First off I would like to thank all of you who responded to my last post. It was completely unexpected but incredibly heartwarming. “Never Left” and my blog got over 430 views due to all of you sharing it across various social network sites and formats. I was even mentioned in the Bellarmine Knights’ Elite Eight blog! Your response just reinforces what I said in the post about how tight knit and close the Bellarmine community is. To see and hear that you all feel the same as I do is a really great thing and I am so happy to call myself a Knight.
I can now officially say that I am an Australian football player. That’s right, yours truly played in his very first footy match this afternoon and lived to tell the tale. I was a bit out of the loop since I had been staying away from practice to try and regain sensation in my foot but Elliot told me that the team was going to be participating in a friendly and I decided, whether I played or not, to go and support the team. I was a bit nervous about showing up after being gone for so long but I was reassured that there wouldn’t be any hard feelings. SteveO brought me one of his old pairs of cleats to play in and Elliot, Cody, and I rode in our coach Mel’s car to the field. It was HUGE. The field we practice on is big but is nowhere near regulation size and this field looked absolutely massive compared to what I was used to. We did our warm up run throughs and stretched while Batman handed out our jerseys and I would get the pleasure of being #29 this wonderful Australian afternoon. It took a few kicks to shake the cobwebs off but by the time the team made its way to the game field I was feeling good about playing. Nervous, but good.
The game would be split up into five ‘quarters’ that would be 20 minutes each. I admit I smirked when the term quarter was still being used for a quantity of five. I was obviously playing for the reserve team, aka the B team, and this meant that I was sharing play time with about 30 other guys. But when you play 18 players a side for 100 minutes there is plenty of play time to be had. I waited excitedly the first two quarters to be put in and even though I wanted to get out there to put the hurt on someone I was also glad I had time to watch the game before playing. Because I am still clueless about the rules and strategy of the game. I’ve managed to pick up the very basics (enough to be able to play) but the terminology, positions, and fine print rules are still lost on me. Don’t even get me started on fouls though because I feel like the ref has an invisible coin he flips and that rather than logic determines what is and isn’t a penalty. When I did get in I was put in the full forward position, which is the guy that every other player on the field tries to get the ball to so that he can kick a goal. I wouldn’t score any goals in this game and only ever touched the ball three or four times but I did manage to get my tackle for the day. It was such a rush to be out on the pitch running around knowing that the guy next to you wanted to lay you out just as much as you did him. When that red oval came hurtling towards you it wasn’t a teammate who you were shoving but a guy who wouldn’t hesitate to leave you writhing in pain on the ground. So.much.fun. It was actually really funny though because with a field as big as this one and not exactly the best talent playing the game there were some long periods of time where my area didn’t see much action. So that bloke who I was pushing, shoving, and tackling into the turf would turn to me and we would have a very polite amicable conversation about where we were from, how long we had played footy, what our favorite beer is, and life in general until we would see the footy start to make its way towards us. Then we would become mortal enemies. Once we were out of kicking distance from the footy and play had continued on down the field we would pick up where we left off. Only in Australia does the proximity of a ball determine whether you are trying to hit a guy into last year or talking to him about the hot blonde on the sidelines. I ended up playing the entire fifth ‘quarter’ at a pocket forward position (whose job it is to back up the front forward if he misses a kick or handball) and was quite happy with myself that I didn’t royally fuck up at all. I also didn’t get hurt, which is always a plus.
Once our game was over I stayed around for a little while to watch the ‘A Team’ play their match and the difference in play was astounding. I thought that our gameplay was fast but these guys made us look like snails. I volunteered to be a water boy for the first quarter so I would shuttle plastic bottles of aqua out to the players whose side of the ground was momentarily void of screaming men and referee whistles. Since we were relying on a ride to get back to Swinburne we took the first one we could when Andy and Rusty decided to head out. Elliot’s nose was still bleeding as we walked through the parking lot from when he had gotten it busted an hour before halfway through our game. Not profusely, but anything that bleeds for an hour should be considered quite the battle wound.
Alright, so I have gotten better about keeping this thing updated but some of you are STILL getting on me about pictures. Well to be perfectly honest with you WordPress is terrible when it comes to adding media and so I created a website that is completely dedicated to pictures. And it is also completely updated! You can find the link to the website on the Home page of this blog (go to the upper right hand corner to get to the Home page) or you can click http://recollectionsofawanderer.shutterfly.com/. I will do my best to add more photos to these posts from here on out but it is just such a pain in the ass to do so don’t expect tons of them.
KEEPING IN TOUCH
If you are not friends with me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, have one of the five email addresses I have in my name, or aren’t privy to my Skype username and want to get in touch with me then you can find all of that information on my Home page along with my address for while I am here in Australia. Don’t be strangers! I know it is completely absurd of me to want to know what is going on in your lives but since none of you have wonderful blogs for me to stalk don’t be afraid to update me on your life!
That’s all for now from this side of the world! Love and miss you all