Have you ever heard of an individual who left his home behind to help strangers in a remote country? In this world of technological advancements, it’s very easy to portray a generous, empathetic and helpful persona of yourself online. However, how many people will really be willing to travel the world for you in spite of security threats…And not simply visit through their phone screens?!
We present to you the cricket coach from New Zealand who left everything behind for a country he knew absolutely nothing about : Mark Coles.
After the Pakistani Women Cricket team faced defeat in every single match of the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup, Coles took it upon himself to coach the players as a simple voluntary act and a kind gesture. Not only was he the first ever foreigner to have coached the squad, but it was also his own first experience in coaching an international team!
“I remember lying on the bed thinking, ‘You got yourself into this. This is what you wanted, remember? You can’t go home. You’re stuck here now, so you’re just going to have to pull up your socks and get on with it, because there’s no way out.’”Mark Coles
Besides facing numerous obstacles such as a language barrier and a culture shock, Coles persisted and remained determined as he dominated the patchy cricket pitches of Lahore and guided the thirty women in every aspect relating to the field. Coles also remarked that the fields of Lahore were quite different from those on which he grew up and spent most of his time. Cole’s dedication is inspirational, we can draw lessons from his experience and remember to always follow our dreams and believe!
However, Cricket Coach Mark Coles’ story does not end there.
Coles had a passion for cricket since a young age and his soiled clothes were a testament to this. Like many of us, he connected with his father on the field and believed that this is what he wanted to pursue as a career. During his early adolescence, Coles “developed severe back pain – possibly because he had been bowling so much. Doctors advised that his playing days were numbered. That prognosis was devastating for a young man who had always dreamed of making the Black Caps.”
If Mark Coles had just given up at that point, we would not have been writing an article about his life today.
It is important for us to normalize the idea of struggle. The cricket coach also wandered in different directions and began selling masking tape for a living until he finally reached a turning point, motivating him to rekindle his hobby, but in the form of coaching.
Although Mark had to resign in October 2019 due to family problems, he changed the course for sportswomen in Pakistan. He not only helped enhance the players’ skills but also gave them this new sense of confidence and hope. Captain Sana Mir had only positive things to say about her coach:
“Mark brought neutrality to the team,” she says, “because he had no bias towards any player. That was very refreshing. He was quite sensitive and very respectful of our culture, which made the girls very open to what he was bringing.”Sana Mir
The foreign coaches’ entrance into Pakistan also stirred a conversation regarding the lack of resources for sportswomen in our country. Improvements have been made in recent years, however, we definitely still have a long way to go.
I hope you all could take a little something from the life and experiences of Mark Coles and promise to stay resilient no matter what the circumstances! We wish you the best of luck and hope you pursue whatever interests you. Make yourself and your country proud and always remember to be kind to everyone around you.