The season is all but over, and I cannot believe how fast it seems to have passed.
To be honest, it has hardly felt like a cricket season at all. We have watched the rain fall for the best part of two thousand overs, which equates to many hours of books, card games, and watching YouTube videos. I have felt more connected to my twitter timeline than the cricket pitch this summer.
At this time of year I tend to do two things. Firstly I reflect on the season, make plans for winter development, and have contract talks. Secondly, and more importantly, I look forward to some feet up family time, and maybe a week away to soak up some sun. Although with a little daughter who has discovered she can walk and the world is now her oyster, I imagine there shall be slightly less feet up time than I am used to.
On reflection, this will rank as one of my most disappointing seasons. During my time at Worcester I got used to popping up and down from Division 1 cricket. This was not really a surprise as we always entered the division as underdogs, and but for a few days in the sun, we never really competed consistently. This cannot be said of our Lancashire team. It is the same side that won the Championship and made the T20 finals day in 2011. In theory we should be better, with the added experience and confidence of a good 2011 campaign. That is why this season is even more disappointing and hard to come to terms with.
I am sure that over the coming months we will dissect the various reasons for this, and we will have to work more clearly and cleverly in the important areas as a team and individuals. When things go wrong and expectations are shattered, it is sometimes hard to remember the good things. At times we still showed the qualities that made us Champions, and we had a great one day season in general, in particular with the bat as a team. We just could not get over the final few hurdles. If the Olympians' and Paralympians' stories teach us anything, it is that tough times teach you more than good times, and overcoming disappointment with humility and hard work is where true champions are made.
With this said and done, I shall also have to dust off the golf clubs and find my tuxedo, as it is also now the season of charity golf days and formal dinners. With respect to the golf days, it seems that for some, the charity refers to placement of their handicap. It is not unusual for an 18 handicapper to accumulate 50 points, rendering any idea of picking up a nice case of wine or new golf umbrella completely obsolete. For me, just exploring the course as the designer intended will be deemed a success.
With various end of season dinners in the diary, it is also a welcome opportunity for my wife and I to dress up and enjoy some fun social nights out, before wincing at the left over payment slips in the wallet the morning after. It is important to have this time still connected to your team mates before going your separate ways. The thing I am looking forward to most though is my time with my family. There is no better tonic to rejuvenate oneself, and when the off season preparations start, I will feel refreshed and ready to make 2013 a year to remember. For all the right reasons.