Danny's Journal March 26-April 3

Despite my illness and the long, boring days of resting, the weekend slipped by quite quickly. By Sunday, I felt real good as most of the symptoms began to subside. The swelling in my throat had completely gone away and my temperature seemed to have decided to stabilize at a comfortable zone. Man, now I know why Penicillin was praised as such a great scientific finding!

Due to the tonsillitis, I had to miss two days work at the internship and one tutorial. Therefore, this week was full of catching up. I spent an extra hour at the office on Monday, which helped out a little as far as getting caught up goes. I was able to catch a few minutes of relaxation right before my 2 o’clock Australian politics lecture. After the lecture, I caught up with one of my friends from LA and we headed straight to the cafeteria as we both had not had lunch yet. During lunch we met a few Aussie students and spent our time paying-out (‘making fun of’ in Aussie terminology) each other’s accents. It was good fun.

Prior to Tuesday’s training, Head Coach Bully said that it was going to be a hard night’s run because there was no training on Thursday. This was due to the annual Kooka auction fundraising event at the local Epping Hotel. We started out with the typical stretches and warm-up laps and sprints. Moved onto handball drills and then kicking. First up, my kick didn’t feel up to par due to taking last week off, but after a few goes it seemed to naturally come back. The rest of training was full of conditioning and some more kicking drills. By the end, we began our calisthenics routine. I was still trying to get above 2 minutes and 30 seconds on the “bridge” abdominal work-out. I made it to 2 minutes and 40 seconds, not exactly a gain that I was hoping for but I was content.

Wednesday went real well, just relaxed prior to the only class of the day. The next day proved to more arduous, I spent the whole day in front of the computer at the office. From 10-5pm, I worked on my project and really got an idea of how the office life is. But then again that’s the whole idea behind an internship, get first-hand experience of the office life from a student’s perspective.

Onto Thursday’s evening, the auction was my first social gathering with all the boys from the football club. I really got to see how funny a lot of the guys are, there were tons of hilarious jokes spilling out. Through their humor, all of the individuals come together and enjoy one another’s company. I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with them at the Epping Hotel. But that was not the end of the night, as one of the coaches made note that there will be a practice match on Saturday and they needed a count of available players. To this I quickly raised my hand, I definitely wanted in on this one.

Saturday rolled around and it was the day to see if this American can play some Aussie Rules. I made my way to Trumper Park in Edgecliff, Sydney, the home of the UTS Bats. I was not too sure what to think of how I would perform. Although, never having before played a game of  football in the homeland of AFL, I was certainly intimidated. As I was dressing, I thought to myself that whatever happens out there, just make sure it was my best. With that in mind I took on that field with confidence.

The coaches decided to stick me on the wing with the starting side. At bounce-off I met my opponent, a dude just merely above half my size. This boosted my confidence and I felt the adrenaline rush through me as the game commenced. My first play of the game was a tackle which one of my teammates and I sandwiched the small guy that was defending me. Now that got me going. My first touch of the game was off a handball and then a run for goal. It happened all so fast. I received the handball and took a run to drop a goal, but it didn’t work out so well. I rushed the kick and severely shanked it for a behind. Oh well.

I was taken out of the game just before halftime and got back on at the fourth. This time the coaches put me in the backline and I was told to just eat up their offense. All I thought to do was tackle anyone with the ball that was near me. By the end of the last quarter, I must have had at least 3 or 4 decent tackles. The Kookas did real well against a decent UTS side, but since it was just a practice match there was no account of the score. I felt quite confident about my first AFL match in Australia, but knew that I still had a lot of work to do on my game.

- Danny Harris

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