It’s been a pretty special Big Bash season for me so far.
At the beginning of this season I decided to join the Sydney Thunder family. And so I did. I became one of the 5,000 people who decided to become part of the #ThunderNation for 2015.
Aiden Blizzard became my favourite player and Spotless Stadium became my spiritual home away from home (ie. Parramatta Stadium). The one aspect I am yet to master is the wearing of green (I just don’t have any in my wardrobe!)
When I signed up for my membership, I knew I was joining a cricket family, but like most other teams that I choose to throw my support behind it’s not just about what happens on the field, but off it as well.
I already knew that the Sydney Thunder were a special club. Part of this is their commitment to community initiatives. A good example is the Thunder Nation Cup which gives cricket players from six different cultural backgrounds (Afghani, Pakistani, Nepalese, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi) the opportunity to play Twenty20 cricket whilst representing their local community. The best players from the tournament are then given the opportunity to be part of the Sydney Thunder squad.
Another good example is the ‘Local Hero’ program which is a program designed especially for primary and secondary schools to encourage youth participation in cricket. With access to players like Mike Hussey, Shane Watson and Aiden Blizzard this program does wonders for kids, particularly in regional communities that have more limited access to sporting programs.
Last night though, when the Sydney Thunder defeated the Adelaide Strikers at Spotless Stadium, I had the opportunity to recognise my players, not only for the tremendous work they do on the field but for the genuinely good guys that they are.
Did you know that after every home game, the Sydney Thunder squad hang around Spotless Stadium signing autographs for fans? Last night, I saw Gurinder Sandhu hang around until each and every fan (young and old) had had their autograph or selfie taken. I watched Shane Watson take selfie after selfie after selfie before heading to the Thunder Dome to meet even more Sydney Thunder members. I saw Aiden Blizzard chatting to kids and making sure that every child he spoke to felt special as he made his way along the barricades.
Our sporting heroes have tremendous influence. We can talk about whether they should or shouldn’t be role models – but the reality is that they are. The men that play for the Sydney Thunder embrace this and give back to the most important part of the Club – the fans. And what joy it brought.
I found this particularly impressive because last night at Spotless Stadium was sold out. 21,500 people were in attendance. This is a larger crowd than most Sydney sporting fixtures get – yet the Thunder are the only Club I know of that will hang around until each autograph is signed. It is a testament to the spirit of the Club and the commitment that they have to their fans.
And it made me very proud to be a Sydney Thunder fan.
So get your selfie faces ready and your bats ready to autograph, because your next chance to meet the squad will be after the next game against the Perth Scorchers on Thursday 7 January.
Ladies who Legspin xxx