I had the honour, on the weekend, of speaking at two events.
One was on a panel at University of NSW at the 21st Century Leadership Summit on Saturday afternoon.
What a panel! Phil Crenigan, Vanessa Wolfe-Coote, Lynn Wood and Andy Hedges. Out of my league but a great honour to meet these wonderful people and the attendees at the event!
The other was at Mark Taylor Oval at Waitara in Sydney talking with the captains of the Northern District Cricket Club.
NDCC was the club I played for all those years ago…
Both were great sessions.
And both took me back many years.
I studied at UNSW when I left school as a part-time student…AND….at that same time, I was playing grade cricket for Northern District CC.
Now, I can’t honestly say that they had the same impact on me in terms of memories! 🙂
My memories were far better at Mark Taylor Oval!
Although it wasn’t called Mark Taylor Oval in those days.
Mark Taylor hadn’t graced the scene at Waitara when I first started playing, though he ended up becoming a great team-mate.
Although I am sure that my poor wicket-keeping was the reason Tubby ended up becoming such a brilliant first slip fieldsman!
The Club has a leadership program to assist the various team captains.
It was just sensational to spend some time with the Club’s captains and talk about leadership and its challenges.
I have to admit that it also brought back memories with some of the great photos on the walls in the Club room – I did look so much younger in some of the (ageing) team photos on the wall!
But here’s the challenge.
In my playing days there were very experienced, older players captaining teams.
As a young player, I served on the club committee but with people like Tim Caldwell who was then Chairman of the Australian Cricket Board, Austen Hughes who went on to be Club President for 30 years, and on the NSW Cricket Association with Alan Davidson who was president for half a lifetime and a test-great himself.
I played under retired Test and Sheffield Cricketers like Ross Edwards, Kerry Mackay, Mark Clews, and Neil Marks who, some people say, played youth cricket with Bradman (That was joke Harpo! ).
Experienced and wonderful people who had a big influence on young people.
However, the captains of today don’t have the experienced guys playing in the same teams any more.
Life is busier. Players retire and move on to the next stage of their life. They tend to have families later; children’s sport is played anytime form Friday to Sunday; it’s a 24/7 lifestyle.
Which means the captains are young.
And they will generally not have had the role models I had in my day – deeply experienced campaigners in life and cricket.
Hence the wonderful work done by the Club to have leadership development as a program. Is it little wonder that NDCC won the NSW Club Championship in 2016/17?
So, what’s my point?
First, I learned so much about life playing cricket. And I learned a great deal from the experienced “elders” I was privileged to play with. About cricket, sure, but also plenty about life.
Our wonderful young leaders need support, mentors, guides.
Secondly, I wonder whether, as a society, have we dropped the ball in staying part of the great institutions which added so much value to our lives? Our schools, unis, sporting clubs, social clubs, RSLs, PCYC, churches….
Perhaps a call to action – how can we all take the responsibility of contributing something back to the young people who are following in our footsteps, but in a different time?
Our leadership of the future need us.
Food for thought….