Ask any cricketer who’s got there and they’ll tell you that the hardest score to be on and get a run is 99.
Some may argue that it’s zero (losers), but for the sake of today’s piece, allow that 99 ‘stat’ to sit as fact. You’re doing brilliantly up until then, but 99 comes along and you tense up, sweat even more, suddenly the fielding team seems to change its demeanour and is loud and confident and you start to doubt your ability to get just one more run; what is going on!?
It wasn’t until today when I did the maths that I realised that I cracked 100 days without sport yesterday.
Before I become like a poor preacher who takes an insurmountable time to get to his obvious point, let me bring in the cricketing analogy. This means that the day of my, ‘I’m wavering’ piece was Day #99. And yes it was a post of lament; well … mostly. Things had been going well until then, though not without incident. There were missed AFL games, NBA Finals and Champions League Finals to contend with, as well as ongoing weeks and months without reading any analysis.
Yet it was a seemingly innocuous early-season English Premier League soccer game that caused my doubts to be cast. Really, does missing an 8-2 whitewash over an archrival constitute grounds to reconsider this entire journey?
Of course not.
It’s still too early to put a finger on it, but I guess I was due. I had ventured on this journey for 3+ months and while there were moments of some levels of regret, they were only ever fleeting. It is quite possible that the Man United victory over Arsenal was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Fortunately, the straw was only heavy enough to make me feel sorry for myself for a little while, whinge about it in this blog, catch myself mid-post before trying to put a positive spin on it and getting on with things! Things could be worse, I could be this guy…
I may return on day #104 or something, refuting the virtues of this piece, claiming that I must have momentarily lost my mind due to it being the first day of spring; a beautiful sunny day, for the record. But it wouldn’t be an honest, challenging venture without not just bad days, but difficult seasons as well.
Not to go all biblical on you or anything, but it’s these challenging times that build character. I’ve said before that this blog would have zero merit if this sabbatical from sport contained absolutely no challenges and each day was a piece of pie. Where would the good in that be for anyone?
Someone trying to give up or to take up something that involves genuine change has to realise that they’re going to encounter speedbumps along the way; some of them significant. Whether it be getting fit, studying again, having kids (!), giving up drinking or turning off the tv, a results-only-driven process will have you on the back foot and giving in to an early temptation. To show my laziness, I’ll pull the exact same West Wing quote out as in the last post, ‘I like that it’s hard’. I really do. The challenge is worthwhile. There’s much to be gained from this – more community involvement, a greater presence at home, a decreased reliance of a never-ending cycle of distant sports athletes and teams –and it should not be easy.
From Egypt to the Promised Land
If I was to succumb, watching ‘just one game’ or deciding that 3 months was enough to create sustainable, life-altering behavioural change, I would be absolutely kidding myself. Mark Sayers talked in a video blog (before you click on ‘play’, enjoy the hairstyle that awaits you!) about how people, when confronted with a life-altering self-acknowledgement, want to ‘immediately move from Egypt to the promised land’.
The intentional time I can immerse myself in this process is invaluable. Allow me the occasional moment ‘stuck on 99’ and hopefully there will be far more helpful and useful ‘insights’ to come. (Talking marks definitively not an accident).
For the record, 83 was as far as I ever got, caught off an outside edge at point, so 99 was never a problem for me. Zero, on the other hand…