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A new wrinkle to an old problem

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I almost went to 2 football games last weekend!

Because of the excitement and anticipation of a friend’s final game (e-ver, if you’re reading this!), another looming situation had slipped my mind. As a teacher, I have a Grand Final Policy for my students; ‘If you’re in it, I’m there.’ This tried and tested habit of supporting and encouraging my students on their big day never entered my mind when making the decision to step away from watching sport for a year.

Before I go on, I get a lot of positive feedback from my friends over doing this, but really, it’s not that big a deal. Most sporting events I get to see are pretty entertaining, and even if the game is not that interesting, the event itself, with cheering parents and friends makes for a good enough spectacle.

Allow me to take this red herring further and rank some of the different sports I have watched in my 10 years of teaching. Keep in mind I’m a primary teacher, so the skill levels can vary greatly!

1. Indoor soccer. An easy choice – it’s not even close. There’s always something happening, you’re never far away from a goal scoring attempt, and the kids’ limited abilities are protected by the netting. You’re indoors, on top of the game, it doesn’t take 3 hours; I could go on…

2. Basketball. This can go both ways – try attending a girls’ under 9 final where an 8-6 scoreline means that getting to your attacking end is a feat in myself. Multiply that by a hot day, multiple courts and sweaty players and it doesn’t really push no. 1 for the title. On the other hand, it’s a phenomenal sport, you are indoors and feet stamping by overbearing mothers can only be appreciated.

3. Football. One of the better sports to watch, but it’s early and you’re vulnerable to elements like the cold and rain. Plus, if you’re only there to get behind one player and he is not a star, you are in for a long day. On the upside, there’s pies, chips and soft drinks to claim as a tax deduction.

9. Netball. A game controlled by referees for whom stopping the run of play + anyone having any genuine fun seems to be a gift. This is one area where a strong temptation to think to yourself, ‘I am at a netball game for 11 year olds. I must be a good teacher.’

127. Dancing performances. This should not even be considered a sport, but I have learnt painful lessons from my early days of attending these ‘events’. They are excruciatingly drawn out; when the kid you are there to see does come on, you take an eternity to find them from within the group of 60 others who are taking up the stage. Then, as it’s not in your area of expertise, you have no genuine feedback to give afterwards (which I hate) besides, ‘You did/look really great!’

Thanks for allowing me to digress. I feel a lot better.

A bad throat

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on which way your bread is buttered, poor health saw me unable to attend this kid’s football grand final last Sunday morning. Upon ringing the family later in the day to apologise and to see how everything went, I couldn’t help but feel slightly vindicated when I found out I had missed a 70-7 flogging. My year without sport had retained some credibility and I had not wasted an entire Sunday morning.

Making an actual difference

Problem was, I didn’t believe the second part of that last sentence at all. Win or lose, it’s never a waste to build into these kids and show that there is someone who genuinely cares about them; that an event important to them is therefore important to me. Forget for a second that my actual job is easier the better the relationship I have with each student; hopefully their self-esteem receives a bump as well.

Can I still be a good teacher and not attend these types of events? Of course. Most of us have done fine throughout school without having many teachers show much care at all. But if I decide to no longer be a part of these types of games, it’ll be for reasons related to my own work-life balance and not about stringent rule-keeping to this journey without sport watching.

Now, if I can just get some kids to take up American football, well, number 1 could be in trouble!


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. Love it that you share in these memories with the kids, they’ll never forget Mr Evan’s coming along to watch them play. Don’t let legalism about your “Year without sport” diminish the great part that you can play in these kids lives.

    If you’re lucky, Alison will be a basketballer over say, a callisthenics girl (that’s what I’m, secretly, praying for); I’ve heard callisthenics’ “concerts” can go for 4 hours- EESSH.

    See you bro!

  2. Netball ranks 9??

    Netball is not really a sport. Its a kids game disguised as a sport. Two opposing groups of people throw a ball around for a long as they can before an old bat in a white tracksuit with a skirt over the top blows a whistle.

    Its a tremendous feat if either team can do this for 20 seconds before the whistle goes off.

    Historically the bibs exist because when the game originated it was played by very young children. It was usually run by grandmothers at childrens birthday parties, hence the old ladies in white.

    When the older kids wanted to get involved they added a hoop at either end and decided that whoever could put it through the hoop the most would be the winner.

    The grandmothers didn’t like the older kids spoiling the game for the ‘littlies’ so they’ve been blowing their whistles incessently ever since.

    And this is how the modern game of Netball came to be.

    • Your disdain and contempt for the “sport” of netball is admirable.

      You should totally become a comedy writer, and I’m not actually joking great work! Love the historical reference and context to bibs in the sport- well played!

  3. Ah Brendan I feel my friend you will be sitting court side watching netball for years to come with your little ladies:) good time to sharpen up your comedy act:)
    Mr Evans attending events outside of school is an awesome thing to do! You’d need to pick the right school to teach at though eg not too sporty:)


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