Friday, 28 November 2014

Phillip Hughes 63*

Three months ago Michael Brown, an 18-year old black man, was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. I was angry, but only in theory.

On Sunday a 12-year-old black child, Tamir Rice, was shot and killed by police in a playground in Cleveland. I was angry, but only in theory.

This morning Phillip Hughes died. I am gutted.

Sport is weird like that. All I knew of Hughes was a promise soon to be fulfilled, and a leg-side skip/off-side slash that once neutered Dale Steyn.

Hughes is just one of too many, dead too young. Compared to the tragedies founded on centuries of racism, and the world’s daily injustices and ill-fortunes, we shouldn’t need Hughes’s freak death to give us perspective. But it does.

Because tragedies are meant for real life, and the sports field is a sacred space where real life is unwelcome.

Sport should be the great distraction. We may know it’s plagued by the frustrations of real life, but in the thick of action, it feels immune from it.

So for reality to intrude in the most devastating way, while Hughes played with friends and in front of family, is heartbreaking.

His death is no sadder than the many that will take place today, tomorrow and forever, but it sure feels like it.