Lookin’ Twixt the trees – New Year Evolution

Nancy Green at Sun Peaks Resort in 2000
Don’t look at the trees says Nance!

Gav on Sports
By Terry Gavan
Wow what a year.
I got lucky, very lucky last spring.
I joined the curling club here in Haliburton.
I – thanks to the gentle cajole of soccer guru and Haliburton Soccer Club pres Amy Klose – also joined the soccer executive.
I played some tennis. Played some hoops. Rode some bike up at Sir Sam’s.
I played summer league soccer and coached some kids on the pitch.
Somewhere in all of this newfound freedom and zeal I also found the time and wherewithal to referee a few games of hoops for Hal High coach Roland Zilla.
I got to watch a great group of Haliburton athletes compete on field, floor and ice.
I went to the Roger’s Cup – thanks Jackie – and met a friend in Toronto. We played tennis at the Beaches, and watched four of the top tennis players in the world (Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Andrew Murray and Novak Djokovic) duke it out at York University’s Roger’s Tennis Centre.
Last spring I also happened upon the best job ever.
The County Voice underwent a sea change and I was lucky enough to fall into this part time gig covering sports in County Haliburton. I am not even mildly offended at being left off the Voice masthead. I think that will come when I hit 2,000,000 words – so I’m thinking January 1, 2012.
(I throw that in just to see if Editor Patrick thinks it’s a passive aggressive swipe, which it ain’t. Which is part of the fun of working at the Voice, a nice rural paper.)
I traveled to the Grey Cup in Edmonton and I’m on the road to Beausejour Manitoba this weekend to take part in the annual men’s bonspiel.
I leave for Winnipeg on Friday and return on Monday just in time to complete my copy for next week’s Voice.
I’m lucky because I’m happy right now.
And I’m happy today because I made a decision to lay my problems down last spring and succumb to that voice in my head.
You know the one. The one that tells you to seek aid. As a diagnosed alcoholic – recovered March 20, 1998 – I know all about ignoring those little chats that your conscience has with your noggin. I put that voice on the back burner for 25 years; a ditched marriage, failed relationships, and a lifestyle that put me on death’s door, with a low-function liver and a pancreas that just stopped working on Easter Sunday 1998.
I’m lucky because there was someone there for me back in 1998. I’ll be curling with him in Beausejour this weekend and he’s the same guy I met at the Grey Cup and Roger’s tennis this year. His name’s John and he’s part of my New Year’s resolution every year.
I promise that I will never bother John with my problems again. When a friend literally saves your life, you want to be around for him, just in case you can repay the favour.
So I stay true to some principles – I don’t drink – and I try to squeeze enjoyment out of each passing day.
Last spring life became impossible. No sleep, a lugubrious and overarching fear, and a growing state of panic every time I foraged into crowds. Stomach pains, headaches and a general feeling of malaise.
I listen to CBC – a lot – and during a wee meltdown, I heard a replay of a program about Senator Michael Kirby, Canada’s proponent for mental health changes in the healthcare system.
The program was both fortuitous and serendipitous, considering I was rolled up in the fetal position while I listened on the futon. Fortunately most of you won’t have to deal with crap like that in the course of your lifetime. It’s not so fun, but it’s really, really funny.
You talk to your dog Billie Jean, you walk around in a partial daze and you find yourself muttering “What the hell is wrong with you, Gavan?” – a lot.
And so I listened to Senator Kirby, and when the program was over, I stretched, slid off the futon, and started to laugh.
It was a Tuesday. The walk-in clinic was open.
Michael Kirby was echoing in my ears as I took Billie Jean out to the back and started throwing the Frisbee.
I showered and then simply did what I was told.
What Senator Mike Kirby said to do.
I sought help.
Never. Not on your life.
But with good friends, an understanding and compassionate doctor and the correct diagnosis; I can say that it gets better.
I work at Auriga Design, pour soul on paper at the Voice and I also get to teach some skiing and board at Sir Sam’s.
I just tooled up to Bracebridge where my GI specialist just gave me a clean bill of health on my liver function survey.
He says that I’ve got at least another 500,000 kilometers on it, and the warranty is good for at least another 25 years.
So, I’m taking Nancy Greene’s good advice while skiing life’s treacherous tree runs.
“Don’t be a Sonny Bono!”
I’m looking between the trees … and not at them.
Happy New Year’s peeps.
(Gav’s website pardontheeruption.com connects to his blogs and ersatz sports news. gav@pardontheeruption.com.)

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