One More Sleep

April 2, 2012 1 comment

Until I jet back to the states.  I can’t believe it has been almost 7 months since I came over here, 203 days to be exact.

Back in 2006 when I left Sydney to head back to the University of Delaware for spring semester senior year I said if I had the chance to come back here to work I would.  It has been a crazy ride and am so thankful I had the opportunity to come here again.  There are a number of things I will take from this experience, but most importantly are the connections I have made, and not just on the business side of things.

My host family has been a big reason why I have enjoyed my time here.  Not many people will allow a stranger to stay in their home for a week, let alone 7 months.  It was great to be welcomed in to a family with open arms, it made it easy to get accustom to everything here.

Baseball was the reason I came here and it was a big portion of my stay here.  The ABL was a fantastic way to start my career in baseball, and working at the team level was definitely the right decision (as opposed to the league).  With a front office staff of just 5 people we were all given the freedom to come up with new ideas and run with them.  We succeeded and failed together and lived and learned as well.   I learned from an experienced GM in David Balfour and made some great friends in the meantime.  I would highly recommend this experience to anyone looking to get their foot in the door.

I was asked yesterday by my friend Mike what the highlight of my time here has been, I have quite a few but I named a baseball and a non-baseball one.

The baseball one actually happened during our first home series.  There was a rain delay and the Melbourne Aces had a plane to catch.  They were down by 1 in the top of the 5th inning and tried to stall by playing every trick in the book in order to have the game not count.  Our most experienced pitcher Chris Oxspring was on the mound and was able to get out of the inning and earn the win.  It’s hard to explain, but the atmosphere in the stadium that day was electric as everyone was rooting/barracking against the Melbourne Manager who was playing all these games.

My non-baseball one is probably the trip with my mother up to Fraser Island and the Great Barrier Reef, but the road trip to Adelaide is another one.  While the scenery and serenity of Fraser Island and the Great Barrier Reef was a once-in-a-blue moon opportunity, the road trip was a truly great bonding experience with my co-workers/friends.  A 14-hour middle of the night road trip can either bring the best or the worst of people and we definitely became closer on that trip.  As I learned a bit of over-sharing never hurt anyone =)

And while the weather hasn’t been perfect I did have the opportunity to get these shots and enjoy this scenery:

 

Not a bad place to spend some time.

 

This is not goodbye, just so long for now.  Because I will be back, as I still need to see New Zealand, Perth and the Outback…till next time!

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Life Lessons..

March 26, 2012 1 comment

It’s been almost 7 months away from home and sometimes I find myself thinking “would I have taken this opportunity back before their was Facebook?”  When I switched to the new “timeline” in Facebook I saw that I signed up for it back in October of 2004, yes back when you had to Click on the hyperlink of the University you attended in order to sign in, and it was call “TheFacebook:”

You can see Delaware added with the likes of some other big Universities

Back then you didn’t join networks, or build photo albums, you couldn’t even write on someone’s wall.  It was truly your page with some brief information and a picture.  And you can search for other people and ask to be friends, it really wasn’t that exciting.  You could only connect with people if they went to one of the chosen schools and then schools began to petition to get on.  It wasn’t until late 2005 when you could begin to post photos and the wall function was added.

This wasn’t meant to be a “back in the good ole days,” or “the Facebook i once knew..” story, instead I think, would I have come over here when there wasn’t this sense of comfort in social media where I feel like I can keep up with everyone’s lives every morning by just signing online and clicking on my keypad.  I am able to type out a few messages and it makes me feel like I am not missing out on everything back home.  While I may be away for 7 months I don’t feel as I am totally out of the loop.  While Facebook isn’t the direct replacement for actually being there it does help ease the sense of “not belonging.”

So yes while I am adventurous and I sometimes wander down the path less taken I wonder if I would be this way if I was born a decade earlier.  I probably would have done something, but who knows if it would be this far and for this long.  But thanks to this experience I now know why the iPhone and 3G were the best inventions ever…only 8 more days till I get to turn that puppy off Airplane mode  =)

And thanks to Facebook this morning I came across a very good article about “12 Life Lessons Learned in 12 Years on the Road:”

My favourites are “Life is change.  You must embrace it,” “It’s the small, free things that matter most in life,” “Everyone’s story is more complicated than it seems,”

and the best one: “The truth is always the best choice” – anyone who knows me knows that you do not ask me a question if you don’t want to hear the truth, or sometimes I will just provide you the truth without the question being asked….

