Sunday

Prayers for our friend Sajjad (Jim)

Jim and Olivia. "There you go."
Wanted to give a shout out to our friend Sajjad Hussain, a good pal from Chicago who is originally from Pakistan.  I met him when he was working for a home hospice care group, and he came and took care of my father. My father and Sajjad (nickname Jim) bonded quickly, they became very close, and it was Jim who called to tell me the day he passed.

Later Jim opened his own Quiznos in greater Chicago - it was a giant step forward for his family and his future, but because of a number of reasons, not much parking, bad location, it didn't work out for him.  So he had to take two jobs, and was working full time for his wife and beautiful daughter when the stroke hit.

Jim and his daughter Nadia at Quiznos
He was driving his daughter at the time, and pulled over to the side of the road.  It was a massive stroke that might have taken another man's life, but it just knocked him flat, and has put him at home.  He's due to undergo surgery in a few weeks to relieve pressure on the brain.

Needless to say, he's been thrown for a loop.

I'm doing what I can from Santa Monica to keep up his spirits.  He called the other day, deeply depressed at his current situation, as he felt he was driving his dear wife and daughter to distraction with all the care that's needed.  I suggested that he needed some kind of mental exercise to keep his mind fit - to keep it off the situation he's currently in and to help him in general.  I was talking to him about meditation - and an image popped into my head, and I suggested that we play a full cricket match together.
Jim and my mom. She adored Jim.

Now I don't know the first (or last thing) about cricket.  I do know that when I was at a cricket match with my friend, the Australian film director Phillip Noyce, I turned to see tears in his eyes.  I said "What's wrong?"  He said "As a little boy growing up in Australia I would listen to these games on the radio, played in this far off exotic place called the West Indies. And now here I am."  I never met a truer cricket fan.  Until I met Sajjad.

When he was working for my dad, he told me he was taking a class in public speaking to help him communicate. Tall, handsome, with a quick wit and easy laugh, I was surprised he became tongue tied in public.  He was taking a course in speech giving, and I suggested talking about something he loved; cricket. He took at bat down to the class and gave his impassioned speech about a game he loved.  It gave him the confidence to be able to pursue his dream of owning his own business.

So when I suggested a meditation, I said "Why don't we play a cricket match together?  You supply the players, pick each one - and you'll imagine each and every pitch." He said he could do that.  We chose a stadium. Lords in London.  He began to choose my team for me.. and his own for him.  We started off in the match.. and seven hours later, he called to tell me, sadly, that I had lost.
Former Cricket player & film director Phillip Noyce

"That's not fair!" I protested that I had lost the match. I contacted Phillip to ask him for a couple of imaginary players to be added to my imaginary team; he gave me two historic players; Don Bradman, the greatest Aussie batsman of all time, and Shane Warne who can really throw a "wrong 'en."  (Which I guess is a bit like throwing a googli, another throw I've heard of, yet have no clue how to do it.)

Anyways, our teams are below, and the next match is Monday.  If you're moved by Jim's passion or plight, please don't hesitate to write a reply to this post, I'll pass along the messages to him. IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A DONATION TO THE "JIM FUND" - follow the link, and I will see that he gets every penny.

 Our two teams:

"The Mighty Martinis"

Ricky Ponting
Adam Gilchrist
Sachin Tandulkar
Ian Botham
Imran Kahn
Malcolm Marshall
Shane Warner
Don Bradman
3 substitutions

Sajjid Hussain's team: The Bulls

Chris Gayle
Sir Viv Richards
Kieron Pollard
Bob Willis
Martin Crowe
Majid Kahn
Waqar Younis
Rajid Latif
3 alternates.

score of the first match: 283 (Bulls won).  
second match 262 Martinis won. (Bulls scored 215 but Martinis bat first)


Whatever you can donate for our friend Jim will go directly to him. Please make a note 'FOR JIM' or the word 'CRICKET' and I'll know where it will go. Thank you.

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