Thursday, February 09, 2012

Cavendish - Two Sprints Fought - Two Sprints Won...

Ok, I *know* I go on about Mark Cavendish. I raved about him in 2009 and 2010. The UK non-cycling sports audience woke up to him in 2011 (years after Europe considered him a demi-God) and made him Sports Personality Of The Year.

And I will *keep* on raving about him while he does this...

At the season-opener Tour Of Qatar with new Team Sky, Cav felt unable to contest the opening sprint on Stage 1 through illness, but he fought for the last two sprints - and has won both.

We're used to him starting off the season slow and building. Not so for 2012. The man is unstoppable.

Update on 11th Feb

Cav crashed out 150m from the line on the last stage of the Tour, suffering minor injuries. But that's Cav - crash or win.

When Kevin Hall Committed Suicide, We Failed Him. I Failed Him....

Working as a volunteer in the local community, you sometimes get to deal with some desperate cases. Some people you can help. And some people you fail, miserably, and you never forget them.

Kevin had marital problems, mental health issues and financial worries. He was due to be evicted and we were trying to help him either buy more time or arrange alternative accommodation.

I don't think we ever really got him to open up because he was a closed, secretive man, and as volunteers, we perhaps didn't have the professional skills to get past the outer layer. And the professional skills required just weren't available. Last March, Kevin was a no-show at an eviction hearing. He had told social workers he “no longer had the will to fight”.

He covered himself, and his flat, in petrol, and lit a match.

Coroner Elizabeth Pygott recorded a verdict of suicide. Hides a lot of sins and details, doesn't it, the simple word 'suicide'? The welfare state, the health and mental health systems, even local voluntary groups just weren't there for him.

You second-guess yourself constantly; could we have done more? Did we miss the signs?

Kevin was not the first person I knew who has killed themselves. I sincerely doubt that he will be the last.

And each one hurts more than I can bear.