I turned on the TV the other day to see the women’s netball championship. I’ve seen netball hoops around Sydney, but I’ve never seen it played. I thought it was just like basketball without backboards. Nope. It it probably the dumbest game I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if men’s netball is different or if it even exists, but this was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen and I don’t get how people find it exciting. It’s similar to basketball if you sucked everything cool out of it. There’s no dribbling and there’s no contesting shots. You can only advance the ball by passing it, and defense is pretty lackluster. There’s a small area around the hoop that apparently once the ball enters, the defender can do literally nothing. They have to sit there and watch the player with the ball shoot. And at that point you’re 2 feet away from the hoop. This happened every time. Players would pass the ball easily down the court until they got in the zone. Then they would take their time, aim, and softly push the ball through the net with zero distractions. And they made it every time. I didn’t get it. I watched for about a half hour before I gave up. Look up a video of it being played and you’ll see how dumb it is.
One month from today, I’ll be getting on a plane and heading back to the states (Hawaii counts right?). Sydney has been great. Coming here is easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. There’s so much to see and do and it sucks to know that there’s a good chance this is the only time I’ll ever be here. Still, there’s a lot of stuff I miss about Boston, so in honor of returning home, I’ve compiled a list of things to do once I’m back. Here they are in no particular order:
1. Play basketball for a full day. The basketball scene here is miserable. People simply don’t play here. I’m spoiled. I go to a school that can have a hundred kids playing in the gym at any given time, and I live in a town where playing pickup is one of the only things to do.
2. Get Dunkin Donuts iced coffee. Good iced coffee is hard to come by here. Scratch that. Decent iced coffee is hard to come by. A lot of times, asking for an iced coffee will get you a coffee with a scoop of ice cream in it. If you happen to find a place that knows what you’re talking about, you’ll either get way too little ice or a drink with the right amount of ice but is more milk than coffee.
3. Eat pizza. Pizza here sucks, flat out. Very little Italian food over here. I only know one place that makes it okay. When I get home, I’m goin to AJ’s and eating a whole pizza. I might even do the Godfather Challenge.
4. Go out to eat. Eating out here is often times very expensive. I miss going to restaurants and not shelling out at least $40. I have a long list of places I want to go too.
5. Drive. I miss driving. It’s probably going to take me a while to readjust to cars being on the right side of the road, but I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of a car.
6. Watch American TV. TV here is either weight loss shows or, ironically, cooking shows. They have American comedies, but they’re all reruns. I want to watch ESPN, Comedy Central, and HBO. I’ll be home just in time for True Blood and Breaking Bad.
7. Go to a Celtics game. By the time I’m home, it will be NBA playoff season and I there’s no way we’re not making it. I miss my beloved Celtics, and I’m tired of watching them on my computer. Hopefully they’ll last long enough so I can make a game. Just kidding we’re taking home banner 18 this year.
8. Hang out with my friends and family. I miss everyone I left back home. I try to keep in touch with as many as I can, but it will be great to see everyone. Luckily my cousin is getting married a few days after I get back, so I get to see my whole family.
9. Wear all of my sneakers. Due to extreme luggage fees, I was forced to leave my entire collection of Jordans collecting dust in my room. There have been so many times I’ve gotten ready to go out, and thought, “Damn, my Cement 3’s would look great with this right now.”
10. Buy more sneakers. The sneaker game is worse than the basketball scene over here. Shoes are crazy expensive and they have a shitty selection. Forget about Nikes or Jordans. If you find any, they’re so overpriced. Even if I found a pair for a great price, I wouldn’t have any room in my suitcase.
11. Go for a run in Boston. Running in Sydney is not like running in Boston. The streets are way too congested and you have to wait for every red light. I want to run along the Esplanade and through the Gardens and the Common.
12. Work. I can’t explain how expensive Australia is. My bank account is running on fumes. I actually can’t wait to work so I can get a paycheck.
AJ’s pizza calling my name….
A lot of times we forget to thank the people that make everything possible, so I wanted to take a moment to thank my parents. Without them, I would not be in Australia. They do so much for me and it’s only because of them that I’m able to do all of the things I do. They give me all of my opportunities. They made it possible for me to go to BU in the first place, and Austin before that. Not only that but they have raised me to be the person I am today, and without all of that, I would never have made it to Sydney. So thank you, Mom and Dad. This one’s for you.
I know my blog is wicked popular and a lot of people (upwards of fifteen) read it on a religiously casual basis. But who are those people? I know my parents and my brother read it daily, but otherwise I’m not certain who the others are. I also don’t know who those people know. So I thought I’d put my blog to work for me, in the off chance that someonereading this is either a) looking for a summer intern or b) knows someone who is looking for a summer intern. I’ve been applying to jobs pretty much every day for the few months now. I have very few leads. So if anyone reading this has any info on where an intelligent, hardworking economics and business student at Boston University can put his talents to good use this summer, please do not hesitate help out. I’m looking for anything remotely business/economics related.
