(’Sidenote’ – Samantha Stosur just destroyed Serena Williams and won the US Open Tennis Championships, the first Australian female to do so since 1612. Add that epic performance to Cadel Evans’ Tour de France victory and Sally Pearson’s unbelievable gold medal run at the world championships and I’m starting to wonder if Australia will get a major golfing trophy and a WWE World Champion before 12 months of this ticks by…)
I’d give myself a D+
Week 1 of the AFL Finals is done and dusted and my ‘efforts’ to withdraw from following scores, as touted in my last piece, had mixed results.
To recap, I hit the weekend with the following goals and strategies – give up my phone, get some perspective and fully immerse myself in whichever activity or event I was involved in.
‘Mr Evans’ report card
Give up my phone – F
Get some perspective – B+
Fully immerse myself – C
Giving up my phone
Obviously by my outstanding grade in this area, you can see that I never actually handed the phone over. I had 2 very good reasons for this – (1) I completely forgot and (2) I really needed it! It wasn’t until I was really struggling not to check scores on Sunday afternoon that I remembered my plans to give the phone up. A school production and multiple functions on Saturday meant that I had to have it by my side, as per usual.
But it served as a healthy reminder – do we always need to have our phones with us? The amount of people who reflect on weekends away or moments when they are out of range as a freeing experience is countless. Like most Gen Ys (although I am not), my phone also serves as my watch. But to be honest, it’s also my security blanket – constant connection, something to look at if I’m waiting or momentarily on my own … It’s a real positive challenge to see the gadget as a negotiable instead of a mandatory ‘keys, wallet, phone’ check before I step out the door. You??
Get some perspective
I was a borderline ‘A’ student in this regard! At no time was I worried that I was missing a transcendent event or that ‘I’d always miss the Carlton-Essendon final’; and that was before we got absolutely walloped. (‘walloped’ – terrible word…) Sure it will be a great story if Geelong defy everything and win another one, but there will come a time when I will be able to watch whatever transpired that September day, and by then, it will have paled into significance in not just the greater landscape, but the sporting one as well.
In the last 112 days, perspective is the area that has achieved the most significant change for me. Stepping back has enabled me to see both the perils of immersion in a world with overlapping seasons, constant media saturation and an unhealthy sense of balance as well as the merit of sport, felt acutely but how I miss it at different times. There’s no doubt, though, that removal from a certain focus or obsession (depending on who you’re asking) for a particular period of time is a positive step forward and facilitates some eye-opening recognitions if conducted in a positive manner.
Fully immerse myself
I’m probably being hard in giving myself just a ‘C’, here, because I did wholeheartedly embraced a weekend that was absolutely full of social activities and family events and at no stage did I wish that I was at home watching a game. At times, a conscious effort to not think about it was required, but, surprisingly, a concerted effort to actually focus on where I was at conceived not a compromised result but a more meaningful production, party, dinner and lunch! (In that order!)
However, it was very hard to completely switch off and not think about scores or results. It was even harder to avoid discussions, which would have been easier had I not listened to people discussing results, but I am a mere human! In trying to avoid it, you do realise how saturated the topic is in conversations. Also, sport is such an easy conversation starter for guys; too easy. Instead of cutting to the chase on home life, relationships, health, we bring up the easy alternative and avoid more meaningful interactions.
Sunday afternoon was the true gut-test. I was involved emotionally because it was my team and a fantasy betting competition outcome relied heavily on the result. I did pull out my phone a couple of times, I’ll admit, (This was the moment when I realised that I was not meant to have it with me!) only to see an sms from a friend who ‘was with me in solidarity’ as he was on an aboriginal reserve and couldn’t keep up-to-date either. Compelled, I resisted the very strong temptation to check the score. I had earlier hit the url for the AFL web site before a slow connection gave me time to back out!
A new place
Looking back, I would never have imagined 12 months ago that on the first week of AFL Finals, I would be embracing alternatives to ‘Plonksville’, as I like to call my time on the recliner in front of the tv. But in this short span, things have changed and a fresh perspective has arrived. It’s not a movement; it never aspired to be one, but discussions with friends and strangers have been robust and encouraging.
Just don’t announce a wedding for this month – we’ve been over this!