In Australia the term GB is affectionately used to talk about vintage wine aka. Goon Bags. For Ross, his move to a sunny paradise from the motherland + taking on the token challenge was essentially the opposite. Check out this tale of Rossco’s year thus far, including his legendary Mum and Dad who could probably drink for Team GB.
Tokens Used: 76
Tokens remaining: 25
Yay/Nay Percentage: 70%
When Benny explained to me the concept behind 101 Tokens it immediately struck a chord with my inner want to manage my alcohol consumption more cleverly. For me drinking less wasn’t a huge priority, I had recently moved to Sydney from London so my consumption levels were already at the lowest weekly average they’d been since I first stepped through the door at university. For me the appeal of the program was to ensure I was getting value from my drinking, or more precisely, actually doing some reflection around what it means for a drink to be worth it (a yay).
Enter January, summer in full swing and a couple of sessions down before the 10th. Both posting big yay’s but in fairness to the process, I’m still buzzing from the effects of how Australian summer can make you feel. On the 15th the whirlwind that is my mother arrived for a 6 week stint on these shores. Early on I explained that having a beer/wine every night probably wouldn’t fit the bill but her laughter soon put to bed any hopes I had that we’d nurse ourselves through her stay - monitoring the value of each session as we went.
As a balance to spending tokens like Disney dollars, mum’s stay came and went with a resounding success on the yay board. Seeing your mum experience so many new things and change a mindset that she’s had her whole life was incredible. To be honest I think mum would have marked 100% yays throughout her time in Australia. I know this because she chose to celebrate a seemly small achievement in her first week with a glass of pinot gris. She had just eaten her first mango. Ever.
The benefit of honest reflection after drinking makes saying no to a drop easier when the key components for a good night are missing or the ones for a potential flop are all too apparent. This proved to be great motivation during my AFL preseason — another motivation to keep the booze in check in early 2017. On the horizon my first full AFL season in a country who’s population actually have an idea of what the game entails, instead of an “is that like rugby?” mentality in the UK. Drinking levels down, time on the track up.
At the start of the year I’d made it clear that my goal was to get selected for Great Britain’s AFL team (Team GB). I put my mind to it, head down and during the early stages of the season I was selected in the preliminary squad for the upcoming AFL International Cup in Melbourne come August. 18 national teams would be coming together for a World Cup style tournament over the course of 3 weeks. Something that was (and still is) the highest motivation for me to keep playing the sport.
In early June I was selected in the full squad and prep was to start in earnest. July was pencilled in for a dry month and I was amazed at (without sounding preachy) the physical results from being able to train at full capacity to a schedule every day and; the ability for the mind to function so much more clearly when you’re tipple free. I’ll be chucking in a dry month next winter for sure.
With the tournament over, a successful 6th place from 18 teams in the bag and real life beckoning, the AFL put on an end of tournament gala night. My first drink in 7 weeks surrounded by a team of people that I’ve formed lifelong bonds with. This is how it should be done I thought to myself. The conditions were right for a big YAY and it didn’t disappoint.
I’ve been off the wagon a few times since August with a mixed bag of yay’s and nay’s. I have my dad coming out to repeat mums effort throughout December in to January ’18 meaning my first Token year will be book-ended by visits from parents that are easily excited by a cold beverage. I’m expecting the yay’s to be off the charts during dad’s visits too with management of remaining Tokens the difficulty factor.
Dad is the kind of wingman who remains perpetually thirsty and will only say no to a drink when he has two in his hands. Bring on the summer I say. Here’s to New Year’s eve spending, what will probably be, my last remaining Token.
101 and out.