Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The illness that dare not speak its name

Marcus Trescothick is not the first international cricketer to be afflicted severely by stress. I think he has just reacted very differently to it. I'm sure cricketers on tour in days past, when tours were longer, when telephone communications were poorer, when players were stressed about lost job opportunities back home, when they were just as isolated from the countries they toured in as they sometimes are today, were just as stressed. They probably suffered in silence, took it on the chin, came back home and probably just "lost form" the next time they played cricket. Was it OK to talk about mental illness back in those days?

What Trescothick has done could only possibly have taken place in this day and age, where its OK for men to talk about things like stress-related illnesses. Note, of course, that no one has said the "D" word - depression. We aren't that enlightened yet. I would be very suprised if that were to become the stuff of cricket articles any time soon. But Trescothick being open about whats ailing him is certainly a good sign for more openess about this particular affliction in the future.

PS: Why does Geoffrey Boycott think that international crickters can't have a beer? Of course they can; what they can't do presumably is go on benders and stay drunk for days [I know that Boycott is alluding to tight control on their personal lives but the 'destressing drink' has never been banned in any team regime as far as I know]. But otherwise, Boycott is correct, the current international schedule has definitely gotten to be too hectic.

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