Alex Gidman: Tough times ahead following forced retirement from county cricket

Alex Gidman: Tough times ahead following forced retirement from county cricket

The recently-retired Alex Gidman gives DEC an exclusive insight into the life of a man post-cricket, having played for Gloucestershire and Worcestershire in a county career lasting 14 years.

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gidmanI recall sitting in a dressing room, probably 11/12 years ago thinking that ‘that day would never come’. That day being the day I retire from cricket.

Like all sportsmen or women I felt indestructible and that, like Peter Pan, I would never get old.

Time flies. It literally has gone in the blink of an eye. Even the last five months in which I have experienced the end on its way. the time has still has flown by.

The loneliness and insecurity is something I have to go through by myself – nobody can assist me or make it easier. Even if I had finished my career as a millionaire, my sport has ended.

My relationship with cricket, which has given my so many great memories and experiences, has finished, and it will never come back, it can’t.

I paint a gloomy picture don’t I? But the truth is exactly that.

However, dealing with it in a positive sense and reflecting on the many, many wonderful times is crucial.

What have I learnt? What can I use in the future? What are my strengths?

The last week has been surreal. Like I mentioned, I never thought this day would come! It seems naïve, but perhaps it was more like I didn’t want it to come!

I knew for a little while my career was over, and while the staff at Worcestershire and I tried everything to turn this freak injury into something that I could use, we couldn’t.

Writing an email to my teammates before the news broke publicly was emotional and perhaps bought the reality to the forefront.

Before that public announcement I received some replies from some of the lads, I was touched and what some of them wrote made me very proud. It felt like I had helped them and passed on my experience and actually made an impact on their careers. That’s a nice feeling!

I wasn’t expecting the reaction on social media either. To read the messages was again a wonderful feeling but most importantly, it gives me the courage to move on and to get on with things. To read positive remarks about myself was a huge confidence boost after what has been a tough 12 months as opposed to five.

Although it won’t last for very long, getting up in the morning with nothing to do is strange. I can however take the kids to school and spend time cooking, and I can also into my home-made gym and bang out some weight sessions.

I don’t want to turn into a fat dad and, believe me, that would happen very easily!

However, the next few weeks is going to be a time where I want to reflect and look back at my career, taking in all those magical moments. I have been a very lucky man, yes I could have done some things differently, I have made some wrong decisions and have no problem accepting that.

I find it hard to believe all those sportsmen that finish and say they don’t have any regrets, to go through five, ten or 15 years in sport and make every right decision, to do everything correctly? Wow I must have gone wrong somewhere!

But, I can’t complain, I wont complain. I had a dream to play cricket as a young boy and I achieved that.

Perhaps next week I’ll relive a few of those highlights of my career!

@alex_gidman

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