The Month is August 2008 and its 9am. The year 2008.
The weather is good, sunny but the nerves are on a knife-edge. Am I making the right decision?
I am waiting for parents to turn up for the first cricket camp in the name of Baylor International Champions. It’s now 9.30am and there is no sign of a parent in sight. 12 kids are booked in. Session starts at 10am. You are probably asking why am I so nervous? Well its because today is the first day of a week long cricket camp. I had never run a cricket camp by myself. I had always run cricket camps which had always been organised by the council or some other organisation. All I ever did was turn up and run the sessions. However, this was my chance to showcase my knowledge about cricket. To educate the young people in the community.
I had done everything with regards to sending out the right forms to phoning the parents before hand to reconfirm their confirmation, yes I was that nervous. I wanted everything to be spot on.
All of my activities were set up and I was ready to start coaching. Beside me was a young assistant coach whom was looking to me to lead the way so I couldn’t back down now. Neither should I have done. I kept reminding myself of how I had been Head Coach for Cricket for a number of years, coached at Lords (Home of Cricket) and ran various national programs. I was able to deliver for other companies so why not for myself.
9.55am and no parent in sight. You start to question whether you have done the right thing. Did you push the camp selling too hard? Was I too eager? Did they want to come to my coaching sessions? Was I charging too much? All of the doubts decided at 9.55am decided to join me as I waited in the field for the parents and kids to arrive.
“I am looking forward to doing this coaching session with you!” The young excited assistant looked with anticipation into my eyes. This was his first taste of cricket coaching and he was getting paid as well. ” I wonder if those parents decided to pull out and go elsewhere, do you know if any other cricket camps are on today!” he added.
Of all the things he could have said. So much for a bit of an ego boost from the assistant .. not today.
I turned to him and said “If they have gone elsewhere, so does your pocket money!”. He suddenly realised at 10am that the comment was fast turning into a reality.
The smile had gone by 10.10am from both of our faces and we started to ask ourselves the question why the school outfield was high with grass considering they knew both cricket and football camps were going to be held there.
10.15 and the car park has a small gathering of cars… heading our direction.. The parents get out and head our direction… I am thinking to myself please….please… say cricket…
“Excuse me, do you know where the indoor football is?” The worried parent said. I turned and said “Indoors..!” not meaning to sound rude, but it was obvious and pointed to the sports hall.
“We are ever so sorry that we are late, there was a major accident and there is a tailback a mile long of cars.. we were near the front so if you are expecting kids today they will be late!”
And sure enough.. 10.30am the parents signed in their kids and the camp had begun. I video recorded the first day of the summer camp and I turned to the assistant and said ” It’s showtime!”
Little did I know that this was going to trigger the start of something that I could never have believed. The beginning of 2009 and BaylorIC was going to be featured on national television on the community channel (SKY, FREEVIEW, VIRGIN). It was a video which featured myself talking about cricket and kids from the local cricket club @ Little Marlow CC during the indoor cricket season discussing the impact of cricket.
2010 The same BaylorIC video which had over 4,ooo youtube hits was shown as part of my nomination to become a community champion and in 2011 I was featured yet again through the work of BaylorIC . National Television exposure, a national newspaper and 4 radio interviews later… here we are.
I believe that I have grown in stature since 2008. I have had to fight hard to stick with the belief that cricket coaching was a worthwhile career ambition. There are many times especially during the winter where I had to really ask some harsh questions as the income if you are not flexible as a cricket coach is very little. Unless you work for a company which has many contacts or get a lot of indoor work you cannot live as a cricket coach on that type of income in the UK. So I went about setting up academies which would be able to secure an income during the summer and the winter.
When you are good at something, parents, teachers and organisations remember your name. They want you to come and show your skills and the kids have been always my strength through good times and tough times to continue the fight in the name of cricket. BaylorIC for 3 years served a purpose and now its time to move on from that. A lot of things during the BaylorIC years could have been done so much smoother had things been different. They are significantly different now. Marriage has definately helped bring the very best out of it.. and to cap it all of why just create champions for life on and off the field internationally?
When you can do it Worldwide Instead?
I feel that I am ready to take the skills and knowledge developed in the UK and help develop cricket in areas around the world. The time is now right to get back on the plane and visit different countries and share the good news according to bat and ball. I have always wanted to be recognised as one of the best for what I do.. and I pray that I can continue to do good to all that I am blessed to be able to coach.