Sunday, July 12, 2009

Test Cricket’s Lesson – War of Attrition

I’ve loved cricket since I was a boy. Recalling the Centenary Test in 1977, the first one I can really remember, I can still sense the fascination and allure of the battle, Australia versus England. My hero of the time, Dennis Lillee, took 11 wickets and spearheaded a famous win.

Some people are bored senseless at even the thought of watching a few hours of Test cricket, but I could watch a full five days (and have done), no problem at all. Some say it’s like watching paint dry or the grass grow.

There’s a broader aspect to the game, one that’s applicable to life. It’s a battle--a ‘war of attrition’ Vern West would say, a veteran fast bowler for the Salt Cricket Club in the 1980s; the club I last played for.

Test matches are rarely won over a ball or two. They’re won one ball at a time toward making runs and taking wickets consistently, and catches taken win matches too, one catch at a time.
If a team can keep things tight in the field, the pressure mounts and batters make mistakes. For the batting team, they’re trying to build partnerships, one ball at a time; a single here, a dot ball there, and the occasional boundary. Match-winning totals take a day and a half or two days to put together--no simple task. Commitment, application and discipline are all required.

It’s a confidence game. Like other sports, both sides are trying always to gain a mental advantage over the other, so every wicket and boundary places more pressure on the other side.
Cricket is like the game of life. Life is like a war of attrition. Each day presents its own challenges and at times we’re trying our best just to stay in the contest; at other times, life is easy--we’re reaching milestones, with ease, on the way to victorious days. Everything’s good.

But the overall journey is a struggle; we all have to admit it. Like cricket, life is a test. All we can do is try to focus on each day and enjoy what comes as much as possible, not becoming affected too adversely by the pressure of life.

If we can endure these times in the growing maturity of the years, the innings that is our life, we can learn greatly an appreciation of the character of life, and God’s purposes for it. It’s not really about our comfort.

When we’re just hanging on we need to smile. The more it hurts and the more we rebound, ‘staying in’ so to speak, the less life fazes us and the more our faith builds and we lack no significant amount of courage. We can inspire ourselves, one day at a time.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.

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