Monday, 10 October 2016

John Gleeson: An Australian cricket player

I grew up playing cricket. In the summer we played cricket and in the winter I played soccer or (field) hockey.

I haven't watched much cricket recently and haven't played for a number of years but I still follow the game and one of the best ways to follow it is this website.

Cricinfo is one of the most popular websites on the internet. Well it helps that cricket is the most popular sport in India. On Cricinfo you can get all the latest cricket information with live scoring and statistics and videos an everything you would expect for a website produced by ESPN.

One of the interesting features of the website however are the interesting articles about bygone eras and past players and the behind the scenes look at cricket all through the ages.

I came across this article on the Cricinfo homepage and what drew me to it was the sentence, '... unreadable on and off the field.'

Hmmm, I thought I wonder what that means. I read the article about John Gleeson, an Australian cricketer of the 1960's and 1970's.

Obviously the article talked a great deal about his cricket career and what he had achieved but there was a little part about his nickname, CHO which stood for 'cricket hours only.' Basically his team mates would see him at the practice nets and the game and that was it. He remained a mystery.

I wonder if this was because he preferred to spend time alone. He enjoyed cricket and he enjoyed the challenge of the sport but in the end he wanted to spend time alone or with his partner and that is how he energised for the next day of cricket.

A lot of sports that I grew up around are very much a social thing. Cricket, rugby, hockey, soccer etc. You make lifelong friends and you make memories that will last with you for the rest of your life. Team mates go out together, they drink together, they eat together, they are basically friends both on and off the field because basically they spend so much time together.

I never had this. My friends were not really guys I played sport with. I didn't hate them, actually I got on quite well with them and I still keep in contact with them on Facebook etc but besides cricket or any of the other sports we really never had anything in common.

I wonder if this was the same with John Glesson. He enjoyed his cricket. He enjoyed the success that he had with it but I wonder if his personality wasn't suited to team sports. He wasn't one of the boys. He was someone who liked to take time out by himself to recharge. Obviously to his more social team mates this would be considered weird behaviour.

The ironic thing about this article is however is that the writer, Ashley Mallett is also a quiet guy. I think his nickname was Rowdy which was a reference to his quiet nature. It's ironic isn't it? Because you are quiet it is considered almost strange in a team environment. I had that experience in my sporting career.

In sports and especially in team sports you are going have all sorts of characters in your team. Just because your team mate doesn't want to go drinking with you doesn't make him or her weird. Accept that they just like to spend time alone. But remember that when they get out on the field or court, they are not going to let you down.

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