Sunday, 6 April 2014

Defining greatness

It is the most overused word in the language.

I got your favourite cereal at the shops today. Great. Your Mum was on the phone. Great. I put a new toilet roll on the holder. Great. We say it all the time and with respect to those concerned, it doesn't really mean a lot. It's not, by any stretch of the imagination,the correct usage of the word.

Yet there were several examples yesterday of the true definition, of  ability, quality, or eminence considerably above average.

The passing of Keith Poynton was that of a great man. One has only to read the comments of those touched by his life, who knew him and who called him a friend, neighbour, colleague or relative, to understand that.  I realised it when I last spoke to him, at the County Ground at the end of last summer.

We were discussing respective families and our pride in the success of our youngsters. Like any parent worthy of the name, both of us had spent many hours doing the things you do as they grow up. Encouraging them; helping them celebrate success; being there to help with disappointments; ferrying them here, there and everywhere to support their interests.

I mentioned that my son had recently graduated and was at that stage seeking employment and Keith was very interested. He made several telling comments, a couple of very useful suggestions and was genuinely helpful and interested in a young lad he had never met. It was not the interest of someone who was merely passing time in idle chit-chat, but that of a genuinely nice - yes, great - bloke who cared and whose time and company were appreciated in equal measure.

I looked forward to catching up with him and his lovely wife Sheena again in a couple of weeks time, but that sadly won't happen now. Yesterday's devastating news put paid to that, but it doesn't change my opinion of Keith Poynton. He was a lovely man and it was a pleasure to have known him.

In much the same way can the word be applied to the club that we all love and support. Perhaps you only really appreciate and understand the merits of people and organisations in adversity. By any standards against which you care to judge it, the conduct and communications of Derbyshire CCC, its players, staff and administrators over the past couple of days has been truly outstanding. Great, if you will.

 So too has been that of fans and the wider cricketing 'family'. There has been an outpouring of support that in the darkest of hours must have been of some comfort to the family. It came from far and wide, perhaps most touchingly from Marcus North in Australia, sending a message to a soon to be team mate. It must have rekindled his own emotions, coming so soon after he had to deal with the loss of his brother, also in a motor accident.

Derbyshire is a family club, a close-knit community where families are welcomed, known and involved. The conduct over the past couple of days from Chris Grant and Simon Storey has been impeccable, thoughtful and professional. The club's statements and tweets have been respectful and wholly appropriate in demanding circumstances and have made me even more proud to support such a club. All concerned deserve the utmost praise for their efforts.

Tom Poynton and his family will be struggling to come to terms with their loss right now. Tom will need time to recover from the physical and mental scars but he and his family will get there, with the support of a truly great club and an outstanding group of people. I wish them all well.

Rest in Peace, Keith Poynton.

1 comment:

Marc said...

Agreed on all counts. Very sad news indeed and well handled by the club,the ECB and also great credit to Leicestershire. Losing a loved one is never easy under any circumstances. It sounds as if Tom,s injuries are not too serious and we all hope he,s back doing the job he loves before too long.