Lewis Hatchett, a former Sussex county cricketer, provided an inspiring Vive Lecture to our senior pupils about how to achieve your goals against the odds, through hard work and determination.
Lewis, 29, had a goal from a young age of becoming a professional cricketer, in spite of his disability. He was born with Poland Syndrome which, for him, meant that he was born without two ribs or any chest muscle on the right hand side of his body. His dad asked whether he would be able to play sport and the doctors told his father that he would struggle. This did not deter Lewis: from a young age he decided that he would achieve his dream and, at the age of 20, he did this by signing a contract with Sussex. However, his journey to this point was not a straightforward one. He was not going to let his body fail him and chose to get physically fit. He had a Kevlar chest protector custom-made to protect his right lung. He had to overcome injury, a broken back which put him out of the game for two years, as well as being told that he was not quite as talented as some of his peers.
On his return, he continued to strive for his dream by, in his words, ‘being a pest’ and contacting head coaches so that he could be in the changing rooms of the senior teams as a water carrier and general helper, whilst all the time learning from the best. He also asked constantly of the people he admired what he needed to do to achieve his goal. He worked harder than his peers at the list he was given to make sure that he was good enough until he had eventually ticked all of the boxes on the list. He developed an inner self-belief that he knew he was good enough, but that he had to find opportunities to show the coaches that he was. He eventually got the break he had been waiting for when one of the coaches said that he had a month to prove himself by standing in for an injured bowler. After this, he received a three-year contract to play professional cricket, which he did for six years until he was dealt a cruel blow. He broke his back again and at the age of 26 had to retire from his beloved game of cricket.
He felt lost and disappointed that he had had his dream taken away, but his message is “Don’t give up; there is always a different path that you can take in life to fulfil dreams that may be different to those you originally envisaged for yourself. You must focus on what ‘you have’ rather than on what ’you don’t have’. Visualise your future and you will achieve it!”
Lewis is now a yoga teacher and has set up a business, ‘Sport-Yogi’, to focus on the strength of body and mind. He believes in the message that you have the power to delete and remove negativity in your life, which includes any social media posts or people that you follow that make you have negative thoughts about yourself. The message that he would like to share is that social media should give you three things: inspiration, information and entertainment. If they do none of these, you should remove them from your life.
Remember ‘visualise the future’ that you want and you will achieve!