Today my favourite radio cricket commentator retired. If any of you follow me on Twitter you may have noticed my many posts on the topic and been bewildered as to what it had to do with living with CFS and electrosensitivity. The answer is twofold: everything and nothing! 🙂
My Passion For Cricket
Cricket has been a passion of mine since I was young. It was a way for me to bond with my father and it was also a way of life in Australia – you just watched the cricket in summer. That was what people did!
I’ve been to many live cricket tests and one-day matches in my life, mostly at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), and before my electrosensitivity started in 2003 I used to love watching it on the TV.
Battery-Powered Radio – My New Best Friend
Since 2003, my battery-powered radio has become my best friend in many ways – and the presenters on it have become like part of my family. 774ABC Radio has got me through years of fatigue, pain, 2 divorces, the “baby” days of being a Mum, and, especially in the early days, it was my constant companion in an otherwise very lonely world where electricity dominated and I felt like a misfit.
The presenters on ABC Radio have in many ways been my lifeline, and in summer, when the 5-day cricket test matches are on, I have come to look forward to the first of the 5 tests because of one man in particular – Kerry O’Keefe.
Who is Kerry O’Keefe?
Kerry, knicknamed Skull (I gather because of his bald head but I may be wrong), is a former Australian spin-bowler from the 70s and early 80s, whose mix of cricketing knowledge and quick-witted, slightly goofy personality has brought an energy and enjoyment to the ABC cricket commentary team that is totally unique.
On announcing his retirement the other day, he admitted that he didn’t think he’d last 1 year on the ABC because he was so different to the usual serious, rather dour commentators the ABC listeners were used to. It turns out he was wrong. He lasted 13 years and they are still begging him to stay! With a few exceptions, Kerry is loved by the masses.
Tears for the loss of one of my true joys
I cried when he announced his retirement. And today I cried even more during a tribute to him at lunch, and as he said goodbye after Australia won back the Ashes 5 tests to nil against England (to those uninitiated in cricket, THIS is a big deal!).
I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve and have been quite sentimental, but this retirement of a radio cricket commentator hit me much harder than even I could imagine.
I realise that since TVs, computers, phones, stereos and most things electrical started causing me incredible pain (headaches if you don’t know), I’ve come to treasure the few things I can take refuge in when I want an almost-elusive headache-free day.
My radio, books and nature are probably the trio I most rely on for this. When I’m at my parents’ visiting, where the TV is generally on most of the day, I take refuge in my bedroom, some distance from the TV, and, in the summer, I listen to the cricket (sometimes reading at the same time).
How this all relates to managing CFS/illness
So it turns out there IS a link between living with CFS and electrosensitivity and my rather devastated reaction to Kerry O’Keefe’s retirement. He, along with many others, have become part of my family – part of my family of coping mechanisms for making this life with constant pain a little easier to endure.
Laughter is something I seek as often as possible as it truly is a great tonic for pain – both mental and physical – and Kerry’s cricket commentary has had me laughing to the point of tears many, many times. I’ve often made the mistake of thinking I could leave the cricket on in the background while I had my afternoon rest/sleep, only to find myself laughing out loud because of one of Kerry’s comments or jokes.
Building our Toolkit of Things That Bring Us Joy
Seeking out the things that bring us joy and stock-piling them into a tool-kit to help us get through our days of illness, pain, fatigue and other discomfort from chronic illness is something I think is essential for successfully managing our lives powerfully.
This afternoon I downloaded a number of podcasts featuring Kerry O’Keefe so that I can continue to experience his unique humour and allow him to continue on in my illness management toolkit.
For any of you based in cricket-loving countries who happen to also love your cricket, here is the link to a special tribute to Kerry’s very unique brand of cricket commentary that was on ABC Grandstand Radio today.
Cricket commentators may not be in YOUR illness management toolkit, but I wonder what is?