Saturday, January 31, 2015

Potato, Potahto?

What's this? Two posts in just about one month? Can this really be? What can I say, I clearly need a hobby. Yeah, right. I am, actually,  a changed woman this year--a woman more dedicated to fulfilling the needs of others, and who doesn't need more of my pithy prose. That, or, by my math, producing two posts in one month means I've filled my quota for the year. Sold. With that in mind, I will branch out from my predictable bullet points and attempt... paragraphs I think you call them?

I was invited to play in this basketball baptist carnival a couple weeks ago. Teams from the various states in Australia (WA, SA, Victoria, Tasmania, etc) came over and played a round robin style tournament followed by a finals series. The director of the carnival, a man I know from playing SBL over here, called me to extend my invite--that conversation went something like this:

Director Man: Hey Sam, you interested in playing in a basketball carnival for a week in January, mate?
Me: Yeah maybe, what're the details?
Director Man: You'd be playing for Victoria. They have a really inexperienced team and need some help. They are chasing a player that can carry the shooting load.
Me: I'll stop you there mate-- you had me at "shoot every time." I'm in.
Director Man: That's actually not what I said.
Me: That's not what I'll tell the team.
Director Man: ...
Me: Semantics.
Director Man: ...
Me: Potato, Potahto?
Me: Just gimme the address.

Maybe that conversation happened, maybe it didn't. No one's too sure. But what isn't up for debate is that it's funny. Anyways, I did in fact play for Victoria in the carnival after all and I did, just about, shoot the ball every time. That actually isn't an embellishment. They were quite young and inexperienced with competitive I took it upon myself to mentor these young students of the game, yes that's right...demonstrate a wide variety of shots, both the bad and the good, obviously. A good teacher wouldn't skip over the bad, no no. Indeed some games I focused on only the bad shots (how else will they learn). Somehow we ended up making the championship game, though sadly we lost. I averaged 30 points for the week, though my attempts per game would surely be more impressive and I'd confidently guess far greater than my points per game.

NYE was pretty cool. I hung out with these cool cats below, went to an overpriced club after losing 20$ at the casino and walked waaaaaay too far in heels trying to hail a cab. If this is foreshadowing my 2015, I am in for an expensive, uncomfortable year. But at least I'll have my friends.
My visitor (Matt) arrives in less than a week, shockingly. I am so thrilled. We have so much planned, from Bali to sky diving, hopefully, to playing with kangaroos, naturally. It's going to be a jam packed 12 days.

Our pre-season is under way and has been going pretty well. Our captain and most experienced player retired after last season so we had some big shoes to fill. We filled those shoes with two players instead of one and then brought everyone else back, so hopefully we can pick up somewhere in the neighbourhood of where we left off last year and navigate our way back to the top. There are a couple of teams that went out and just bought heaps of players, good ones at that, so it will make winning this year even more gratifying and challenging at the same time. Our first game isn't until March 14th, so we still have plenty of time to get where we need to be for the beginning of season.

I am tan. And that's all I have to say about that. Don't argue this.

I celebrated my first proper Australia day this year and it was wonderful. There was sun (too much), pool and food... mountains o' food. And naps. Cause what's a holiday without a nap? Nothing I want to know.

Alright. Welp, catch ya next year! Kidding. But seriously, it'll probably be a while.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Na-na na-na boo-boo.

 I have literally tried to write this post for days weeks. But every time I sit down to write it, I find something better to do. It's that simple really. But alas, I can put this off no more. With the end of the year sneaking up on me, it seemed like a suitable time to post a little update. As I haven't written in what feels like a year, I am inclined to use my beloved bullet points...again. I know, I know. It's lazy and I am better than that. Except I'm not. So lower your bar.

*We won the championship in my Australian league! We finished 25-2 and swept both series to get to the championship game.

*I was supposed to go play in Germany following my season in Australia. Buuuuuuuut I didn't go.

*Why, you ask? The answer is two-fold: I could not bare to part with my sausage BFF and the team I had signed with couldn't meet me halfway on something, so I walked. Actually, I did just the opposite of walking--I sat. I sat for dayyyyyyyys and did nothing. (I'm not sold that sitting is the opposite of walking, but you catch me drift).

*I'm still in Australia (though sitting a lot less these days) living off the generosity of others and enjoying my first off season in 2 years. And I am happy as a clam, presuming clams are happy, which I guess we do since we've coined that phrase. What are we basing that on, I wonder? Somewhere, out there in the world, there is one really pissed off clam that resents our expectations of their happiness.

*I was MVP of our league and the championship game. I don't think I've ever walked away from a game more thoroughly exhausted than I did that night. Thank god we won.

*Our team banquet was the following night at our stadium club room and, if I remember correctly, as I am sure I cannot, the team danced on our bar, drank from the championship trophy (which I intend to use as an absurdly large cereal bowl at some stage) and took turns cloaking ourselves in our very large banner.

