From the moment he got up on Saturday the 13th of August to the moment he awoke on Monday the 22nd Emmet Ryan took on the challenge of a 9 day fast from all sport. Here’s what happened when a sports writer went cold turkey.
A rough start
Heaven knows what exactly it was I dreamt about but I woke up that first Saturday morning knowing I had dreamt about sport. Normally my dreams are either about sex or some of the most mundane things in life, the latter tends to be far more confusing when I wake up. Not this time it was sport and even though the details escaped me, my mind was clearly trying to fight back early. Things were about to get a lot worse.
Retro, green and white hoops, with a Quinnsworth logo. Normally I’d be pleased to run into Eoghan and Sorcha but this was awkward timing. It was the morning after Shamrock Rovers had pasted UCD and Eoghan was wearing his retro jersey all ready to ask me about the game. I blathered around it, trying to avoid discussing the match, partially because I didn’t know the result. Fortunately Sorcha was in no mood to talk Football and changed the subject.
This isn’t helping
The one recurring theme I heard from friends ahead of the fast starting revolved around the timing clashing directly with the start of the English Premier League (EPL) season. Strangely that didn’t bother me too much as, if you think about it, the opening weekend often has some of the worst Football as teams are still working out their kinks. Also there is never a ‘good’ time to start. So long as I stayed off Twitter I should have been fine. Unfortunately there is one beast which I was unprepared for, Fantasy Football.
I don’t play EPL Fantasy Football but let me assure you, I’ve got 1,065 friends on Facebook you can be damned sure that a lot of them do and will post at will about how their team is doing right through from Saturday to Monday. Getting gchats asking for advice didn’t help, not least because I’ve no bloody idea.
Like I said, there is no good time to start. Dublin playing Tipperary in the All-Ireland Hurling semi-final was unquestionably the biggest casualty of the 9 days. Having helped people find places that sell tickets and gone out of my way to avoid watching the game, I allowed myself a peek at the result. My mother wanted to discuss the game at length, even though I had told her repeatedly that I wouldn’t be watching. This really didn’t compute with her but that was understandable.
Let’s get cultural
Despite the early difficulties, this was not a week of pain and mourning. Far from it, instead I sought to embrace other interests and top of my list was the pile of cool free things to do around Dublin. Glasnevin Cemetary (although it has a €10 charge for the museum), the National Gallery, and IMMA (more for the gardens at Royal Hospital Kilmainham but the exhibits are worth a look too) were the early standouts. St Audeon’s Church near Christchurch is well worth 30 minutes of your life as is the Yeat’s exhibit at the National Library. Honestly, the museum at Kildare St and the stuffed dead animal museum (better known as the Natural History Museum) did nothing for me. The National History Museum at Collins Barracks more than made up for these however and I fitted in trips to the Botanic Gardens and Science Gallery for good measure. Thank goodness for Facebook and fortuitous timing, as Orla had posted a list of free things worth checking out a week or so before this period began.
The finer things, the manly things
Take 1 balcony, 1 Romeo y Julieta No. 2 cigar, a bottle of Sierra Nevada, and a playlist comprising the Scorpions, Labi Siffre, and Lucian Pavarotti. Mix together and place in Rathmines on a sunny afternoon. Your result is awesomeness. That was Tuesday and was quickly followed by more craft beer and watching Amelie.
Beer, and to a lesser degree wine, would be at the heart of the fast’s adventures. Having purchased a new fermenter on the first Saturday morning, Sunday saw Dan, my flatmate, help me put on a batch pf brown ale. Several trips to MyBeerandWine in the village followed and the following Saturday I was up early to put on a batch of Chateau-Yeah!, the fruity red I make.
The night before was the highlight of the brewing week, tasting the produce of some true masters at the Lughnasa festival. Alas it would also feature my greatest moment of weakness.
I feel dirty
I have sinned! Okay that may be a tad excessive but while enjoying some Howling Gale Ale I briefly discussed the BBC and Sky’s new situation with regards to Formula 1 coverage. We stopped after a couple of minutes and Brian was very understanding. Still, it felt wrong like I shouldn’t have done it. In truth it was my only slip even though I came dangerously close on several occasions but only really early in the challenge. Having come dangerously close while waiting to watching The Guard on the first evening, I was fine avoiding all sports talk on the sixth night ahead of Cowboys and Aliens.
The end result
Coming into Sunday, the last day of the fast, it was only apt that the one area I wanted to explore that had been under serviced was food. Prior to yesterday I had made nothing new during this journey. That changed with a rather nifty asparagus stir fry and a behemoth of a chocolate cake that Eibhs helped me with. I plan on starting that cake as soon as I post this but before I do…
If there is to be a result from this then it is 817. Before bed on the eve of this cold turkey, I made sure my Google Reader was free of sporting items. Once the few non-sports items were discounted, the total number of posts left that had gone unread when I awoke this morning was 817.
That number doesn’t include the multiple trips each day to Deadspin, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, the BBC, Outkickthecoverage, and TheScore.ie, amongst others that didn’t happen. It doesn’t include the countless emails I couldn’t read from my Fantasy Baseball League. The games I would have watched, the chats, on and offline, I would have had, and so much more that fill the days.
You know I’m rather all right with that. Just ask Ferris.
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