During an e-normous weekend which again included 0.00 seconds taking in any sport action, I bumped into a great mate at a friend’s birthday. Somehow, or, predictably, the talk soon moved to reminiscing about the cricket team we used to play in together for a few years.
The talk turned to a lost cricket semi-final about a decade ago and even now, we were discussing potential strategic changes we could have made and dropped catches that could have, and should have, turned the game. Although to be fair to Matty Marsh, for it to be classified as a ‘dropped catch’, you actually need to be within 3 metres of the skied ball that has been hanging in the air for 12 seconds before it hits the turf. Not bitter. Not at all.
He then informed me that the club now had a mid-week 20/20 team. My ears pricked up, as the team contains some players for whom 20/20 is tailor made. Powerful batsmen, great technique, sensational to watch in full flight. Not only that, but they’d made the Grand Final, which is this week. ‘You should come along,’ he suggested.
‘You should come along.’
And so the to-ing and fro-ing begins again.
‘It’s sport,’ so that’s the end of the story, right?
‘This is about community,’ comes the immediate retort.
‘Where’s the integrity if your year without sport contains going to sporting events?’
Did I mention this is all in my head?!
Not the first time
If I do bite the bullet and head to the game, chat and catch up with a number of people at the club who I haven’t seen for some time, sit down and support my mates who will be swinging for the fences – Dave Anderson and Matt Cutler – I’m talking directly to you – it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been to a sporting event in this ‘year without’.
For those new to this blog, in August last year, I went to a close friend’s last ever game of footy. It was never in doubt that I was going to attend and I didn’t regret it nor have I regretted it for one second that I was there that day. It was a special game for a great mate and I felt privileged to be a part of it. It also led to one of my top 5 favourite blog pieces in the whole 9 months so far.
But does this, a 20/20 Grand Final in which defeat or victory may not necessarily mean great euphoria or despair, compare to a close friend’s last hurrah…??
A different slant
However, the game contains everything that this journey was supposed to be about, well, except for the game of cricket happening in the middle of the oval! It also represents so much of what is unifying about the world of sport. How else are you going to get 30-40 blokes together that you know for a few hours, unless you count a Buck’s Day, beer and strippers? … Which I don’t.
For the prosecution…
The flipside says that if these people are so important, to find other ways to engage with these guys. There are, however, only so many dinners you can host. Maybe I need a bigger and better BBQ, I’m not sure…
Again, there’s also the obvious fact that this is a sporting event! I can lament all I like about it being community building and lost chances for different sets of friends to get to know each other, but it’s just too bad. This is one of those events where I’d much prefer to be there – like at my mate’s for the Super Bowl – but at the end of the day, it’s a year without sport.
One for the team
It looks like this is just a hit that I’ll have to take. Not the end of the world, but a sharp little reminder that this journey doesn’t come without consequences. Which is ok – if it didn’t sting every now and again, the sacrifice isn’t sufficient.
On the lighter side, this is going to make coaching my soccer side at school pretty hard – ‘Guys, I have no idea how you’re playing out there and the referee (me) looks like he’s not even watching, but we’re down on the scoreboard, so you need to do … everything better!’