Ever since prehistoric man first created the first stone tools in a cave in Africa somewhere, humanity has been defined by the items they wield.
Arthur could never have become a legendary king of England had he not pulled Excalibur from the stone.
van Gogh was probably a more talented finger painter than you or me could ever hope to achieve with the finest tools, but his use of the brush enabled such masterpieces as Bedroom in Arles and Starry Night.
And for every junior cricketer, their tool is their cricket bat.
I got my bat on Christmas Day, 2014.
Nestled under the tree, fighting for attention with iTunes gift cards and Guinness World Records 2015, was a package, supposedly from Santa.
It was a Gray-Nicolls Kaboom!, and it was the greatest sports-related item I had ever seen.
Modelled after David Warner’s bat, it had an impossibly thick, three-centimetre edge. Despite this, it was light, which had always been my preference in cricket bats. It had sleek, smooth edges; it had a springy middle; it was made of the finest Kashmir willow; it was already knocked-in, saving six hours of tedium; it was mine, and it was awesome.
It wasn’t my first bat. That was a Woodworm, a brand that served me well for a season, but had never been used by anyone more well known than Tim Bresnan. It’s now far too small and resides in the shed somewhere.
But this was a Kaboom! The same bat as David Warner! To a 12 year old’s mind, that’s one of the pure joys of the world.
I would score eight runs with that bat.
They were few and far between, spread out over the two seasons that I used it for. Every run was special, most of them off those thick, tough edges.
What it didn’t make in runs, it made up for in style. When I got it in the middle at training sessions, it would fly off into the top corner of the nets. In the rare event that it would go there on game day, it was guaranteed runs.
The bat helped guide me through the testing times of adolescense. While football was fickle and uncertain, cricket was always there, neatly constrained into six-ball overs, forty-over innings. The game would be there, and I’d be able to rely on my bat.
The last shot that bat would see on a game day was a thick edge, going straight to the slips fielder in the outskirts of Melbourne. I walked off, mildly disappointed, but seeing the positives.
Sadly, that bat would end soon.
I’ve had a cavalier approach to batting.
I’ve swung my bat around like a lightsaber, attempting to dispatch everything down to backward square leg, failing with ninety percent of deliveries.
This attitude may have led to the bat’s downfall.
At training yesterday evening, I’ve thrown my weight at the ball being delivered outside off. It has just hit the toe of the bat, causing an audible noise. The bat looked fine though, so I carried on.
Five minutes later, a shot right at the sticker caused the bat to depart this life.
At home, I went to inspect the damage.
Handle plainly broken.
R.I.P. Bat II.
By the time you read this post, I’ll have gone and bought a new bat.
Tomorrow morning, I may go out and use it.
But it will feel different, unusual compared to the old one. The balance will be all off, and I’ll be unable to play shots in the way I would have liked.
A cricket bat is a terrible thing to lose.