The kid from Macksville belongs to us all
HAS one year really flown so fast?
As Australian sports lovers observe the anniversary of the tragic passing of Phillip Hughes, it's remarkable what changes have been wrought in cricket and society.
One delivery and its result has transformed the thinking in the game, evident by last week's words from former teammate Mitchell Johnson while announcing his retirement.
"I had that Ashes series where I was really aggressive and bowling a lot of short balls and I did hit players," Johnson said.
"And it made me think ... was I doing the right thing?
"You know ... was I playing in the spirit of the game?"
For whatever reasons, the number of retirements from the Test team since Phillip died is quite unprecedented.
Notably, captain Michael Clarke - who from that day walked through life with the look of a haunted man ... and it's hoped he finds peace as the next stage of his life begins.
But after a year full of so much sadness, perhaps the example from the life of such an extraordinary young man will soon bring a measure of joy.
I bet few Aussies will complain if a copy of Phillip Hughes: The Official Biography, written by Malcolm Know and Peter Lalor, is under the Christmas tree.
This afternoon players from former club Sawtell will join rivals from Plantation Diggers in a moment's silence in tribute to a young bloke some of them once called teammate.
The stories are endless of the 14-year-old kid who scored a half-century to put the seal on Sawtell's 2004-05 premiership, not to mention the attitude shown by this young bloke.
In hindsight, many now wonder how a kid so young could already have such focus and such confidence of the place he played in cricket?
Perhaps, like Les Darcy and Phar Lap, he now belongs to all of us.