Matthew Wade is an inspiration to the butterfingered
For most Australian cricket fans, the selection of Matthew Wade is a source of much frustration.
Threads on sports sites are dominated by dissatisfaction with him, while radio station switchboards go into meltdown whenever ‘who should be keeper?’ is discussed.
Indeed, one gets the feeling they’ll be calls for a royal commission should he continue to be picked, such is the furore towards the selectors.
But be that as it may, there is also support for Wade.
For some people, his selection is well earnt and an ongoing success; for some, he’s clearly the best man for the job.
To be sure, on top of your regular support, there’s even people who think his selection is nothing short of inspirational.
People like Kev.
Kev Hewitt lives in a modest, rent assisted flat in Melbourne’s west. In addition to the austere furnishings and the cricket memorabilia on the walls, the first thing you notice as you enter his home is a layer of thick sponge which carpets the floor.
“It shock-proofs against dropped plates and cups,” he explains. “Basically, I can’t get a cup of tea from the stove to the lounge without fumbling it.”
Kev suffers from BFS (Butterfingered F#ck-up Syndrome.)
“Being a butterfingered f#ck-up is a pretty miserable existence,” he reveals. “You can’t hold down a job, you can’t stay in a marriage. You pretty much have to accept you don’t fit in anywhere.”
Kev was first diagnosed with BFS in his early teens.
“I was wicketkeeper for my local under 15’s and livin’ the dream; you know, making my way through the junior ranks and thinking every time I made a fifty or took an acrobatic catch I was one step closer to my boyhood dream of playing for Australia.”
But life soon changed for him.
“One day something just snapped. I spilled this gimme of a catch and then missed a stumping next ball and for the rest of that innings I made Wadey look like Gilly.”
When Kev again melted down in the next match and the one after, he sought help.
“The specialist diagnosed me with BFS in a heartbeat. Said I had all the tell tale signs. I mean, just moving from the waiting room to his surgery, I’d dropped a glass of water, tripped over myself and knocked a vase off the receptionists counter.”
From there, life pretty much went downhill for Kev.
“Over the years, I tried all sorts of therapies, but nothings worked. I went on to blow every job I had because I was always breaking stuff, and my wife left me cuz she got sick of having to step around the plates of food I’d drop daily. ”
Now living alone, and with a carer coming in to assist him, Kev tries to stay upbeat about his condition – and that’s where Matthew Wade has proven to be inspirational.
“When I watch Wadey keep, it gives me so much hope. I mean, he’s obviously going round with undiagnosed BFS. And yet he’s functioning at an elite level. I find it very inspiring.”
Kev pointed to a framed poster of Wade taking a solid catch. “Whenever I look at that picture, I’m awestruck. Like, when I think of all the spilled chances & missed stumpings preceding it, it lifts my spirits that he overcame em to hold one.” He stopped to stare into the distance, before adding, “I find it particularly soothing when mopping up bowls of porridge.”
Kev went on to say that thanks to Wade, he hopes to be at the high functioning end of the spectrum one day. “And if even if it doesn’t mean holding down a job, at least I might be able to cut down on replacing crockery.”
As for Wade’s critics, Kev is understandably miffed.
“I tell ya, when I see all them ar#eholes slagging Wadey off, I just fume. Like, remember that effeminate fan of Britney Spears who lost it over her knockers? You know, the one that went viral on youtube? Well, that’s me a hundred fold. Except, take out the effeminate factor and add in destructive. Cuz I get so worked up, instead of dropping plates, I start throwing em.”
Kev went on to articulate that if people weren’t ignorant about BFS they would have untold respect for Wade. “He’s conquered this debilitating illness, yeah? And what does he get for keeping it private? What does he get for bravely soldiering on? Sh#tloads of criticism. Pff, if only those ignoramuses knew?”
“You know,” Kev added saliently, “when you’ve got BFS, the anxiety you feel when you’re holding a drink or someone’s thrown you the remote is crippling. Your mind keeps saying ‘you’re gonna drop it, you’re gonna drop it.’ That ticks over in your head all day with everything you do. And yet, Wadey’s found a way around it? When he’s spilling sitters and missing stumpings and flying in front of first slip, that stuff is in his head. But instead of ‘you’re gonna drop it’, he’s found a way to hear, ‘you’re gonna snaffle it’. Sure he doesn’t go on too often, but inside he’s ‘the little train that can.’ And being ‘the little train that can’ is worth twenty Peter Nevill’s in my book; and even one one-hundreth of a Brad Haddin.”