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Is a year long enough?

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After the 6 month anniversary of going without sport passed recently, I’ve allowed myself to start looking forward to a whole lot of sporting events that I’ve missed over the last 200 or so days.

There’s an epic grand final to see, the NBA Finals to catch up on, Le Tour highlights plus whatever else I’m going to miss in the forthcoming 5.whatever months.

And in doing so, I’m losing sight of what this is about.

This should never be about ‘hanging on’ for the last few months. It was always about immersing myself in the transcendent, in relationships, in community, in the things that, over time, really matter.

And so I wonder if 12 months is going to be long enough to create the sustainable change that I seek to see evident in my life.

Believe me, I never thought I would say or think that. If anything, I wondered early on if I would even get to 12 months.

A better drinking culture

I was encouraged some time ago by an online blog I came across by Jill Stark, who was The Age’s Health Writer and big time drinker who went 12 weeks without alcohol. The changes she noticed were startling – she became healthier, could still go out and have a great time, carve up the dance floor, meet fellas, yet withstood constant withering attacks from those around her due to her new penchant for teetotaling. Look at her on the dance floor – do you think she’s suffering from her change in behaviour? No, doesn’t look like it!

So, she decided to go another three months. Part of what she is doing was ‘challenging Australia’s entrenched binge-drinking culture’. Hundreds of people have signed up to ‘Hello Sunday Morning’, whose ‘purpose is to provide a platform for individuals to create meaningful change in their lives through a period of sobriety.’

It goes on to say that each person’s story provides a ‘unique and essential contribution to a better drinking culture’. People’s stories going hand in hand with creating a better drinking culture. Hard to argue with that.

For me?

At my end, I guess I’m trying to tell a similar story. And just like Jill Stark’s, it’s not that the goal is to eradicate sport completely or to encourage and inspire all who read or hear about this journey to give up sport completely.

My personal desire is to stop, take some time, look around and get some perspective. To focus on what is really important.

Sport is a phenomenal link, especially between men. I have a neighbour with special needs. I met his cousin the other day who had flown in from the Czech Republic to have a week in Melbourne. I had no idea how this was going to pan out.

Within moments we were chatting about his local Czech soccer team who had made the Champions League. It’s a big deal. We talked with ease, as if we had known each other for months.

Ask any guy or girl who loves their sport and they, and I, will present myriads of similar stories about the incredible link that sport can be and how it can bring people together.

A failure

Yet we have failed to keep it in perspective.

Our world is messy yet our eyes are blinded to truth.

There are sex slaves in every suburb in Melbourne.

Our young people have more ‘stuff’ than ever before yet clinical depression and youth suicide rates are at the highest rates in history

Our environment is crumbling around us yet we seem to be one of the few countries in the world trying to deny there is a problem. As the largest emitter of carbon gases per capita, I wonder why that is.

Homelessness, abject povertyunjustifiable wage gaps between the rich and poor and ridiculous consumer spending abound in this great country. On the last point, Australians will spend over $1,200 per person this Christmas. Seriously…

Yet still after six months without, I can give you more statistics on football, basketball or soccer than on any of the above topics.

Hope

I am more concerned with change than time. It’s not easy to say, but if there hasn’t been a significant mindshift to merge with sustainable behavioural change, there’s no gun to my head that I have to have it all together by May 24, 2012.

So the story may continue…

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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.

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