Monday February 13 marked 100 days to go on the ‘Year without sport’ calendar. Incredible to think that initially, I wondered if I’d even make it through the first month! Now, May 24 seems to be looming, and not just because I’m set to be a first-time father a week or two before that time.
The last few weeks have been cleansing as the efforts to go all-out on sports avoidance have come to fruition and the benefits of being completely immersed and present in other activities has paid off.
Rather than softening the approach as the end nears, the opposite has occurred as the determination to not do this half-baked has risen. ‘Baking’, ‘rising’ … too many food metaphors … I’m hungry, so I’ll move on.
As the end time seems to be nearing, it gives me an opportunity to think about some of the practicalities about how this will be different when May 25 hits…
Some rules are needed
I started to compile a mental checklist of the significant sporting events that had occurred while I’ve ‘been away’ and those that have been sitting on the hard drive or DVD collection – untouched in the last 9 or so months – that I was looking forward to viewing. As I did so, I realised that I have to set strong boundaries over my re-integration or I could be back to square one very quickly…
An ‘all-in’ approach once the shackles are off late-May could easily eventuate! This would mean that once this initial tsunami of catch-ups and ‘must-see’ events subside, I could then fall into a reduced viewing load from that initial onslaught. However, it would still be one that comprises a far greater volume of ‘recliner time’ than is healthy.
So while it’s too early to know for sure how this may play out and there is also the ma-jor factor of Little Junior being on the scene by then, which I hear may slightly affect my lifestyle, it still seems like now is a good time to set some ground rules, starting with one main one …
As the mental list as to what I wouldn’t mind seeing or seeing again grew, I quickly realised that I was creating a lot of time where it would just be myself and a tv screen. So, the focus on community-building will need to be incorporated into my ‘sporting lifestyle’.
I’m currently playing around with the idea of not allowing myself to just ‘plonk’ on my own and watch whatever’s on or pull out an old sports dvd to kill some time. If I’m going to watch something, it needs to be with someone.
Friday night footy
On a few fronts, this will help. The first is that often there are few things I used to look forward to more than Friday night footy. Add to that the fact that there used to be NBA basketball as well and it proved an irrepressible mix.
With friends, it’s a fantastic mix – plenty of banter and shenanigans and a good chance to hang out. A downside is that it can be too sport-focused. Overall though, very good for the soul!
When it was just me, however, whilst I looked forward to the down time, by the time the pizza was consumed and the game was well and truly under way, the novelty had well and truly worn off. A people person not around people on a Friday or Saturday night doesn’t make for the most exciting of times.
The second is that it may make me more pro-active in getting alongside others and making viewing experiences more of a community event. Noting the ‘big 4’ English Premier League soccer match ups, wrestling events or key AFL games in advance enables planning for group hang outs.
Finally, not relying on sport to be the main stimulant during the day time on weekends and holidays is crucial. While soccer is the perfect accompaniment to folding or other mundane household work*, it’s also the great sleep inducer, second only to test match cricket. (*Muse’s ‘Hullabaloo’ DVD has replaced soccer since sport has been switched off – my goodness what a gig!)
The last 8+ months has seen more opportunity to be more involved with our friends and family – an Australia Day BBQ with friends was the epitome of how good this can be. Quantity time with the people you love is irreplaceable.
Hopefully this will also get me more regularly involved in more ‘third gear’ activities* or hobbies. The blurb book of my Europe trip is just about finished, so I’ll need something ‘hands on’ that isn’t too draining, but when completed, leaves you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in a job well done. (*The backyard and clearing out the gutters will not count!)
From getting a bike, buying those hiking boots or actually getting to my mate’s to jump on his drum kit, there are a plethora of options out there beyond the reach of my lounge room.
A change is coming
Hopefully there will be a change that will complement the new lifestyle that is set to come my way when the little bubba enters the world. There are lessons to be learned throughout this journey, so I’ll continue to do what I can…
But selling ‘good triumphs over evil’ to a little child when Collingwood, Miami and Manchester City are likely to be the leaders in my 3 top sports might just be a bit of a reach. All we’ll need is Venus Williams and Tiger Woods to reclaim the no. 1 spot and Djokovic to keep winning every single match he enters for the next 3 years and we won’t stand a chance. The lesson, as always, ‘Come on Federer!’