It may sound like a delicious desert flavored drink, but this is a restaurant in Sydney, more specifically the part known as The Rocks. The Rocks is the oldest part of Sydney, and its namesake is due to the fact that convicts used to break rocks over there in the city’s early days. I went there last weekend after getting many recommendations from friends. This place is open 24 hours and I probably picked the busiest time all week to go. Of course Sunday brunch time would be packed at a famous pancake place. They have a lot more than just pancakes though. I got nachos as an appetizer, and they were awesome. Fully loaded, packed with beef and all the fixings. Not exactly the ideal thing to eat before pancakes, but I was starving. I ordered “the Chocolate and Vanilla Surprise”, which was a stack of chocolate and buttermilk pancakes topped with vanilla and chocolate ice cream, covered in chocolate syrup. Best pancakes I’ve ever had. I don’t say that lightly either. I realize the gravitas of that statement. I’m a big pancake guy. My dad’s pancakes are great. I’ve been to Polly’s Pancake Parlor in New Hampshire. I’ve had my fair share of excellent pancakes, but these took the (pan)cake. I ate them in about 5 minutes. And because it was still St. Paddy’s Day back home, I washed it down with Baileys and milk in honor of my heritage. It’s safe to say I’ll go back before I leave.
As part of a BU sponsored event, I had the privilege of attending a Sydney Kings basketball game on Saturday night. The Sydney Kings are the professional team in Sydney, and they play in the marginally competitive NBL. What I witnessed was very upsetting, so I decided to write a letter to the Kings highlighting my abhorrence.
Dear Sydney Kings,
I would like to being by applauding your (blatant lack of) effort in Saturday night’s loss to the Wollongong Hawks. For a team that had a fifteen point lead going into the half, you sure made losing the game seem effortless. In Australian basketball (much like 3rd grade girls basketball) a fifteen point lead can often times be insurmountable. Yet you defied the odds and blew the last game of the season. Bravo. I’m not entirely sure what was it that lost the game for you. Maybe it was the 22% from 3-point range, on 4 for 18 shooting. 4 for 18. I don’t know how that’s possible for a team that’s overwhelmingly white. You’re short and white. Shooting is all you have. You managed to make the Hawks 10 for 31 3 attempts look like a real NBA team was playing. If it wasn’t the threes that lost the game, it had to have been the 12 turnovers, literally all of which were on cross-court passes. I don’t know how many times I watch a player toss a ball across both lanes, only to have it sail over the outstretched arms of an undersized wingman. Although your shooting and ball security were piss poor, I should commend you on your defense. While my 8th grade travel team would have had no problem breaking your 3-2 zone press, the Hawks seemed to struggle with it early on. And kudos on your determination of keeping the press on even after the Hawks realized they could easily pass their way through it and starting getting easy transition baskets. I have to admit I was very impressed that you were able to produce a similar score to an NCAA game. The 67-61 final was much higher than I anticipated. The best part of the night, however, was your commentator. How you managed to secure Ari Gold as your announcer is beyond me, but his wacky color-commentary and alcohol-fueled verbal assaults on the opposing team (during actual game-play) was the lone shining beacon of a dark night in the game of basketball. I don’t know what the credentials are for playing for an NBL team, but I would love it if you would give me a tryout just so I could be around that guy for a season. I’m also pretty sure I could lead your team in scoring, rebounds, assists, FG%, and blocks. It didn’t look that difficult. So again thank you for a wonderful night, and better luck next year. I hope you go at least .500!
Over spring break, as you know, I went camping in the Outback. Since we were so far away from everything, if we wanted food we had to make it ourselves. Each night our tour guides set us up with supplies and we had to cook. One night we had a smorgasbord of different meats. There was beef, kangaroo, and camel. Yeah I said camel, or camel sausage actually. If you’ve never had it, it looks like sausage, smells like sausage, and pretty much tastes like sausage. The only difference is that it tastes like it was rubbed on a camel. If no one had said anything, I probably wouldn’t have known I was eating it. I probably would have just thought that the sausage had turned a little funky. It was a little weird having rode on one too, but I managed to eat the whole thing. Not the best thing, but far from the worst.
Interesting side note on camels. In Australia, wild camels are fair game. I guess they’re so overpopulated that if you find one, you can do whatever with it. Keep it as a pet, make your own sausage, whatever.
Well it’s official. After suffering through two months of “basketball”, I’m hanging up my shoes until I’m back in Boston. Here’s my official press release.
