The eeriness of that moment somehow was that it seemed bigger than itself as soon as it happened. A moment which seemed momentous.
As a trader, sitting in office, staring at multiple screens of flashing numbers, scrolling headlines and contorting graphs, you somehow train yourself to be alert for something which could be defining – but mostly it doesn’t happen. Not for days, and even if, only for a few defining submoments before life slips back into exciting ennui.
That day, there was no headline, no sudden change in prices and no graph danced. It was a seemingly innocuous tweet by a cricket writer who was covering some state game. Phil Hughes had been hit by a short ball he said. “Real bad” he said. Or maybe it was “Doesn’t look good”.
Three days later, I’d discuss it with a colleague. We agreed that there was something distressingly, abnormally ominous about every moment since then.
These kind of things aren’t exactly rare. Sportsmen get injured, accidents happen, injuries pause promising lives and cripple careers. Why then did I message a few people and mail a few others within moments of that happening? Why did this one cloud seem more than just tremulous? Why, at the root of my spreading the word, was this feeling of reaching out for selfish “say it isn’t so” help?
Two days later, in Phil Hughes’ death, that moment assumed an ironical life of its own. Those two days had been spent monitoring markets, stretching time with friends and family, building and meeting expectations, thinking of Thanksgiving, finding meaning in routine – but mostly in waiting for good news. Or wishing for no bad news. Those two days had been spent in hopeful prayer.
For all the two faced monster that Social Media is, it provided in those two days (and certainly, though differently, in the moments after), a conduit of expectations. I’d keep searching for news, grimace at updates, cringe at obits disguised as career recap pieces and marvel at hope.
For the sportsfan, Phil Hughes’ death is bigger than just that. For a few shaping moments, it questions the value of Sports as solace.
Now, as one reads about a promise shattered, watches a captain broken, a sports’ community orphaned of brightness, one tries the most difficult thing of all – to distance oneself from that deluge of grimness.
For a few moments….