Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/474

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time his wages are good enough to enable him to put by a sufficient provision for his old age. As a matter of fact, the demand for players who have been first-class to fill posts at clubs and schools is far in excess of the supply. A first-class cricketer, whose character is good, can rely with certainty upon obtaining on his retirement from county cricket a suitable and well-paid berth, which he will be capable of filling for many years. Frequently, too, their fame and popularity help cricketers to find good businesses upon their retirement, when usually they have a certain amount of money, gained from their benefit match, to invest. Certainly, from a material point of view, a successful cricketer's career is by no means unprofitable. More than that, it is far better than those followed by most men in the class from which the majority of professional cricketers are drawn. But what of the unsuccessful? What of the many men who take up cricket as their profession, and fail to get inside the sacred pale of first-class cricket? Well, an honest hard-working man can always make a living at the game. Nor are the failures relatively more numerous in this profession than in any other. It must not be supposed that these remarks are meant to encourage young fellows to adopt cricket as a profession. For it is to be remembered that the competition is very keen, and that success is impossible without certain natural gifts. And assuredly cricket is not a good profession for those who do not succeed in it, though it may be that there are many worse.

Before considering what there is in the other objection to the existing state of games, let us see what kind of man is produced by a life devoted to cricket. It has always seemed to me that those people are most fortunate whose work and pleasure are combined. I do not mean those who merely take a kind of side interest in their work while their real interests are otherwise directed, but those whose chief pleasure is their work. It is of course out of the question to compare playing cricket with the pursuit of art, science, or literature. But in a far-off way a professional cricketer's life does somewhat resemble that of an artist. The true artist regards his art, not as a means to an end, but as an end in itself. For him his art is not only his work but his pleasure. Now most cricketers would rather play cricket than do anything else, even though it is the means whereby they live The large majority of professionals play cricket for cricket's sake, rather than because they get so much a-year for appearing in so many matches or bowling for so many hours a-day at nets. For this reason, I think I would rather be a professional cricketer