A once in a lifetime opportunity

Let me begin this story by stating what might be the bleeding obvious – I write about cricket, I don’t play. Please read the remainder of this story with that in mind.

There are some moments that come around only once in a lifetime. There are some moments that aren’t even once in a lifetime – they are once in a lifetime even if you are lucky.

I had one of those moments the other night.

Let me explain.

The night began much like any other. My brother Robert, who is a very keen cricketer accompanied me to watch the Sydney Thunder take on the Adelaide Strikers. At that point in the evening, all I was hoping for was a Thunder victory… and the night began in a way which made me think that that was very possible.

It was a pretty dominant performance by the Thunder bowlers – backed up by a committed and determined effort from the team in the field. Dre Russ had me on my feet again and it was great to see Gurinder back to best form, taking a wicket in his first over.

The Strikers weren’t really doing much to impress me with the bat. There were a couple of boundaries, but aren’t big hits something we have come to expect from Big Bash games?

Then Brad Hodge came into bat. A week out before his 41st birthday, I didn’t think that Hodge had it in him to deliver to me, one of those once in a lifetime opportunities. But he did.

It was the 14th over. The Strikers were in trouble, sitting at 5/65.

Watson was bowling for the Thunder. He ran in, bowled the ball and… crack – he sent the ball flying.

I remember very little of what happened after that. I remember seeing the ball coming in my general direction. I remember feeling my heart pounding. I had flashbacks on my dad hitting ball after ball after ball to me when I was a kid, trying to teach me how to catch. I then did, what I thought was the only reasonable thing to do when faced with a ball coming towards you at a hurtling speed. I ducked. I put my phone under my jacket, covered my head and shut my eyes tightly.

As I mentioned my brother Robert was with me at the game. Rob was a very talented cricketer when he was younger, representing his school at the highest level as a wicketkeeper / batsmen. I have faint recollections of yelling ‘Rob, protect me.’

I remember Robert yelling and standing on his seat.

And then, the cheer from the gentlemen sitting behind me and the disappointment from my brother Robert. We had missed the opportunity to catch a 6 at the cricket.

Was I disappointed? No. Was Robert disappointed? Yes. Also a little embarrassed. Because the minute after the ball was thrown back onto the field, the messages started coming in. ‘Rob, why did you miss the catch’. ‘LOL at Robert’. ‘Mary, was that you on TV ducking like a coward?’ The answer to that last question was affirmative. I also received a tweet from my dad saying ‘Mary, I think that was your catch’.

The reality is, I know my limitations. And I know, that more likely than not, I would have dropped that catch.

Robert spent the rest of the evening being laughed at by me and wondering what would have happened had he and I swapped seats at the beginning of the game and lamenting how opportunities like this only come around once in a lifetime.

I’m hoping that the Thunder do so well this season, that my poor brother gets his chance again.

For the moment, I’m on the hunt for my next once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m hoping it is something other than a hard, hurtling object coming towards me at lightning speed.


Ladies who Legspin xxx

P.S. In case you missed the catch – here is it (with thanks to Cricket Australia for the footage).