Don Bradman - "i Was Just Enjoying Myself"
"I Was Just Enjoying Myself"
Born in the small Australian town of Cootamundra in New South Wales in 1908, Bradman grew up in an agricultural family. When he was two years old his parents, tired of attempting to scratch out a living on difficult land, moved Bradman, his brother, and his three sisters to Bowral, a small town in the southern highlands of New South Wales, where the climate and soil were more hospitable. Bradman was a quiet child, with few friends, and often entertained himself by tossing a golf ball against a brick water tank near his house, rebounding it and hitting it again, hour after hour.
A cricket stump is used much like a bat is used in baseball, but is much narrower than a bat—only an inch in diameter, so this was a difficult feat. As Dave Kindred noted in Sporting News, Bradman said many years later, "I was just enjoying myself. It never entered my head that I was training my eyesight and movements."
Later, Bradman received a cricket stump from his father, a battered and repaired hand-me-down. He was delighted with it. His mother told him that if he played well in an important game and scored more than 100, he could have a brand-new bat. Instead of 100, he scored 300, so he got three bats.
Bradman left intermediate high school when he was fourteen, but he played on local cricket teams, and was soon noticed by scouts for the New South Wales team. In 1927, when he was nineteen, he was invited to play for New South Wales. In his first match with the team, he scored 118, the first of his 117 first-class centuries.
Five-feet-seven and lightly built, Bradman made up for his lack of brute strength with speed, footwork, timing, and strong wrists, as well as stamina and a determination to keep scoring runs. Other batters might be content to score one century; Bradman kept batting, aiming for two, or even three.
In 1928, Bradman moved to Sydney and was chosen to play for Australia against England in a Test match at Brisbane. Although he failed and was dropped, he returned to play in the third Test at Melbourne. He made 79 and 112, and finished that Test series with an average of 66.85.