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