There were two deaths over the last couple of days that I would like to make note of.
First of all, there was former England captain and announcer, Tony Greig.
I did not know Tony as a player. But I wholeheartedly enjoyed his commentary, and his Twitter feed. His death on Friday was sudden and heartbreaking. I have a hard time reading back over his recent tweets. They sound so hopeful and in that hope lies the tragedy and the sadness. He was going to watch the Boxing Day Test with his son. It didn’t go the full five days, which most of us bemoaned; but at least Tony got to see one final result.
His tweets remind me of some e-mails I received from my Uncle Mike in his last days. Guarded hope and every day annoyances.
Singer Fiona Apple, in a letter to fans cancelling a tour, discussed how we should learn to treasure, not fear, our last few days. I guess I do and do not believe that. I like the fact that Tony Greig, and my Uncle Mike, got to spend their last few days just doing the things they have always done…watching cricket, designing pens…instead of spending all of their time treasuring something as vast and wide and complicated as life in the shadow of its own ending.
At the same time, for my family, and for Tony Greig’s, it would have been nice to have had a chance to say goodbye.
I did not know Tony, as a player, as a teammate, as a captain, as a friend, or as a father. But I did know him. As I posted when Tom Maynard was killed earlier this year:
“Some people will cast spurious glances at those of us who grieve when celebrities die – but I think it is perfectly okay to mourn those in the spotlight, even if they were not close friends or family. Their lives touch ours in very unique ways, and so it follows that their deaths would do so, as well.”
I stand by that statement. And I will add that when celebrities die, it reminds us of who we have lost; which is something worth being reminded of.
Rest in peace, Mr. Greig.
Rest in peace, Uncle Mike.
The second death was, of course, the death of Damini in Singapore.
I read the news as I was posting my year end review the other day. I felt churlish and silly. I cannot comprehend her pain; my dark moments are sunshine and roses compared to her positively hellish final weeks on this planet.
And I am not going to comment on the cultural aspects involved here. I am not qualified to. And speaking as an American, and considering our cultural “problems” that were laid bare in Sandy Hook earlier this month, I really do not have a right to speak: to denounce, to demean. And, as evidenced in our election season, Americans have their own issues with regard to how women are treated.
I will say this, however, because it concerns cricket, and that’s what this blog is about, even if it seems flippant at this moment to do so: if India wants a seat at the table, if it wants to be taken seriously, then this needs to stop.
And by table, all mean all tables: politics, economics…and sport.
I get asked a lot if cricket will ever take off in America. And the answer is now a maybe but also now includes a final qualifier:
Stop treating women like you do.
Stop it now.
And even if you don’t want a seat at the table, even if you don’t want cricket to work in in America:
Stop treaking women like you do.
Stop it now.