I can hear this playing right now:

 

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All good things must come to an end…

March 21, 2012 Leave a comment

The dream season is over…unfortunately Kansas beat the Lady Blue Hens today 70-64.  It was a tough tough game to lose, but this is one season that no one will forget.  One of the best things about the NCAA tournament was that Delaware got a chance to showcase their skills to a National Audience.  A lot has been said about how Delaware is a mid-major since they play in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), and no one wanted to believe the hype about Elena Delle Donne who led the nation in scoring at 27.3 points per game.

Well after her first 2 NCAA tourney appearances and first two nationally televised games she can now say she scored 73 points, brought down 21 rebounds and blocked 5 shots in 70 minutes of play.  After scoring 39 against Arkansas – Little Rock in the first game she followed it up with an even more impressive 34 point performance as she was heavily guarded by 2-3 defenders every time she touched the ball.  She earned a tweet from Kevin Durant and definitely gained more Twitter followers based on her game.  People now understand the hype, which is well deserved.

I also have to say I am impressed with the Delaware Media Relations coverage of this season, without them I wouldn’t have been able to see more than half of the games which are broadcast live at home, and their extended coverage during the NCAA tournament has been impressive.  Delle Donne’s family story has been told over and over by the National Media, but the UD Multimedia Director was able to give us a behind the scenes take on the teams travels as well.  Here’s one of the videos they put together featuring Elena and senior guard Meghan McLean while in Little Rock:

 

Friendship is one of the best things gained from team sports, and the Delaware Media Relations department deserves a big hand for giving us an insight to the personalities of the Blue Hen team.  It sure was a magical season and I am just glad I was able to follow along from 10,000 miles away.

The starting 5 will be back next season, and I will be sure to get down to Newark for a few of those games.  #EyesForward to next season!

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They did it!

March 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Today has been a good day, mostly because of the Delaware Women’s Bball win over University of Arkansas-Little Rock 73-42 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.  It was Delaware’s first postseason win (men or women) in the history of the basketball programs.  The woman’s team had been to the NCAA tournament in 2001 and 2007 but both times got knocked out in the first round.  After a 27-1 season and a CAA Championship bringing their win total to 30 for the season the Lady Hens earned the #3 seed in the Des Moines region.

The game was aired on ESPN2 and was the first time the team was shown Nationally this season, and boy did they take advantage of it.  Elena Delle Donne was spectacular once again, scoring 39 points (11 rebounds and 3 blocks) in just 30 minutes of play.  She almost outscored the other team single-handedly.  She became a National Trending Topic on Twitter for the majority of the day and even got a sweet shout-out from one of the current NBA stars she is compared too:

 

This comes after a shout out from Obama the day before and a NY Times cover story the day of the game.

I’m just happy to see them get some national recognition for what I have seen them do all year.  Up next is Kansas on Tuesday evening for a chance at the Sweet 16…you best be sure i’ll be watching  =)

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19 days…

March 17, 2012 1 comment

I will be home in just over 18 days, but there is one thing that has been on my mind and it happens to occur on the 19th day…Opening Day.  A Berran Family Holiday, a tradition unlike any other.

As far back as I can remember when that cold day in March/April arrived I knew I was going to get out of school (my 1 out of the 180+ days) and start up the grill in the parking lot of Shea Stadium.  I didn’t miss many days of school, but it was a given that I was not going to be in on Mets Opening day, almost better than Christmas.

One of my favourite Opening Days was a freeeezing cold day in April 1996 with Rey Ordonez at shortstop and Todd Hundley behind the plate.  Mets were down 6-0 but we never leave a game early, but my Dad’s famous line to us in the 7th inning… “if they don’t score in this inning we’re leaving” (4 run rally later and we were still in our seats to witness a 7-6 come from behind victory).

