Luke Woolrich Travel Diary #1

Hello to everyone at the Rovers,

 

I made it here in one piece, I?ve never been on a 29 hour flight, it killed me. I got to America on Thursday 6th of May and it has been one hell of a ride so far, there is so much to see in this place. I?m over whelmed by the fact that I?m in America, I?m in another country and that I?ve never been this far from home.

 

Anyway the footy here is like 3rd division southern league, we had our first practice match on Saturday 16th in Chicago at about 4.30, we had enough for 16 a side and the ground was not bad, it was on the lakeside and in between 4 baseball pitches. We used pvc pipes for the goals and didn?t have a score board. The team was called the Chicago sharks, a good bunch, from what I?m told they are the only team the Bombers get along well with in a social way after the game. The Sharks had 4 aussie’s in the team. The 1st one was their full forward he was about 6??5 strong mark, good kick and quite fast, his name was Warrick, very nice bloke from Shepparton. The 2nd bloke was their centre half forward, he was 6?? good mark and kick but a bit slow, he was nice as well but he was quiet and from Shepparton as well. The 3rd bloke was full back and had a thumping kick, very slow but smart he was from La trobe. The 4th was a winger or flanker back and forward about 5??10 and he was an arse hole from Pakenham. He announced at the start of the game that the game should be a fair one with no fights, we?re all mates here and no dirty play, we were cool about that. We all shook hands and introduced ourselves.

 

During the 2nd quarter he ended up belting someone in the head and that someone was me, I turned around and grabbed him and said ?what the **** was that for? You said that we are supposed to be mates’. I let him go and went on with the game, the siren went 5 minutes later for half time and he came up to me and apologized and told me it won?t happen again, I didn?t care I was over it.

 

I absolutely blitzed in the first half and cramped the second half, I didn?t pace myself and also I haven?t been disciplined enough to keep fit. That will all change. As for the American player’s for both sides they have a lot to learn about how the game is played and also the skill is far from good. I found some players had a great mark but couldn?t kick and vice versa. Some could handball but couldn?t bounce. There is a lot for me to help these guys with, first of all it’s going to be skill, second it will be talk, and third it will be understanding the way the game is played and positioning. We?ve had two training sessions since I?ve been here and the first training there were 6 and the second there were about 16 or 17.I?ll tell you what though, these guys have great endeavor for getting the ball but it’s disposing of it that has to be worked on.

 

Prior to our game (Friday 14th) Plugger and I went to a school to show 1st graders to 5th graders about the game. This was great fun but I didn?t realize how much energy was required to teach. Plugger and I managed this quiet well, first there were 6 classes, and each one went for 50 minutes. We started with their names and we were shortening and lengthening them such as Max would be Mad Max, John’s would be Johnno’s and William’s would be Billy you get the idea. The kids loved that and that was good because we had them interested straight away, we even gave their teacher’s nick-names. After all that we showed them an Australian football and asked them the difference between this and an American football. Most of them could spot the differences, such as the shape and the lacing. After that we showed them the primary skill and that was kicking, some were natural’s and some were struggling, some would throw it in the air then kick it. There were only about 5 or 6 that could place the ball on to there foot.  So next was the handball, they were all struggling with this cause all there sports you can throw the ball. Some threw it in the air and punched it and some had the patience to master it. Next was bouncing the ball, this one was by far the hardest for all of them because once again the sports over here you can run with the ball or you play with a round ball which are obviously easier to bounce and some of the other sports you don?t have to bounce it at all. None of them succeeded unfortunately. Last of all was marking, by far this was the easiest for them. Most of them could mark on the chest and take the overhead mark, over here they call it a catch not a mark, so Plugger and I were drilling it in to them that you call it a mark not a catch. The groups were about 11 or 12 a class and that was just bearable. My job was to help the individuals that had no idea. Out of about 75 of the kids, only 4 or 5 knew what the game was but didn?t understand it to well. Hopefully now all 75 of them will now know about aussie rules, hopefully they?ll share it with their friends and eventually we have started something big in America.

 

On Wednesday 19th I?m glad to say that I was part of the first ever Metro footy game for the Milwaukee bombers. They were held on the lake front of Lake Michigan. Metro footy consists of 4 teams called Emus, Cockatoos, Kookaburras and the Galahs, I?m in the galahs with Plugger, Jared and Brother James. The Metro footy goes for 7 weeks then has a break for a month because of the summer and then starts up again for I think 5 weeks, It’s yet to be finalized. There is 8 to 10 a side depending on turnout, 2 games are played, one at 6.30 and one at 7.30. There is a points system for the team who wins and the team who has best turnout for their team. (2 pts for win, 1 pt for turnouts). There is only 2 goal posts, 3 is max in the centre and 4 10 to 12 minutes quarter’s for each game.

 

The results from Metro footy were outstanding, 27 players turned up, 25 didn?t show. Half of the 25 are studying, most are finishing this week and there are 6 injuries plus the rest are overseas so that’s all good. Two of the injured players showed up and this proved that these players have commitment plus the 27 already there for a first night of Metro footy. I found this to be the perfect way these guys can learn about the game without it jeopardizing their position for the nationals as a team. It’s basically training but with a competitive side to it. It is still full contact but gives the guys a chance to make decisions under pressure, also helps them with finding and creating space. There is also everything else with the game that some of them must learn. These would be the 1%, Talk both constructive and encouraging and skills. I?ll keep you up to date with the rest of my footy life over here but just for future interests I?ll be playing the 5th of June against Nashville, the 12th I?m going to Atlanta to play in the East vs. West all star game, the 26th we play Chicago swans apparently there a bunch of head hunters ( Jared. B could tell you that), there are more games later but I?ll keep you updated. Training is also every Sunday and once a month we have a board meeting at Plugger’s house. I?ve ordered some Milwaukee bombers jumpers to be signed.

 

Luke Woolrich

oiawooly46@hotmail.com

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