One year ago, it was nearly the start of the cricket season. There was a spark of enthusiasm from me, as there was a plethora of fixtures to umpire and I was in reasonable demand too.
The weather got better as the season approached, and I remember the first match played out in glorious sunshine and temperatures in the 70s Fahrenheit. I umpired for the whole of April and May and the enthusiasm was there. I was reacquainting with colleagues, players that were familiar and all seemed well for a whole season’s entertainment and hopefully, a trouble free season too.
In fact, I only remember one show of dissent over a decision of mine, and that was in 10 or 11 games. So all was well. Could I make it to the end of the season?
Sadly, no. It’s like walking along a pleasant, tree lined road. The birds are singing, the sun is out and all is grand. Then you encounter a 50 foot high wall blocking your path. You cannot go around it, over it or through it. You’re stuck.
That’s how it was for me as of June of last year and in fact, most cricket seasons from around 2008. That wall has a message:- YOU CANNOT DO THIS ANYMORE…STOP. The 2018 cricket season starts next Saturday, and there’s no sense of anticipation or excitement. The race is run. I cannot countenance going out there, donning the white coat and making judgments. With my mental and physical health not being at it’s best, it’s time to take notice of what the mind and body is saying.
No more doing 10 or 11 games, stopping and not bothering for the rest of the season. No more making commitments to people and going back on them. No more panic attacks before games, no more anxiety and no feelings of having spoiled some player’s afternoon.
I’ll still be involved, albeit at a lesser extent and I’ll still see and chat to people who are friends and acquaintances in the world of cricket. It’s just I cannot bring myself to do the job that was a big part of my life for so many years.
All I’ll have is purely memories, good and bad.