It almost seems like an Aussie rite of passage, to stay up to some horrific time in the morning to watch an Aussie underdog you've never heard of try and do the impossible and beat the best in the world.
Like many, many Aussie Dads I’m sure, I have a lifelong, innate compulsion to follow many Aussie sporting teams and people as they take on the world.
Cricket, tennis, golf, swimming, you name it… I watch it. I have done all my life.
This patriotic dedication to the cause is admirable, sure, but certainly not unique. It almost seems like an Aussie rite of passage, to stay up to some horrific time in the morning to watch an Aussie underdog you’ve never heard of try to do the impossible and beat the best in the world.
However, this seemingly lifelong commitment has fairly, squarely, become that much harder since I’ve become a dad.
It’s no secret that for most, if not all of us, one of the hardest adjustments as a new dad is that bloody lack of sleep. You know it’s coming, you think you’re ready to cope with no sleep at night and WHACK! The fogginess of 6 weeks straight on broken sleep hits you right where it hurts.
My three kids are a little older now, so sleep has returned to some sort of normality. But the most recent cricket World Cup has proven a blunt reminder to me that once you’ve joined that exclusive club of becoming a dad, you’re never quite able to handle the late nights the way that you used to.
Sport + Kids = Mission Impossible?
Last time the World Cup was played in England, I was mid 20’s, unmarried and without child. We had parties with beer and food and shouting and yelling. We tracked every game that Australia played on the way to that glorious finals series.
This time round, I’ve tried… I’ve REALLY tried to watch all the games. But gee whiz, getting to bed in the wee hours, only to be woken 3 hours later by the wee ones, is bloody tough to maintain.
Now, this is just my personal experience as a sport lover, but it goes with pretty much anything that runs late into the night, right fellow dads?
Nowadays, any sort of night out that is likely to go past midnight ends up with me becoming a Cinderella of sorts… I’ve got to be home by midnight.
Letting the Team Down
It’s bizarre I know, but there’s a tinge of guilt hanging on this inability to last the distance now. That somehow, I’m letting down whoever it affects by not making it past midnight.
Whether it be my mates on a bender or the Aussie cricket team, I’m not there for them the way I used to be (try as I might).
And try, I certainly do.
In the case of the World Cup this time around, my sleep debt is running well into the red, and until stumps is literally called on the tournament, my sleep debt will continue to grow.
There are times where I can’t help but hark back to the bad old days, the days when an accumulated sleep debt could be settled with a big Sunday morning sleep in and possibly a big breakfast to boot.
Remember a Sunday morning sleep in? No, neither can I.
And Yet, it All Works Out
Of course, as cliched as this sounds, you wouldn’t change it for the world.
Most dads would feel exactly the same way – a loving, caring relationship with your child(ren) is truly one of the best things in life.
The wife and kids are my true home team, and no matter how late I stay up watching sport, they’ve always got my full, flag-waving support.
It’s no easy task, though.
I’d like to personally thank coffee for allowing me to maintain the rage at home, at work, and in front of the telly as I cheer, zombie-like, at my favourite teams.
I’m quite confident that somewhere in the world, there are coffee bean producers celebrating my sudden surge in demand for their life-saving supply.
In any case, on behalf of all Aussie dads, please accept our collective apologies if you can’t find us after midnight… there’s a very good reason for us disappearing into the night and it has nothing to do with a pumpkin.