Days Without Yips

Sometimes you just have to lock yourself away for the day. Well I do. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but Friday was one of those days. Just a day. I just needed a day to be miserable about this very inconvenient case of breast cancer. I woke up on Saturday with a clearer head, sunshine streaming through the windows, and plans. Plans are good. It was time to put a smile on my face and get out there. I did my hair! Oh yes I did. And then I put make-up on and sat in the sunshine while I slowly drank my coffee and ate my toast. No little voices, no “Mum, where’s my…” every time it got too quiet and I started to get sad I gave myself a good talking to and reminded myself to enjoy it while I could. Yep, total weirdo.

I have stitches so I’m not meant to drive. My girlfriend Cath drove from the city to come and collect me. “Your hair looks good!” she said as she walked through the front door.

It’s amazing what you can do without children isn’t it? How you can absentmindedly stand with a hair straightener and gather your thoughts.

Saturday was the last game of the season for my team, our team, my entire family are in the same cult. A good friend sent a text, he had a couple of spare seats in his section (the fancy bit where the seats have cup holders and you can stretch your legs out in front of you). When we go as a family it’s always in the cheap seats, shoulder to shoulder (definitely no cup holders). I was a definite and immediate yes. I knew a change would be good, they’d be a lack of this is what I usually do with the kids, this is where I take the kids to the loo, this is where I buy their chips. It was all new. It was more wait until I tell the kids I have a seat with a cup holder!

I defy anyone not to feel better while sitting in the sunshine in the comfort of good friends watching your team win by ten goals. The world became a better place. The beer helped. How pretty is the Adelaide Oval? On your left next to the massive television screen is one of the most beautiful score boards in the world, it’s old school, run by human hands. That’s where we usually sit, just in front of the scoreboard. You can barely see it in this shot so you’ll just have to trust me. When I was little we went to this oval to see the cricket as a family, long drawn out test matches that went for days when someone would invariably get out while you went to the loo. I was convinced there was a man who lived in the scoreboard permanently. I also thought my Uncle Buck went to Japan on a flying carpet (yes I really did have an Uncle Buck) I spent years sitting on that carpet trying to get it to move. Just behind the score board is a cathedral, you can see the steeple. There’s a lot of sport and religion jokes that come from that side of the oval. I took this shot as the sun began to disappear. Look at the sky. See the families around me? Sport is a magical thing.


We have a player in our team called John Butcher who is currently suffering from a serious case of the yips (he can’t kick a goal, he desperately wants to but every-time he tries the ball sprays out in a different direction). He’s been in and out of the side while they’ve tried to fix it. Yesterday for the first part of the game he suffered more of the same. He marked, and then missed the goal posts completely. The crowd shifted in their seats uncomfortably. Some people yelled out in despair, others hung their heads not wanting to look. He marked again and then kicked a point from right in front of the goal square. There was an audible sigh from the stands. It’s excruciating to watch, you can see the pain in his face as the camera closes in to share his anguish on the big screen. And then, just when it was getting all too painful to watch he kicked a goal. A magnificent goal. The crowd got to their feet, a standing ovation, the coach who usually spends the entire game refusing to show emotion clapped, clapped! The commentator said it best “they’re cheering like its his 100th!”  Today I feel like I’ve just kicked my 100th. My mind got the better of me on Friday, but today we’re back on track.

I start a new project today. It’s 25 hours a week of really interesting work that completely floats my boat. It’s editing, it’s writing, it’s story telling, it’s tagging, blogging, metadata and social media. It’s all the stuff I love and want to learn more about. I’d lined up this project before cancer was a part of my everyday vocabulary, and when the diagnosis came I figured the opportunity to do the work would disappear, that when I told them they’d probably put me on the bench for awhile. Rest me in the reserves. They didn’t, they didn’t seem to even blink with the news. I know, how lucky am I?

So today, with my stitches in my boob while I waited for a call from the doctor on my cancer type, I found myself dancing around the kitchen singing the theme to the Lego Movie “everything is awesome, everything is cool when you’re part of a team, everything is awesome…” because it is. I’ve spoken to my children and they’re fine. I can still do things for them, talk to them, listen to them, smile at them. Eat breakfast with them while they give me thumbs up and peace out signs.


There will be days where I need to retreat, when everything is not awesome, but thankfully there will be days when goals will be kicked. Better days. Here’s to the days without yips.

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