*I've been coaching in my free time; I even got a coaching certificate so when people question my qualifications or skills as a coach, as they invariably will, I can shove this piece of paper in their face that says it doesn't matter if I stink... cause I sat in a room for a painful number of hours and listened to a coach talk about coaching. So I'm better than you. Na-na na-na boo-boo.

*That piece of paper is currently decorating my fridge and will remain there until I've done something more impressive and receive a piece of paper proving that. It's quite likely that paper never comes down.

*I've taken up netball. It's this sport where you can't touch the opponent or stand within 3 meters of them (I shit you not), AND that isn't even the worst part. The worst part: you have to wear a dress or a skirt. What? Why? WHAT?

*My first visitor while I am in Australia is coming in February. I know my mom came, but that doesn't count, she's my mom. She had to visit if she wanted to keep that title.

*I was starting to worry that somehow Australia wasn't a good enough bargaining chip to make putting up with me worth the trip. Here's a hot tip: if you don't wanna see me in Australia, you'll never want to.

*Matt gets here the 5th of Feb and leaves the 16th of Feb.

*Naturally, I am taking him to Bali.

*Naturally, I will use his trip as an excuse to play with some kangaroos again at the zoo.

*I dyed my hair. It's quite blonde.

*I went to an 80's themed party. I rocked the flashdance/yoga/let's get physical look. Yes, it was as uncomfortable as it looked.

*I've re-signed to come back and play again for Rocko. Pretty sure I didn't need to spell that out, but jussssssssst in case. It's been a long year, I get it.

*After winning the championship, we decided to order rings to commemorate the season. They finally arrived this past Friday and they're glorious.

*None of us want to wear our rings regularly (or at all) but we do want one night to wear them without feeling ridiculous and in a celebratory fashion. Thus, we have decided to plan a "Ring" party where we all wear our rings out in public together. There's strength in numbers.

*I'll direct your attention to my adult-like nails in the above photo. That's right, no bloody quicks, no jagged edges. Just classy, smooth tips thank you very much.

*The weather has been amazing lately. I have been taking my sausage friend to the beach for romantic walks and taking in some incredible sunsets.

*I can't go to NBA games over here, but they do have the NBL which is pretty competitive and boasts some NBA talent, most notably James Ennis who now plays for the Heat. He played here in Perth last season for the Wildcats, and I have been attending nearly every home game this season.

*I will be splitting my time on Christmas between two families this year, which I grew up doing anyways, so it feels very familiar. Afternoon tea with one family, and a bbq dinner with the next. I look forward to eating all their food.

 *And their company. *Cough*. I am totally looking forward to their company more, of course. I'm not an animal.

*My friend got a new pup. It's a labradoodle. I'm conflicted. My gut is telling me to follow my heart and befriend the pup, but then part of me feels like it's a betrayal to my sausage. Life is hard.

*My mama is coming again this coming year to visit...for twice the time. That doesn't scare me at all, what are you talking about? Psh. Why would you even say that, I am thrilled, naturally.

*KIDDING MOM! You know I want you here, surely. Jokes aren't easy to come by is all, and sometimes you are an easy punchline. I know, I know--I'm better than that. Except I'm not. You may as well keep that bar at a steady decline, people.

*I saw Justin Timberlake in concert. That guy is gonna be a star.

*I went to a "mice racing" fundraiser. It's every bit what it sounds like, and somehow legal. There's alcohol, there's gambling, there are animals racing presumably against their will and probably without proper training; how is this legal? It's absolutely appalling. Try to not hold it against me when I tell you how much fun I had that night. Zip it, it was for a good cause.

*My cousin got married! I missed it but it's still awesome and worth mentioning.

*The Lakers beat Golden State last night. Merry Christmas Lakers fans, something tells me we've reached our high point for the season.

*I miss you mama. See you on Skype tomorrow.

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope everyone has a lovely holiday celebrating the birth of Christ! Enjoy the new year as well. See you in 2015.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Bowling is for suckers.

Hello old friends. Boy, I've really become a slacker with this in my old age. I blame genetics. Sooooo, last time I wrote my charming prose I believe I elected to do so in the underrated format of bullet-points, no? My old age also has seemingly curbed my previously apt ability to arrange my thoughts with any amount of continuity; ergo, the favor of the bullet-points endures. Take it in, it could take me a year to gather the energy to write another post.

*We finally lost a game this season.

*And then two games later we lost again.

*Sami no likey the losing. Fortunately we won out after that and finished 20-2 going into playoffs.

*I'm 26 these days, if anyone is counting.

*I recently saw the movie sex tape. Don't. That's all I have to say about that.

*Paul George's injury is absolutely horrific and heart breaking and it disgusts me that people are posting the video on the line.

