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Farewell piece – the final post

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Well, I can’t believe that this is it!

It’s been two years since I became overwhelmed with the plethora of sporting options on offer to consumers and began The Year Without Sport.

Keeping up with the relentless saturation of the NBA basketball and AFL football seasons, to go along with soccer – Australian A-League, English Premier League and the Champions League, as well as WWE, UFC, Major League Baseball, the NFL, tennis and cricket, was just too much.

Desperately wanting something more from life than just creating enough time to watch ‘x’ amount of coverage each night, I went cold turkey.

Or, to be more poignant –

“Stuff this!”

It’s a move I’ll never regret and is one I’m particularly proud of.

Soon after, the blog began…  –

Exploding bomb



Stepping away

It’s ironic that the capital letter ‘m’ in the ‘wingdings’ font is an image of a bomb about to explode. I’ll give you a minute now for the inevitable check on Word to see if this is in fact true … … there? Satisfied? Now, the reason I know this is because the ‘My year without sport’ heading at the top of the page I’m drafting this on is in that font, just in case my wife happens to pass by and looks over my shoulder to see what I’m typing. You see, right now, this is a secret from everyone in my life.


Looking back

Ahh, the long paragraphs, the bolded words to draw your attention to particular phrases. What a rookie! Still, I didn’t know if anyone would read it, or if it would make an impact, still don’t really… (Having said that, it’s still my favourite piece of any that I wrote, with maybe my letter to my son a close second…)

But what I did know is that I wanted to be intentional about engaging with this process, about not just finding other crutches to waste my time on – tv, movies, music et al, but engaging in what was truly important – my wife, my faith, my family and friends and my community.

And now, my son.




There were things to give up along the way – an amazing NBA Finals series with the evil Miami Heat getting knocked off by the Dallas Mavericks, an epic Cats – Pies AFL Grand Final in 2011, seeing Manchester United in person at Old Trafford, I repeat, in person… (Double italics, still a rookie…!), cricket innings of magnificence from Clarke and Warner, Sam Stosur dominating Serena in the US Open Final on S11, the Bombers going ballistic to start last season before the drugs wore off, Cadel winning le Tour, the New England Patriots in the SuperBowl, Man U clinching the title and WrestleFreakingMania (It’s a sport, don’t make me link back to the two blogs that covered this. Whoops, too late…)

A sport!

A sport!

Were the sacrifices worth it? Of course. Was it a perfect journey? Of course not. There were things I could have done better – been more bullish about finding alternative focal activities to immerse myself in, staying offline and actively avoiding sports results are two that instantly spring to mind.

But it’s given me a deep richness of living and an incredible perspective on my priorities and has created an ongoing dialogue with many people I know.

Two years, almost 150 blog posts, 23,000 blog visits and 141,000+ words later, sport no longer has the hold it once had on me. Was I disappointed when the Lakers got bounced from the playoffs or when Kobe snapped his Achilles?

Not the end of the world ... just the season.

Not the end of the world … just the season.

Yeah, a biiit.

But that’s about it.

You move on

Life moved on for me pretty quickly, and not a single ounce of my energy or being was tied to the result of the NBA season, or the current footy season.

When I started the YWS, I found it amazing just how quickly I didn’t miss it.

First came relief, then came positive alternatives, admittedly there was some boredom (pre Joshie!) and the aforementioned tough moments (in person!)


You will never know the hold that your vices have on you until you give them up.


You can say all the right things – I’ve got in under control, there’s other people more obsessed than me, we’re allowed just one creature comfort, why should I,


Until you actually experience the alternate reality, your sliding doors moment, it can all be a mere mirage from a judgmental outlier who think they know better than you how your life should operate.

Stop making excuses. Give yourselves a little room to breathe without –

  • Punting
  • Your iPhone
  • Buying clothes
  • The tv on
  • Drinking


  • The iPad

And see what comes your way.

Trust me, you’ll never look back.


I’m stirred and inspired when I see problem gamblers endeavour to go 100 days without. I’m firmly on their side and wish to God that the abuse of ads for gambling odds during games would cease. These people who have gone public on the fightforyou site have such courage.

Fight for you

Let them watch a game they love in peace.

