January 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

I usually despise New Year’s resolutions (unless it’s the START treaty, or a repeal of DADT. DADT?? Americans love the acronym. In the case of DADT it’s probably a matter of expediency, given the policy’s long and clumsy title, but what about ED [erectile dysfunction]? Or EP [enlarged prostate]? Ham-handed euphemisms, the lot of ’em. Whenever Victoria accuses me of being in a foul mood I’m just going to say that I’m battling a severe case of ARJWWHWTAMSD, a medical condition whose full title is Australian Redheaded Jew Who Wishes He Were Taller And More Successful Disorder).

I detest these resolutions for the same reasons that I hate Valentine’s Day and Mother’s and Father’s Day: too conventional. There’s a reason why most sane people don’t venture out into the jungle that is any public place where the unwashed masses gather on the Big Night: the energy is, to use a psychiatric term coined by Siggy Freud, yucky. Why should we celebrate only when we’re given permission by the powers that be to do so? On these occasions, I can feel the dissatisfaction, built up through a year’s worth of stomaching a clock-in, clock-out existence, bubbling to the surface of people’s psyches and, sometime around midnight or one, flowing over the rim in a collective outpouring of frustrated, melancholic hope, desire and, all too often, regret. How many resolutions that are formed on that Eve see the light of day? To me, the resolution with the greater of hope of being realized is the one made in quiet sometime around August, while nobody’s watching or listening, in an elevator, or sitting in a slow-moving car park, on the freeway of some turbid metropolis.

Having said all that, and boy I hope you’re still reading, I actually drafted my own Resolution a few days ago, before the Ball Dropped (how many 13-year old boys wince at that expression every year?).

I decided to give up Sports for one year.

I italicize the word because I’m trying to convey the weight that it has carried for much of my life. But I can do better by taking you back in time.

The year was 1986. I was a profoundly uncoordinated boy, in and out of school due to my acting jaunts, trying to make friends and influence people as I settled in to a long stretch in high school (approximately one and a half years in duration, before I left to make my name in a failed soap opera). My best friend at that time, even though he didn’t know it yet, was Jason Tyrrell. Mr.Tyrrell, in my eyes, might as well have been a member of the X-Men: he could play cricket, rugby, handball, the lot; my skill set of drawing, playing make believe, and weeping at my fifth viewing of Rocky IV seemed pathetic by comparison. One day during recess, Jason was having a heated argument with a buddy over the merits of a halfback who played in the football league at that time. I even remember the man’s name: Brett Clark. He played for the Western Suburbs Magpies, he had a mullett, he was fast as a whip  and had almost all of his teeth. Our hero. At some point I attempted to interject with my own opinion (having watched the occasional game with my father and brother), and received a swift reply from my imagined friend:

“Shut up Gray, you don’t know anything about football.”

That, ladies and germs, was the turning point. The moment at which I decided to devote my life to sports. I would show all the Jason Tyrrells of this world that I was not to be fooled with. They would all collapse in tears at the granite altar of my sublime knowledge of all things Sport. Football, cricket, tennis, you name it. I would know about it. Why? Because, at that time, I had absolutely no talent or will to play it.

Fast forward five years. My collection of the weekly football magazines are now bursting out of my closet. I wake up in the middle of the night, reciting the lineups of every single club in the  football league, not to mention every cricket team in the world, from Sri Lanka to the West Indies. Jason Tyrrell is found hanged in a cheap motel room on the outskirts of town, having ended it all, unable to compete. I have never kissed a girl. Barely been outside, my life transformed from one stinging rebuke.

Goodbye, Mr.Met...

The rest is, indeed, history. I did kiss a girl. Made my way to America. Even managed to start writing a blog.

The problem is… football and cricket morphed into an object of an even greater obsession: baseball. And guess what: these people play 162 games a year, not including playoffs (a consideration somewhat redundant for a Met fan like I am- or used to be…). Not to mention that I never left my beloved Rugby League (a hybrid form of Rugby played mainly in… forget it) completely in my past  either, reading articles online and occasionally streaming it on some backwater website.

How many hours did I pour into this interest of mine? How many Jason Tyrrells did I slay in my mind? It matters not. I can only move forward. The days of sport-filled apathy and indolence are over, people. It’s been 2 days and already I’m feeling better, more connected. My mind is clearer. Maybe I can focus with greater effect on the things that really make me happy, instead of those that make me distracted. If I am to seek distraction, surely there must be more interesting pursuits.

And if I am to become obsessed, let it be with something that brings rewards, creative, spiritual or yes, financial. I shall write mountainous novels and build lyrical monuments. While raking in the cashola.

Having achieved that, I shall then return to the cemetery that houses the long-ravaged corpse of Jason Tyrrell. His grave has become dilapidated after all these years. I shall build him a marble cathedral for a resting place, with the inscription:

Here lies Jason Tyrrell. The man who changed the course of a life. Rest in peace, brother.

And just to set the record straight: Brett Clark WAS as fast as Barry Russell over 30 meters.




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