Describing my team’s losses is becoming an undesirable routine however my Woodville Warriors have suffered yet another setback, this time to Burnside, a club who is currently sitting in the top four of the league standings. Unlike last week against Sturt I can at least say we played hard and fought valiantly until the final whistle, eventually falling to an 11-9 decision. Despite our repeated disappointments I am proud to be a member of this club because my teammates point out the positives regardless of the situation and no matter what the outcome of a game is we look towards the future confidently.
During our post-game stretches my teammates were quick to state what they thought were worthy accomplishments throughout the game. One positive was that my St. Mike’s teammate Tyler Violette still has a 100 percent shooting average, scoring six goals on six shots throughout the last four games. Considering he played long-stick midfield from his youth days up until his college graduation only two months ago I’d say it’s a pretty impressive shooting percentage. I wish I could say the same thing about myself however I kept giving the Burnside goalie easy saves. Hopefully throughout this week’s training sessions we can all improve our shooting technique so we’ll be ready for North Adelaide (the team we beat a few weeks ago…with players on their team smoking cigarettes during the game).
Due to the loss, the highlights of the week dealt in another sport; football. I don’t mean American football however; I mean Australian football, generally referred to over here as footy. Footy is the most popular sport in Australia, especially in Victoria and South Australia, where we’re situated. The other Americans and I have been to three professional footy games so far and plan on going to more in the future. It’s a hard sport to describe but imagine a mix of rugby, soccer and a bit of lacrosse. 18 players from each team take the field on a 180 meter-long oval pitch and the objective is to kick the footy (similar to an American football) through the goals at each end. There are four long pipes that stick out of the ground and if you kick the ball between the middle two posts it is a six-point goal. If the footy goes through the outside pipes the team is awarded one point. Throughout the field players punt or hand-punch the footy to each other, advancing the ball across the pitch. Like lacrosse players use V-cuts to get open, set picks, and teams utilize zone covers to strengthen the defense.
Charles Manning, who organized our trip to Australia and has continued to be extremely accommodating to us, organized for Christian Cook and I to train with the Port Adelaide Magpies’ U-18 club on both Monday and Wednesday. The team is associated with the AFL (Australian Football League) Port Adelaide Power, one of eighteen different professional teams across the continent. Head coach Julian Farkas gave us a tour of the Power’s headquarters which was very neat. We got to see the coach’s offices and the players’ weight and recovery rooms. The team even has a swimming pool that only its players can use. It was the first time I’ve ever taken a tour of a professional team facility as it is very difficult to get the equivalent tour of an NFL stadium, not to mention a personal tour from a respected member of the organization.