The cricket season has well and truly kicked off and as a father and cricket fan, I enjoy getting down to Ashgrove Sports Ground in Brisbane on the weekend to watch my boys pull on the whites for Valley District Cricket Club.
It’s a great club, currently with former Australian Captain Allan Border as its patron, has a rich history and will tick over its 125-year anniversary in 2022.
This season I’ve had the pleasure of co-coaching my son Colby and his teammates in the Under-14s with my good friend and long-term client Sean.
It’s a rewarding pastime, not only seeing Colby develop as a young cricketer and grow as an individual with his peers, but to watch all the young lads grow together through a shared enjoyment of the game and the fellowship that comes with it.
There’s no shying away from the fact Sean and I share the boys’ buzz that comes from the team meshing together and notching up a win. But there’s much more to community sport than winning. It’s about taking away learnings from losses and getting the best out of kids by helping them realise what’s possible. It is also about the sense of participation and the social bond provided by the club for players, coaching staff, volunteers and all the families associated.
Then there is the broad cross section of the Brisbane community involved in the club, providing a rich tapestry of cultures, beliefs, history, storytelling, interests and skills that make it a wonderfully diverse organisation.
As a father and a professional, I take away many personal lessons from coaching juniors, which I can then apply to other aspects of my life and work. The art of exercising patience and presenting instructions with clear, concise communication to a group of teenage boys is challenging. But a mutual understanding we are all there to achieve a common goal and eloquent delivery of the messages to assist that strategy are things coaching has helped me improve. This team of young boys wants to win, but we place the spirit of the game, fairness, respect and enjoyment for all above the goal of winning. For our team this can be all summed up into one sentence: “Have fun winning”.
There is a satisfying similarity pushing players’ potential and ability, to providing strategic financial advice to my clients. In either context – as coach or adviser to player or client – I learn about their strengths and weaknesses, help set goals and then work through challenges and obstacles to produce a better outcome, realise potential and ultimately achieve success. In my eyes, the reward is the same. I take great satisfaction in knowing that my contribution has positively impacted the lives of people who rely on me.
On the other side of the coin, participating in social sport – whether as player or coach – provides the opportunity to switch off from work, cleanse the mind and actively contribute to my community through volunteering. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always up for a financial chat down at the club and have even welcomed some new clients from there, over the years. But more important is the ability to detach from work and be social, which helps me return to the office recharged and productive.
For me, it has a grounding effect and at times brings about nostalgia and a fond reflection of my own formative years spent as a teenage boy growing up playing cricket with my mates.
The message I want to share out of all this is that being part of junior sport is extremely rewarding. It may sound clichéd, but you really do get out of it what you put in. It’s a great way to embed yourself in the community, meet new people and find fulfilment.