Week 4

Sunday I had an under-18 Gaelic Football semi final with the Rangers and we won comfortably against good opposition.  I won’t be there for the final so I’m wishing them all the best and hopefully they can win what will surely be a tough contest.

Monday night I had a hurling game and it may have been the most frustrating loss I have ever been a part of.  We were down by 9 points at halftime, which is not insurmountable in hurling, but definitely a comfortable margin.  In the second half we fought back really hard and our physicality clearly lifted.  However, in the end we lost by just one point and were left to rue missed chances throughout the game.  I had two misses myself that were very close, so I was fuming after the game.  Even my dad who was just a spectator was venting with me after the game to my mom who stayed home.  Luckily, I’ll be back in time for the final if the boys can get there so that is something to look forward to.

Tuesday was a really special day for the New York Magpies.  Brett Kirk came to our training session to run drills and impart on us some of the football knowledge that he accumulated in his 12 years with the Swans.  Our skills were actually pretty good for the whole session so it was a productive night.  Afterwards Brett was willing to take a few pictures with me and I tweeted a few of them and put them up on Facebook.  Even better, he retweeted one of the pictures to his 6000+ followers so that was pretty special.

Wednesday I had my flight at 6:45 in the afternoon, so naturally my mom and I finished packing at about 2:15, only 45 minutes before we left.  Not too much else to report about Wednesday except that the flight to LAX went smoothly.

Thursday is lost somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.  I watched 3 Boys Dreaming on the flight over which is a documentary about 3 promising young Indigenous talents who are trying to chase the dream of AFL football.  Chris Yarran is one of the boys and he obviously has become very successful.  The other two were caught in difficult situations or did not quite have the commitment to make the grade.  I think a main message that can be taken away from the movie is that making it to the AFL really does come down to commitment, and perhaps more universally, anything worth doing takes a lot of hard work and desire.

Friday morning I arrived in Melbourne and was picked up by New York Magpies and US footy legend, Rob Oliver.  I will be staying with Rob and his family for the next two weeks.  I basically spent the day getting settled in, trying my first Australian latte (which was delicious), and trying to stay awake to adjust to the time difference.  In an impressive effort I stayed up until 10:30 watching the Adelaide and Bulldogs game up to halftime.  I’m glad I didn’t stay up because I’m a Crows supporter and the television would have gotten some terrible abuse.

Saturday I got my first taste of footy down at Prahran Assumption Oval to watch Rob’s club play Ivanhoe.  The reserves won by about 120 and Rob’s son Lachie got Best on Ground.  The 1’s went on to win by about 50 so it was a great day for Prahran.  The standard was pretty quick in the second game and all the boys go at the ball hard.  Later on, I went to Rob’s daughter Hannah’s basketball game.  Her team lost, but they definitely heard me cheering them on.  I was really impressed by the skill level of the girls and the guys before them.  American universities are looking at some of them, so there is definitely talent here.

Sunday I watched almost 3 full games of footy and talked footy for 3 hours with Kerryn’s (Rob’s wife) nephew Liam.  He is an umpire so he brought an interesting perspective to some of the talking points including ducking the head, the advantage rule, and sling tackling.  We also argued for about a half an hour about which is more difficult, baseball or cricket.  In baseball, the ball comes at the batter at 95+ m.p.h.  Plus, the surface area of the bat is smaller than in cricket.  Plus plus, they score hundreds of runs in cricket where as reaching double digits is a pretty high score in baseball.  I rest my case.

Thanks for reading about my first week in Aus, and tune in again next week as I have my first training sessions coming up.

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