The Smith Factor

Tuesday September 10th, 2019

Everyone is talking about Steve Smith. Right now, in England, history is being made in the wonderfully traditional sport of Cricket. Not since the days of Don Bradman in the 30’s and 40’s has a cricketer touched the hearts and imagination of so many.

Back in the 1930 Ashes Series, Bradman was beyond dominant. He made 131 in the First Test, 254 in the Second, 334 in the Third, and 232 in the Fifth. Across the series he made 974 runs. The morning after he was dismissed for 334 in the third test, the Fleet street headlines simply proclaimed, “He’s Out”. He averaged 139.14 for the tour, hitting a century, two double centuries and a triple.

In this series, Smith has made: 144 and 142 in the first test; 92 in the second test, after being struck down by a bouncer and concussed in the first innings, and did not bat in the second; Did not play in the third test, and; 211 and 82 (while chasing quick runs) in the fourth test. That is a total so far of 671 runs at an average of 134.2.

After 119 Test innings, Smith has amassed 6,446 runs, the highest of all time for that number of Innings. He has scored 10 Ashes Centuries, 6 of them in England, which is more than any English Cricketer. His career has been quite remarkable.

The other day I was listening to Andy Maher on radio SEN who was talking about Smith and taking great interest in how profound his efforts have been, how he has stood against great odds and delivered beyond anyone else’s wildest expectations. Maher was in awe of where Smith has taken his batting, along with his steadfastness and confidence.

I too have been watching, in complete awe. Andy’s comments really got me thinking.

Now at this point I must add that Human Consciousness fascinates me deeply. In 2005 I did an Avatar® Course, which is a 9 day experiential program that involves learning of the workings of consciousness by exploring your own. It was a deeply profound and awakening experience. The course is not based on any belief system now does it present any dogma, so you are free to explore from where you are. You can learn more here if you are curious.

I was so astounded and moved by the work that I completed the advanced trainings and went on to become a “teacher” of the course and have delivered on many courses since then. The ongoing learning has been extraordinary.

As an Avatar Master, I have a deep curiosity about the things that motivate and drive how a person creates their life: beliefs, motivations, intentions, resistances, strength of will and the ability to deliberately control attention. My training doesn’t make me some sort of authority, but it does give me an understanding that allows me to explore things from a variety of perspectives.

So, I view this situation with a deep interest. What has really happened here?

When the ball tampering saga erupted in South Africa, Smith’s ownership and admissions where gut wrenching to watch. He walked into the eye of the storm and completely owned his mistakes. The humiliation must have been personally devastating for him. He went through hell and seems to have come out the other side with a deep dedication to make amends.

Cameron Bancroft too was equally honest in his ownership of poor decisions and he too faced much humiliation as he swallowed some bitter medicine. He too deserves to be acknowledged for his courage at that time and since.

Dave Warner, on the other hand, never did face the world and take ownership of what he had done, at least not to the extent the other two did. I do not know the man and have never spoken to him, so do not know his story, but at the same time, it seems that perhaps Cricket Australia, or his Friends and Advisors, didn’t help him to become humble and open his heart to the Australian public like his team mates did.

Because of this, I found it quite astounding that Bancroft was forced to open the batting for Australia with Warner at the start of the Ashes series. I can only guess that there would have been little genuine trust and connection between the two. Again, I do not know for sure.

But Warner was the architect of the Ball Tampering affair. The other two did not point fingers or blame. They just owned their end of it. I am not sure what Warner was really thinking. That Batting Partnership was doomed before it started.

Bancroft has been banished and abandoned perhaps. That is sad. But Smith, he has risen to an astounding level. And here is my take on it.

It seems that after the Ball Tampering Saga, and after Smith lost the Captaincy, at some point he has decided to make his work about leadership, about being an impeccable role model and about serving his Sport, his country and his family to the greatest of his ability. With such a dedication comes a couple of simple changes.

First, his eye is on a goal much bigger than himself. There is not a skerrick of pretence there about “doing my best for the team and for Australia”, his dedication is as real as it gets. And with this comes something so powerful. He has no attention on himself, on how he looks, on how he might be perceived. There seems to be none of it. His eye is so firmly on a bigger goal that self-concern does not exist. It is not heroics. There is nothing personal in it.

And the beauty of it is that his powerful presence and performance has done nothing to undermine Tim Paine’s Captaincy. In fact, quite the opposite, it has given Paine confidence and allowed him a space where he can build his leadership skills.

I would doubt that Smith has any attention on the captaincy anymore. There would be no entitlement or self-importance in his space at all. His focus of attention seems to be completely directed to service for the greater good.

And that is an intention that drove people like Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandella and Weary Dunlop. This perhaps is a “Great Life” unfolding before our eyes.

And of course, I could be completely wrong. It’s just a perspective.

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