In Second Innings: On Men, Mental Health and Cricket, former A-grade district cricketer Barry Nicholls walks us through five decades of his life, growing up in suburban Australia, the experiences that have stayed with him for a lifetime, and the power of sport to anchor us.
From ancestors in the war, who returned home only to battle with their own mental health demons, to his parents’ fractured marriage and his brother’s severe mental health conditions, Nicholls plots the points that have lead him to where we meet him in the present day, his anxiety and depression in full swing, as he wonders what ‘recovery’ really means. Nicholls experienced anxious symptoms from a young age and as he tracks the path through his career, family relations and adult life, two things remain constant: his anxiety and his love for cricket.
Nothing is sensationalised in Nicholls’ prose. He writes with the candid and matter-of-fact storytelling one comes to expect from a veteran broadcaster and journalist. There are moments of genuine heartache, but as Nicholls begins to seek help, connect and take control of his mental health, there is plenty of hope too. Nicholls writes: “in life, there is always a second innings”. This is a book that will give a voice to many across our communities and will no doubt spark some vital conversations.