29 July 2009

Canada, part 1

Ok just so you all know, I’m actually typing up something that I have been handwriting at the end of every night. I don’t have my own laptop with me so have waited for a night where I could type up what I’ve written so far.

So lets go back to the start..

21 July 2009
Perth, Australia

Today started out with me getting up earlier than usual so that I could get to the shops as they opened to get my hair done. I like to get a trim and have a straightening iron run through my hair before I go away for big trips. Makes it more manageable for the first couple of days.

I then went home to spend the remaining time packing the last few things. The house was a huge mess but will just have to stay like that until I get home. I checked that I had my passport about 10 times and double checked my list of needed things at least twice.

Otto, the trusted taxi driver, picked me up around 130pm to take me to the airport to meet up with fellow Glider Amber and HC John T. Even though there was only the three of us, check in was a nightmare. My name was spelt wrong so it took them a while to find me on the system. Thankfully the actual flight was uneventful.

We arrived into Melbourne at night and Maz, Gliders Manager, was there waiting to take us to the Mantra to meet up with the rest of the Gliders. After checking into out individual rooms (each got out own rooms, except for Amber and Cobi, who had to share) we went back down to the foyer to meet with Hops rep Natalie Porter to try on the new team shoe. Because Hops normally only go down to a mens US 6, a few of us are getting ours especially made to fit our fun size feet. The other girls were lucky enough to be able to take their shoes there and then. Thanks Hops!

It was then time for bed. Thank you Mantra for having beds and pillows that feel like your sleeping on clouds!


22 July 2009
Melbourne, Australia

The next morning we were up early for a 630am breakfast followed by a 7am shuttle to the airport. Once at Melbourne International Airport we had the task of waiting around while everything was slowly checked in. Eventually everything was tagged and we said goodbye to our bags and sports chairs.

We then had a short amount of time before we had to go to our gate. I picked up my brand new Lumix camera from duty free as well as going halves with Maz in a 2 for $20 (or one for $19.95) neck pillow deal. I then went to the gate, had a quick play around with the Lumix, called Lee to say hi for the last time in a while, and then transferred onto a normal seat while they took my own away. I was second last to Sarah S. to be taken onboard and we had a bit of a giggle when one of the stewards told me I can now walk on board. Really? Yay for looking normal!

We had one of the new huge planes and I sat in 72D, an isle seat in the middle. I had Dori behind me and 3 randoms to the right of me. Thankfully they weren’t the kind to ask too many questions. On flights I usually like to be left alone.

The flight was approximately 14 hours long and I spent most of my time sleeping. The remaining amount of time on the plane I spent reading, eating crappy plane food, being taken to the loo or watching movies. There was a huge list to choose from with the Movies on Demand but I ended up watching Adventureland, the latest Kirsten Stewart film, and Chicago. A highlight was the seat to seat messaging system. Qantas’ version of MSN. You were also able to send and receive txt messages from phones on the ground but at just under $2 a pop I thought better of it. Especially when my txting usually turns into a full blown conversation.

(Whats green and looks like a bucket? A green bucket.)

We finally landed in LA around 8am their time. We were about an hour late which meant we didn’t have much time to get to our connecting flight. By the time we were all off the plane, go through customs, get new tickets issued and get to the right gate, the plane had just finished boarding its regular passengers. This meant that my neighbour was already there when I arrived. I offered him my window seat to make it easier for me but he declined. Which in hinesight was the better option because he was a bit larger than average (with huge thick black rimmed glasses and liked to have orange juice with no ice and hot tea with 3 sweeteners, no milk). He was nice though. He went to find the stewardess when I needed the isle chair to go to the loo.

About 4 hours later we were in Chicago and it had just turned the morning of the 22nd. Lucky me I got to have the 22nd of July 2009 twice. However, it did make me think twice before writing stuff down in my training diary (I ended up squashing it all on the one page). In Chicago we weren’t as rushed as in LA. We had a decent amount of time to freshen up and get some food.

The plane to Ottowa was a small one, with only 1 seat of the left side of the isle and 2 seats on the right. I was next to Bridie but she ended up moving to the spare row behind me. I tried so hard not to fall asleep in this flight but I couldn’t help it. Sleeping made the already short flight faster.

While waiting to get off the plane in Canada a whisper went around that they didn’t have our day chairs. That would have to be the worst thing to have had left behind. But when we got off we realized we did have all our chairs. We got to baggage claim and then realized it was our clothes bags that were left behind. So not as bad as day chairs but after traveling for all those hours all we wanted was a nice hot shower, a fresh pair of clothes and bed. But no. It wasn’t going to happen. Not until after midday the next day when our bags would be delivered to us.

