My 15-year-old son was recently asked to fill in for one of the lower senior grade cricket teams in our area – an honour to be asked at his age and a reward for his good form in his junior squad.

The senior grade captain, a knock-about guy in his 30s, asked my son where he batted when he played in the morning, and he told him that he opened (to non-cricketing folk that means he goes in first). So the captain told him he could open the batting.

He faced about eight balls and got out LBW (leg before wicket) for zero. (Even if you’re not into cricket you can guess that getting zero runs isn’t what you’re aiming for.)
I asked my son later what the bowler was like to which he replied that he wasn’t really sure… he hardly saw the ball as it left the bowler’s hand and whizzed past him.

A talented player he had regrettably been thrown into a situation that he simply wasn’t ready for. He should have batted down the order when traditionally the slower bowlers come on, giving him a greater chance to get used to the new conditions and to build up his confidence.

But how many times do we hear old school folk using the adage of “sink or swim”? Throw them in at the deep end and they’ll literally fight their way to the surface… or they’ll drown. In my son’s case he was asked to face bowlers much faster than he’d ever faced before with the unrealistic expectation of being able to score runs. Perhaps this method does work to a degree but at what cost? If asked to play again is he going to take it as a personal challenge to do better or think that maybe he’s not up to it? And all because of one boofhead.

Within the pages of micenet AUSTRALIA one feature article we like including in each issue is called Young Gun – a profile of one individual who is doing good things in the business event sector. We hope that you also notice that we always include a comment from their supervisor. This is the person who has and is helping to nurture this young person’s talent. I guess from time to time these Young Guns are thrown in at the deep end to help them progress faster than they may do otherwise, but I also believe that they are given the tools and the knowledge that they need to get the job done. And, if they get stuck, I hope that their supervisor’s door is open to provide advice and assistance as needed.

I doubt a young meeting or event planner could go from organising a 10-person conference one week to a 1500-person international congress the next without a significant amount of help. If they were asked to do so and it all came awry would it really be their fault or would it be their boss who put too many demands on their limited experience too early? And what would the effect of that less than exemplary showing do to their confidence in the future?

Meetings & Events Australia has recognised the valuable contribution young people make to the business event sector by promoting education, running its Y MEA networking and education workshops, and more recently creating a mentor program where young members team up with older more experienced professionals for ongoing guidance. Hats off to them and everybody who is nurturing the next generation of young practitioners working in the business event sector.
If only the same could be said for ageing cricketers!