This past week has been a rather huge week for Australian sport, for cricket in particular, culminating today, not in a good way…but a culmination all the same.
Last week 25 year old Phillip Hughes was playing cricket at the Sydney Cricket Ground when he was hit by a bouncer…it was one of those fluke bouncers, not like the thousands of other bouncers he had probably faced in his cricketing career, it was a bouncer that hit him below the helmet at 63 not out, and then saw him passing away a couple of days later, on Thursday in hospital.
That was marked by the social media campaign of #putoutyourbats which saw people and sporting organisations of all sports around the world put the cricket bats out on display.
Sunday marked his 26th birthday, when Australian captain Michael Clarke asked everyone to raise a glass and have a drink for Phillip.
Today marked his funeral, in the country town that he was from, with a crowd so large that it couldn’t be held at the church where he was baptised and his parents were married. Captain Michael Clarke got up and spoke again and was then a pall-bearer along with Aaron Finch. It was then followed by the mourners walking behind the hearse that was carrying Phillip’s coffin to the edge of the town, thousands of people, walking for over half an hour, many of whom hadn’t met Phillip.
There aren’t words that can describe what his cricketing team-mates are going through right now, especially Sean Abbott, who was the bowler at the time.
To see Michael Clarke talk on behalf of Phillip’s family last week, then again when Phillip passed away and once again today at the funeral shows strength beyond what anyone could expect the captain to show for someone that is one of his closest mates. Nobody can deny that he has gone above and beyond what anyone could expect and has had to be the public face of the grief of a lot of young men around the country.
To see a life taken so young, that’s hard to comprehend…more so when 7 and 8 year olds ask about it and want to discuss the specifics about it, but it is life as it has been all over the news and media and it has affected the country in ways that one could never have expected.
Now these crickets are at the stage where they were meant to be starting a test series tomorrow, but thankfully Cricket Australia changed the schedule to allow them time to grieve and has said they do not have to play if they don’t feel like they can, which is absolutely amazing. But they also know that they have the whole country and a lot of the world behind them 100%.