Air Canada were nice enough to give us overnight kits but still, it only contained a toothbrush/paste, a shaver with shaving cream, a folding hairbrush, some laundry powder, a stick of mens deodorant and a tent of a shirt. I still wasn’t going to get a pair of clean knickers.

(Air Canada gave me this, Chicago left my bags behind!)

Algonquin College, the place we are playing and staying at was only 15 minutes from the airport. So we went there via a 24 hour food store and were able to check in. Bagless. Each room is more like an apartment. 2 rooms with one double bed and desk in them connected by a small kitchenette/eating area and a bathroom attached. Dori is my flat mate for the tournament. Woo!

We were finally able to de-fuzz ourselves in the shower but I must admit that going to bed in a shirt way too big for me with my one pair of undies handwashed and drying over the lamp was quite odd. I’m glad I had the room to myself.


23 July 2009
Ottowa, Canada

Today started pretty lazy. 9am breakfast (philly bagel and cuppa tea) followed by a 10am wander over to the basketball court. We then went food shopping for lunch. We decided to get a whole bunch of hot chickens with salad. I was determined to have hot gravy, so I went on a mission. They don’t have already made gravy that you snip the corner of and zap in a microwave, but I found a tin of ready made and bought a can opener and small microwavable jug. Mission complete J

By the time we got back it was lunch time and we had a feast. My chicken and gravy sanger was awesome. Nearly as good as Bucking Beef back home.

We then had free time until 5.30pm when we had a players only meeting followed by a team meeting run by JT. It was then time for our first training session. It felt good to be shooting around again but did take a few goes to get the cobwebs out. I only feel a slight twang in my elbow when trying long, hard, 2 handed passes but other than that, it felt good.

After a quick clean up we went to Chances R Restaurant for dinner. It was really good. I had the BBQ pork ribs with mash.

Before I knew it, it was tme to head back, shower, and then bed.

I showered, but at the moment I am sitting at the desk by the bed writing this before I forget. Bed now though J


24 July 2009
Ottowa, Canada

Today was the cruisiest day. We had breakfast at 8am and then had a 2 hour training session at 9. JT said that if we have a really good morning session, like the one we had yesterday, then we wont do the afternoon session. So after lunch we were able to de-badge and do whatever we wanted. The weather here is a little disappointing cloudy and raining. So no one felt like catching a cab to go explore Ottowa city. Instead Dori and I did our laundry and then watched the Proposal on Tina’s laptop with a few of the other girls.

I then took the chance to have my first internet session since leaving Australia. 22 new emails and 33 facebook notifications (unfortunately most of them being junk). So by the time I caught up with all that it was time to get changed back into uniform for a team meeting and dinner.

In the team meeting we talked about the game we will be playing tomorrow evening against Canada. The Gliders were split into halves with team green, consisting of Tina, Cobi, Sarah, Katie, Dori and I, and the rest of the Gliders in team gold. Basically each team has their own defensive and offensive goals and strategies for tomorrows game. We then shared each teams goals and strategies with each other. I wont say what those goals or strategies are but will let you know if they work J

Afterwards we went back to Chances R for dinner for a nice meal out on the rain proof patio. I had salmon fillet. Very nice!

We then went to watch Germany beat Canada in a scratch against each other. Afterwards, the German coach had them doing ramp sprints despite the fact they had won the game. It got me thinking. Germany came 2nd at the Paralympics and are getting cained even after winning a scratch. Australia came 3rd and did one 2 hour training session and had the rest of the day off. I understand the importance of recovery and I admit that it did well for by mentally and physically fatigued body, but watching those Germans push up and down a ramp did made me think.

After the game, Dori, Kat and I had a much needed girl chat session. Shower, blogging and bed followed.

 (Kat, Dori and I)

25 July 2009
Ottowa, Canada

Today was the busiest day so far.

730am breakfast. 9 – 11am training. 12pm lunch. We then had another training session at 3pnm where we did our shooting charts as well as a short 5 on 0 to learn and go over various base line plays.

We then had a little bit of free time before a 6pm team meeting to refresh what we went through at yesterdays team meeting. The sun came out a bit today which was nice. Even though its mainly cloudy and raining, its still quite hot so we don’t really need jumpers. We put the air con on during the day but then turn it off at night because we freeze and also because it makes a huge racket. We then wake up in the middle of the night all sweaty. Can’t seem to find the happy medium.

