If there is one thing being in isolation has done, it is to highlight the value of our communities.
We all live and move in different communities, and for many of us, sport is a community we value highly.
It provides a place of friendship, teamwork and life learnings. A way to exercise, better ourselves and help others better themselves. A safe environment for us to seek and find a common purpose, a challenge wrapped in the differing emotions of victory and defeat.
In all areas of our lives we are currently being challenged and we are all keen to find comfort in renewed routine and normality.
Cricket is no different. Like all sporting communities, our cricket communities are desperate to get back on the grounds with family and friends, share stories and create new ones. It feels like we haven’t done that in ages. And for many in cricket, we haven’t.
Last season many of our cricket families faced the heart break of the bushfires. Many people faced more important challenges in their lives than how to win a game of cricket. The season stopped, and then restarted.
The bushfires then created poor air quality across NSW and ACT like we’ve never seen before. The season stopped, and then restarted.
Throw in record heat waves, and unbelievably, flooding across the state, and our cricketers couldn’t believe it. Once again, the season stopped, and then restarted.
Then we all experienced the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic.
The season stopped.
Most cricket competitions didn’t even get to play finals to determine the victors of one of the most disruptive cricket seasons experienced. In some ways, it was sadly poetic. But it hurt.
Despite the disruption and heartbreak of last season, cricket understands we live in a community. We don’t want others to miss out on playing their sport of choice and that’s why we have been talking and collaborating with our colleagues at a national, state and local level.
We want to find a way for everyone to be able to rejoin and enjoy being part of their community in the most harmonious way they can.
We have all made adjustments to fight the virus. We will continue to make adjustments to return to what we enjoy, but we also understand that we may not get everything we want. Cricket understands we need to make adjustments to allow other sports to try and get on the grounds and play.
We understand that the traditional start of a cricket season may be pushed back, and we also understand that the further it gets pushed back, the longer it will be for our cricket communities to be able to reunite and heal together. And many haven’t yet been able to heal from the disruptions and hardship they experienced last season. Cricket has already been affected by coronavirus more than many may know.
A crucial partner of community sport is local council. They are at the heart of our local community. They too are experiencing challenges and are feeling the burden of trying to ensure equality of access to facilities for all. But they are like us. They want what we want, a healthy and active community.
Councils also are currently awaiting guidance from government and health officials. They also wait for the sporting communities to try and find consensus in a sea of moving assumptions and hope. I thank them for their patience, their guidance and their compassion as they work through ways to get winter codes up and running and continue their planning for important grounds maintenance before a return to summer sport.
No one knows when we will return to the parks and grounds across NSW and ACT, but let’s hope it’s soon. Whenever it may be, compromise has to be at the heart of trying to satisfy the needs of every sports community. This will provide the basis for the recovery of all sports