Bryce McGain is playing for the country today.
So are 10 other Australians, and 11 other South Africans.
McGain is also playing for every person who has had a dream, and has held onto it when no one else believed in it.
Every player out there is living out their dream, but most of them got there a lot easier than Bryce.
Guys like Ponting & Tendulkar were born to play test cricket.
A guy like McGain was never supposed to.
People would have laughed at McGain when he was 34 and still trying to make the Victorian team.
Training like a professional in a team full of amateurs.
Taking each game seriously, when 21 year olds are hitting the piss the night before.
Watching international cricket sober, while all his friends cracked tinny after tinny.
Trying harder than academy players half his age while they snigger at the IT worker running around.
They aren’t laughing now.
During McGain’s 20s he spent almost as much time playing seconds in district cricket as he did firsts.
He didn’t come through academies, representative squads, or under age teams.
The man made it with hard work, discipline, and the courage to never give up.
Bryce is one of us.
He is a cricket fan, a working stiff and a family man.
He didn’t get special coaching, fast tracking or government scholarships.
He learnt through watching the TV, and going out on the weekend and bowling.
He is no professional athlete, he is a single father and IT worker in a bank.
Cricket was his weekend game, something he believed he could do, but other than he and his mother, no one else did.
Everything he has accomplished has been the hard way.
While the country was looking for kids who were inspired by warne, no one looked for adults who were.
McGain has worked in spite of the system.
He proves that hard work and self belief do pay off.
How many people give up along the way, it’s too hard, no one believes in them, life gets in the way.
He lived his life, had a child, got a real job, but kept his dream alive, and then when no one thought it could come true, it did.
Maybe he was always talented and no one noticed.
Maybe he was in seconds cricket because he wasn’t good enough.
And just maybe he just got better and better as he racked up the years and out lived the other leggies.
It doesn’t matter.
All that matters is that Bryce McGain is playing test cricket today.
He is representing his family, he is representing his country, he is representing his state, he is representing his club.
But most of all he is representing every single one of us who has a dream, and refuses to give up.
Those of us who are supposed to give up.
Those who are too old.
Those who are not good enough.
Those enough who should have more important things to do with our time.
Those of us who aren’t the chosen ones.
He shows us that anything is possible.
He shows those us that if you want something bad enough, if you work hard enough, and keep learning all the time, that impossible is a term for other people.
I may not have noticed Bryce if he wasn’t Victorian.
Had he not performed in games I was at, I may have overlooked him.
If he wasn’t a leg spinner I wouldn’t have taken to him so fast.
But the reason Bryce was the only player with the moniker of Cricket With Balls’ Own for 18 months has nothing to do with those factors.
Hope is the reason.
He gives all of us who still have a dream, hope.
If Bryce can play for Australia, tell me what you can’t do?
I saw a 35 year old throwing himself around in the field, bowling like a machine, batting for his life every time he played.
He played as if the normal limits didn’t apply to him.
He has been able to do something that no one but he ever thought he would do.
At 34 he is an IT worker who plays grade cricket, at 36 he is a test player, tell me that does not inspire you.
When Bryce walks out onto that ground he is one of us, an everyday person with a dream that came true.
If this were Hollywood they would be cueing the music.
Bryce, we are behind you, and we aren’t the only ones.