What does cricket have to do with Freemasonry? I never contemplated it until I read former Australian wicket keeper Adam Gilchrist’s autobiography ‘True Colours’ during the recent summer of cricket where we emerged unbeaten. It was “Boldness be my friend”: I thought to myself of Shakespeare in his Cymbeline, 1611:
“Have lost the wager. Boldness be my friend!
“Arm me, audacity, from head to foot!”
Gilchrist narrates an episode when Stephen Waugh was well established after a year in the role as Test Captain. John Buchannan had just been appointed as Coach and they were 2-0 up against Pakistan. He said Buchannan challenged us: “Let’s try and make them change the rules” through the way we played just as in the 1980s. He said that all great teams had revolutionised the game and now it was our turn. Steve Waugh went on to say: “Let’s set out to be the most attacking team the game has known. Let’s endeavour to score 300 in a day, let’s challenge ourselves to always be positive and back ourselves.”
They dared to win and were not afraid to lose. Remember Björn Borg, retired tennis champion: “If you’re afraid of losing then you daren’t win”. Our cricketers usually won and became the leading, dominant cricket team.
Waugh as Captain led with hard work as a Master should. Gilchrist reports “an incredible togetherness” the group, the harmony we need in a successful lodge. The wives and families were encouraged to be involved including on tour – makes sense doesn’t it: it’s what we must do for happiness and success. The team was balanced to include young players: we should not be swamped with PMs because they are supposed to know what to do. They were confident and happy as we must be. There was a strong mental and physical toughness and we admire fortitude.
A successful team like a lodge needs policy and support but it does not need coaching from the sidelines.
To set a high a run target all bowlers need to be able score runs. Similarly a lodge needs a team with the flexibility to fill offices and to deliver Charges. If we create the conditions where a freemason is afraid to make a mistake we have lost! In cricket a successful team should play to win and not play for a draw: in freemasonry this equates to doing our best with an ambitious program involving everyone and not just doing what we have to do or feel confident doing.
Cricket expressions have permeated our language as has masonic ritual. But the astute observer will give more value to a good cricketer or a good mason who absorbs the culture and the values of these endeavours in their daily lives. One important one is boldness and “having a go” but play with integrity. Do not be afraid to lose but try hard and be bold: you will most likely win.