At 7pm we had an exhibition game against Canada. We had a shot clock but no points were put up pn the board, however, Maz was keeping tally on out bench. Trist from Canada ref’ed the first half of the game and our AC Ben ref’ed the second half.

Green team of the Gliders started the game for us. Our press felt good and did work on a lot of occasions. Causing turn overs and shot clock violations. However, a few too many fast breaks when someone speedy was able to slip past us, caused the Canadians to be up on us at one point.

The Yellow team then had a crack for a while before Cobi and I were subbed back on. I must admit, I had a lot of fun playing with fellow 1.0 pointer Amanda C. We worked well in defense, switching at the right times, etc. We got a run on the Canadians and ended up winning by 3 points. A win is a win so I was happy!

We stretched down, iced the elbow, and then went back to the residence to enjoy Chinese take-away. After a good chat and a cuppa tea its now time for bed.

Oh, and its good to hear that the cats won their game today. Ending the triple header in Sydney 2 and 1. Unlucky with the 1 against the Gong, but we will beat them in the finals. I often think about the teams I am leaving behind at home in Perth. I hope the Stars girls are training well so they are ready for the looming round in Melbourne.


26 July 2009
Ottowa, Canada

This morning it was back to being rainy. Before going to breakfast I gave my pee and recovery sample to Miranda, acting team physio, and then went down to have my cuppa tea and bagel. At 9am we had a training session where we went through all out base line plays again and then were taught High (another ½ court play I already knew from Stars).

We then had about an hours worth of free time before having lunch at 12 which was followed by more free time til 2pm when we had another training session. During this session we played a scratch match against Germany. We were eaten alive. Carter, Bridie, Cobi, Shelley and I started and our press against them wasn’t working. They are really fast and cross really well and make their layups. Their bigs are huge and can therefore post up pretty easy against anyone of us.

After half time they were more than double our score, like 19 to 45 or something like that, and John dropped the defense back to a d-cup and rotated the rest of the players through. Dori played like an absolute champion, scoring like 6 points within the first couple of minutes of being subbed on. Added to that was plenty of decent rebounds and awesome defense.

We still lost, but not by as such a big margin as we were when we were pressing, so the d-cup worked really well. Tomorrow we play them for real in our first game for the tournament. Hopefully we have learnt from todays game to improve tomorrow.

It was good to see that the sun had decided to come out after the game. A little bit of sunshine is better than none and does great for the mood.

(The Residence @ Algonquin College under a beautiful blue sunny sky!)

At 6pm, we went back to our fave restaurant for dinner (club wrap, yum!) and had a bit of a giggle over various stories before heading back to the rezzies for various activities before bed.

Sleep in tomorrow! Woo!


27 July 2009
Ottowa, Canada

Today was the first day of playing official games. After a morning training session we had a game against the Germans at 5pm.

I said yesterday that I hope we learn from the scratch match to have a better game today. We didn’t. I can’t remember the exact score, but the gap was fairly large.

It seemed like most of the time we were getting up the floor alright, but out shots weren’t going in. I ended up with about 6 points but the shot that stands out for me is when Germany was pressing and we worked hard to get the ball over ½ way. No. 10 of Germany had stopped Sarah with the ball’s chair, I pushed hard around them, was free as a bird, received the ball and then missed the layup.

We didn’t lose by one or two points so I shouldn’t think about that shot. But I do. Us low pointers don’t shoot as often as highs do in a game, so I would like to make them when I do. I hate feeling like I am working so hard but still failing.

Anyway, after the game we freshened up and went straight to dinner at Chances R (spaghetti and ribs combo!). Afterwards we came together as 12 players to talk a few things over before heading off to bed.

(My spaghetti and ribs combo.. so good!)

I heard Canada lost to the Netherlands by like 40 points. At first I thought they were joking, but good on the Netherlands! They have improved heaps since I first saw them at the Roosevelt Tournament in Warm Springs, Georgia, USA.

Tomorrow we play Canada. We better win!


28 July 2009
Ottowa, Canada

Today was such a good day. We beat those Canadians! Our defense was working really well and how shots were going in. We caused many 8 second and shot clock violations as well as plenty of turn overs. We were able to play the game at our pace and run through many of our ½ court plays. I played about 36-38 minutes of the game and it just felt good to be out there on court. The highs were shooting brilliantly. I hope we go onwards and upwards from this game.

After the game, we ordered Chinese take-away so that we could stay and watch the Netherlands play Germany. Germany smashed the Netherlands in the same way they did us, but it was a good opportunity to scout the Netherlands who we play in 2 days time.