“I want to start by thanking all of you who came out to support me on this sad day in my basketball career. After much deliberation with my friends and family, I have come to the conclusion that the best possible thing is for me to stop playing basketball as soon as possible whilst in Australia. There are several reasons for my decision. First and foremost, it puts me in a terrible mood. It is the only thing here that can make me fluctuate between severe depression and extreme rage in such short intervals, and such violent mood swings can simply not be good for anyone. Secondly, it is making me a terrible basketball player. The more I play, the worse I become. I think it has a lot to do with the 9 foot rims, lack of nets, and women’s basketballs that are often used in place of normal conditions. Of course, there’s also the matter of attire to consider. I simply cannot keep up with my Australian counterparts in the looks department. Most of the people that play are in full NBA uniform, and I look like such a scab in my non-authentic equipment. Footwear is even worse. I look foolish in my basketball shoes, because apparently Australians
find it perfectly acceptable love to play in all sorts of non-athletic shoes like combat boots, flip flops, and even Crocs. I guess I just do not have what it takes to be a successful basketball player here, and I look forward to resuming my career upon my return to the United States, where I hope to have better luck. In fact, it would almost be impossible not to. Thank you.”
Last night I went out to a couple of bars. On both occasions I had to deal with morons of human beings.Here’s what happened:
Bar #1 - I ordered a couple of drinks and my total was like $12.50 or something. So I hand the lady $20.50 because I hate coins and I want back even dollars. So she stares at the money and then at the register like “what the hell do I do now?”. After about ten seconds of attempting simple arithmetic, she hands me back nowhere near my change. I stare dumbfounded at this mess of coins (I think there was a button in there as well) and she says innocently “I’m shit at math, so I just took the change you gave me out of what I owed you and gave it back to you”. I then have to explain to the only bartender on a Friday night how much change she actually owes me, and after I give her a brief lesson in first grade math, she just nods and gives me what I tell her. I’m pretty sure she had no idea what I was saying.
Bar #2 - I order a drink for like $6, hand the lady a $20 bill, and she gives me $4 back. I stand there waiting for the majority of my change while she stares at me. I ask where my $10 is, and she says I paid with a $10 so I only get $4 back.I immediately begin to tell her how absolutely certain I am that I paid with a $20 bill, and she just stands there and calls bullshit. She opens the drawer, picks up a $10 bill and says “See? this what you pay me with. I remember putting it here.” At this point I’m really starting to get pissed, and I tell her she’s wrong and I want my money. She then proceeds to tell me that she “knows I paid with a $10” and that she’s “not drunk”. Well that did it for me. As much as I usually love getting insulted and cheated by bartenders, for some reason I didn’t take kindly to it last night. I don’t know I must have been in a weird mood. So I sternly reassure her that I am not drunk either and that I’m not leaving without my money. She doesn’t like this and she tells me she’s going to call the manager over if I don’t leave. I then insist that she bring the manager over. She takes me up on my suggestion and calls over “Frank”. Frank is a large, older gentleman who, before even hearing what the situation is, looks like he’s “getting too old for this shit”.
Pretty much Frank
So Frank sighs and asks what’s going on. Bartender lady tells him I say I paid with a 20, but she thinks I paid with a 10. Frank gives a big “I really am too old for this shit” sigh and asks “You think, or you know?” Well this shuts up the lady really quickly and she stands there silent for a minute until she sheepishly admits that she “thinks”. He says that if she’s not certain, she has to give me the money. She does a stupid “tsk” noise, opens up the drawer, and hands me a $10 bill so coldly that my hand froze.
So in conclusion, I hate Australian bartenders.
I’m about to finish up my second week as an intern at the ARU. So far it’s been great. I have one of the longer (and more expensive) commutes out of anyone in the program, so that sucks. But other than that everything has gone pretty well. My boss is very nice and I’ve gotten to do a lot already. The atmosphere is very relaxed and I’m hardly ever stressed, even though I have much more responsibility than I’ve ever had, which is nice for a change. I’ve grown weary of jobs that require little to no brain function. I have creative freedom with a lot of the stuff I do, and what I make usually ends up getting used. It’s pretty cool to see something I made being used by such a big company. It also makes me feel better about work once I get out of college. I’m starting to realize that you learn how to do your job while on the job. It’s not necessarily something you learn in the classroom, and that I don’t have to remember every economics lecture I’ve ever been to. It’s comforting.
I played my second game of touch rugby today as well. I’m starting to understand most of the rules, and I’m getting the hang of the spacing and everything. It’s also a lot of running, but I can stand the workout lately.
I got a chance to go to a practice earlier this week. Another intern and I went to see the Western Force train for a few hours. It’s really different from anything you would expect from the states. It was held at a boarding school. Players were taping themselves. There were only about 4 or 5 people on the coaching staff. It’s such a small scale compared to back home. But what can you expect when the best athletes here only make a little over $100,000 a year?
I also got to “The Batcave” today. It’s a media room where they have all the footage from all the practices and games over the past decade or so. It’s incredible how much technology plays into sports these day. The games are dissected down to tackles, rucks, mauls, scrums, lineouts, etc (if you don’t know what those terms mean, don’t worry neither do I). But they can look at all the times a certain player was tackled in a game for example. They use all of this stuff for coaching purposes. They can also monitor the amount of physical contact a player takes during a game and they use it to tailor make workout and conditioning plans for each person. It’s just amazing.
Oh yea I only have 5 more weeks here…