LIVING IN THE PRESENT

One of my golf buddies is a psychologist and a master of mind games. He doesnít say a lot, but when he talks people listen, and when he writes, people read. He talks a lot of sense and his quiet and composed personality add much to the strength of his observations, opinions and principles. He never argues, he always reasons.

Iím not a patient, but quite often I enter into his world and enjoy the therapy.

Dr. Forde is a great believer in living in the current. He feels you canít do anything about what has happened in the past and you shouldnít get too preoccupied by what might happen in the future, because you donít really know if it will happen or not. He feels peace of mind comes from dealing with whatís on the table, and over the years Iíve come to appreciate the wisdom of his thinking.

The last day of the year is a good time to test my good friendís philosophy in life. After all, what better time to reflect on the past year, and then set in place good intentions to do better things next year? A lot can happen in 24 hours when you bin the past and then enter into a whole new world with optimism, enthusiasm and expectation.

With all this in mind I thought about the cricket highlights of 2015, the successes and the disappointments, and the promise of a better tomorrow as we enter 2016. I should add Iím an optimist by nature, so I expect the positives to outweigh the negatives, but try as I could, my balance sheet is alarmingly one-sided.

It was great to see Waringstown winning the Irish Senior Cup, and if Iím totally honest I enjoyed the relative success of a new generation of young cricketers coming through at my home club North Down. But when I looked for more positives the well ran dry!

Finding negatives wasnít too difficult. Ireland didnít have much to sing about this year, and my other cricketing love, West Indies, sink lower and lower. Interpro cricket isnít copping it for me, luring players from the North-West will take NCU cricket nowhere, and the anonymous backstabbers on websites are the pits.

But as Dr. Forde would say we canít do anything about the past, so live in the present and donít look too far into the future. That means Twenty20 World Cup is on the horizon with big Boyd Rankin back in the ranks and the chance for possible glory. I would have liked John Mooney to be there for his fighting spirit, and a proper stage for his swansong, but he had his own agenda and bowed out quietly a few weeks ago.

I wish John had ventured north in the twilight of his career, and played some NCU cricket as the game is devoid of characters and personalities. For all his faults, the Leinster man added plenty of colour to the game. Maybe he could have signed for North Down and really shocked the cricket world?

Sadly, the current looks relatively quiet and peaceful, which is what any good psychologist would want! Weíll leave all the fireworks for the cricket season.

Best wishes to everyone for 2016.