Some of you may have been watching the Real Housewife’s of Cheshire. When I was a child, Dawn’s (on that same programme) husband, Ashley was my hero. Ashley Ward, prior to big money moves to Norwich, Barnsley and Blackburn was Crewe’s star striker and my boyhood hero, the player I pretended to be when I played in the backyard.
Now, at the age of 30+, I’m not so much into having heroes as such, but would certainly say there are people I admire, particularly in the sporting world.
However, in sport there are people who you would say are good at their chosen sport, but you don’t particularly admire because of the way they carry themselves away from the game, or sometimes even during games. I won’t name names, but I’m sure you can all think of plenty who fit that bill, including several recent England football captains.
Most people would probably admire someone well known; the Steven Gerrards, Frank Lampards and Michael Vaughans of this world. However, the person who I look up to the most is a ‘normal’ county cricketer.
Step forward Derbyshire captain, Wayne Madsen.
This is a man who, over the past few years has pretty much led the way as the perfect example of how to carry yourself in difficult circumstances – both personal and performance based.
In 2012, Madsen and his wife, Kyla, lost their first child when his wife was 21 weeks into the pregnancy. A few days later, Wayne (also in his first year of captaining the club) went out and racked up a century against Gloucestershire, admitting to tears in his eyes when he brought up his hundred. He finished the season by leading Derbyshire to their first title win since 1936, leading them back to Division One.
In 2013 he was chosen by Championship sponsors LV Insurance as the beneficiary of a sponsorship deal that saw him wear their stickers on the back of his bat. However, he gave the money to the Derby branch of Sands, a Stillborn and Neonatal Death Support Charity. Later that year he received the inaugural Christopher Martin-Jenkins award for ‘walking’ when given not out. The most remarkable thing about this was how much his team were struggling in the game but he walked off and declared that it was a matter of principle. Meanwhile, whilst Derbyshire struggled in 2013 (and ended up getting relegated), Madsen led from the front, being the first player to 1000 runs, and finished with 1221 in total. This resulted in him being awarded the Championship Cricketer of the Year by the Cricket Writers Club.
In 2014 he galvanised his team when their young wicketkeeper, Tom Poynton, was involved in a car crash that resulted in Tom’s dad, Keith, losing his life. He also added another 1000 runs to his tally and once again, gave the money he received for bat sponsorship (this time from the Holly Hush Inn) to Sands once more.
To me, he really is quite a man, a perfect role model for anyone. Put it this way; if any future child of mine wanted his name in their shirt I would be delighted.