James' Journal

June 4-5

Winter began on June 1st but in spite of that our one bit of good luck on Saturday was the weather. The sun was shining and the temperature hovered around 70 degrees. The game was originally supposed to be at home but halfway through the week it was changed to away; away to the worst oval in the competition.

Gwawley Park looked like an open paddock the cattle had abandoned for better feed. It was uneven and patches of dirt 20 feet by 20 dotted its landscape. One side was not rounded as an oval should be but was straight like the sideline of a rugby field, an indication of its earlier use.
By the end of the game we were covered in dust and had more than our fair share of cuts and bruises from the rock hard ground.

It has been a month since my last game. I was strangely calm running out to the wing 10 minutes into the game against the Southern Sharks at their home ground. We were already down a couple of goals. I was not in more than a minute before they kicked another goal.

Throughout the game the ball would come tantalizingly close to me and then slip away. I had three or four marks but never had a solid possession that led to a goal. That did not mean I was missing the action. Every couple of minutes a Shark would get the ball in front of me and I had the privilege of making him regret his possession. Although it felt good to get in a tackle here and there, it did not help us in the long run.

The reserves lost earlier in the day and we ended up losing by 70 points. That was our fourth loss in a row.

After the game I headed into Sydney with Chris and Lauren Kendall and another couple, James and Kelly. They were up for the weekend to watch the game and then relax in Sydney. I feel a little bad they had to sit through a game like that.

We had a hearty Italian dinner in the famous Rocks district. Then it was off to find a suitable pub for fun and excitement. We stumbled upon the Orient. It was a truly classy joint where we were able to watch how smooth Australian men really were. I have much to learn.

Between pubs we walked down by the Harbour Bridge and took in the night lights. James and Kelly had never been to Sydney so it was all new to them. We were standing in the Rocks. To our left was the Harbour Bridge and to our right were the Circular Quay and the Opera House. It is not a sight that one could easily get sick of.

The next day we enjoyed Crispy Crème donuts for breakfast before heading to Manly Beach. After an uneventful ferry ride we stepped unbeknownst to us into the Food & Wine Tasting Festival. We browsed through all the stands before settling on steak and ribs. We ate our messy meal on the beach while soaking up the sun. For dessert, we feasted on ice cream and then headed back into the city so they could catch their flight back to Melbourne.

In a little over a month I will be joining Chris and Lauren. I will live with them for the better part of July and play on Chris’ footy team in Shepparton. Then comes the International Cup and history.

- James Brunmeier

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