Today I felt the suns rays for the first time in months
It is not that the sun hasn’t been out, it has over the winter months, but today there was genuine warmth, one that soaks through to your skin. The sun will dip in and out over the weeks ahead, but the warmth will become the default, and winter will soon be a long-forgotten memory. By the time mid-summer arrives, I will have forgotten all about winter; I’ll believe it never happened.
Covid-19 has wreaked havoc for the last year; the impact over the winter has profoundly changed the way we live. I have felt trapped physically and mentally. I’m not the only one. The country, the world, has been trapped.
During the winter, the feeling of isolation and claustrophobia reached heights that surpassed other winters. I have learnt, after twenty years, that February is my tough month. January is the one everyone talks about. February is the short one; it is meant to rattle on by catapulting us towards Spring. It never feels like that for me. It is a cruel and slow month, teasing us as the days become a little longer, but the cold and wet don’t budge. February was slower this year than any other I can remember.
By mid-February, I had crashed mentally.
I’m lucky in so many ways; I know that. I haven’t had covid-19, and I hope it stays that way as the vaccines are rolled out across the country.
I knew early on that this winter I needed a different lifeline to get me through. One emerged for me late last summer, a kernel of an idea that has blossomed into a new cricket club — only the second LGBTQ+ inclusive cricket club in the world after Graces in London.
Starting a venture like this filled me with equal measures of excitement and doubt. You never know how it might be received, who will be interested and how much anyone is willing to get involved to turn an idea into reality. I knew starting a club from scratch would be hard work; gaining trust and participation is the most challenging part. Logistics are one thing; sharing and agreeing on a vision is a leap of faith.
I had a hunch, a gut feeling.
My gut was right. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. LGBTQ+ people want to play cricket. We want to watch cricket, and we want a place to participate that welcomes us without judgement and with open arms. An amazing spectrum of people have come forward and gotten involved, and the Birmingham Unicorns Cricket Club has been born. We have members who have never played the game right through to good club cricketers, and those of us who are perhaps past our peak!
We are creating a community and it will take time, but I’m convinced we will be successful. LGBTQ+ cricket is emerging into the sunlight, and the Unicorns are growing in that sun. Our season starts in less than two months and I can’t wait to get out there.
The time for inclusive cricket has come, and I can finally banish the cold, dark and wet winter from my memory as cricket takes centre stage and a positive future unfolds.
I’ll be sharing the experiences of the Unicorns and my cricket season for both the Unicorns and Weoley Hill CC during the summer of 2021. If you want to hear all about the highs and lows of the year, then make sure you hit the follow button. The Unicorns journey is just beginning. :-)