Saturday, 29 November 2014

Phil Hughes: A Perspective

I'm ready for the flack on this one but ...

... the death of Phil Hughes is a tragedy and it impinges on all of us, both because of a life cut so awfully short and the threat it poses to our fragile mortality. After all, this same thing could happen to us, to our children - no matter what age - a brother, a sister, a mate. We are all suddenly vulnerable.
Sure, we all feel for Sean Abbott and worry about his well being and longevity in the game, but the broad damage of Hughes death is the way it affects as on a personal level.

Instead of realising that and dealing with it, we are now being assailed with an out pouring of emotions as though he was our best friend. Worse, the arse savers and opportunists are out in great numbers: from the helmet manufacturer that was quick to point out that Hughes was wearing a superseded model, to the Telegraph and Google and those in public office wanting to make sure they are seen to be gracious in their acts supposedly marking their respect. Bullshit. They are just positioning themselves to take advantage of the situation to enhance their standing with a public in personal turmoil and in doing so, improve their brand.

Already today, I've heard the phrase "it's what Phil would have wanted" spoken by those who never met him. I have no idea what Hughes would have wanted and to say otherwise elevates the speaker not the victim.

The grief we all feel is real but the over the top reactions to it are unhelpful for both the people close to this young man and the rest. Healing needs to be based on reality, not hyperbole.

A State Memorial Service at the SCG? Tests to be cancelled or postponed? We are developing a habit of immortalising to assuage our own fears, so that in death - tragic, shocking, wasteful death - Phil Hughes achieves fame well beyond his likely reach had he avoided that Kookaburra. Legend is word dispensed with a recklessness that cheapens those who truly deserve the nomenclature.

We put the bats out at our place
The most fitting mark of respect, a simple symbolic gesture made by a hitherto unknown Paul Taylor in Sydney, has swept a cricket world engulfed by the tragedy. Cricketers world wide, regardless of fame and stature have #putyourbatsout and posted photographs on Twitter. Its as much a mark of respect for Phil Hughes as it is an act of support for Sean Abbott. Either way, its simplicity has made proper grieving accessible. Nothing else will be as potent a sign or as meaningful as a farewell salute.

The best healing will come when we get back on the field and face our demons, whether that's the people at the heart of the matter or the vast majority on the periphery whose field is life. Easy to say, much harder to do. Grieve for sure, but life is about moving on and I for one hope that's what people do when I'm gone.