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Everyone has their limits

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Ever had your resolve truly tested?

I had a number of genuine challenges to the integrity of this journey last week. You see, what good would it be to go the full 52 weeks and then, with victory achieved, meekly re-immerse myself back into the world of sport, as if nothing had changed?

Three familiar challengers took decent shots at distracting me from the ultimate goal, though none can lay claim to a decent punch, let alone a knockout.

Number One: Lebron – Durant!

The first shot was the biggest, the N-B-A Finals. Of course, my Lakers decided to throw my YWS in my face and bowed out of the playoffs a mere TWO days before my year ended. Thanks for nothing, Kobe. Well, except for the 5 championships…

Still, the best possible matchup ensued, with the king Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and the evil Miami Heat matched up against the young, likeable, uber-athletic Oklahoma City Thunder, with superduperstar Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the bearded one, James Harden, whose nickname I can’t repeat here.

Although I have never made it a hard and clean rule, my goal is to not consume any more than two games in a week. In the past, I could do that in a night! Now, I’m different, and so are the rules.

So, when Game 3 of the series arose on Monday with the teams tied at 1-1, I knew that I would need extra games ‘in the bank’ should things get interesting later on in the finals. It would be incomprehensible to a younger me to miss an NBA Finals game. I mean, these two teams, with what’s on the line, considering how many ho-hum matches you get in a season where they play 82 regular season games!? But missing it didn’t kill me. I checked scores online a couple of times, grabbed the final result and rested in the knowledge that I had my night to myself.

This left me two games in the week to watch, and as ‘luck’ would have it, there were only 2 games left in the series too. 4-1 to Miami, the king gets his ring and OKC (and the rest of us!) are left to ponder, ‘What on earth just happened?!’

If I ever have a son, I’m going to call him ‘Jobe’. Oh hang on…

Number Two: Footy time

Have I mentioned that I haven’t seen my Bombers win a game in about 14 months?! In my first weekend back of sport, I decided not to watch them win against an easybeat – Greater Western Sydney – and, like Kobe and the Lakers, they took it upon themselves to punish me by amazingly losing the next game to Melbourne, before deciding 3/4 in to their match against Sydney to put up a fight, albeit too late.

So, Saturday night was a huge test for us, traveling to WA, playing against Fremantle, who while not great, are very tough to handle over there. But they did have a couple of key players out, so we were a chance. A top 4 spot beckoned…

We had the option to stay home that night; Mrs YWS wouldn’t have begrudged me watching the Bombers on the box. Even though it would have been the 3rd viewing for the week, surely I’m allowed a leave pass and a quiet night in during NBA Finals week, especially considering I have a newborn to contend with?

And it’s in these moments that the rubber hits the road in these big, counter-cultural, lifestyle decisions that we can make.

There’s always going to be excuses and justifications for our selfish decisions and for better or worse, there will be people around you who will justify and make excuses for the self-centred choices you make. What are friends for?

  • You deserve it
  • It’s been a tough week
  • It’s only in this busy season of life that you’ll do it
  • What’s wrong with watching sport? You could be into stuff a lot worse than that…
  • Two games is too harsh and inflexible. You should make it 3.

So, you can be mere lemmings who buy into our insatiable consumer and pleasure-driven society, or you can take a stand.

So ‘I took a stand’ and missed the game.

A little perspective

Let’s be honest here and add a healthy dose of perspective in the process. These are first world problems we’re dealing with; having too much of something. In this case, my alternative to watching a footy game was going out for dinner with relatively new friends who are quickly becoming great mates. Not exactly sacrificial living.

And then there was 3!

On top of all this is the highly entertaining Euro 2012 soccer tournament. I love the world game and have missed it during my absence. Just before the tourney started in early June, a friend sent me a file to be involved in a tipping competition with him and his workmates. Seemed harmless enough.

I didn’t have time to research the entire group round before the first night of games, so I was able to just get my tips in for the first two matches. Waking up the next morning, I was really down on myself for not going with my gut and tipping a draw between Poland and Greece!

How is this guy not known as hands down the best player in the world?! (Oh yeah, Messi…)

And the alarm bells started to sound.

‘You’ve just had a son. You know pretty much nothing about European soccer. Do you really want to ride every game in a faraway tournament when you’re this peeved over Greece versus Poland!?’

No. No I didn’t.

This isn’t to say that by dropping out of the tipping contest, I opted out of the entire tournament. I haven’t watched a game (yet) but I’ve been relatively up to date with who’s been winning what, without bordering obsessiveness. There’s been a balance.

The semi-finals and final are kicking in later this week, so it will be good to latch onto these if I can. But if I can’t, no biggie.

The big picture

I’ve realised that it’s these little choices that build into the bigger picture. For me, it was not being in a soccer tipping competition, following a game or 2 of the NBA Finals online instead of watching the entire game at night and prioritising a budding friendship over a football game on the other side of the country.

For you, it could be not going shopping, cos you know that when you come across that outfit, you’re not going to be able to say no. Or, not heading to JB Hi Fi to check out the latest gadgetry – an industry which reaps $3 billion a year from Australian males. Choosing to not compare upwards – to your friends who have cooler clothes, a nicer car, house, tv, sound system … ‘life’.

I’ve seen that once those limits are set and adhered to, regrets rarely follow. More often than not, something greater, more transcendent, is tapped into, and life looks … well, different! Better.

Freer.

Setting limits and identifying boundaries is counter cultural, but the benefits in removing ourselves from the clutches of our vices bring a remarkable freedom. The protective layers around us act as vital insulation.

3 separate opponents took serious shots at my protective layers in a week, and not one of them landed a decent blow. It would be naïve to follow this by removing that protection, those limits I have set. Further testing awaits no doubt.

But for now, my resolve remains.

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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.

One response »

  1. Great to hear your resolve is in place mate. Well done. good post once again too!

    Reply

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