Baseball is a romantic game as Billy Beane said in Moneyball…it truly is.  One of my favorite baseball passages comes from a preview of the 2010 Playoffs written by Ken Burns and spoken by Kevin Costner:

“It’s a beautifully designed game, timeless but always changing.  It’s a game in which  the defense always has the ball, a game in which every player is measured by the ghosts of all that have gone before.  For more than 150 years, baseball has been a mirror of the complicated country that gave it birth, from California to the New York Islands, in good times and bad.  Through wars, depressions and civil strife it has entertained, us it has inspired us and sometimes it has even transformed us.  We pass it down from mothers to sons, fathers to daughters, as every generation invests itself in the sweet hope of spring time, and endures the pain and realities of fall.  It’s essential dimensions never change, yet nothing ever happens the same way -  twice.  It’s a game in which the person scores, not the ball.  Where the objective always is to come home.  Home, where no one asks where u come from or who you voted for.  Home where all season long we congregate to cheer, and plead, laugh and cry in the magnificent cathedrals of the game.  Home – where every October baseball’s greatest stars do battle.  Nothing in our daily life offers more of the comfort of continuity and the freedom from times constraints than does our national pastime.  It is the place we always come back to.  Home.”

Yes, Shea Stadium was home…and hopefully one day I will look at Citifield the same…this year the Holiday is April 5th, and I will be there once again.

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Tourney Bound…

March 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Even though I am in Australia I am well aware that it is time for March Madness.  The highlight of my weekend was waking up at 4am Sat, Sunday and Monday to watch Delaware Women play in the CAA Championship for basketball.  After an 27-1 season, 18-0 in conference play they were ranked #7 in the country and were well on their way to winning the first CAA Championship for the school.  After 3 great wins against George Mason, UNC-Wilmington, and Drexel they were headed to the Big Dance.

As most of you DON’T know (since it is women’s college basketball) much has been said about the 6’5″ Delaware-native Elena Delle Donne being the reason behind Delaware’s success this year, however this is now her 3rd season with the team so respect must be given to the rest of the team.  This is a great article about Delle Donne’s past and present, with some videos about her ESPN Outside the Lines article, and her interview with Coach Tina Martin after the NCAA Tourney Selection Show:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=elenaDonne

 

They rightfully earned a #3 seed in the tournament and will face off against University of Arkansas-Little Rock on Sunday evening in the first round.  Looks like it should be on ESPN2, so finally Delaware will get a chance to be shown on the national level, and hopefully they shine.  It’s been a good year to be a Delaware Alum, and I can’t wait to be able to watch her in a few games next year when she returns for her “senior season.”

Here’s a video of her with an alley-oop:

 

P.S. – SDSU Men’s and Women are both headed to the tournament too, so 3/4 alum teams ain’t bad.

 

 

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so it continues…

March 10, 2012 Leave a comment

First things first…please take a look at this recap of Delaware’s 20 point win over Old Dominion today, and if you don’t feel like watching the whole thing, do yourself a favour and at least click on the link and watch from 3:05 on…it’s worth a glimpse of Elena Delle Donne’s talent…

 

Second this is just a bit of a “yes I am still here” blog.  I’ve continued to work with the Blue Sox the past couple of weeks.  When I originally extended my stay by at least a month, I was expecting to be able to help out the Head Office of the ABL in the city with a few things.  Unfortunately that did not come to fruition, but I am still helping the Blue Sox with some off season necessities.

This week I worked on editing/creating Operations and Financial manuals for the organisation.  The guides/manuals from last year are minimal so we are trying to get things in order now.  The goal is to be able to write it so that an alien can come in and be able to know what to do from square one.  And yes I will continue to write in Australian English until I return.

I am also keeping tabs on how the Aussies are doing over in Spring Training now, and our best player Brandon Barnes is currently in Houston Astros camp and today/yesterday he managed his first hit of the year, a single to centrefield…hopefully everyone gets to see his talents sometime in the big leagues this season.

The plan right now is to come back to the states in 25 days….so who wants to step up and offer me a job to come home to? (preferably in the sports/entertainment industry)

Anyone have any questions or things they want from Australia?

Categories: Uncategorized
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