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The sweet, rare taste of victory

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Welcome, newbies! And that's red Gatorade, not war-induced blood you can see...

Welcome, newbies! And that’s red Powerade, not war-induced blood you can see…

After a break of almost two whole years, I finally saw my favourite team win a game!

I can’t explain what it’s like to go this long with seeing the Bombers grab an AFL match by the horns and earn the W.

It was close to two years ago that we scored almost 100 points in the first quarter against the Gold Coast Suns in a massive blowout win. I didn’t even bother hanging around for the end of that game; little did I know that the year without sport was soon to follow, followed by the unravelling of the Dons’ season in 2012 after my return.

Sure we won some games late last season, but the YWS had ingrained in me that I wasn’t going to watch every game that was available. So it needed to be a good contest before I’d plonk myself down to have a look. It’s almost embarrassing to say that we lost every ‘contest’ we were in from about Round 10 onwards.

Take it down, already!

Take it down, already!

Uh oh

When the drugs scandal at Bomberland broke, with players in danger of having been injected with illegal substances without their knowledge throughout the year, I was almost glad to have the emotional detachment that a year without had forged. Not only were we terrible on the field, we’d been borderline felonious off it. (“Felonious” … great word.)

Better to care a little less than to care too much and wonder just how on earth this could have been allowed to happen at a professional sporting organisation.

So when Round 1 ticked around, I had seen zero pre-season action, of any game, not just my own team, and needed to do some last minute research as to the make-up of the team before they started the contest. But without any spare time, I messaged a friend and got some of the scoop from him on where we were at. This was handy, as I was able to use this information soon after when bantering with a Crow mate so it sounded like I actually had some idea what was going on. Which, as usual, I didn’t.

No idea

Plans can change

And, truth be told, a night watching footy wasn’t even on the cards. I had arrived home for one of those rare Friday night ‘I have no idea what I’m doing tonight’ evenings. Well, besides, watching my 10 month old son and making sure he comes to no harm.

Side note – now that he’s crawling, there’s waaayyyy too much chances for harm to come his way. Everything is now a danger – pot plant from neighbours, recycling basket, DVDs, shiny baby monitor, the dog(!); they’re all up for grabs!

When a movie a mate and I had grabbed on the Apple TV was over, we checked the footy score to see my boys down 22-9 at quarter time. This was in a ‘contest’ we were expected to lose … at a venue where opposing teams rarely leave with their dignity intact … after the way we ended last season … and then the drugs scandal …

I assumed we were heading to another movie.

So what transpired after that was about as sweet as it gets.

Another change

Six goals to one in the second quarter.

Wave after wave of forward running, good use of hands, accurate kicking for goal, bursts of speed. Pulling away in the third quarter, do some kitchen work at the start of the fourth in case it all runs awry too quickly, stride around the lounge room when goal after goal sealed the win.

Scream all you like, Crows bum, a sealing goal to the reigning Brownlow Medalist...

Scream all you like, Crows bum; a sealing goal to the reigning Brownlow Medalist…

This isn’t to say that I’ve fallen completely back in love with my team again and will follow all the ins and outs as the season progresses … Too much has changed for that to recur. But geez it was good just to watch my team, without concerns re obsessive behaviour and simply see us kick more goals than some thugs from Adelaide.

If we keep the simple things in life simple, and I don’t start dreaming of unbeaten seasons and multiple premierships and Brownlows in succession, then there’s nothing wrong with the enjoyment that comes from watching your team play well … for the first time in 700 freaking days! (Trust me on the maths, I just googled it…!)

It’s when we place too much onus on those simple joys and we mire them with an over-emphasis at the expense of the healthy, relational and focal aspects of our lives that real issues arise. And like it or not, saturation or betting constitute ‘issues’…

Sports gambling

For now, I’ll keep engaging with the world around me and trying to practice moderation in the face of the temptation of relentless busyness. I’m offline this week ‘for Lent’; staying off the sport (and all other) pages so I can keep my head in what the Easter season is actually about, focusing on Jesus.

This blog and the journey might be coming to an end soon – late May will close the books on these pages – but it doesn’t mean that you can let your hair down and stop being intentional. There are too many distractions and temptations just waiting to hotwire our psyches.

Though two in a row for the Bombers wouldn’t be too bad!


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.

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