Oh baby, when it’s over, it’s over. It’s been a hell of a ride.
Most people don’t go from an ordinary bank worker who plays a bit of cricket on the weekend in their 20s to playing for their country in 30s.
It doesn’t happen for many reasons, and at least one of those is that bank employees usually bowl off spin.
Bryce McGain bowled leg spin. I said that in the past tense on purpose.
And while most IT workers were busy hacking into ex girlfriends email accounts, Bryce was planning to play Test cricket. Even if test cricket didn’t know or care who he was.
Then through his dogged denial, the most amazing spin bowling drought in Australian cricket, his will to succeed and the power of legspin, Bryce played for his country, and was crucified.
It was perhaps one of the greatest sacrifices of a human being that anyone will see.
Bryce’s flesh was hacked off with blunt objects piece by piece and thrown to the masses by brutal South Africans.
No player has ever come back from anything that harsh in their first test, and even though Bryce was a one man middle aged fairytale come true, not even he could recover from this slaughtering.
Yet, Bryce didn’t run off and cry.
He just kept going.
Age had always been against him, but the man could not step down, he could not fade away, and he would not retire with his one cap clenched firmly in his grasp.
After the ritual public embarrassment he had he could have been forgiven for taking the job as a caretaker of a factory in some shut down industrial estate and spending the rest of his days like a real life Wall-e.
Instead, Bryce stood tall, and came back for Victoria and continued to try to get back into the Australian team.
His whole career had been a series of fool’s errands, what was one more?
That said, this was the first time that he knew what everyone else had always thought, he wasn’t going to make it back.
It seemed like this was just to prove he was made of something.
That made the fact he tried one last time even braver than all those years of him trying to make it in obscurity.
At least before he had that small glimmer of hope that what he was doing might lead to playing for Australia, and that if it didn’t, few would know he failed.
This one was in vain and in public, with people sniggering and mentioning his figures as he continued to try hard with far less belief than he had before.
Yet, there he was, turning up for Victoria, trying hard, and doing everything he could to give himself the slightest chance.
If he was the middle age dream before, the man who made it because he wouldn’t give up, now he was the middle age reality, the man who kept doing what he did out of pride and because he probably didn’t know what else to do.
Now that decision has been made for him, Victoria’s decision to release him from contract is nothing like the brutal way South Africa ended his test career. This was far more like a loving family member putting a pillow over Bryce’s mouth and waiting for him to stop wriggling.
Today Bryce McGain starts the rest of his life, it’s probably not going to be as cool as playing for his country, but he was the man who was never supposed to make it and did, so I wouldn’t put anything beyond him.
It’s been one hell of a story, Bryce. Well played and good luck.