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Soup of This Day #349: We Won’t Have To Say Goodbye If We All Go

October 30, 2013

The  Great Comet of 1680
Periodic comets travel alone through the emptiness of space, eventually returning back to where they started from. The 1 depicted in the above image is known as the Great Comet of 1680. It is a sungrazing comet with an orbital period thought to be around the 10,000 year mark, so no wonder its heart is cold and hard – Image: Lieve Verschuier, c1680. Lieve Verschuier is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

I get homesick. This isn’t unexpected – Home is a safe place where I can be me, wrapped up in love and easy laughter. Being separated from that kind of supportive base is never going to be a good feeling at the best of times.

At the worst of times, I need to factor in chronic depression and anxiety attacks.

Boarding school was consequently not a lot of fun for me. I survived (just) but this was because I had to – With a year left in my schooling, what I thought of as ‘home’ just ceased to be. Since it wasn’t there to pine for, then I defaulted to simply enduring. Consequently by the time I got to Perth, where I shared a flat with my brother, I was fairly resilient.

That enforced strength soon waned though – I lived for nigh on 6 years with my bro and in spite of our relative poverty and sometimes comic attempts to get by, they were good years – By-and-large safe, secure and with an easy, if eccentric, rhythm. We found a way to collaborate on most aspects of life – Even alternating our visits to a local takeaway so that the cute girl behind the counter didn’t think we were associated and thus individually eating junk each night.

After a couple of weeks of this she politely asked me 1 night how my brother was doing. You know, the guy who comes in here every second night.

Foiled.

Yet life went on and these small setbacks apart, it was good.

Maybe this level of comfort weakened me, made me more vulnerable – Either way I was cruising and, I figured anyway, ready to tackle the wide world on my lonesome.

Yeah, not so much.

I struck out on my own and pretty quickly began a slide into homelessness. Not so much in that I was sleeping rough – I almost always had a roof over my head and a decent pillow to lay my head on. It was more that I had no place to call home, to feel like I had a place to be ok. This was down to me – I blame nobody else – I made bad choices, losing a fair chunk of my possessions (including a bed I didn’t properly replace for 18 months) and ended up camped out on couches, both those of friends and family. 1 kind soul even allowed me to live rent-free for a decent time, stretched out each night on a floor in a room of my own.

It wasn’t home though.

I even squatted 1 time. That definitely wasn’t home either, not figuratively or legally.

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Well, having to flee a house in the middle of the night because a well-meaning friend had a then-undiagnosed mental illness and a sudden interest in axes, definitely toughened me up. And it ultimately set me up too, being both the bottoming-out point of that dive and the shedding of ballast that started me swimming back to the surface.

Over the next 12 years I found the love of my life, got a house and then filled it out with 2 beautiful children. I now live surrounded by their voices, sometimes angry or upset, but mostly joyful and I can truly say that I am home.

And nobody talks axes.

Which just makes the homesickness even worse. Such is the magnitude of ‘home’ and what it means to share it that there is nothing in the world that could be offered to me to forsake it, even for a short time.

Having a home is priceless.

Even if you offered me the fulfilment of 1 of my cherished sporting dreams, to play for Liverpool FC, striding out from under the famous ‘This Is Anfield’ sign and onto the hallowed turf of that great stadium.

Couldn’t do it.

I’d be halfway around the world from home and my heart would not be there with me. That’s not to say that others can’t manage such a move – Liverpool FC’s regular 1st team currently features just the 1 local lad, captain Steven Gerrard. Within the wider squad of 32 players, just 14 are from the United Kingdom and only 4 of them (Gerrard, Martin Kelly, Jon Flanagan and Adam Morgan) are what you could reasonably classify as local lads. There are a further 9 players out on loan, of which 3 are from the UK and 2 are locals.

The balance of the squad (including those players on loan) hail from all corners of the globe, including 1, Brad Jones who started life out here in Perth, Western Australia. There are also 4 players from Africa, 4 from South America and 15 from continental Europe. None of those players can top Jones for the distance he has travelled to get to work – Around 14663km as the crow flies.

The crow would need to make some layover stops.

As it would for at least 2 players on the active roster for the Boston Red Sox. For Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara the poor bird would clock up around 10781km although a mid-journey break on the white sands of Waikiki Beach would probably put the fluff back in its feathers.

At least when the crow got to its destination it would be able to easily communicate with other crows. Not so Tazawa or Uehara – Both require translators when talking to US media outlets, a language barrier that surely must increase the possibility of feeling isolated.

This is generally not a problem for this blog’s 2 Australian-based teams – The Perth Glory Women’s outfit does feature some overseas players, including a trio of North American adventurers, Canadian duo Sasha Andrews and Christina Julien plus American Chantel Jones. Whilst they all have to journey over 15,000kms to get to Perth, they do speak the language and for Andrews, a pivotal central defender, this is her 2nd stint with the Glory.

The Fremantle Dockers meanwhile don’t really have any players that can be said to have travelled from overseas to play football. This is not unusual in the Australian Football League (AFL) which is not played to a suitable standard elsewhere such that there is a ready supply of football immigrants. There is an exception of sorts, however it isn’t particularly common – Gaelic football is a code with some points of similarity with what we do down here and so some Irish exponents of that sport have made the transition and the long journey to Australia.

1 of them is the Brisbane Lion’s midfielder, Pearce Hanley. The 24 year old had played for Mayo in Ireland before heading to Australia as a teenager to try his luck. That’s a fairly notable leap of faith and you could easily argue that he’s gone a bit further than his fellow Australian recruits in terms of the kms travelled for his sporting dream.

Pearce certainly thinks so. When 5 fellow Lions recently left the club, citing homesickness and thus a desire to move back to various points across this wide land, Pearce didn’t seem to sympathetic about their plight. So much so that when he got a tweet congratulating him on staying put, he fired off a reply that was less than complimentary towards his want-away team-mates:

@pearcehanley: life goes on, you grow up and inevitably move away from home. Appreciate the tweet #mummiesboysarehomenow

Yeah.

I reckon homesickness is genuine and it’s not really about being dependant upon your mum. Humans do better with a strong support network and for young kids moving across the country for a footy career, they often don’t have that kind of safe base to build from.

For a time I missed out on that latter bit. I didn’t get to be a mummy’s boy or anybody’s boy for that matter. I wish I had been, but that time I alluded to where ‘home’ ceased to be for me? Yeah that was my Mum dying and that meant that I had to stop being a boy. Maybe you could call me a mum’s guy but I’ve not got my Mum to go home to now. Instead, I do have an amazing family of my own, plus enough friends to suit me, all of whom are living with me or within a short distance.

I’m their guy now.

Oh, and I’ve found a cute girl who makes sure that I don’t eat junk much any more.

We Won’t Have To Say Goodbye If We All Go

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