Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Incomprehensible bravery

I don't place a lot of value in bravery as a virtue.

I've never understood what was so desirable about being Sorted into Gryffindor.

Bravery implies choice. Choosing the path of heroism.

I'm not brave when it comes to daring feats of physical capability. In fact I think people who are often popularly perceived to be brave are actually just big fools.

If someone asked me to go and bat with a broken hand I would tell them to bugger off. I would guard my hand like The Precious. I might even hiss at them.

I guess that's because I'm rational, sensible and have a sense of self-preservation. Plus I don't like pain.

I didn't think for a second that Smith would bat today, by fate or choice. Seems neither did he.

"I didn't really expect to go out. Deep inside I didn't really want to get out there.

"I probably decided 25 overs out, 26 overs out (that I was going to bat).

"I arrived here without any kit and had some pants I'd shoved into my cricket bag to protect my bats.

"I stole a shirt off Jacques (Kallis) and a pullover off Harry (Paul Harris) that still had his hamburger stain on the front left side of it.

"I had Morne (Morkel) dressing me and putting my shoes on and pads.

"I decided I was going to give it a go and give it my best shot and if I got a first-baller or whatever at least I tried.

"Obviously there's a lot of pain. Once one ball hit the bat I thought 'okay, that's one out the way'.

"(I told myself) 'just keep watching the ball and hoping that it hits the bat the whole time'.

"It was about getting out there and doing the best you can."

Smith refused to use his injuries as an excuse for his dismissal.

"He probably would have got me if I had both arms available.

"It cut back off a crack (and) Mitchell has bowled superbly all series.

"I saw they were having a little group meeting just before that over and I was hoping that they were going to give the ball to someone else."

Although the phrase no sense, no feeling did flicker across my mind, trying to save the game for his team and for his country was brave. He was in tremendous pain, and although he's well practised at keeping a straight face, it did show a little. Yep, he's a Gryffindor.

I wondered though, if he could get his hand in the glove today, what was the hold up on Sunday? Broken is broken, I don't want to hear about his euphoric cloud of anaesthesia (unless I get a share). Maybe he enjoys the pain.

It was only when the champagne was being sprayed everywhere that he scampered like, well, me, clutching his newly re-cast arm. So not only is he a masochist, his priorities when it comes to alcohol are seriously screwed up.

When all's said and done though, it was an extraordinary and memorable sight to behold, and deserving of the standing ovation received. Crazy sure, and not something I'd do for love or money. But admirable too.

I remember an ad campaign for noodles or something, a year or two back, with the line "make pain your friend". To that I say no.

Guess that's why I'm not an elite athlete. And thank heavens for that.


Anonymous said...

I felt the same way when I saw Graeme coming out to bat. It was a very moving moment for me.

For the last 2 hours of the match I was a wreck, flinching with every ball bowled. All credit to the Australian team who won and strangely enough I didn't mind as much as I thought I would that SA lost. It was a battle well fought right to the end.
It was test cricket at it's best!

I look forward to the series in South Africa.

DreamDancer said...

I am in awe of Smith's bravery. Like you Miss Field I wouldn't have even thought about stepping out there. The SCG crowd pretty much summed up how I felt.

Ben said...

All that bravery and, at the same time, such a strong, handsome guy. Its not fair one individual should be so richly talented. The way he single handedly defeated Australia will go down in legend. He was only awarded Man of the series because there was no trophy for Superman of the series.

Oomby Dave said...

These comments are turning into "lets all bend over and kiss Smeeth's backside".

Ok so the dude had did what he thought he could do for his country but I think, put in another situation there are other players would wide who would have done the same.

Anyone remember the JL incident?

Anonymous said...

I saw this article coming!!

Smith isn't one who bows down easily. Its his attitude that has permeated the South African cricketing spirit in the last year.

Kris said...

Didn't Dean Jones bat through an entire day with diarrhea in Madras?

Now that's bravery!

Chintan Vinod Shinde said...

I didnt expect such lavish praise for smith from Miss Field given her previous columns on him, but we know aussies have always appreciated true display of character.

I knew deep down in my heart smith would come to bat, so would have Pietersen, Steve Waugh, Rahul Dravid and Andy Flower in such a situation.

however even average batsmen will be tempted to come to bat... no one wants to be seen as giving less than a hundred per cent when a test match is at stake.

One would not expect to see such scenes in a 0neday or a twenty20. Test matches rule!