When asked ‘What is the best position you have ever held?’, President and CEO of The West Indies Players’ Association and former cricketer, Wavell Hinds, said “I am a father of four sons.”
West Indian cricketers are often recognized for their sportsmanship; for their positions held, for their notoriety in the game, for their statistics. Rarely are their significant achievements off the pitch given prominence.
For former cricketers, Wavell Hinds and Andrew Richardson, fatherhood means as much as their professional positions. It means helping to shape the lives of the nucleus of generations to come.
Wavell said “Fatherhood is everything. It is unconditional love and setting a bold example. It is sacrifice and reward.” He recalls balancing parenthood with his cricketing career, “It was challenging when I was on tour and I had to miss out on special events in their lives. However, I made sure to communicate with them as much as possible and established my presence.” Andrew, who is the father of an eight-year-old daughter, concurred and spoke passionately about the times he would play home games, “She would come into the dressing room and make nicknames for every team member. She would also try to keep up with the game and watch when I was on the field.” This would be a special thrill for Andrew, who loves spending time with his daughter.
Professional cricketers, because of the nature of their career, often have to spend a lot of time away from their families. This does not prevent them from playing a lead role in their children’s lives. They have to find creative ways of bridging that gap and being an active parent. Andrew mentioned that during the time he played cricket, his greatest obstacle was touring in England for five months at a time. Because of the time difference and his training schedule, communication was difficult. He however, called his daughter as much as possible and kept up with her daily life. He would always remind her how much her daddy loves and cares for her. Similarly, Wavell reminisced playing in England in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan landed in Jamaica. “I was extremely worried. It was a terrible feeling that I was away for that time.” The despair of being away from their children was balanced with the joy and reward of the homecoming.
“Fatherhood is much more than providing for your children financially. We have to be their emotional support and their mentor. We have to adapt and always put their needs first.” Andrew was the older of his three siblings. To him, fatherhood would have seemed to come naturally. Despite that, he highlighted that it is also a learning process. Wavell pitched in “I had the privilege of being the son of a super dad. He was a disciplinarian and a real role model. I try my best to be the kind of father he was and I am still learning”
When asked about their greatest positions, men often cite their professional history and not their significant role as a father. The role of a good father is beyond measure. On this Fathers’ Day, The West Indies Players’ Association salutes all the active and wonderful fathers in cricket.
Happy Fathers’ Day!