Over the weekend I had the pleasure of playing with and socialising with three blokes I used to play cricket with.
It was a golf tournament at the Ashburton Golf Club and I must dish up some well-deserved kudos to the club for the way the tournament was run and the excellent condition of the course.
The fairways were in super condition and the greens were hard and fast, but very true.
Some found those greens tougher than others.
My playing partner for the weekend, who shall remain nameless, proceeded to three-putt his way into a starring role in the next series of the Muppet Show.
In his defence we did have a ‘Whopper’ on Saturday evening and all his putting blips happened on Sunday.
It was great to catch up with the cricketing blasts from my past and there was some reminiscing indulged in, as well as doing our best not to ruin a perfectly good walk with bad golf.
Old nicknames were tossed around as well as stories from the past, including one story about one of them throwing the ball at ME instead of the stumps.
I know what you’re thinking. How could anyone want to throw a cricket ball at that nice young man Phillip Hooper?
Clearly it was a case of someone suffering from ‘white line fever’.
To be fair all three of them looked pretty fit and looked like they could pull on the whites and slot into a game on Saturday.
I did say to the youngest of the three, “Have you ever thought of having another run”?
He said he did venture back, after some time away from the game, to ‘fill in’ once.
“My batting was rubbish, and I couldn’t catch anymore, so I thought bugger that, never again!”
As much as we reminisced about the game itself and the on-field tussles we had been involved in, we also chatted about the comradeship amongst the players, back in our day.
We played hard inside the boundary rope and yes threw the odd verbal (and ball) at each other, but we knew how to enjoy ourselves afterwards as well.
I remember sitting in old armchairs outside the Tech pavilion with the opposition, enjoying the last of the sun, before heading indoors for a big night of fun under the watchful eye of John Boy.
It was amazing how many people could squeeze inside those clubrooms.
I fear this type of after match socialising doesn’t happen as much these days which is a shame.
I know from personal experience; my physical and mental health is in a much better state when I’m exercising and socialising.
I know mental health is a real struggle for some people, and I’ve had a wander down that path in the past, but I think a lot of our youth could get some benefit from replacing the screen with sport or a hobby.
Here’s something I read this week to back those thoughts up.
Research shows that having a hobby is linked to lower levels of depression – and may even prevent depression for some.
Losing interest and joy in things you normally like doing is one symptom of poor mental health.
Known as “anhedonia”, it is one of the first symptoms of depression, and can even be used to predict the severity of depression a person might experience.
Some studies have shown that asking patients to take up hobbies such as gardening or art are beneficial for mental health and wellbeing.
To be honest, I got 23 per cent in School Cert Art, so I think I should stick with growing a few veges.
Till next week,
Phill Hooper is the breakfast host of Ashburton’s Hokonui radio station. The views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect the opinion of his employer or the Ashburton Guardian.