The Diary of an Independent Publisher

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the diary of an independent publisher
A book turned up at the front door, today. It struck a chord, immediately.
It’s set in the summer of 1984/85. The West Indian cricket team is touring Australia, and the Aussies are getting flogged. Then, a very unlikely hero steps up to the crease…
Sergeant Roy Cooper is a country policeman in the small country town of Penguin Hill. He’s been batting for his local cricket club for decades – where he’s a statistical miracle. He makes very few runs, he’s not pretty to watch, but he’s never been dismissed.
Here, I think, is a story of the ordinary being magnificent and it took me back to a summer. The summer of 84/85.
That was the summer I cut short an overseas trip to return to suburban Melbourne to play cricket. C Grade suburban cricket.
The previous two summers, I had been struggling with the bat. It was a mindset.
But I’d worked out a new strategy. And I wanted to try it out.
I guess it’s all about respect. And, if I continued the way I was going, that respect would soon be non-existent.
So, the season was already two-games old when I got back and presented myself at training. I was friends with the club President. I got a game.
On a beautiful Saturday afternoon on Riversdale Road, I opened. My knock came to an end with a top edge after getting to 73. I was by then, very tired. I’d had a big night. The worrying thing is, I generally played better after a big night.
And so it went on. As every ball came to me, I repeated my mantra. It worked. Scores of 52, 89, 63…and 11.
Soon, I was moved to first drop. The form continued.
By the end of the season, I had an average of 83, or thereabouts. Without ever having made 100.
We made the Grand Final. I made 4. We lost.
The next season, I was appointed Captain. But that’s another story.
The great success for me was working out a way to overcome a deficit. And to see it work.
Playing cricket in suburban Melbourne, in my 20’s (I made a “comeback” in my 30’s for another club. That’s another story too) was one of life’s great joys.
So, I’ll read Justin Smith’s book and let it take me back to a time of hot summers and post-match beers, and of standing in the outfield, or in slips, telling myself that every ball was coming to me. Sometimes it did. They called me Sticky Fingers.