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A fellow pilgrim

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I know I said I’d write about my dog today, but this morning, my wife exclaimed to me today that if you google ‘my year without sport’, my blog comes up. She’s an encourager, this one!

As I tried this, thoughts of the millions in ad revenue that could be coming my way were quickly stunted when I found that there was no such link to this blog.

“Oh, you have to add ‘wordpress’ to your search,” she tells me.

This makes it odds of 1.23 trillion to one that anyone will actually run those words together in a search in order to stumble across my humble writings.

‘A year without football’

But what I did come across in my initial search was a similarly themed blog that ended on April 28 this year. ‘A year without football’ was one sports fan’s complete disconnection from US football – pro and college. This might not seem a big deal to you, but believe me, football is by far and away the biggest fish in the US sports pond. It’s not even close. To do what Devin Rossiter was attempting was huge, especially as a budding sports broadcaster himself.

I was interested to see a fellow pilgrim’s journey through the landmines that would come his way. There’s too much there for you to delve your way through, but as you look upon some of the post titles, you will note that most of them are sports-related. Rossiter stumbled upon the joys of Australian Rules Football, (which will be short-lived as he picked the Saints!), English soccer + competitive handball; and no, I didn’t throw that last one in as a gag. (Ask to see the lifelong scar on my finger from a handball incident in 1990!) He remained loyal to other sports he had an interest in, but removed football as an option.

I have no intention of using this space to have a go at the year without football at all. It achieved 10,000+ hits in total, was something that he saw through to the end, something I significantly appreciate, and the extent to which he disengaged has given me plenty food for thought, including –

  • Not engaging in sports-related conversations,
  • Avoiding even the headlines of newspapers,
  • Pro-actively planning a major project, and
  • Encouraging us to think constructively as to what to do with the money saved from sports viewing.


However, something that I’ve been acutely aware of in these early days is to not fill my newfound space and freedom with other distractions. I’m sure there’s a myriad of tv, DVD series, reality and pop-culture related endeavours that I could easily allow to consume my time, mental focus and energy. Intentionally re-engaging with what this is all about will require discipline and self-control.

I could have just disengaged from the sports I love, such as AFL, NBA, soccer etc. However, I am sure that there are ‘competitive handball equivalents’ out there that I could simply switch my focus to. I’ve already spoken in this space about the amount of distractions there are out there, ready to take our minds away from the important things in life – family, friends, community, climate change!

Rossiter’s overall interest in sports lessened as other elements of his life took over; notably the birth of his first child, a daughter for he and his wife. Today’s readings have reinforced the need to be intentional about this season of my life.

‘In short summary, I didn’t miss the hype. At all. Excising all the unnecessary analysis and hype was extremely liberating.’

I kind of know what he means. 


About petek8

Pete Evans has just finished going 12 months without watching any sport. The journey stemmed from a sense that the balance was out-of-whack with my time and my priorities. Everything seemed to revolve around creating enough time and space to fit in the last game, games, recap shows or space to surf the net for the latest numbers and analysis. The cycle never ends - one season leads into another, seasons overlap if you follow various sports and the media's insatiable appetite for a new 'story' means that even the greatest of achievements aren't heralded for more than 3 days. So I stepped away from the machine for awhile and intentionally engaging with the journey by writing about it.

4 responses »

  1. I think he was referring to Competitive Handball, the Olympic sport. Not the 4 square stuff you were getting whipped at with your 13 year old school yard chums. Perhaps you did mean that, but I’m not going to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    Nevertheless, a good post and a great quote to finish with. Sums it up really. I haven’t seen a game of AFL all season, this wasn’t intentional. I got back into the NBA and just cared more about it. Since the finals finished I just haven’t cared for AFL, at all. In fact, seeing the attention such trivial issues from the game get in the media makes it seem laughable.

    I now understand why some of my non-footy loving mates could so easily not care about the game. I always thought that they were the ones missing out, not so!

    • It has been an interesting facet of this journey that the ‘big’ football stories seem far more insignificant. It’s hard to go on without appearing condescending in this regard, but it is a bubble than many others fail to dedicate the same level of care to.

  2. I agree with you Ooze. It’s interesting to watch ABC’s Offsiders (sports and media analysis hosted by Barry Cassidy) when you are sitting on the other side of the planet and realize that a seven minute debate over the intricacies and nuances of an AFL ‘sling tackle’ have no bearing on real life for 99.99% of the world’s population. Having said that, I must qualify that since living in Denmark, I have developed a healthy appetite for handball so my credibility is questionable.

    I like the fact that you are diversifying the subject matter of this blog Pete!

    • But Ben, if they don’t have the ball, why should they expect to be slung to the hard home that is the MCG surface? You’re out of touch. Thanks for the diversifying comment. Is always a challenge to move into different realms. Appreciate it.


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