I guess if there were any final words I wanted to get across, they would be to be flexible people. Be open to hearing about life could be different. Don’t become so rigid in all your ways that nothing becomes untouchable – from sports viewing, to how you spend your money, how you parent, how long you’re online, your attitude to the poor; be an open book.

I’m so blessed in that I get to re-engage with a medium I love (sport!) – for all the positives that it can bring – bringing people together. There’s nothing better.

God bless you.


Thank you to all those in the last two years who have taken the time to read these pages, offer a supportive word, clicked ‘Like’ on Facebook, written a comment, or better still, questioned some of your own habits; allowed yourself to be malleable.

A special special thank you to Brendan Hughes, who has been a huge supporter of this and of me throughout.

To Jo Jo, you have been a rock of support and your belief in me means so much. I appreciated(d) all your hours of proof reading, well, until Joshy came along. 😉

Ben, your behind the scenes insights, challenges and encouragement kept me on my toes. You’re a star, but I now challenges You to go 12 months without Eurovision. No? Didn’t think so… =>

And for my regular comment people of Matt, Diddle, Craig and Willo and whoever else might have had their say, thanks, guys. It’s been awesome to have your input along the way.

And to my great mate Craig, you’re an absolute gun for allowing me the ‘odd’ week off and writing guest pieces for the blog. Really appreciate your willingness to help out. Let’s hope our boys can turn things around in the next few weeks! 🙂

And to my son, Josh. My love, it was a gift from God that the YWS came along before you did. The choice to disengage myself from one of my vices enabled me to engage with coffee, friendship, my family, and, to you.

I would do it all again if sport got in the way. Though from the faces you often make at me, I think it’s the laptop and the iPhone that will be getting turfed first. And you probably have a point.

I hope and pray your innocence and love of the simple things continue to teach me and all of us about life and what is truly important – that the joys of life are in everyone you meet, that a smile can change someone’s day, that loud shouts of joy should be a daily ritual and that a cuddle from someone you love is the most precious gift of all. I love you.


2012 – what a year in sport!

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Ok, so I’m officially on holidays.

Well, does that mean I can’t write a final blog?! Well yes, that’s exactly what it means. 🙂 Plus, when you have a soon-to-be-home-in-Melbourne sports journalist legend in Craig O’Donoghue looking for excuses to get out of packing boxes and I need a guest columnist for the final slot for the year, it’s a win-win, right?! I say yes…

Here’s a look back at how the sporting universe panned out this year- from the good to the bad, the tragic to the ugly…


The best ever. An all time classic. What a champion. In an era where news lasts minutes instead of hours and attention spans are seriously tested, it is easy to turn an above average sporting event into something that it’s not.

But when we look back on 2012, it’s going to be hard for anyone to deny that we’ve been spoilt by some astonishing feats.

The year began at the SCG when Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke belted a triple century against India. It began a year where he’d score another three double tons and make us question what it would take to get him out.

Next came the longest tennis grand slam final in Open history when Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal slugged it out for five hours and 53 minutes before Djokovic prevailed 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5.

A 6 hour final - no wonder Djokovic is spent...

A 6 hour final – no wonder Djokovic is spent…

Read the rest of this entry

‘Tomorrow’ – what lies ahead in 16 days’ time

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Last night, Mrs YWS and I finished the entire 7 seasons of the best drama ever made, The West Wing … for the 5th time! With our due date for our first bubba a mere 8 days away, the latest from The Voice and Master Chef were cast aside, well, recorded to the hard drive, as we churned out the final two episodes.

I’m not sure how many times you can watch a show without it completely losing its impact. With the depth and complexity inherent in so many of the characters thanks to genius screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, you can watch it through the lens of different characters each time you go through all 7 series. But eventually, it’s going to lose its effect. I think we’re about there.

In the final moment of the show, Martin Sheen’s character President Bartlet is asked what he’s thinking about as he flies home to begin a new life. ‘Tomorrow’ was his answer. Roll the credits.

Although I had seen it before (4 times!), it seemed an underwhelming final moment. That was the best they could come up with!? Not even a ‘What’s next?’ – Bartlet’s go-to line?? Why they couldn’t get ousted writer Sorkin back for $1m an episode for the last couple of chapters is beyond me. They had him on screen in the closing moments! Why not get him to pump out the finales? Alas, I digress…

My tomorrow

The closure did get me thinking about my own re-entry to the world of sport in 16 days’ time.

