Remember this? Like most Australian kids in the 50's I played cricket at school, in the backyard, at the park, in the nets, at the beach and in weekend competition. I say this as the football season concluded last weekend and now the cricket season has started.
There is an induction process involved in cricket. It starts with the school yard selection for the lunch time match. Two captains, captain A picks his first player, captain B selects his first player 'til it comes down to the worst cricket player who is, wait for it, last pic.
A horrible feeling! Cricket induction – eat your heart out! That's the way it was done and I dare say, continues to this day. Political correctness doesn't get a look in – cricket ability is the only item on the agenda.
Starting out as an Acting Fireman in my personal experience was a bit like this in the 60s and 70s. There were multiple locomotive depots in Sydney and Wollongong in my time as a locomotive engineman on the New South Wales Government Railways.
There was always 'tension' between the locomotive crews from each of these locomotive depots. Sydney sported two huge locomotive roundhouses. One was centred at Eveleigh near Redfern, not three kilometres from Sydney Central Railway Station. The other was Enfield which was adjacent to the 'several kilometres' of freight shunting yards, not far from the major railway station of Strathfield.
One would not have to be an Einstein to conclude that Eveleigh Locomotive Depot housed the locomotives that hauled passenger trains, and that Enfield Locomotive Depot housed locomotives that hauled freight trains. Neither would it be a giant step of imagination to see that the locomotive crews that hauled passenger trains would be in the public eye and work more 'day time' trips than freight train locomotive crews that would function mostly at night.
Wollongong had three roundhouses, Thirroul (northern beaches), Wollongong, and Port Kembla in the heart of the steelworks and associated heavy industries. Thirroul locomotives hauled the suburban workers' trains along with coal trains to the coal loader at Wollongong Harbour. Wollongong engines hauled the Sydney to Nowra passenger services. Port Kembla engines did the heavy trains conveying steel product up the mountain line to the main south and / or to Sydney, likewise the heavily-laden limestone trains to feed the steelworks blast furnaces.
Again, the locomotive enginemen at these three depots exhibited animosities. There was a perceived hierarchy in that the Wollongong crews wore smart attire (working express passenger trains), Thirroul crews were seen to be looking down their noses at Port Kembla crews and yet Port Kembla knew full well they were the backbone of Illawarra economy, they conveyed the heavy steel and limestone back and forth; they were the heart of the region's commercial survival and industrial strength.
For the railways, the main game was getting trains from A to B. Tensions were a function of the human soul and may have been a disguise for 'friendly rivalry'.
Cricket, like such friendly depot rivalry, is serious banter but in another sense it has to do with the heart of man.
The late Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who became a Christian in the Siberian Gulags wrote: 'But the line between good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being and who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart'.
Jesus said: "What comes out of a man (what he says), that defiles a man ... out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts .... All these evil things come from within and defile a man." Mark chapter 7 verses 20-23.
This illustrates that constant tension within our hearts whether involved with cricket or elsewhere.
Enjoy your cricket!
Dr Mark Tronson - a 4 min video
Chairman – Well-Being Australia
Baptist Minister 45 years
- 1984 - Australian cricket team chaplain 17 years (Ret)
- 2001 - Life After Cricket (18 years Ret)
- 2009 - Olympic Ministry Medal – presented by Carl Lewis
- 2019 - The Gutenberg - (ARPA Christian Media premier award)
Gutenberg video - 2min 14sec
Married to Delma for 45 years with 4 children and 6 grand children