The fluctuations of this 12 month journey never cease to amaze.
October used to be the one month of the year that, sporting wise, dismayed me, and contrarily, buoyed my wife! Footy season was over, the NBA season was yet to kick off and cricket was not yet on the cards. ‘What will I do when footy season’s over?’ I can remember thinking to myself. ‘I’ll have to … like, have dinners with people and go to movies and things on my Friday nights … ugghh.’ Apologies for the 14 year old female terminology, but you get the point.
‘This isn’t so bad…’
However, it never was as bad as it appeared. I did, somehow, always manage to survive without the ‘big game’ to look forward to. I genuinely enjoyed being around people without sport as the hub, interesting conversation topics still managed to be forthcoming and the earth continued to orbit the sun once every 366.26 days on it’s tilt of 23.4°. Yes I googled those numbers – I have a short attention span; so shoot me.
As this transpired, there was always a faint, ‘Hey this isn’t too bad. When footy season and the NBA kicks back in, I’m going to make sure it doesn’t take over like it used to.’
Yet it always did.
One of my wife’s biggest causes for concern was when I got right into the American baseball World Series when we were living in Shanghai, China. Held in October, she’d declare (correctly) ‘I used to have this one month!’
But it was on tv.
It was interesting.
I was hooked.
I had my team – the Boston Red Sox – and the more I watched, the more I learned, and therefore, the more I enjoyed it. You think basketball and football have stats and figures to dissect!? Baseball takes that realm to a whole new level. So much so that the Oakland A’s (what is an ‘A’, anyway??) superiority in their statistical analysis lead to unbridled success, and is now the focus of a movie starring Brad Pitt. Look out Jonah Hill, Angelina’s coming for ya…
I was also renewing my love for soccer at that time. Both the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League, as well as the Australian A-League (Harry Kewell – I’ll be there soon, I promise) are well and truly underway when October rolls around. NFL football (Buffalo Bills / New England Patriots) is always up and running and is often compelling theatre at playoff time. Wrestling never takes a break, which in itself is a hot issue at the moment, but it’s all good news for the armchair participant. It also is a sport; a topic I’ll cover in a future post.
(True story – 6 people walk into a bar in Geneva, Switzerland. No it’s not the start of a joke. Someone immediately points out to me that they’re showing WWE wrestling on the big screen. I purposely position myself so that I can’t see it yet almost the entire group is unable to look away for most of the night – none of whom are fans! And that’s without sound! It reminded me of the classic Kramer line from Seinfeld – ‘He is a loathsome offensive brute, yet I can’t look away.’)
Add it all up and October became far more palatable. Yes a small part of me enjoyed the freedom that came without the big AFL games to anticipate, yet like recovered addicts who return to the environment where they are the most vulnerable, it was too easy to slip right back in.
This October, however, came like a fresh breeze. The pain of missing the AFL Grand Final was quickly overcome as the world, it’s media, and I, moved on. Yes the lure of soccer, baseball and wrestling remain, but having achieved success with the ‘A Grade’ temptations of football and basketball, the lower-ranked activities are easier to avoid.
I now find myself in the unique position, momentarily, of ‘being like everybody else’. No big game to look forward to and other avenues of enjoyment need to be considered. It’s an even playing field!
Fortunately I have an amazing trip to reflect on and other topics to explore – the disgusting state of the sex industry is rightfully being hit hard in the media right now, Kevin Rudd is back on the scene and Australia now has a carbon tax. All good things to dissect
I am aware that November will roll around with its cricket and (hopefully) basketball, as will other months with their own sporting landscape. For now, though, it’s nice to take a breath and just be one of the boys.