  • What will it look like? Full immersion or a soft re-entry? How much is too much?
  • Will the blog continue?
  • Should I watch a whole lot of events that I’ve missed?
  • What about online – reading articles and game recaps?
  • Are there ground rules that could be helpful to navigate the early stages so that a year’s worth of good work isn’t instantly undone??

So yeah, there are a couple of factors to weigh up on my flight home from DC to New Hampshire. Read the rest of this entry

Sports commentators – shut the hell up!

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‘I still cry when I watch it.’

A clip struck me in a powerful manner over 4 months ago.


73 seconds of silence. Read the rest of this entry

1 month to go! The countdown begins.

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In one month from today, I can watch sport again.


It seems not so long ago that, fed up with another unfulfilling sport-filled weekend, the call was made to step away. Yet so much has changed and it’s the right time soon to re-enter a world that once upon a time I held so much stock in.

The plans have already been made with friends for Saturday night, May 25. I will get to see my Bombers in the Australian Football League again, the first time in what seems like forever.

We’ll also be throwing on last year’s epic AFL Grand Final, and I can fi-nally see Collingwood get their just desserts. Can’t wait to hear that ‘Coll-ing-wooo-oood’ chant when they think they’ve got it locked up. Gold.

But there’ll also be the banter, the heckling, the analysis, the big calls and of course, the ridiculous synopses and predictions.

Anticipation Read the rest of this entry

Soccer – boring as hell or M.U.P.I.T.S? (Part 1!)

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Well, after a turn to Serious Town last week with two posts – 5 regrets of the dying and Fear – I don’t want this to end, a change of pace was definitely in need. And I’m not just talking about you the reader; I needed to chill out, too!

So, without further ado – Soccer – boring as hell or M.U.P.I.T.S (Most Underrated Pastime In The Southern hemisphere)?!

You see, I’ve wanted to address the allure of soccer for some time, but, just like a space shuttle launch, the timing needed to be juuuust right. A mere 37 days remain before I re-enter the sporting world and a huyuge question remains –

  • Will I go back to soccer?

If you’ve stuck with the journey for a while, you will have read laments on missing football grand finals, incredible NBA Finals series, Super Bowls with my team, amazing cricket feats, even WrestleManias.

Yet early on, it was an innocuous soccer match in August that first made me question my ability to see the journey through to the end. Missing the thrills of an unprecedented 8-2 victory by United over Arsenal was rough, but obviously, not the end of it.

But since then, nothing.

As I noted in ‘U-ni-ted!’ – the second piece e-ver in this forum, being a soccer fan can be a pretty isolating existence in Australia. The game times – stupid o’clock in the middle of the night, the lack of friends who are into the sport and the absence of saturated media coverage meant that going without was pretty easy.

There’s only one mate who would send me news, so for all intents and purposes, I was in blissful ignorance.

It wasn’t until my wife’s alarm went off recently and a news report was noting Man U’s ascendancy to the top of the table that I had a clue that we were doing that well!

So … why would you go back? Read the rest of this entry

Day #307 Down to the home stretch

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At about the 15 minute mark of walking the dog this morning, I managed some logical thought. Some quick maths which took a bit longer than usual made me realise that I am at day #307 in this year without sport.

Less than 2 months left.

58 days to go.

8 weeks, 2 days…

As I look back upon the journey, I’m really pleased that the low point of this journey – January 24 – is in the past. This was when I realised that the New England Patriots were in the Super Bowl and I was missing it, resulting in the most widely-read blog piece in the year so far.

At that time, I was suffering from yet another event that I had to miss, combined with the fact that I wasn’t really close enough to late May to begin the countdown to the end of this journey.

I was stuck in no-man’s land.

(Sidenote – I just re-read that piece. Man I was low! Thanks for stickin’ with me!!)

Super Bowl 2012. I missed it. I got over it...

‘Oh the irony…’

Ironically, there were a number of counter-intuitive decisions I made after the ‘Super Bowl incident’ that got the ball rolling towards a more positive outlook with which to see the year out –

  • Friends were asked to hold off on sports news,
  • I was tougher on myself on not sneaking peaks at news headlines or articles, and
  • In an unrelated decision, I am currently in the midst of going without surfing the net for Lent. Read the rest of this entry