From Sport Lived to Lord’s
Words Steven Green
On the 2nd of January 2015, I hopped on a plane from Lusaka Zambia, to travel halfway around the world to arrive in Melbourne Australia — where I would be spending the next 3 months playing and coaching cricket on a programme with Sport Lived. For a fresh out of school 18 year old, it was difficult not to feel slightly overwhelmed, anxious but most of all excited for what lay ahead.
Within the first couple days of undertaking the programme and exploring the city, all my doubts towards the experience had vanished. I managed to settle into my accommodation where I met fellow programme mates who were very friendly, and of course it helped that we all shared a love for sport, and cricket in particular. I joined Youlden Parkville CC, a club I immediately became attached to. I was wonderfully welcomed and felt valued from the outset. Additionally, I was living in the centre of a vibrant city which is the sporting capital of the world... it was hard not to be delighted!
Melbourne was captivating in so many ways, a multicultural city that continuously entertained. With awesome rooftop and basement bars, incredibly diverse range of cuisines, scenic spots and landscapes in and just outside the city, and a never ending array of sports events to keep you entertained. For 12 weeks I discovered something new and exciting in the city everyday. I had days of watching the Australian Open tennis, Big Bash matches at the MCG, rugby at AAMI Park and the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix. I was left in awe at sights such as the Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island. I also enjoyed days at the beach learning to surf, music festivals, food markets, art galleries and so much more. Melbourne was a place that never ceased to amaze.
And the Cricket?
My cricket programme included one-to-one sessions with a specialist coach, club training, coaching juniors at my club and playing matches during the weekend. The one-to-one academy sessions were invaluable in developing new skills and enhancing my technique through drills and having discussions with coaches who had a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Training and playing matches for my club allowed me put to the skills I was working on at the academy in to practice, experience different playing conditions, embrace a unique cricketing culture and learn from individuals with a completely different perspective on cricket.
Being a junior coach at my club was also fun reminder of why I love cricket! Coaching children would give me the nudge to stay hungry and motivated through engaging with their energy and passion. To get this feeling as a first time coach was extremely refreshing.
Doing all of this for 12 weeks improved my cricketing skills, knowledge and experience dramatically. I benefited from the standard of cricket I was playing at my club and being part of a successful team who reached the league’s end of season Grand Final.
My understanding and appreciation for the game had taken a new turn for the better. And by the end of the programme it was easy to conclude that I was far richer than I was at the beginning (figuratively speaking).
Sport Lived as My Stepping Stone
After finishing my Sport Lived programme, I chose to go to university in Oxford where I wanted to further my education and fulfill my potential as a cricketer. There is no doubt the experience in Melbourne with Sport Lived put me in good stead to achieve what I set out to do.
Whilst at Oxford I was part of the Oxford MCCU and I am really proud of my accomplishments on the cricket field over the last few years. This includes making my 1st Class debut and playing against county teams such as Kent and Somerset, playing 2nd XI cricket representing the MCC Universities combined team and to top it off — winning at Lord’s Cricket Ground with Oxford MCCU in the University Challenge final and being named Man of the Match.
I owe my appreciation to the Sport Lived programme in developing me as a cricketer, but more importantly — over time I have discovered to appreciate how the experience in Melbourne developed me as a person.
The programme is a gap year sports experience designed to throw you in the deep end, and allows you to learn a lot about yourself, meet new people and experience a different world. It did exactly that. You have the freedom to create whatever unique experience you want. It puts the world at your feet and leaves you wanting more!