Picking it apart
There was so much to learn from what had happened. I worked with my sports psych when I was back home in Canberra and it was really useful to get to the bottom of what had made me feel the way I did.
We discussed the link between success and the feeling of expectation that I’d have to perform again. You start wondering to yourself, ‘Can I live up to that?’ and ‘If this is how I feel am I really cut out for playing at this level?’
If you don’t have a way of controlling the anxiety that arises – maybe by meditation or grounding – it can become debilitating.
Another important lesson was understanding why I had felt so uncomfortable with people calling me a ‘hero’ or ‘legend’. It might sound nice, but it didn’t sit well with me.
An answer lay partly in my past. I’d been brought up to realise that everything can be taken away and to be grateful for what I have. These values have kept me pretty grounded over the years.
I think my personality is reflective of it and generally a lot of my humour is a bit self-deprecating. I often think that if I played golf, I couldn’t have a caddy because I’d be wanting to carry my own golf clubs. It’s just how I am. I don’t see myself as anything special and couldn’t handle people putting me up on a pedestal in that moment.
When it comes to social media I would go about it differently. I should have left it for a day or two, or at least until I felt a bit more in control of my emotions again. I wanted to respond to the messages to show how much I appreciated them. But could have taken care of that quite simply by asking my manager to post a note thanking people for their lovely comments.
I also had the opportunity to chat to Will Pucovski shortly after his Test squad selection — he also required time away from the game following his mammoth 243 late last year in Shield cricket for Victoria. It was comforting knowing that someone else had a similar experience of struggling after success and came back to the game stronger.
I think the next time I come out of a situation – good or bad – and feel nervous or overwhelmed, I will have a much better understanding of where those emotions come from and how to manage them.
Kind to myself
Soon after I met with Will, we played the semi-final against the Sixers. It’s a game that will be long-remembered for its amazing finish, although this time there were no heroics at our end.
Before I went out to bat, I was terribly nervous but, once I got out there, I was focused and calm. I came to the crease requiring around 13 runs an over for the last four or so overs, with Sophie Molineux at the other end. I knew we were capable of keeping us within touch.
Next thing I knew, we required three runs to win and two to take us to a Super Over off the final delivery. Sophie connected well and it looked like it was going for four.
Then I saw Erin Burns running toward it and knew I had to run hard. If anyone could pull off a freakish bit of fielding it was Burnsy. Sophie ended up being run-out at the bowler’s end from three fantastic pieces of fielding.
It took us to the Super Over, and I couldn’t watch it. I was shaking and felt quite emotional.
Despite the terrible disappointment of losing so narrowly, I went into that big game with a better sense of myself and how I might react to different situations or outcomes.
The key was being aware of how I felt and why I felt that way. It’s knowing that, win or lose, emotions can run high and it’s OK to feel the way you feel.
The best way to deal with it is to be kind to myself and realise that emotions aren’t always logical.