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Dying at 103 and calling for a priest

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Ok ok, as far as titles go for a blog post, this is about as good as it gets! The real story however, well, not as uplifting…

I had lunch with my mum yesterday, as we do, and she was telling me about some of the people that live with her. I was asking her about some of her friends and getting some good updates, although Hans, her best mate, is apparently ‘disconsolate’ over the form of our Bombers in the AFL.

I’m with Hans, here.

I haven’t seen a game where the Bombers actually win in over 14 months. This is the opposite of the 2000 season where I never saw them lose! I had to look after my son on Saturday night and we had the Bombers- Saints game on the box.

Believe me, by half time, I was far more interested in Joshy’s form on the bouncer – strong, alert, using both feet to kick out (a good sign for future footballing endeavours), both arms pumping consistently – than seeing the Saints wipe the floor with us. Congratulations Stephen Milne, on 250 games; yeah, everyone thinks you are a top bloke…

I’m seriously worried here. Josh needs to see a win and he needs to see it soon. Otherwise, suitors from Hawthorn , Carlton and, God forbid, Collingwood will be saddling up, a la Travis Cloke and Dwight Howard. And that would have to be the first time those two players have been in the same sentence… Clearly it’s time to move on.



Mum started filling me in on some of the oldies who were still going strong. But then she started sharing about a 103 year old lady who lived down the hallway. You know those naturally maternal, kind and caring grandmother-types who are sickly sweet, loving, and always giving gifts to younger children?

That was not her.

Old. Rude. Cynical and cutting. I normally love these old people who hate the world, think that the old times – what, the 1910’s?! – was how the world should be now, talk down to everybody and have an overt fascination with roadworks. But when you’re mean to my mum, well, stuff you. Mum would give her a Christmas and birthday card each year and she would look at mum with a, ‘What the hell do you expect me to do with this?’ and ‘Who the hell do you think you are??’ type of look!

Well, as you know from today’s title, our lovely 103 year old was dying. Since 1909, she had denounced faith. There is no God. Christianity was a farce. She knew best.

Well, as her final moments drew near, lo and behold, she called for a priest.

Too late.

By the time help came, our lady’s time had come.


There are so many parallels for us today with our different fixations and distractions. Those gut-check scenarios where you know things have to change. For so many, those gut-checks come all too late.

I think of those who said for so long they were going to start getting fit, but the heart attack comes first.

Those who said they were going to start eating healthy but then the serious health diagnosis is given.

Those who work the crazy long hours ‘for their children’, but by the time they’re teenagers, their kids don’t want to know them.

I think of those who aren’t intentional about their relationships, allowing and inviting the distractions of pop culture, sport and consumerism to get in the way. The marriage is over. They just don’t know it yet. They call in the priest, the counsellor, the support networks, but like the 103 year old, sadly, there is nothing left.

Calling in the priest

Mrs YWS and I have just finished watching Season 7 of Entourage. *Spoiler Alert* Ari Gold is the best character on the show by far and on another plateau as far as acting is concerned. He’s also fixated on his job and his demeaning attitude towards everyone not named Vinny Chase finally wears too thin on his wife.

He ‘calls in the priest’ and throws an en-or-mous surprise birthday party, complete with Christina Aguilera ready to sing her favourite song in the middle of his lounge room upon her arrival. But, just like those of us who procrastinate too long in trying to get fit or letting our actions reflect our priorities by spending time with family, the grand gesture comes too late. She leaves him. (I know, I know, they are a 99.9% chance to quickly get back together in Season 8, but it helps reinforce my point, k?!)

Ari Gold of Entourage. Best heckler in the game…

I pre-emptively ‘called in the priest’ on May 24, 2011, when I gave up sport for 12 months. There was more out there to life and I knew it. I just had to create the space for it.

The return, while dicey at times, has been very positive. I’m still too caught up with online news, but game-wise, I’m in zero danger of going over the ‘two games a week’ rule, if that. It doesn’t hurt that there’s not basketball or soccer on at the moment, I’ll admit…

But that doesn’t mean that all is won.


I have found myself during the last week and a bit with varying levels of peace. I’m on school holidays for crying out loud, what is there to be stressed about!? Admittedly, Saturday night p!ssed me off more than I’d care to admit. Too much stock is still placed in the hands of a group of guys in red and black that I have no control over. Nor should I care so much. But I do.

The lures of online surfing for sports news and analysis, local and world news and pop culture shenanigans remain firm. This can eat into your days. Add some quality dvd viewing and the distractions start to add up. I’m not eating well on these hols either, creating frustration and self-criticism.

I’m not about to start a ‘My year without pizza’ blog, and hey, if you can’t let your hair down a bit on your holidays, when can you? But the encouragement to engage more with what’s really important is high. Wife. Kid. Friends!

Look closely. I need it…

The grumpy, dying 103 year old can inspire us not to leave these game-changing decisions until it’s too late.

There are big ones to be made, like, for me, years without sport, or taking internet off the phone and limiting junk food intake.


And there are smaller ones along the way as well. Like quickly arranging a weekend getaway so you don’t get caught in an uninspiring pattern at home.

Just as calling for the priest on your deathbed excludes you from all the joys of a life of faith, so too does not going for a run, eating a salad, getting your kids away for a camping trip and taking your partner out exclude you from the benefits these activities reap.

Because if the heart attack has rendered you immobile, years of unhealthy eating and drinking has wrecked your heart and liver, your kids would rather be anywhere other than out alone with you and your partner wants a packet of Tim Tams, Glee and to be left alone on the lounge, then you, my friend, are as useless as our now deceased 103 year old.

The difference? Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? You have a pulse. And choices to make.


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. To call for a Preist on the food issue, read the following books,
    Let them eat junk – Robert Albritton (first 50 pages is a slog but the pay off is worth it)
    Eating Animals – Jonathan Safran Foer (well written, super engaging)

    Both books will give new perspective that you won’t be able to help but wrestle with. Well worth the effort and for a guy who preempted the Preist on sport, will most likely inspire a change in behaviour.


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