Well, we are about 3 weeks away from the start of the 2009 AFL season. What’s usually a boring NAB has proved quite interesting with the debut of the troubled Ben Cousins for Richmond. In what is probably the biggest panorama I’ve ever seen online (10945 x 4202), suzy_j has taken a lovely photo of the game from last Thursday. It’s also interesting to see the AFL is not backing down to referring to Etihad Stadium as it’s previous name, the Telstra Dome.
so i have finally gotten to post here. i have some thoughts about geelong, my home away from home to post in the near future, but for now i wanted to tell you all about a neat little occurrence that happened on my day outing to melbourne today.
of the things i really wanted to do in melbourne today – a tour of the world-famous melbourne cricket grounds was top on my list. now as an american i am completely baffled by cricket, but also absolutely fascinated by it. whenever i am in a commonwealth country i always turn on cricket and watch and try to decipher the code that seems so remote to me.
so when i heard that for 15 aussie dollars i could tour the melbourne cricket ground, you better believe that this shot to the top of the list.
and it didn’t disappoint. a match was going on between south australia and victoria in some tournament called the sheffield cup (cricket apparently has more tournaments than soccer) and so there was action on the grounds.
we got a great view of it and a great view of the stadium from all angles and deck. and it is breathtaking. an amazing facility with amazing views of melbourne and the field. i was having a grand time.
and then a guy on the tour tapped me and told me we had a famous guide. seriously. apparently our guide was a coach that had won the australian rules football premiership a couple of times. i looked him up, alan joyce, and sure enough he has.
according to the guys on my tour he volunteers at the cricket ground giving tours to give himself something to do. they made sure that i understood that this was a pretty big deal. they realized i was american and might not grasp it ;-)
that’s him up there in the picture explaining something to me about the second english side in australia. see, i am getting this terminology.
also, the afl was hosting a coaches seminar there and according to my tour mates they saw at least three other big name afl coaches running around the place
not bad at all and a neat side anecdote to a great tour.
just for the hell of it, here’s a pic of yours truly enjoying a little of the cricket.
Hot would be the understatement of the century. But according to the Elder’s weather site, in 1938, it went to 45.6°. I guess the only thing that makes me feel cooler, is knowing that people are playing tennis in this heat. Yes, the big players on Rod Laver and Hisense get the closed roofs but how about all the juniors and legends who were playing this week? Defending Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic had to retire due to the heat as well as a few other players.
Either way, it’s shaping to be a very predictable and boring ending to the Australian Open. Men’s tennis is at such a higher standard then women’s tennis and Monday night’s game with our newly loved golden child, Dokic just proved that. Safina, supposedly the 3rd best women’s tennis player in the world made 11 double faults to Dokic’s almost as bad 8. So maybe we need to put this in perspective, the 3rd ranked men’s tennis player, Djokovic, in his match the other night with unseed Marcos Baghdatis made 3 double faults compared to Marco’s 2 and that was in 4 sets.
So, best game of the tournament probably goes to Gonzalez vs. Gasquet, for their over 4 hour, 5 set tie breaker game. Worst game could have gone to Federer vs. Del Portro in a one sided, 1 hour and 20 minute match. In not so many words in his interview with Jim Courier afterwards, Federer basically concluded that Del Potro sucked.
Speaking of Jim Courier, there’s one way to definitely not beat the heat today and that is jumping into the Yarra river. In one of the freebies, I picked up at the Open this year, there was a great article on 20 priceless open moments (yes, this was a Mastercard sponsered freebie).
“Three days before the 1992 Australian open final, American Jim Courier and his coach Brad Stine were jogging along the Yarra when Stine made Courier a proposition. Win the Open, Stine said, and I’ll ump into the Yarra. OK, Courier replied, but if you jump, so wil I. He won and they did-the very day newspapers reported the unhealthy quality of the Yarra. Courier repeated his dip when he won again the following year. He decided not to repeat the swim when he won again two years later. “I got some sort of stomach virus after swallowing some of the water,” he explained to the BBC.”
Good to see nothing has changed 17 years later. Keep cool.
Last year’s Australian Open painted the story of two unseeded, not as well known players competing in the final. Tsonga was a chilling reminder of a young Mohammed Ali fighting his way through his matches as the underdog. His opponent the very funny Djokovic, was incredibly good at doing imitations of Sharapova and Nadal serving.
There doesn’t seem to be much of that this year. The seeded players are playing their expected parts as protaginists. Again we have ethnic fights with the capsicum spray replaced with plastic chairs. We had Hewitt holding our chances last year, and this year an even more controversial Dokic proving that Aussies do give everyone a fair chance.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the crappy management of Channel 7. The Open is filmed in HD, which is broadcast to international markets but not Australia. Channel 7 decided to cut costs and is broadcasting it’s games locally in SD. Every other channel strives to broadcast sports in HD but 7 has shown it doesn’t care about its audience. 7 has the normal SD channel as well as the HD channel which it could broadcast games on but won’t air different games on the channels. Today was probably the worst moment when they cut to the news in the middle of the Federer match. In some states, they interrupted with the news and an episode of Hot Property.
Fortunately, we are living in the internet age, and there is a wonderful site called Channelsurfing.net which shows the games on Rod Laver, Hisense, Margaret Court, and some of the show courts. All live, no commentary and almost the same quality as 7.
Still nothing beats going to the Open if you are in Melbourne. A $29 ground pass gives you almost 10 hours of games. There is no better value for money in sports.
I mean the golf! Who better to create publicity for the event but John Daly.
Known for his abilities to hit for long distances, he is also notorious for his other abilities, such as gambling and drinking. The latest being found drunk unconscious in front of a Hooters restaurant.
Many golfers will enjoy watching him play, because he behaves like a typically Australian. Drinking and smoking while playing golf. Personally, I would like to see him finish a can of beer per hole, breadth-tested on the last hole and winning the championship! Then the police can cart him off for DUI (Driving a golf ball while under the influence! :)
Otherwise, there are tamer golfers to watch, Stuart Appleby, Robert Allenby, Craig Perry, Peter Senior, Rod Pampling etc.
I guess Mastercard are no longer sponsoring them, therefore, no free entry for mastercard holders. Tickets are at $30 each day, $80 for all 4 days, or $50 for just the weekend.
Check out the Australian Masters website for the latest on tee-off times.
This Sunday, Melbourne’s first Bike Polo Tournament will be held at Carlton (next to the Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton Gardens, Corner Rathdowne St and Queensbury St) from 12 noon.
If you’d like to enter, teams of three is $15, and individuals can enter for $5 (to be placed into a team). To register send an email to melbourne.bicycle.polo.club [at] gmail.com.
Spectators entry is free (of course), so even if you’re not up for a game its sure to be entertaining to watch.
a bleak day for all geelong fans. the hawks deserved it though, considering how geelong were unable to capitalise on their chances.
overall, a win for the afl. a far far more exciting game than last year’s grand final. but to be fair, it is hard to beat last year’s lopsidedness.
one for the history books :
HAWTHORN 5.2 8.3 14.5 18.7 (115)
GEELONG 5.3 6.12 9.18 11.23 (89)
image from theage
No fights, no urinating on cop shops, no claims of sexual misconduct…yet. A mild mad Monday for footy players but what’s up with my team crossdressing? Not man enough to kick 100 goals perhaps? Still better than the wooden spoon.