James Moves to Victoria

James with Tony Adams, creator of the Macquarie Scholarship

After four and a half roller coaster months at Macquarie University, the time has come to move on. On Sunday I am flying down to Melbourne. From there I will make my way to Shepparton. I will live with friends, work and play footy for Mooroopna in the Goulburn Valley League. Come August I will link up with the American Revolution in Melbourne and we will make our bid at the International Cup title. But before all that I have to say goodbye to my friends and colleagues in Sydney.

My last week in Sydney has been interesting in a dull sort of way. After four months of drought, the skies have opened up and poured down that sweet liquid the farmers have been praying for. But true to Australia with its giant Uluru, ferocious crocodiles and unforgiving deserts, it only knows extremes. In Sydney it rained for four days straight. Not a gentle rain. By Thursday, the last day of the rains, there was heavy flooding in Queensland and northern New South Wales. Sydney’s streets were covered in water and to add insult to injury, all Sydney AFL games were cancelled for the weekend.

After attempting to go out in the rain and getting drenched for my troubles, I had plenty of time to reflect on my Australian experience. I looked back at my shock upon learning that not everyone in Australia played Australian Football. Rugby is the dominant sport at present but times are a changin’. But I soon found out that those who did play AFL were not to be taken lightly.

On the sidelines, be it during one of my many injuries or just a Swans game, I can honestly say that I learned as much as I did on the field. I am slowly learning what footy smarts are. I am also learning to recognize and deal with my many limitations. I could not have done this without the help of the Kookaburras. With their constant advice and support I am growing into a better, and hopefully smarter player.

Outside of footy I experienced probably my toughest semester at university. It challenged me to look at my weaknesses and over the course of the semester improve on them. I owe a lot to the staff at Macquarie Abroad for their help toward that end. Most importantly I have learned a great deal about Australian culture. This country has a history that may be the oldest in the world, and it is not given close to enough credit.

Without the USAFL and Macquarie University I would not have had such a unique opportunity to see Australia and experience its many unusual sides. I extend a special thanks to Paul O’Keeffe, Mark Wheeler and Julie Upton for their help and advice. At Macquarie University I would like to thank Tony Adams and all of the Macquarie Abroad office. I would like to thank the Macquarie Kookaburras for putting up with all my injuries and helping me become a better player. Finally I would like to thank everyone in the United States for your support through the semester. It has been an unforgettable experience. Thank you.

- James Brunmeier

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