Afterwards, Dori, Kat and I wandered over to what we thought was a baseball diamond. Instead it was soccer. So we sat and watched them for a while before coming back for another cuppa tea.

(In the carpark, mucking around with camera settings)

(Me trying to be creative at the soccer)

Tomorrow is our day off and we have a plans for a late breakfast so I have taken this opportunity to type up everything that I have had written since starting this journey. Now just to copy and paste over to Blogger and upload some pics!

20 July 2009

SYTYCD and Pre-Canada

It's late, I know. But its raining hard outside and the panel of fencing right outside my bedroom window is flappin back and forth, and is keeping me awake. I should have had this panel fixed ages ago, but like me having to make a dental appointment, I have put it off.

Anyway! I thought I would take this opportunity to write something.

Last night I went to the So You Think You Can Dance live tour at the Challenge Stadium. Freaking awesome! The dissy seating section was a slightly crappy distance from the stage but you could still see and hear everything. All those guys danced amazingly. Charlie was my favourite during the season so it was great to be able to see him dance live. Every now and then I would draft a txt in my phone the lyrics of the songs they danced to. I highly recommend you download James Morrison's 'You make it real'. It's the song for when they danced about the fires in Victoria. Awesome song. I'm still trying to find a song by Jane Siberry called 'Honey Bee' (well at least thats what Google told me it was called). But my program of choice doesn't seem to have that one.

I fly to Melbourne on Tuesday (which technically is tomorrow) and then stay over night to fly to LA then Chicago and finally Ottowa before bus'ing it to where ever it is we are staying. I haven't packed yet. I never do til either the day before or on the day of flying. I do however have a huge pile of uniform and random items on my couch, waiting to be sorted into some logical order. Its going to be tough. Maz the Manager has told us to pack light, but I have to fit in everything that was listed on the Gliders uniform list, as well as stuff needed for the Western Stars when I arrive back in Melbourne. PLUS a few sets of casual wear for when Im hangin with Dori for the 2 or 3 days between arriving in Melbourne and meeting up with the Stars for WNWBL. Anyway, Im rambling, but my main point, is that it will be a challenge.

There is so much that I have to do tomorrow (sorry, I mean today). I have to go to the shops, go to the physio, go to the hairdresser or at least make an appointment for tuesday morning, pay all the bills that are due while im away, and ring up anyone that I have to (like re-arranging my car service). I know that probably doesnt sound like a whole lot but its strange how time just goes by and all of a sudden its time to go to training. I also have to finish the last 2 chapters of Jodi Picoult's the Pact so I dont have to take 2 books in my backpack. Last trip away I stayed up til 2am just so I didnt have to do just that. Its surprising just how much space they can take up.

Hopefully, the facilities in Canada will have some sort of internet. Whether its a net cafe or wireless. I have bought a new camera on the DutyFree website so that it is waiting for me at Melbourne International Airport before I leave. So I should be able to take better photos this time around (unlike Japan where I got Dori to take all the photos coz her camera was the better one between the 2 of us). I'll try blogg some if I can while I am there.

Anyway, thats enough rambling for tonight. I apologise for any boring-ness and/or typo's. I dont have my glasses on, so its a little blurry. And I'm tired. The wind has died down a bit so hopefully my fence will be nice enough to stay quiet for me. Up early tomorrow so there is no wasting of time.


13 July 2009

WNWBL Round 3

Friday the 26th of June saw the Western Stars fly out to Sydney for the third round of the Womens National Wheelchair Basketball League.

The weekend itself was great. We stayed pretty much in the heart of Sydney, just a short monerail trip to Darling Harbour, in a pretty swanky hotel, surrounded by shops and markets, and lots and lots of places to eat. I even got to see my Dad, the first time since finals last year.

(Stars @ Timezone)

(Kent the Pig - won @ Timezone)

(Massive feed @ Darling Harbour)

(Some famous boat @ the Museum)

It was the basketball that was shit. 3 games. 0 wins. 'Nuf said.

(Poor elbow *sad face* JT, Lee and Dad in the background..)

(Dori - no. 7 - played like a champ. See you in Canada chick!)

(HC JT and AC Lee, putting some fire back into us)

(At least we look good. We couldn't have placed ourselves any better for this photo..)

Lets do better next round girls.

I leave for Canada next week with the Gliders. Will try post as much as I can. Otherwise, I get back into Australia on the 4th or 5th of August and stay in Melbourne for the next WNWBL round.