This post was going to be about cheating and what constitutes ‘crossing the line’ on the sporting field.
I didn’t think it would be about me.
Don’t worry, Mike Hussey, we’ll get to gamesmanship vs cheating in your arena on Tuesday.
It started with zombies
Watching ‘Zombieland’ with some friends the other day, Jesse Eisenberg’s character, he of ‘Social Network’ fame, is inspired by Woody Harrelson’s character. Harrelson is gold, just for the record. A number of people, including me, who find him hard to stomach in films, love him in this. Love him.
Eisenberg keeps a list of rules as to how to survive in a world ravaged by zombies. Things like the importance of cardio, seatbelts and being careful around bathrooms. Did I mention this is a comedy?! True. Get some value when you rent Senna and see this one as well.
Anyway, he’s inspired by Harrelson’s bullish, carefree demeanour to add a new rule on top of the 31 he already has. Rule #32 – Enjoy the little things. It makes sense in their world without much hope and joy and with, well, zombies.
And look, it’s a rule that we’d be wise to embrace. Inspired by my mum since I was a little ‘un, I have tried similarly.
One of the critiques I received early on in this 12 month journey without sport was, “Why deny yourself the simple pleasures?”
And it’s a fair point.
However, I wonder if clinging onto one of those simple pleasures is making the 12 months harder than it needs to be and possibly, has compromised the journey’s integrity.
I came across my favourite sports writer, Bill Simmons, when I was living in Shanghai in 2006. I haven’t missed a column since, and have read both his books, one of which is bigger than the Bible. I’m not kidding.
As he writes more about the people and the bigger story than the micro and pop culture over sporting results, I made the easy call to stick with him for the duration.
Through his web site, I often get to read a whole lot of intriguing personal stories, and so it compelled me to view their take on the year in sport.
Can you see the lines blurring?
But it’s the little things, right? I mean, I’m just sticking with my favourite writer…
Crossing the line
Even as I watched, Mrs E looked over and laughingly told me to turn it off.
But it was compelling. No, I didn’t know any of the players, the teams, or understand the significance of the occasion, nor do I really like baseball that much. But it was a sharp reminder that while it may be ‘unimportant’ in the grander scheme of things, especially in comparison to what is going on in the world around us, that sporting events can engender ultimate highs and incredible passion and emotion, unparalleled in life. And sure it doesn’t matter in the bigger picture, but, rule #32 – it’s about enjoying the little things.
It’s just not cricket
Yesterday I spent some of my regular dog walk with a mate being heckled about how much I knew about the standings in the cricket. I admit, I may have turned the tv on from time to time to check scores. I am nothing if not a patriotic Australian.
Is it cheating? Yep, probably. I’ll try and do it differently today.
In order to better remove myself from the world of sport, I have had to de-friend the NBA and Manchester United on Facebook! Too many updates. There’s a link sitting there right now that a friend has sent me of some funny by-play with Shaquille O’Neal in a pre-game show. Is watching that crossing the line? If nothing else, engaging in the little things – favourite writer, scores, links – makes it harder to do all this. Except, as I’ve demonstrated here and here, it’s actually impossible to drop off the grid completely!
So how do you strike the balance?
Normally in this last paragraph there would be something to sum up my thoughts and give clarity to the journey. Not today. This journey entails many elements, two of which are doubt and confusion. I know I said in a post a few weeks ago that I didn’t want this to be about just ‘hanging on’ until May 24, but that’s where I find myself, mentally, right now. I can’t completely disconnect. Nor do I want to. So what’s the point?
220 days down. 146 to go.
Damn you, leap years…