Saturday, September 13, 2008

What a HUGE day!!!

I'm currently having one of those days where you do so many different things that you actually stop and go "It's still Saturday...right?". I have achieved so much today that it's amazing.

Firstly, Today was "GRAND FINAL DAY" for my under 10 basketball team. We did amazingly well to get to the grand final and we were all pumped. The game started at 9:40am this morning and it was a really good match. My team played very, very well and really deserved to win....unfortunately we don't always get what we deserve and we were beaten 13-26. It's cliche I know, but that score really doesn't do the teams performance justice. We out-played the other team consistently through-out the whole game and in the end only lost due to them having more players and therefor fresher legs. By the end of the game I had 6 completely stuffed little kids who had given there all and were only beaten because they were tired. The games are 50 mins long and that is a long time for such young children to run, jump, concentrate and deal with the disappointment of knowing they aren't going to win and still keep trying. They truly are a bunch of champions. They never gave up and fought right to the end and unfortunately the other team had 10 players in total and all of them were of similar ability and their coach made sure that none of them ever got tired. I didn't have that luxury and in the last 3 mins they went from leading by 5 to leading by 13.

After the game there was a small presentation ceremony and I was asked to present the team with their runners-up trophies. Now, it's been a while since I won an actual "Trophy" by playing sport. In my 20's and 30's whenever any team I was playing in won a final, be it Basketball, netball, Volleyball we usually got something akin to a etched pewter beer mug or sport socks. So I was absolutely gob-smacked today by the advances in "trophy technology" that I witnessed.
All my team (including me) got this little beauty.

Let me just preempt this by saying the kids in my team, while disappointed that they lost the game, were so amazed by these trophies that they almost didn't care that they lost. The team that did win were also a bit miffed because they had different trophies which had your standard golden man on top layout. Why? you may ask. Check this out:

How cool is that!!!! Isn't that just like the best trophy you've ever seen ?? It was either a really well thought out plan by the Basketball stadium management to make the losing teams players feel a bit better about it or Trophies in general are just 1000% more kick-ass from when I was a kid :)

After the game a lot of the parents came over and expressed their thanks to me for coaching this season. That was nice as a lot of the time I get the impression that they don't approve of much that I do (especially at training) but today they knew that the kids have really improved during the season and making the grand final was no accident really.

After basketball I headed off to "achieve" the first 2 goals I had set for myself this weekend...both involved spending a lot of money...but necessity is a cruel mistress. My first task was to buy a whipper-snipper. I did the appropriate research and learned that the petrol powered models are more powerful, more economical and actually use very little petrol compared to the absolute mega-watts the electric variants suck down. I also thought (or maybe someone told me?) that it's best to go and spend the money on a decent "NAME BRAND(tm)" model as if the engine does pack-it-in later you're likely to be able to get it fixed.

So I went down to Bunnings-mega-super-consumer-a-polooza-warehouse in Croydon and navigated to the "Whipper Snipper" section. "HOLY SHIT" was my initial impression of this place. There must have been about 200 different whipper-snippers there on the hell was I supposed to pick one!! It's like the whipper-snipper equivalent of the Greco cake fridge. Since I am new to most things that (a) require manual labor outdoors and (b) involve a garden, I did the only thing that I could think of to help with the choice. I started pulling them down off the wall and playing with them....pretty soon more and more people in the aisle where pulling down the Whipper-Snippers and waving them around getting a feel for their weight, arc of use etc. I always knew I was a trend setter. During my soujourn up and down the aisle looking at the various WS's (<-- that will mean Whipper-Snipper from now on...cos it's just stupid typing such a long word all the time) I had a "bonding" moment with another guy who was also trying to buy a WS. He, like me, had virtually no idea what constituted a "good" WS. He started the bonding session by casually looking at me and with a look of utmost confusion on his face, saying "There's just so many of them?? How do we know what to get? Which one do you like?". Not wanting to sound like a complete moron who knew nothing about WS's, I said "Well, im looking for a 4-stroke because that will use the same fuel as my mower." The question I immediately asked myself then was "Do these even come in 4-stroke??". Luckily, they did...mystery Man had seen them in another part of the aisle and met my answer with a whistle. "They are the really expensive ones" he stated. So we both headed to the 2-stroke WS's. 2-stroke turned out to be 1/2 the price of the 4-stroke models so we were at least making head-way. We both took a few WS's down and had a look at them. Mystery man was keen on a "straight" arm WS because he thought the extra reach would come in handy. "Handy for what?" is what I thought, where does this guy stand when WSing? Is he scared of grass and weeds?? Want's to be as far from them as possible? So many questions would be unanswered today. We looked at a few more models and quickly came to the conclusion that there was really only a few choices we had to make: 1) Chose a brand that we knew: (HA! I knew this already!!) because there were about 50 different brands here ranging from the well known (Ryobi, McCulloch, Makita) to some generic Chinese yum-cha brands that no-one whould admit to knowing even if they did (Mr. Tool (wtf?), "The Best One" (oooooh marketing genius there!) and "Grass Annihilator" to name a few).
2) Choose a price we were comfortable with: There was a WS for every $ price you could think of from $99 right up to $299.

