When it was reported that Phil Hughes was put into an induced coma, I didn’t know how to react. There was just a sort of numbness that took over my brain. As a cricket player, I know the risks. Luckily, as a female player who is only playing in predominantly social leagues now, I know the potential for that kind of injury is so incredibly low that I don’t have to worry about it.
But I understand it.
Having played in higher grades of cricket, I’ve felt the fear that comes with a towering bowler charging in to give you everything they’ve got. The ball becomes a bullet, my body and batting skill the only thing standing in the way of the target. Injuries can and do happen, and I’ve taken probably more than my fair share of hits to my torso and legs (…there’s a joke about “using my bat” that goes here, I’m sure).
Yesterday, the news headline notification came up on my phone that he had passed away. I was in class. The numbness and empathy swelled into a deep engulfing darkness and I felt hollow. I’ve never really mourned for people I don’t know, but somehow this was different. This time it was from someone who I could relate to. It resonated with me in a way that no other ‘famous’ death had done before.
It took a while for me to calm down and I had to excuse myself from class. Thankfully, the people around me were extremely understanding, and as time passed I regained control of my emotions. Not to say I am past it, not in the slightest. I still feel an immense sadness when I think about him and all involved, especially Sean Abbott.
But as I began to over-rationalise and focus on the bigger picture (my preferred method of coping), something occurred to me, which made me feel sick to my stomach.
All over the world, there would have been sports journalists writing up the stories of Phil Hughes’ death before it had even happened. That there would have been visual media teams creating eulogy videos and pictures while his fate hung in the balance.
How else are news companies able to get articles and memorial photographs up so fast after his passing? It’s just the way the industry works. Professional pre-prepared pessimism. Penning stories announcing the worst, ready to blast out into mainstream media.
It’s awful, and it’s a skill that I may need to acquire, being a media and communications student. That said, I hope I never have to deal with anything as truly tragic as this.
Rest in peace, Phillip Hughes.