By Andrew Parkinson
Philip Hughes passed away at 3.40pm (EDST) on the 27th of November 2014 at the age of 25. His death was the result of an injury sustained while playing a game of cricket. His tragic death has brought into sharp focus the danger of what was once believed to be a gentile sport.
But out of this tragedy has come something moving, powerful and in a way beautiful.
A movement, started by one man has washed across a nation and now around the world. #putoutyourbats has started a movement that pays a quiet dignified respect to a young man who’s potential will never be realised. You place your bat with your club or representative cap on the handle outside your front door and take a photo, post it to a social media site and there it stays as your mark of respect to Philip.
Now what has this to do with a football blog you ask? My answer to you would be everything, that is everything we love.
Cricket is just discovering what football learnt many years ago. That is through tragedy and adversity comes strength and unity.
If I just write two words I think you’ll know what I mean:
We as football fans learnt what it meant to join together to support two of the world’s greatest clubs as the struggled to comprehend the enormity of the tragedies that that had befallen them. Supporters who were sworn enemies joined together to show support and pay their respects to the dead, help the people of the cities of Manchester and Liverpool through their grief. Tributes flowed from around the world and over time those wounds healed, supporters went back to taunting each other but deep down inside they shared the same sorrow and a bond drawn out of adversity.
Cricket is now discovering that unity and bond, I saw players openly crying before play on day 2 of the 3rd cricket test between New Zealand and Pakistan, mourning a player that shared the same love of the game.
This brings me to my final point. We, as sports people, or supporters, at times have to take a step back and reflect on how we got to where we are and why. We started playing our sport for fun and that is often forgotten in our attempts to reach the the dizzying heights of success. Or as we support our favourite local or international sides with fervent passion.
We are all joined together by our love and passion for our sport but remember at the end of the day we are playing a game and sometimes events take place that remind us that some things are more important. That is the gift that Philip Hughes has passed onto us in death………perspective.
[Andrew Parkinson played first team football as a goalkeeper for Birkenhead and East Coast Bays from 1987 until 2000 when a back injury cut his career short. He also played premier cricket for East Coast Bays and Birkenhead as well as coaching the Birkenhead senior side for a couple of seasons. He has been goalkeeper coach at Birkenhead United since 2013.]
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A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma.