Over the last few weeks on The Delivery we have been chating to the talented and down to earth partners of some of Australia’s best cricketers. This week we catch up with Maria Hopes who was on the trip of a lifetime when she first met Australian Cricketer and now Brisbane Heat star player James Hopes.
We take a trip down memory lane to find out how the two actually struck up a conversation and also find out why cricket is helping to raise awareness for a cause close to both of their hearts,
So you’re an American now living down under, how did you and James first meet and how did you end up coming to live in Australia?
I was actually travelling with a girlfriend in London and James was over playing with the Australian team for the Ashes Series. We were staying at the same hotel and one afternoon my girlfriend and I decided to head down to the bar to watch the Soccer World Cup on TV. In walked James and a few other guys from the Aussie team and we started chatting. I think we were the only other English speakers in the restaurant that day. I’m not sure if James actually spoke a word, his friends definitely carried it for him. I guess I was intrigued by the shy guy at the table.
Wow, so he almost blew it! Lucky you’ve got a soft spot for the shy kind of guy?
Ha ha, yeah it’s a pretty crazy story. I was leaving two days later but we kept in contact while I was at the hotel. He turned around and said to me, this is crazy but the tour is over but would you consider extending your trip and traveling around Europe with me? I ended up saying no, this is a little strange and went back to America. I remember landing at the airport in America and thinking I had made the wrong deccision. So I went back home for a week, then got back on a plane, met him back in London and we went travelling.
Wow, talk about change of heart!
Ha ha I think my poor Dad was like oh my gosh what are you doing. We ended up touring around and it was amazing. He asked me if I wanted to come to Australia and here I am married, with two kids.
When you know you know!
How much did you know about cricket when you two first met?
Absolutely nothing! I still remember James getting the salt and pepers shakers and using them as props trying to explain the game.
Not a bad idea.
Did your American friends understand anything about the game?
When I was trying to explain the game a lot of them thought it might be similar to croquet, as in that thing we do at the park?
So when did you go to your first cricket game?
The first game I went to was at Lords (in the UK), if I only knew now what I knew then, I would have appreciated that I was going to witness something pretty special. I remember the cab driver at the time being like why am I taking this American who knows nothing about cricket to one of the best cricket grounds in the world.
Have you picked up any funny cricket terms?
Sticky wicket.. I actually still don't know what that means! But what really amazes me if that there are so many different ways you can get out.
What do admire about James and what he has achieved during his career?
James eats, sleeps and breathes cricket. It just makes him tick and he loves it so much. I admire his passion for it. Through the highs and lows, he still loves the game. He’s so dedicated to it. He loves putting on really old cricket games and tells me what's going to happen, blow by blow. I sometimes have to draw the line and say enough!
I think you need to build him a cricket den!
Maybe when the kids move out, that’s a definitely possibility
You have two beautiful young children, Emerson who is two and a half and Beckett who is eight months old. Do they get excited to see Daddy on the TV?
When any cricket match is on, Emerson cheers for Dad. Her latest advice to James before a game is, "Dadda, take to many wickets."
You lost your Mum back in 2008 to ovarian cancer that would have been tough, but I believe you're channeling your energy into raising awareness for the disease now?
Yeah it was tough. Ovarian cancer effects so many women and the majority of women are diagnosed in the late stages, so they don’t usually live past five years of their diagnosis. If we can get the diagnosis quicker we can change the narrative and the future for women around Australia and the world. I've been so amazed by the amount of young women with ovarian cancer in their 20’s and 30’s, it has been staggering to me.
How is the Big Bash League helping to raise awareness for ovarian cancer? We're holding a special event on January 8 for Ovarian Cancer Australia at the last Brisbane Heat BBL match. It's going to be a great night with guest speakers and prizes. TV personality Erin Holland is our MC and it will just be a nice way for girls and even guys to catch up and raise money for a good cause.
Sounds like a fun night out. Maria thanks so much for catching up on The Delivery.
Thanks so much for having me!
To find out more about the Brisbane Heat Ovarian Cancer Event or to donate click HERE