*I you-tubed it.

*I sprained my back whilst racing go karts. Yep. Got the doctor's note and everything people, this is real life.

*I am playing in Germany next year for Wasserburg, the German champions.

*That means I will play Euro-Cup, which is a big deal for me (cue applause sign).

*Someone already wears #32 on the team though. Apparently they can't just take it from her and give it to me. Something about unprofessional blah blah blah. I'm peeved.

*I will be taking new number suggestions as I take the time to properly make my selection.

*It's been raining a ton here lately, so I've been able to maintain my healthy cadaverous luster.

*Our team took a six hour road trip to the outback for a weekend to watch our men play.

*We ran out of gas on the way back. I was not impressed.

*I made a friend named Swag.

*She's another American import in the league who formerly played in Germany as well. She shares my irrational obsession with One Tree Hill and overalls. She gets me.

*Swag surprised me with a bowling night for my birthday. So she only kinda gets me. Bowling is for suckers. Anyone can chuck a ball at some pins and knock em over. But I'm not a follower, so I like to see how many pins I can leave standing. I'll ask you to pump the brakes on your judgement before trying it... you might be surprised at how tough that actually is when you've got my natural athleticism and brute strength.

*I actually had a blast despite somehow coming in last out of the group. Both times. I'm still stunned a 96 didn't get me at least 3rd. Especially since it was my birthday. I mean what happened to common courtesy? Barbarians.

*We finished regular season 20-2 and in first.

*We played 8th seeded Willeton Saturday and won. Game two is Friday at home, and when we win we advance to semis.

*I went to a James Blunt concert. Turns out I wanna marry the guy.

*I happened upon some footage of me my first year playing. It's too good not to share.

*Yes, I'm the ogre trying to dribble.

*I still haven't quite nailed the lay-up yet. Fortunately I lost the hideous knee pads.

*I fly to Germany August 31st. The championship game here is the 29th.

*After all the rumors and movement this off season, Lakers added Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer to their roster. We aren't even gonna pretend to try, I guess.

*I got a swedish massage last week.

*I'm still besties with a sausage.

That's all folks. Next time we catch up I'll be in Germany trying to remember the language I barely learned the first time. Scheisse! Whoops (some things you can't unlearn). Take care!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My coolness was inherited.

Nothing like a visit from your mama to make you realize you aren't quite as immune to home sickness as you thought. Turns out, I had reallllllly missed her. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be capable of willingly spending every hour of every day for a month attached to my mom I would have scoffed enthusiastically in your face... then I would have slapped you for silly fibbery (totally a real word). But when I was fifteen I thought I was waaaay too cool for my mom. At twenty-five I am certain of that now, but can appreciate that my coolness was inherited. That being said, 24-7 with one person for a month is absolutely absurd and unreasonable to think possible without a minor scrum here or there. We weren't perfect but we were close, and I wish I had another month just like that one.

I was particularly fond of my bullet point format implemented in the previous entry, so I am going to continue with that for at least this next post as I think it will be handy in recounting the last month. Settle in, this will be lengthy.

-I recall being supremely confident in my mom's dramatic airport scene upon her arrival. Turns out I shouldn't have been. There were NO tears. Two years I don't see this woman and I can't even get some misty eyes action? Unbelievable.

-Vakidis (the sausage dog I'm mildly obsessed with) jumped ship on me as soon as my mom walked in the door. He followed her everywhere and even slept in her bed at night. Traitor.

-I took my mom to Bali the day after she landed. If hindsight is 20/20 then I can say confidently how idiotic that was. Poor mom had barely survived her 20+ hours of travel only to jump back on a plane and go somewhere else. But she was a trooper and we made it without any problems.

-Ever been to Bali? It. Is. Hot. But like the gross kind of hot where you've just completely given up on staying dry as you stew in your own pool of sweaty soaked clothes. Bali is great though. You should totally go.
-We did a lot in Bali: massages, pedicures, spent time at the beaches, had drinks with my friends who were also visiting, shopped, parasailed, took heaps of selfies, and got totally legit tans. BUT, if I had to pick our favorite thing, I think it was lounging at Potato Head. That place was awesome--so awesome we went two days in a row. To do what, you ask? Lay. Best lay of my life, and most expensive ;)

-We went to the local water park, Waterbom, with my friends who were also in Bali.  We made my mom go on the scariest ride, Climax, straight away. You step into this glass tube casing death-trap thing, and right away you'd give your left leg to not be in there. Then there is a countdown--3...2...1 and the floor below you slides away and you plummet. It's fantastically frightening. My mom screamed the entire way down and around the tube. I think I even heard her inhale deeply just so she could scream for the entire duration of the ride. All the sweating was suddenly worth it.
-My mom prohibited me from sharing the above picture but it's just too hysterical not to and I'm an adult now so you can't tell me what to do (don't be mad--I'll totally take it down if you want).

