I can still smell those bags of dirty washing as they ‘steamed’ in the boiling hot cab of the transit I was driving in the summer heat of 2011… How did I get here?
The pungent odour was the New Zealand Women’s cricket team kit. And I was their Tour Liaison Manager for 3 weeks on behalf of the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) – after a suggestion by my “other half” to take the work while I formulated exactly what my business model would be for the Job Interview Coaching.
If I’d made a list of why I thought I could do this it might’ve been something like this: I’m good at project managing and persuading people to do things. I played county cricket for 14 years and umpired hockey to international standard. I love sport enough to do a degree and postgrad diploma in Recreation Management… So, why wouldn’t I want to spend 24/7 “on call” to ensure things ran smoothly for the “White Ferns” while playing in the Quadrangular series against England, Australia and India?
I’d been told it would be long days, and involve driving a van full of cricket kit, water bottles and a ‘ginormous’ cool box around the country. And that, whilst there would be the glamour of televised games and some free New Zealand kit, the most important task would be …ensuring the washing was done on time!
It makes sense. You’re living out of a kit bag. You’re getting through ‘warm up’ and playing kit at an amazing pace – and there’s only so many spare shirts, trousers, shorts etc the baggage allowance and your aforementioned ‘kit bag’ can hold.
Along the way… I nearly blew out the clutch pulling a particularly heavy vanload of kit up a steep hill in Bristol. I had a plastic surgeon on standby to stitch a clean but gaping hole in the Kiwi Captain’s knee after she’d ‘spiked’ herself. But more importantly I managed to avoid sitting in a launderette doing the washing myself – as my colleagues working with the other teams had done – by planning ahead, as we zigzagged across the country in our matching transit vans.
I loved the experience. The “White Ferns” were brilliant to work with. The job reminding me that I’m organized, I can adapt quickly and I have a canny knack of persuading folks to give me ‘stuff’ or to ‘acquire’ what the team needed. Bearing in mind their requests varied from needing chocolate to …a spare set of stumps, a trip to A&E, contact lenses, vitamin C tablets… and the list goes on.
So my pre-business start up “cricket career” was really a fortunate ‘chance’ opportunity. Although it reassured me that I could be useful in a role supporting and encouraging others to perform at their best. Not able to do what they do, at the level they do it, but feeling a ‘high’ from knowing that I’d got the washing done in time for them to pull on clean kit to face England under the full glare of the Sky TV cameras.