For a few days last week the entire country was on a knife’s edge, watching reports on the wellbeing of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes, who was in hospital after a freak blow to his head during a cricket match. Suddenly, the wait was over – but not in the way we hoped and prayed for. Last Thursday visibly distraught cricket captain Michael Clarke informed the world of Hughes’ tragic death. The ripples of grief and shock engulfed not just the cricket community, but an entire country – and a large part of the world. Then a fan, Paul Taylor, posted a poignant image of his cricket bat outside his home, using the hashtag #putoutyourbats. In his own words, it was: “Just a way for all cricketers to show their respects to Phillip Hughes.”What happened next was mind-blowing. People all over the world responded, and started sharing photos of cricket bats outside their front doors with the accompanying hashtag #putoutyourbats Even Google placed an image of a bat on its home page in memory of Hughes. I must admit to getting teary seeing a child’s bat outside a picket fence in my suburb. Through a simple hashtag, people all over the world found a way to unite and find comfort – in this case, over a loss that transcends explanation. The initiative was unique and authentic: a simple gesture from a fan who wanted to pay tribute to a first-class sportsman. Paul Taylor, thank you. At a time where words do little to convey the tragedy of a situation, your poignant message found a way.
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