Bridge Year, as it turns out, is a lot like batting in a game of cricket. (Or maybe that’s just me?) Throughout our innings we continuously face new challenges, with each being slightly different to the next. Batting, just like existing in another country, is not on the face of it, difficult, as at the end of the day it’s just hitting a red ball with a big plank of wood, or getting up each day to do some tasks and going back to sleep at night, as we would at home. However, as a batsmen you are bombarded with a range of deliveries of which only you know the true merit. A spectator in the stands, be it your fellow Bridge Year student or Instructor cannot see clearly from their seat the difficulties of each ball. Perhaps it might be slightly faster, or bounce a bit more than the previous one. Each batsmen alone knows which of these charges will highlight their weaknesses, or play to their strengths.
Any batsman, or Bridge Year student, will tell you that it is the mental side of the game that makes our innings difficult. Good batting requires patience, confidence and immense concentration. You must be focused, and play intentionally, as occasionally a ball will catch you unawares and rear up short, or turn sharply off a crack and bring the edge into play. However, it’s equally as important to have the confidence, when the bowler offers up a bad ball, to put it away, to make the most of each and every golden opportunity that comes your way, as a result of being out in the middle, out of your comfort zone.
Every now and again, you’ll be on the receiving end of a cherry. You’ll face a ball that (as I found out very recently) hits you where it really hurts, or you’ll get the dreaded Doosra, the “second” or “other” in Hindi, that spins the opposite way to that which you expected. Sometimes, you might get lucky, but often, it will get you out. You’ll have that long walk back to the pavilion replaying that one horrible moment.
However, a career of service-learning based travel, much like a career in cricket, is comprised of many innings. Mistakes will be made, runs will be scored and fingers will be broken. There will always be another opportunity to perform. Perhaps only with the passage of time and the benefit of hindsight might you be able to look back and see wonderful knock you played.