I made my choice and this was cause for great concern to my new friend. He was under pressure now to choose as well. AaAannD you guessed it...he grabbed the exact same one I did. We bid each other farewell with the customary "nod'n'grunt" and I made my way to the register. So now I am the owner of a new 2-stroke McCullock T250 CLS...yay.

After successfully completing task No.1 it was on to task No.2. This was to buy a new pair of basketball shoes for the new season that starts this week. All I can say is that this was an abject failure. I visited every sports store in my local area that I could think of and noticed something very strange. You can't actually buy "good" basketball shoes from sport-stores anymore. Oh, they have basketball shoes in stock...but they are so "Bling" and totally unsuited to using on a basketball court now-a-days that you look akin to a circus clown if you wear them. That and they are so ridiculously priced that even if you do find a pair that you can stomache, you feel completely horrified because you know these shoes where probably made by child labourers in Malaysia who probably got paid 20c a week and here is the fruit of their labour being sold for $270?? I can't in good conscience support that sort of inhumanity. So I will go to the Converse clearance store tomorrow and pick up an "australian made" pair for about 1/4 the price.

With task 2 resigned to failure I headed back home to begin on task no.3 - Gardening. More precisely, WEEDING (ugh!). Now it may not be common knowledge to anyone but my closest of close friends that I have a hatred for all things "Garden". I'll come right out here and say it "I just don't get gardening"..I don't. I know that millions of people love to get out in the dirt and pull out one type of plant and stick another in it's place and say it's the best "hobby" on earth. I am not one of these people. I think this behavior stems (hehe geddit?) from me always having lived in rental properties....where you just don't give a shit about anything 1cm past the front door jamb. The house could have a garden but you never tend to it because..well...who cares what happens to someone else's Garden. I've always thought that it was the height of imposition for land lords to include a garden in their rental properties. It's just another whole level of responsibility that most renters don't want. Having said garden has become so horrifically unkempt that even *I* got sick of looking at it. Something had to be done.

So, I got my gardening gloves on (yes, I have gardening gloves ... I think they were $1) got my organic waste bin and got my camera. The camera was so I could see if my efforts actually had any effect on the garden.

Here's some before shots:

and here's what it looks like now after about 2 hrs of weeding.

I didn't actually get to finish all the weeding I had to do because I actually filled up my whole waste bin. The bin is HUGE too look...

It was also such a nice sunny and warm day that I didn't want to spend it pulling vegetation from the Earth. I wanted to go for a ride!!! I promptly stopped "Gardening" and took the Avanti out for a spin on the Eastlink bike track and headed south. Got a really nice 90min ride in too, there were quite a few people out riding and running (Far too many running if you ask me...they are a nuisance to people on bikes doing upwards of 40km/hr!!). My "bike Ride" playlist on the iPod still kicks ass for riding fast too not hard to keep up the pace when listening to hard rock and metal. I'm glad I went out actually as Melbourne's weather is so random that you don't ever know just how long nice weather like this will last.

After the ride I remembered that I actually had to go grocery shopping too. because Mum would be here tomorrow and I can't go I did that. Then when I got home 2 loads of clothes washing, washed my dirty dishes, washed my floors (again..stupid plumbers and their dirty boots) and AND washed my car!! This is all in one day too. Scroll back up and have a look at all the stuff I have done....who said men couldn't multitask.

and the best thing is...there's still a whole other day tomorrow!!!

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