off their seats while leaving many opponents flat on their behinds. His love of the game was for all to see and while we should celebrate and reminisce on his successes, it seems bittersweet that we only now come together to hold his talent and passion in such high esteem. Perhaps now we can ignore the viral videos and the culture of celebrating personalities for their non-existent triumphs and instead find inspiration in people like Phillip Hughes.