Thursday, 23 August 2012


Don Bradman and the International Cricket Hall of Fame.

By Owen Zupp.

Only a little more than an hour from Sydney lies the NSW Southern Highlands and the hamlet of Bowral. Set to a backdrop of green fields that would not be out of place in Britain, it was the boyhood home of Sir Donald Bradman, the famed cricketer. Today it is home to the International Cricket Hall of Fame, which includes the Bradman Gallery.

As I wandered through the halls past intriguing artefacts and interactive displays, I couldn’t help but be impressed at this tribute to not just a man, but a wonderful game. And yet, something even more striking pervaded my thoughts; just as the game had changed, so had we. Time has seen an amateur game grow into a global business being instantaneously flashed across the globe via satellite. Families no longer huddle around the wireless to hear the broadcast from far flung fields, but check the latest scores on their iPhone Apps.

It’s almost a case of innocence-lost in an effort to keep pace with the ever-changing world and ever-increasing competition for market share. And yet in these halls, there are interviews continuously broadcast with elder statesmen using well chosen words in modest tones; there are no ‘high-fives’ here. One can only wonder at the sponsorship dollars ‘The Don’ would have accrued in the 21st Century.

And yet, just as the Hall of Fame takes the guest on a journey through the ages, I recognise that change is inevitable. I respect the professionalism and dedication displayed by our modern players in a game that now demands so much of their lives beyond the picket fence. But like life in general, we all have a secret longing for a ‘simpler’ time I suspect. Furthermore, all too often the good that stems from the sport can be overlooked. The Bradman Foundation is a charitable organisation with a specific charter. A number of players past and present have their own foundations; Glenn McGrath,  Steve Waugh and  Ricky Ponting just to name a few.

As we move forward at an ever-increasing pace and seemingly demand instantaneous gratification from everything, including our past-times, maybe we should stop and pause. Stop and pause to remember those who have founded our institutions, those who have excelled and those who have tirelessly kept the dream alive. Stop and pause to think about the simple pleasures and the sheer joy of youngsters playing the game for the game’s sake and little else. Stop and pause about where the future lies and making change for the right reasons.

Sport in itself is not life, but is rich in life’s lessons. From a young age, it teaches humility, disappointment, determination and joy. It teaches co-operation, patience and the fact that anything worthwhile takes time and effort. There are so many fledgling qualities that can be introduced through sport and carried through on the larger stage of life.

For my part, I will continue to wander these hallowed halls in Bowral and step lightly between yesteryear and today, trying to learn what I can from past and present. I will recognise that it’s ‘only a game’ but value the lessons and respect the traditions. Places like the International Cricket Hall of Fame are national treasures and not just for the sporting enthusiast, for they offer a glimpse into the past with one foot in the present. And as we know, there is much to be learned from those who have gone before.


Please support these very worthy foundations.

The Bradman Foundation.

The McGrath Foundation.

The Steve Waugh Foundation.

The Ponting Foundation.

No comments:

Post a Comment