The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

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Friars' Passions; Cricket?

Saturday, October 01, 2011
I had for some time by various cunning ruses and strategems managed to avoid contributing to Godzdogz's 'friars' passions' series. Indeed, i was just begining to relax my vigilance thinking myself safe after two years on the Godzdogz team when, alas, the long arm of the law finally caught up with me in the form of Br. Mark.

The problem is I don't really have a 'passion' anymore. Before I joined the Order I would have perhaps claimed to be passionate about cricket, but it would probably be more truthful to say that I was passionate about winning cricket matches, which is not quite the same thing. As teenagers my team was often told by one of our coaches: 'I want you to enjoy the game, but I'd rather you enjoyed winning.' This became something of a motto for me. I spent hours plotting the downfall of opponents, both on my own and with teammates. We used to disect and analyze matches, training sessions, our techniques, our tactics. We always maintained a brutal honesty, searching for incremental improvements that would cumulatively build to significant leaps in quality. On match day itself we would fight tooth and nail to win.

The fact that cricket (partly because the game takes so long) is so multifaceted meant that in this process of analyzing and struggling I learnt an awful lot about myself, about team dynamics, about leadership, about dealing with pressure, about achieving goals. All of these skills have been enormously beneficial to my academic and personal development from adolescence upwards, and I have been surprised by just how much 'cricket wisdom' is transferable to religious life. But in the end this hyper-competitive outlook destroyed the game for me. As I became older cricket became more and more a chore, something I felt compelled to do rather than something I wanted to do and it was with some relief that I stopped playing after University. Sometimes I think about starting again now that I am older and possibly more mature, but I haven't done anything about it yet.

Now I spend my free time in a number of different ways, all of which i enjoy, but none of which consume me in the way that cricket used to. They are not passions. Indeed, my favourite way to while away an evening is with a good pint with good friends in a proper pub. Maybe next time I'll write a post about that...

Nicholas Crowe OP


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