Their next tour to Australia witnessed a Melbourne Christian Sport Dinner where several of the South African touring party attended. Again in 1997 it was my privilege to catch up with the South Africans where I met selector Peter Pollock.
In each of those series there were classic catches but none came within a bull's roar of now retired Australian opening batsman John Dyson's 1982 outfield catch. John Dyson has often remarked that his whole career has been consistently summarised by one 'out of this world' outfield catch.
Wikipedia refers to it as the 'catch of the century' at the SCG in the Australia v West Indies Test Match on 5 January 1982, when Dyson caught Sylvester Clarke out, by taking the catch in the outfield, over his head, at a 45 degree angle to the ground, while running backwards. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dyson)
What fascinated me about John Dyson's comment was this notion that it was summarisation of a person's life by one dramatic incident.
One brief snapshot in time
US celebrity writer Joanne Brokaw who writes entertainment and current events for publications across the US, writing about 'Michael Jackson' shortly after his death, asked this question:
"How is it that entire lives return again and again to one or two moments in history? One bad decision, one great success, and a person's entire life is reduced to one brief snapshot in time. Do we have a choice in how we're remembered, in the footprint that we leave behind? And if we do, are we conscious of those choices as we live our daily lives." (www.examiner.com/Rochester)
But this is the nature of life, and moreover the Bible itself is full of such type-casting.
o Eve taking the fruit of the Tree of Life.
o Cain murdering his brother Abel.
o Enoch walking with God.
o Noah building the Ark.
o Moses dividing the Red Sea.
o Gideon and his 300 men.
o David killing Goliath.
o Nehemiah rebuilding the Wall.
o John the Baptist baptising Jesus.
o Andrew bringing people to Jesus.
o Peter's denial of Jesus
o Saul (who became Paul) on the road to Damascus.
We probably do not have a choice as to what deeds or serendipitous events we will be remembered for. What is important, is that our lives present an honourable following of the Lord and sometimes, making a singular 'prophetic' choice over some situation will completely over arch everything else we have engaged. It might relate to family, a friendship, a business decision, a moral choice, whatever ….
The Bible stories and Jesus' parables point us to ways that we can consciously reflect, as to consequences or otherwise, and how they affect for our daily lives here and now and what impact they might have for posterity. An Old Testament example, the Book of Daniel's story of the four in the fiery furnace, and from the New Testament the story of the Good Samaritan. These stories have impacted generation after generation.
In October in Canberra I gave one of the four eulogies at the funeral of John Cleland (58) my brother-in-law. John's early death was a result of a number of strokes followed by complications. George his brother gave the early life in Adelaide eulogy, son Alex his family life and another John his co-guide at the National War Memorial.
Like all brothers there was lots of carry-on in the family home growing up; Alex gave many illustrations of a father's wisdom, mateship and passion for discussing and watching cricket; and John spoke of his knowledge and mischievousness at a War Memorial guide . My eulogy touched on our families growing up together, John's humour towards men's rights in a feminist world, his unwillingness to accept any theology without a thorough debate.
But more so, his kindness and considerate nature. My parents returned to Canberra in 1994 and mum died in 1995 and dad in 2002. After my mum died, and dad was in good health, my dad visited us children and grand-children in Wodonga, Camden and Moruya (were we lived). When he fell seriously ill, Canberra was the worst place as none-of-us could drop tools (as it were) and rush to Canberra for days on end.
But it was John Cleland who visited my dad where they 'chewed the cud' time and again. Such visits took up his valuable time but John Cleland saw this as a part of his wider family service, moreover, they got on well together. It was this same motif that came across in all four eulogies.
Like John Dyson's classic catch, so too John Cleland's service into posterity. I wonder what might be the posterity witness of my life?
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html