The kindness of strangers

24 Jan

The nice thing about this ‘job’ is that on the whole the people are friendly – maybe it’s because cricket is, by nature, a friendly sport; perhaps it’s because those who are privileged enough to write about it get to do something they love, rather than something they resent. Unfortunately, I have come across unfriendly cricket writers and those who are not interested in the travails of a young wannabe. But sometimes there is someone who will eagerly go the extra mile.

On Thursday, Kim Jones passed away. Kim was the owner and editor of SPIN magazine, and a lover of county cricket.

In March of 2013, as green as the fresh shoots that were emerging from the dirt, I emailed Kim asking for advice on getting into cricket journalism and writing. I sent a similar email to a lot of other journalists, yet he was the only one to respond. And rather than posting a generic ‘keep going’ reply, he gave me actual, worthwhile advice. His reply was longer than my original email, and he asked me to keep in touch. And so I did. We exchanged emails for a month or so, and as our familiarity grew I got a glimpse into the great sense of humour that lay underneath his vastly knowledgeable outer shell.

Once I told him about The Cricket Magazine he was nothing but supportive, and gave me some more encouragement into how best to get the word out, as well as some titbits on writing about the sport.

I didn’t know that Kim was unwell. An eyebrow was raised when his Twitter account went quiet, but when a new one sprung up, I just assumed he’d forgotten his password, or fancied a fresh start. So when I saw George Dobell and Lizzy Ammon, who both worked with him at SPIN magazine, tweet on Thursday night that he’d passed away, I was surprised, shocked and saddened.

Kim took time out of his busy schedule to email a nobody with advice and his genuine interest in me blew me away. As often happens when someone passes, one selfishly regrets things – hoping that those feelings will alleviate the guilt that’s left behind. And, selfishly, I regret not emailing him and simply saying ‘thank-you’, and telling him of how the site has gone since his initial encouragement.

From the reaction on Twitter, I am not alone in being touched by his generous spirit. The man behind ‘AltCricket’, Nishant Joshi, tweeted of a similar experience to mine.

https://twitter.com/AltCricket/status/426675354929860608

Whilst his love of county cricket was not lost on those who play it – especially those from his favourite county of Warwickshire.

https://twitter.com/LaurieEvans32/status/426652398107762688

Kim was a good man. He was thoughtful, kind, genuine and honest. He willingly emailed someone he didn’t have to, because he wanted to help them. And I will miss him.

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4 Responses to “The kindness of strangers”

  1. Kara Kynaston-Evans January 24, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    Hi I’m Kara Kim’s sister – I’ve been reading all the fantastic things written about my wonderful brother and would like to say thank you for your deeply moving piece – he would have been hugely touched by it and thrilled to know he’d helped you – cheers Kara

    • Alex Britten January 24, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

      Hi Kara, thanks for commenting – you and your family are in my thoughts. Kim helped so many people, and he won’t be forgotten.

  2. alison Kynaston Jones January 29, 2014 at 12:13 am #

    I truly want to thank everyone for their kind words about my amazing husband.

    They say that cricket is a game for gentlemen. Kim was a gentle man of the highest order. He loved the game, adored the banter online and will be watching the Bears, arriving on time for every match.

    With love and true appreciation,
    Alison Kynaston Jones
    Aka Mrs Kim.

    I shall play cricket in heaven
    in return for the afternoons
    gladly given to the other
    pleasure of others’ leisure.
    I shall walk, without haste, to the wicket
    and nod to the angels kitted
    in their whites waiting to discern
    the kind of batspirit I am.
    And one stroke in heaven, one dream
    of a cover drive will redeem
    every meeting of bat
    and ball I’ve done without.
    And I’ll bowl too, come on to bowl
    leg-breaks with such control
    of flight and slight changes of pace
    that one over will efface
    the faint regret I now feel.
    But best of all I shall field:
    alert in the heavenly deep,
    beyond the boundary of sleep.

    • Alex Britten January 29, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

      The amount of respect that’s been shown is a testament to the kind of man he was. So generous and thoughtful.

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