-We absolutely applied 50 proof sunscreen like it was our jobs. We absolutely got glowing tans anyways. What can I say, some people just absorb the vitamin d better than others. It's a gift.

-This one time, I refused to get a taxi home cause I was sure I knew where we were. I did not. Three hours later, dehydrated and pissed off, our blistered feet called BS on my navigational skills and we caught a taxi home. The taxi ride was twenty minutes. Not. Even. Close.
-I don't have proof cause I didn't have my phone on me, but mama parasailed like a boss.

-We celebrated my mom's birthday in Bali. It was awesome. And after five days in paradise we had to leave. It was time for her to experience Australia.

-Sooooooo I introduced my mom to some Kangaroos. She LOVED them, no surprise. They loved her too... this one guy in particular, if you catch my drift. I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. Mortifying. We got a good laugh, but mostly because we were both confused and stunned. Here's a little peak into that delightful day, minus the overzealous roo.

-We went 5-0 while my mom was here. And we won our game last week. So, that moves us to 15-0 on the season. I can't explain how cool it was to play in front of my mom again. Everyone from the club wanted her to sit with them during the game at the bar, but Jan sat in the grand stand, by herself, 100% focused on me and the game. #1 fan.

-The weather, unfortunately, wasn't great in Australia while my mom was here. So we didn't spend a ton of time at the beach, but we still snuck in a few long walks during sunset and put our feet in the water. It was one of my favorite parts.

-I wanted to do something special for my mom before she left. Without much thought (other then "how effing cool) I booked my mom and I for swimming with dolphins in the wild. So my mom and I both get seasick. Violently. Oversight on my part. We took our motion sickness medicine and prayed for calm seas. As we walked along the dock toward our swaying boat that morning, it started to rain. Brilliant. It actually turned out to be an amazing experience. We got to swim with about 6-7 wild dolphins for a few hours and the rain stopped. Even more thrilling, neither of us threw up! Happy days.

-My mom was my rebounder while she was here. That was interesting. She also did some shooting. It just so happens I have a bit of footage. This should prove once and for all where my athleticism is born from.
-Some friends from work and the team organized a girls night out at a male strip show. Again, without much thought, I agreed for my mom and I to attend. Yikes. Surely even a second of consideration would have raised some serious red flags. What happens in Australia stays in Australia. Yep, that's a saying somewhere. I won't spend too much time on this, but I will say it was shocking. And I love my mom, but I couldn't imagine wanting to attend something with anyone less. It's really not the bonding opportunity you might envision. Appalling. We did have fun dressing up together though.

-Okay one more thing. She will deny it, but my mom was picked out of the crowd by one of the strippers and danced on. It was like a bad car accident--I really wanted to look away but felt compelled to stare instead. She later got her groove back on the dance floor. I immediately understood why I have ZERO rhythm. 0-2 here mama (kidding). She's got some serious moves.

-My mom flew all the way to Australia and I reckon her favorite part was watching Game of Thrones in the theater room with Ryan (coach), Vakidis and I. She can be a bit obsessive when it comes to shows. She gets it from her daughter.
-This one day, we were bored, so we played this game called "heads up". It's phenomenal if you don't know what it is. You do impressions, act stuff out etc while the other person guesses, meanwhile the whole thing is filmed. Neither of us were very good. I was worse. I've provided a video.

-There were so many people that were so good to my mom while she was visiting. They bought her drinks at games, took her to dinners, kept her company when I had to train, and made her feel at home. Even more incredibly, my coach Ryan let her move in and stay at his house, too. I won't pretend I am an easy house mate--I know how revolting my shoes smell--but he invited her into his home as well. The both of us...together. Brave man. That's Aussies for ya. And that's why I love em.

I'm sure I've left some things out, but those are certainly the highlights of her visit. I still can't believe how fast it flew, it was remarkable, but I'll cherish that month my entire life. Dropping her off at the airport was impossible. I considered sabotaging the airport ride so she'd miss her flight. Gimme a break, it was 3am, I wasn't at my best. She was a champ though. Honestly, I think she cried more hugging Vakidis good-bye. Needless to say, it was an emotional last twenty-four hours together. But it was an absolute thrill having her here. I miss you mom!

It's been strange not having her around this past week or so. I got so used to doing everything as a team.  And poor Vakidis has accepted that he is stuck with me again. He has begrudgingly moved back into my bed. I feel cheap somehow.

Back to business as usual now. As I mentioned, we won this past weekend and are now 15-0. We play again this Saturday and after that only 6 games remain until playoffs. I haven't signed yet with a team in Europe, but I do intend to go back after season here. I'll keep ya posted. Until then, happy June everybody! Time sure is flying.