May 14, 2008
Loyola Assistant Women's Basketball Coach Erin Brady is playing professionally for the South West Metro Pirates in Calamvale, Australia. She will share some of her experiences from her time 'Down Under' on loyolagreyhounds.com.
I think I've been `Down Under' long enough to offer everyone back home with a full, detailed report of what adventures my trip to Australia has provided me thus far.
When I left I really didn't have much time to over analyze the fact that I was not only flying out to LA, but then continuing on to Australia. Regardless, the first 5-hour flight to L.A. felt like no more than two hours, and the remaining flight to Brisbane was only 13 additional hours and felt like no more than five. Everyone told me that it was the excitement and anticipation that made it go so quickly. I'm not sure what it was, but it was an easy trip and I wouldn't mind doing it again at all. I actually plan to make it again in the future because, I know after only being here a short time, I won't get to do or see as much as I would like to this time around.
My first order of business after getting over here was setting up my phone, which I'm sure comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me. I haven't been able to get my American cell phone to work over here, so I apologize to anyone who has tried to text or call me and has not gotten a response. My next order of business was to start figuring out how to get around in my little car on the left side of the road. Lucky for me I had an idea of what to expect from spending some time in Ireland, and after just a few short days I was a pro at driving on this side of the road. I was going through `round-a-bouts,' which is their term for traffic circles, with ease. They gave me a street map directory as well and from that point, having my phone and car, I was set to take on whatever was to come my way.
Unfortunately what came my way initially was a bit of bad fortune. When I arrived I was under the assumption that I would be able to play in the first game, but I soon found out my paperwork did not go through fast enough; therefore, I was sitting on the bench with the other `import' (as they like to refer to the restricted/foreign players) while our team lost our first game. Sitting on the bench wasn't unfamiliar territory for me at all because I am used to it through coaching, but it was extremely frustrating due to the circumstances. When I coach at Loyola I know that I cannot help the team by playing, but that night when I sat on the bench it was a different feeling because technically I could have helped them had I been cleared to play. It was not a great way to get introduced to the league.
The following week's game was not how I would have liked to have started my season off as well. That week I had pulled one of my hip flexor muscles at training and probably shouldn't have played in the second game but did anyway based on the fact that I was cleared to play and excited to get on the floor. I thought I would be good to go if I just taped it up well. I was wrong. I played only about half the game, which was probably too much, and I played those minutes at about half speed. After that game I was left with that frustrating feeling yet again, especially because we again did not win. Week three finally proved to be victorious and I had rested enough that my injury was no longer a factor. Our team ended up winning by a large margin and I played decent minutes, when I was on the floor. I was in foul trouble throughout the game and ended up fouling out before the fourth quarter even started. Those fouls were not all fouls, but I didn't mind cheering for my team from the bench since we had such a large lead.
Our games take place on the weekends, so I have time during the week to occupy time and entertain myself. South West (the Association I play for) does a very good job of helping me pass the time. In addition to coming over here to play I also do some coaching and teaching within different schools around the area or with different club teams in the area. My fellow American teammate, Ezy (Ezria Parsons), and I end up spending 3 - 4 days a week teaching basketball to school children who may or may not even know the very basic understandings of the game. Sometimes that provides a challenge and humor, but sometimes it provides a great deal of frustration.
Aside from our playing and coaching, we have found some time to check out some of the local sports teams. Rugby and AFL (Australian Football League) are huge over here. There are 2 different rugby leagues - Rugby Union (rugby that people in the states would be most familiar with) and Rugby League (which is a faster and more fun to watch version of rugby) and then there is AFL, which is my favorite! It is very similar to Gaelic football, which I had a taste of in Ireland. If I could try to explain it I would describe it as a mix between soccer, rugby, and the field goal aspect of American football. It's a bit hard to explain, but it is very fun to watch. We were lucky enough to get to a game and have very good seats. The local team here in Brisbane is called the Lions and they ended up winning the game, so it was a good day for everyone.
There is much more to share about Brisbane, the holidays that have passed since being over here, and of course about my team. I'll have an update sooner than later.