In one month from today, I can watch sport again.
It seems not so long ago that, fed up with another unfulfilling sport-filled weekend, the call was made to step away. Yet so much has changed and it’s the right time soon to re-enter a world that once upon a time I held so much stock in.
The plans have already been made with friends for Saturday night, May 25. I will get to see my Bombers in the Australian Football League again, the first time in what seems like forever.
We’ll also be throwing on last year’s epic AFL Grand Final, and I can fi-nally see Collingwood get their just desserts. Can’t wait to hear that ‘Coll-ing-wooo-oood’ chant when they think they’ve got it locked up. Gold.
But there’ll also be the banter, the heckling, the analysis, the big calls and of course, the ridiculous synopses and predictions.
There are of course many specific aspects of the return to look forward to. My Bombers in the AFL have started 4-0, a record that may only hold up another 24 hours, and the cynic in me expects a mid-season drop-off, but will they still be relevant come Round 9 – the epic return date?! Please… (Not sarcasm – a literal pleading!)
Mrs YWS’ alarm clock went off recently and in my semi-slumber, a news report informed me that Man United was 8 points clear in the English Premier League. I thought Manchester City had it wrapped up! I don’t believe that lead is still as solid, but we are close to the end of the season – can I see the Red Devils grab another trophy, stretching their lead from the team formerly known as Liverpool?? And how did this happen?!
I have little idea as to how my Lakers are going. I know they’re not doing badly, but will they still be ploughing their way through the playoffs come May 24? Apparently Kobe Bryant’s gunning for the scoring title, shooting at a hor-rible percentage. There’s not too many great years left out of the Black Mamba and I’ve just missed an entire one! Hopefully I can see them again before the season packs up until November.
There are other events I could go on, and on and on about. WrestleMania, UFC events, Champions League, MLB and the Super Bowl…
Drink in …
It’s reassuring that while there is a seeming plethora of sporting options lined up to be consumed, I am not salivating at the endless selections, like my dog, Lexi, when proffered a single dog dry. There’s a distinct temperance within this genuine enthusiasm. I can’t wait to see it. I could go without for another 3 months. Oxymoronic? Not at all. I’m really not fussed.
You switch gears though and ask about my and Mrs YWS’ forthcoming baby, due May 16, and words like temperance and moderation get thrown out the window. Little Pete or Jo Jnr is the most hotly anticipated event since WrestleMania 3. It is surreal to consider that I will soon look into the eyes of my child; that a precious little being will be in my arms; the concept turns to reality and life unalterably changes forever.
And look, this would still have been the case had the year without sport never occurred. It’s not like I’d be thinking, ‘Can’t think about the bubba, Man U could claim the league title!’ Yet the enthusiasm with which I await our coming child and the ways in which I have already engaged – painting nurseries and reading books, without resenting the time spent away from the TV one iota, are different from how I may have been had sport maintained its position as such a core component of my life.
The low point
There was a time in the last 4-5 months when I was worried that the journey might not be complete by May 24. One of the more widely read blog posts – ’My team’s in the Super Bowl – you have GOT to be kidding me!’ – a downhearted reflection on missing yet another significant sporting event, ended with these words: “Something’s got to change, because this is not working.”
You see, I wasn’t prepared to go back to sport without embracing the lessons that this short season could bring. Just 3 months later, with extra discipline, perspective and having dropped off the internet grid for Lent, lessons al-most learnt!
You’ll never be completely there in giving up your vices, but in terms of what this year was supposed to achieve, I await May 24 without a tinge of, ‘Is this ok? Am I safe to return?!’
The screw will be turned even tighter this next month. Surfing the internet will be off-limits and a more concerted effort will be made to avoid articles and conversations that lead to the bleeding obvious; sporting results.
Be ready for the mighty West Sydney Giants, Essendon. It might just be another game for you, but it won’t be for one fan…