Softball Update from Australia (June 20)

Day 10

Today we awoke in the third different hotel of our trip and were unfortunately not greeted with the staple from the previous Ibis hotel in Brisbane, the crunchy Nutella waffles. We're all crossing our fingers in hopes of tomorrow.

After breaky, the group met our Sydney tour guide, Adrianna, and embarked on our Sydney sight-seeing tour. We drove all around downtown Sydney with a few stops here and there. Our first stop was at the Sydney Opera House to take a group pic and explore the inside a bit. It truly is as beautiful as they say it is. A few of us are hoping to make it to the opera for a show before we leave. We took a few team pictures and perused the gift shop before leaving.

Next we headed out to Mrs. Macquarie's Point. She was the wife of the fifth mayor and would spend her time sitting on a chair (a side of a cliff) and acted as a lookout for incoming boats. It doubled as a beautiful view of the city. After spending a few minutes there, we headed to Darling Point which also has a beautiful view back into the city but also juts into the water with two bays on either side, making for another beautiful photo op.

We then found our way to Bondaii Beach which is the main beach in Sydney. We saw plenty of people surfing and spent sometime walking along the beach. We had another wonderful lunch where people either had wraps, burgers, or for those who aren't sick of it yet, fish and chips. Our crew spent about a half hour exploring the shops and sitting enjoying the sand, the waves, and of course the seagulls.

On the way back to the city, we drove through Hyde Park where there was a protest occurring, making us feel like we never left campus. While those were our only stops of the tour, we learned a lot about the different parts of Sydney along the route, below you can find a list of fun facts from the day.

Adrianna was stock full of fun facts, here are a select few:

  • A sloppy joe in Australia is not something you eat as it is in America, but rather it's a fleece top.
  • We were informed to bring both our sunnies (sunglasses) and our brollies (umbrellas) along with us wherever we go.
  • Sydney harbor is shark netted and is void of crocs as well as it's too cold for them here.
  • There are 40 million kangaroos in comparison to 20 million people who live in Australia
  • We learned that Aussie money can go through the wash and won't fade or wrinkle (brilliant). The coins are designed in different sizes and weights to assist the blind. 
  • In 1810, rum was used as a bartering system in lieu of currency
  • Captain Cook founded Australia and sent convicts to Australia to serve a seven-year sentence. Most of the convicts after serving their sentence didn't have the money to return, so would stay in Australia and have their family commit a crime to be sent there as well. Current Australians citizens are often proud to share the stories of the crime their family members committed when discussing their heritage. 
  • Sydney Opera House was built in 1973 and took 13 years and $112 million dollars to be made, though the original estimate was seven years and $30 million. Even despite this, the debt was paid off in 18 months (we could learn something from Australia in this regard).
  • Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer, thus it's compulsory for kids to wear a hat as part of their school uniform until they turn 12.
  • Wooloomooloo is a neighborhood just outside of Sydney proper. Wooloomooloo is an aboriginal word that means all wallabies or kangaroos. 
  • Australian boats can be identified by the red kangaroo on the side.
  • Your 12th year in primary school in Australia everyone takes a "University marks", wherein depending on your score you decide what speciality you can go into and thus what University you will go to.
  • Australia is a little more strict when it comes to receiving your driver's license. The first three years after you have your license, you have a "p plate" for provisional. You're only allowed to drive with one person after 11 PM and you also start with 12 points and if you lose them, you lose your license. You can lose points by any mild infraction - speeding, parking violation, etc. 
  • Rent is paid on a weekly basis.
  • Rug up means to bundle up and put on a coat and beanie.
  • A singlet is what they call a tank top.
  • They call McDonald's Mackers and Burger King here is called Hungry Jack's.
  • Gas is priced by liters rather than by gallon.
  • Bikes are called push bikes and it's compulsory to wear a helmet. Not wearing a helmet will result in a $170 fine.
  • Kids become a member of their beach at an early age and learn the ins and outs of the ocean. When they become a teenager, most of them will become a volunteer lifeguard at their local beach.

After our afternoon of touring Sydney, we got back on the bus and headed out to Blacktown International Sports Park, which was home to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. The facility's general manager gave us a tour of the softball arena. which is now used by New South Wales teams. The arena features a plaque recognizing the 2000 USA gold medalists, which had some names we were familiar with such as Michele Smith and Lisa Fernandez.

After touring the facilities for a while, we hit the field to play our actual last game of the season and last games of the careers for Anna, Alexa and Maggie. The game was accompanied with some interesting positions for people but alas we didn't make it to the bottom of the seventh inning which would have featured Megan at catcher, Molly at short and center at the same time and Jordyne at second base. We work on incentives like no other as we faced a 5-0 deficit going into the 7th and loaded the bases for the first time of the game this inning, but were not able to tie up the game.

After the game, we had a barbie put on by the opposing team which was stock full of the works. Dinner featured sausages, chicken kabobs, fried fish, cheesy potatoes, pasta salad, salad and garlic bread. We enjoyed a great dinner and great company getting to know the Sydney players and coaches and learning about what the natives do.

That's all for now folks! Tune back in tomorrow to hear about the Blue Mountains!

  • Maggie O'Hara & Christie Ambrose