When I was a kid I had a ordinary looking nose. It sat there in the middle of my face and behaved like any other nose. See? Cute, eh?
All was well with my nose until the cricket season in the year I turned eleven.
Cricket was a big deal in Australia during the summer months. Everyday all the kids from the neighbourhood would get together for a game. We played with the same enthusiasm as our heroes from the national team. We assumed their swagger and mannerisms as we batted, bowled or fielded in whichever backyard the game was being held.
Being a girl, I had to work extra hard in the field to be granted the opportunity to have a bat. So when, one afternoon, I had the chance to wicket keep, I jumped at it.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with cricket, the wicket keeper stands behind the batter and the wicket, sort of like a baseball catcher. The distance between the wicket and the wicketkeeper depends on the speed at which the bowler is delivering the ball.
Here is the current Australian wicket keeper, Brad Haddin, in position behind the wickets. (Photo DailyTelegraph.com.au)
Notice the gloves, leg pads and helmet. In our backyard game we had none of these. I simply had to take up the position, keep my eyes on the ball and hope for the best.
Everything was fine at first. I was doing really well catching the ball when the batter missed it, catching the ball when it was thrown back from out in the field. I was really pleased with myself because I knew that, if I did a good job, I would get to have a bat later on.
Then my brother, who was the batter, said to me, “This is a slow bowler, Ric. Stand up closer to the wickets.” So, I moved closer. It made sense to do so because, if the bowler is delivering the ball more slowly, it doesn’t carry as far if the batter misses it.
The theory was sound until my brother decided to give the ball a jolly good thump. He swung his bat with mighty force, missed the ball completely and hit me right on the nose.
Yup! That hurt!
There was blood, lots of blood. Everyone came running toward me. I heard them coming but I couldn’t see them because I had my hands over my eyes. Someone fetched my Dad, and I was taken to the local doctor. He pronounced my poor little nose broken, placed his thumb on one side of it and his forefinger on the other and pushed. There was a click…a definite click. He smiled at me and gave me some ice to hold on my nose while he cleaned up the blood. That was it…end of treatment.
I was sore for a couple of weeks, had two black eyes and a great story to tell at school. I embellished that story quite a bit, making it extremely gory and involving much pain and agony for my poor, poor self. I was the centre of attention in the playground for a whole week. The notoriety was worth the pain.
These days my nose looks exactly my father’s did. It is quite a beak with a little ledge at the top on which my glasses rest. The scar from the break is right under the bridge of the glasses. I guess I was always going to have a goodly-sized nose, given my genetics, but that ledge is all my brother’s fault. I remind him of it on regular occasions.
I also guess that there may be just the tiniest bit of Karma at play here. After all, I did give my brother a bit of a hard time when we were kids.