Ross violin & cricket 004 (1) copy

Portrait of a violinist as a young jock

Posted on July 16, 2013

Ross Henderson recounts his journey to becoming a violin teacher.

As I started my performance degree, I knew I was postponing the inevitable when it came to giving up cricket. I think I imagined myself doing post-graduate study somewhere remote like Siberia, where the game did not exist, which would make it easier. At nineteen, midway through my degree, I shattered the middle joint of my left index finger while batting when the ball jammed it against the bat handle. I was instantly cut off from the two things I loved most, and spent the next four years trying to get the finger right. Although the recovery was pretty amazing given the damage to the joint, I wasn’t left with enough reliable dexterity to cope with the habitual demands of professional playing.
I was annoyed by anyone who attributed what happened to fate or destiny; that it was “meant to be”. I knew it was an accident, irrespective of the context. Feeling obliged to be defensive about the circumstances quickly got tiresome. It was surreal enough as it was, without the added sense that some expected me to acknowledge that I had simply gambled and lost. People can, and do, injure themselves in a number of ways. Most injuries occur during ordinary living, and I’ve met, read, and heard about enough musicians throughout my life to confirm that no amount of bubble-wrap can avoid it. As far as placing myself in jeopardy is concerned, the distinction has to be made between conflict and the simple possibility of an injury, which applies across the spectrum of everyday life. In terms of inherent risk, I wonder whether a career-ending injury sustained while driving a car or doing the dishes is really that different from mine.

Ross Henderson studied at the University of Canterbury.

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