What was meant to be a celebration turned in something more sinister in the last 24 hours. Going without sport was supposed to protect me from injury.
Let’s just say that a fair bit of time and effort went into typing the second half of this piece!
It was 6 months ago yesterday that I was coming back from another wasted weekend away. Multiple footy games had been consumed and a big NBA playoff game loomed.
And then everything ground to a halt.
‘Enough of this. I’m going cold turkey.’
I’d tried moderation in limiting my sporting viewing and had achieved some success. But not enough. It was clearly still a crutch on which I leaned too heavily.
And so, drastic measures needed to be taken.
If I had known then what I know now, I am not sure I would have gone through with the plan to take 12 months off sports viewing, including newspaper and online articles.
I honestly thought it wouldn’t be that hard!
I would simply immerse myself in more transcendent areas of my life – the people and relationships and would find alternative events at which to hang with my sports-based friends. And, with my Lakers out of the NBA playoff race and my Bombers unlikely to make a Finals impact in the AFL, I wouldn’t feel the pull as strongly.
Oh, I felt it alright.
A significant lifestyle change like this, even one you readily embrace, doesn’t occur smoothly. Or without grief.
I have been amazed at the amount of different events that have cropped up, many of them unexpected, that have resulted in a twinge of pain at the realisation that I have missed or am going to miss something that I’d really enjoy.
Initial excitement at starting this journey has been replaced at various times by boredom, fulfillment, feelings of inadequacy, confidence and frustration as the ebbs and flows of the journey have unfolded.
A good time
And so, 6 months seems like a good time to look back at some of the highs and lows of the year without sport so far.
AFL Grand Final By all accounts, an epic. The hated Pies getting their just desserts by the best and most entertaining team of the last 5 years.
The NBA Finals Again, one of the best series in (someone else’s) memory. And again, the hated Miami Heat with Lebron James dispatched in 6 by the Dallas Mavs and uber-respected Dirk Nowitzki, who just happens to also hold Mrs E’s ‘ugliest sportsperson’ title. So he’s doubled up, there…
Champions League Final Barcelona. Manchester United. It does not get any bigger.
- Man U beating hated foe Arsenal 8-2. I would never have thought that a regular season soccer game would provoke the first genuine test to this journey. But it did.
- Cadel Evans winning the Tour de France. I don’t cycle. I have a car. But an Australian, as weird as I find Cadel to be; an Aussie winning one of the big international events. It’s big. Huge!
- Suddenly realising that I will genuinely miss the cricket this summer. Clarke! Ponting! South Africa! Steyn! Ok ok, I’m probably over-reaching here…
- Sam Stosur pulverising Serena Williams to win the US Open tennis title. I genuinely like Sammy Stosur, she’s down to earth, folksy, even. I hate Williams. Just a brash, unlikeable bully which she gloriously put on full display as she was getting torched. At least she didn’t threaten to kill a line judge. She’d already done that in 2009. True. Story.
- Multiple big game wins for my Bombers. Our season ended ordinarily enough, so you have to take close, epic wins like the one of eventual-premier Geelong when you get them.
- Kobe coming here. Ok, it’s probably not going to happen, so… (holding my breath)
- What’s the point? I’ve often felt as though the vision of this journey is lost on those it’s meant for and embraced by those who don’t need it as much. But now I’m sounding defeated and it’s time to look to the positives!
- A day at the footy! I thought I’d put this one out there straight away, as it seems hypocritical, but is actually what this journey is all about – fuller immersion in people and community.
- The media bans series. Writing has been fantastic. It keeps me engaged with the journey, requires discipline and has opened up a whole new can of creativity. (Did you like that? It’s called ‘alliteration’ – I should teach that sometime…) The communal lamenting over broken sports media bans was clearly a highlight. So much grief. So many people with big mouths!
- Weekends like the one I just had. Friday night – drove to a friend’s then to our favourite pizza store in East Malvern (not a typo), followed by chats and laughs. Saturday – go karting (in the rain = awesome!), lunch and drinks for a Buck’s, 1st birthday party, surprise birthday dinner. Sunday – little friend’s baptism in the Yarra, fantastic presentation at church by a friend on Dietrich Bonheoffer, supper with friends. It’s not that these types of weekends haven’t happened in the past, it’s how present I was in every moment, not frequently checking phones for scores or engaging in dialogue about this team or that player or trade.
- The encouragement. The amount and variety of people who have commented about this blog has been genuinely surprising. The age range of sporting knowledge of readers is more vast than I can possibly communicate. So if you’re reading this, thank you.
It’s quite apparent that, although I am 6 months in, there’s still a long way to go. ‘Really?!’ Ok, fair point, but what I mean is that the allure of sport is still so strong. As yet, there has been no immersion in healthy, alternative activities that can ‘protect’ me once May 24, 2012 swings around. Major change has occurred, yet significant change is still necessary.
It sounds like a major lifestyle shift is needed. And yes, one is on the way. But more on that in a later post…