Blind Ambition | Blind Cricket Documentary


When I was a kid, I couldn’t have imagined
that I’d be playing cricket for Australia. I couldn’t have imagined that I’d be walking
out onto Kensington Oval, or Galle Fort, representing my country. I couldn’t have imagined that
I’d have travelled the world playing cricket. I couldn’t have imagined any of those things. I’m Ray Moxly. I’m legally blind. My sight impairment is a condition called
Ocular Albinism. It has a number of different things but the main issue I have is with glare.
My irises, while they open and close, they actually don’t filter any light so light pours in from everywhere. So it’s an odd thing for someone with that sight condition to have a love of playing an outdoor sport, but I guess that’s my option. My level of vision is classified as being just less than 6:60. What that means is that what I see at 6 metres, someone with what’s called perfect vision would see that image at 60 metres. I can’t recall a specific time, but I know
it would’ve been in relatively early childhood, probably when I was in primary school – early
aspects of primary school – I guess I was a slight social outcast. I was the kid with
very, very thick glasses. I had quite a severe squint, which meant that one of my eyes faced
quite a different direction to the other, so it was quite clear to people that I had
a vision impairment. So I was a few things together as well as being the whitest, shortest kid in the class. I was, er, I was a bit of a target for kids to tease, and I was always the last kid picked to do any sort of sport activity. I’d look around and there would be
a child who would look as being the least athletic child in the whole school. Everyone
would be picking him and then I’d be the last person. It’d be “Ray, you’re on that team.” And I guess, I felt very different to other
kids – I can recall, quite clearly, lying on my trampoline when I was a kid, in my backyard,
when I would’ve been about seven or eight, looking up at the sky, actually looking up
at the moon. I’d be sort of having conversations with the moon, wondering why I was different
to everyone else and whether this was a big trick that was being played on me, and if,
er, when they’d stop, because I was sick of it. How blind cricket differs to traditional sighted
cricket is that blind cricket’s played with a different ball. We have a hard, plastic
ball and the ball’s bowled underarm. There are three distinct categories of blindness
in a blind cricket team. So out of the eleven you have 4 people who are totally blind, that’s
the B1 category. You have 3 people who are all partially sighted, that’s the B2 category,
and you have 4 people who are partially sighted, that’s the B3 category. All of those players
are legally blind. The ball, as I said, is bowled underarm, and before you bowl, the bowler needs to ask the batsman if the batman’s ready, and the batsman responds with “yes,”
and then the bowler says “play” as he’s releasing the ball. My first experience with blind cricket was
to go out to Queensland Blind Cricket Club, which is at Yeronga Park, and I wasn’t very
good at anything. I didn’t know quite what I was doing, but it seemed like an opportunity
to socialise with my mates outside of school. This was the first taste I’d had of playing
team sport and being part of a team, and that really attracted me to play blind cricket. I’ve been to a lot of countries through blind
cricket, which has been a real privilege. My first international trip was in 1996. I
went to New Zealand, and then the next tour was to India in 2002, and in fact I would’ve
been happy with that being it, but I’ve been fortunate enough to go back to India on three
occasions. I’ve done a tour of Sri Lanka, I’ve been to Pakistan a few times, I’ve been
to South Africa a few times, I’ve been to England a few times and I’ve been to Barbados.
So I’ve had a really awesome opportunity to travel through blind cricket. Unfortunately,
I’ve had to pay for all of those trips but it’s been an amazing experience. I went to South Africa in 2014. It really
resonated with me, the plight of the people in the Western Cape of South Africa and the hardships that they faced, and I saw the work of the charity League Of Friends Of The Blind.
I was inspired by what they did and I could see that they had one resource that was missing
and that was money. I was inspired while I was there and it was on the plane on my way
back that I decided that I needed to do something to help. And I set about raising funds to
purchase canes and have canes donated and so far I’ve taken two hundred white canes
across to Cape Town, so there are now 200 people in Cape Town who are now getting around
who before my intervention wouldn’t have been able to. So that’s had a really direct impact
on a lot of lives and it’s been a really fulfilling thing to do. Originally I just did it as a social thing.
I guess towards the end of my career I’m starting to reflect on what blind cricket means, and
to me it’s actually the only time in my life where I feel like I’m entirely normal. No-one’s
making a special exception for me. If I’m working, or studying, or playing other sports,
I’m aware – whether it’s done very subtly or whether it’s quite obvious – that people
are making any exception for me or my vision impairment. When I go out and play blind cricket,
or the whole game is modified and centred around people who are vision impaired, I compete
as an absolute equal with my peers, so I guess it becomes a, er, you get a real feeling of
self-worth out of playing that sort of endeavour, you don’t feel like people are dumbing something
down just to allow you to participate. The best bit of advice I could give if I was
able to talk to myself at 14 – I would probably have a calming word and say that the journey
you’re about to go on is fantastic and it’s going to be wonderful, so whatever the downs
are, there are more ups than downs, and just enjoy the ride.

4 thoughts on “Blind Ambition | Blind Cricket Documentary

  1. I often drive past a the sign for the blind cricket club and wondered how they play and now I know! Thank you Lachlan! This is a great documentary! Ray is an excellent ambassador and I hope that he does some speaking engagements at schools!

  2. An excellent and informative documentary. I see that blind cricket had its beginnings in Melbourne in 1922 and is now played throughout the world. It was first played with
    rocks in a can for a "ball." In 2016, Blind Cricket Australia players were hopeful that
    the Commonwealth Bank would come on board with funding for international games.

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