He was the symbol of hard work,
Not one challenge did he shirk,
His number was four hundred and eight,
So many will miss you little mate.
As a teenager I had one dream; a dream that so many Australian boys have; to play Test cricket for Australia. I lived and breathed the game and watched and played as much as I possibly could. Of my life heroes, there are quite a number of cricketing legends: Dennis Lillee, Kim Hughes, Stephen Waugh, and more recently David Warner.
Australia and the cricketing world have witnessed the incomprehensible: the death of a cricketer out on the field; felled by a bouncer. Such an ever-present risk when those batting face a hard cricket ball flying around the head at nearly one hundred miles an hour, no one expects someone to die having been struck. And not just anyone died two days later, Thursday, 27 November, 2014, three days short of his 26th birthday. Phillip Joel Hughes was known by anyone who knows something about cricket all over the world.
The Life of a Talent and A Fighter
Phillip Hughes was both an incredible talent and a fighter; two qualities needed to succeed in almost anything. He inspired many, and, though his stature was small, his spirit was big.
The important thing, today, and all days ensuing – the legacy of Phillip Hughes – is what will last. His death reminds us of all the unique qualities of his life. What he gives is what he leaves; these fantastic stories of those who knew him, his very best and most enduring qualities.
As I watched the funeral service on television, I saw all those hundreds of people – all of whom will have their own funeral one day. We will all. Funerals are good for that very reason. They remind us that life is fleeting. Life must teach us this thing: give what we can and make of it what we can. Certainly, with us having lost our own son only thirty-five days ago, death, loss and funerals are not far from mind. These may crush us. But they must steel those of us who must live on. And living on must have meaning!
The talent and the fight in this young man who died at 25 is to be a message to us; let us use all our talent and our fight and our passion to make the very best and most of life.
Four hundred and eight was Phillip Hughes’ Test number; his was the 408th Baggy Green Cap. He wore number 64 in One Day Internationals. His Test top score was 160. His One Day top score was 138 not out. He was 63 not out when he fell. These are significant numbers. They are Phillip Hughes’ numbers.
What those who part with us leave is an enduring memory of their goodness amidst God’s grace. Thank you, Phillip Hughes, for your contribution to your family and friends, to cricket, to Australia, and to the world.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.