To everything there is a season—and right now that season is cricket season. With football finals receding into memory, we can already see suburban ovals filling up with white-clad figures, and we’ll even notice a shift in the ads we see on television. It’s a part of Aussie life; a regular cycle that heralds the change in seasons more reliably than the weather seems to these days. Summer is on its way.
Despite the inevitability, it’s hard to believe that we’ve already arrived at that time of year. It seems like only yesterday I packed up all my cricket gear, and the first game of the season saw a frantic search for all the bits and pieces that are required for a game. Like many casual cricketers, pre-season isn’t really high on my list of priorities, so when I ran out onto the oval for that first match it was a bit of a shock to realise how out of shape I actually was.
Despite the fact that I am still feeling the after-effects of unfamiliar exertions, with muscles bitterly protesting the fact that they have been asked to do things rendered out of the ordinary by the winter break, it was good to be back in my whites. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I slipped back into familiar rhythms and how much I enjoyed being out in the sunshine and in the company of my teammates.
There is something about team sports that gives you a sense of belonging, of community, that seems to be missing in many areas of modern life. Seeing familiar faces from last year, meeting new people, working together towards a common goal—all these things create a feeling of being part of something that is more than the sum of its parts.
We weren’t created to be solitary beings, but we find ourselves in a world that is increasingly encouraging us to turn away from each other and inwards, telling us that we can go it alone. Many of us wouldn’t know our neighbours, or know much of our work colleagues outside business hours. That’s why organisations like sporting clubs and churches are so important, to help repair and restore the idea of community.
Time seems to pass more quickly every year, and before I know it I’ll be packing my cricket kit away again. But that makes it all the more important to enjoy each match and the time spent in community, rather than taking it for granted or letting it rush by. It’s a challenge for each of us to do the same with our families, our community organisations, our church families—and make the most of the seasons we are given with them.