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A long line of proven criminals

How was your 2018?

It seems like many folks are pleased to have rolled the credits on 2018. There’s always that sense of hope that a new year will bring better fortunes – often including the same fortunes that you wished for a year earlier (if you’re anything like me anyway).

Perhaps Ogden Nash put it best, when he wrote “every New Year is the direct descendant, isn’t it, of a long line of proven criminals?”

2018 had its share of ups and downs for me, just like any other year. It was my first full year of being a dad, which in itself was an absolute belter of a rollercoaster ride.

There were some really low points as my daughter battled constant ear infections that saw her on antibiotics for much of the year and the resultant ever-worsening sleep deprivation that possessed our household.

That led to me reluctantly having to give away my involvement in almost everything outside of family and work – it was goodbye to a couple of fun freelancing and contract gigs, farewell to my heavy involvement in sports clubs and committees, and even putting long-time friendships on the backburner as any free time and energy seemed to completely dissipate.

I probably only appreciated it more recently with the benefit of hindsight, but my general wellbeing had gone completely out the window, it had simply become an afterthought. I’m really fortunate to have an amazing wife and a lot of family support close at hand – many people going through tricky times aren’t so lucky.

Fortunately, a relatively straightforward grommets operation towards the tail-end of the year was a game-changer for my daughter – she has never been happier, is eating and sleeping well – and suddenly my wife and I are getting regular proper sleeps! (don’t worry, I’m touching wood as I write this).

The undoubted highlight of my year has been watching my daughter grow into the most incredible little person on the planet (okay, I’m obviously a bit biased, but I’m also sure that I’m right!). After a number of years of thinking we might never be able to, my wife and I will be forever grateful that we’ve been able to experience the highs and lows of parenthood.

The other notable highlight of 2018 was the new friendships that I’ve struck up.

I’ve long admired Enzo’s efforts in championing NZ grassroots football, so becoming a regular contributor to this website towards the end of the year has been a lot of fun. I saw it as a good chance to improve my writing by prescribing to the theory of “for use maketh mastery” (it’s certainly a forever ongoing WIP). As infrequent as it was, the blogging became an important outlet for me after having to step back from a lot of my hobbies and interests.

I’ve got to know the ItBotN team, and I was fortunate enough to get to meet Enzo, Ella, Helena, John, and Rod in person at the NZ Football Media Awards in Auckland in September. What champions! I even managed to weasel my way into the team photo for the Website of the Year!

The winning BOTN team

I also met a bunch of other football-loving good buggers at the Awards evening and at the Kate Sheppard Cup final the next day. Following the Dunedin Technical side’s fairytale cup run – and even becoming an honorary Tech supporter for the day – was a lot of fun too.

Somehow through a difficult winter I managed to play a bit of football (albeit rather poorly), making my (gulp!) Masters grade debut. Our Roslyn Wakari Originals team might not be world-beaters, but bloody heck it’s a great bunch of lads, both on the pitch and even more so off it. That was another important outlet for me in 2018.

What do all of these new friendships have in common? Just one thing – the Beautiful Game. After what often felt like a challenging year, I’m grateful I managed to make time to stay involved in the sport, because at times it felt like it was my sole escape and the only thing keeping me sane.

It really reiterated to me the importance of being part of a team. So with 2019 and its inevitable resolutions suddenly upon us, I hope that you feel like you have teammates – whether it’s your football team, your family, friends, or an online community, it doesn’t matter.

Some of these teammates will be there to give you a little boost just when you need it most, often in what might seem at the time like the most insignificant of ways. But there’s a lot more to it than that.

Because it’s important to realise that even though it’s natural to assume that your own issues and challenges are at times insurmountable, the people around you probably often feel exactly the same way themselves – and may even be going through much worse times.

Just in the past month, I’ve had teammates and colleagues who have had parents and spouses pass away, and in one case the utter tragedy of having a child lose their life at far too young an age.

And that’s not even mentioning the more typical everyday issues that people face that aren’t always as obvious yet can be just as challenging to navigate.

Your teammates need you just as much as you need them. So, along with a renewed focus on wellbeing, that’s my resolution for the new year – to be a better teammate. It’s one I’d really like to stick to.

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1 reply

  1. Well written Morgs. Football can be a real life saver at times. Hope you and the fam have a magnificent 2019!!

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