AJVC- Friday Miracle

What a day! We started the day believing that out of our 2 last games, we needed to win a game and take a couple of sets off the other team in our other game. It looked unlikely given that we had to play the 2 top teams, Vic & WA who we had lost to before in straight sets.

* * *

The night before i had talked about a “Friday Miracle”, which i’ve experienced a couple of times when teams i’ve played in or coached sneak into a medal game with an upset on the last day of regular competition. My first friday miracle was playing for Mike Reu in U21M in 2001. We had just scraped through against NSW and ACT in 5 sets and got thumped by Victoria. We had to beat QLD in straight sets to make the gold medal game, which looked improbable given they had beaten Victoria earlier on. They were up 20-15 in the frst set but we somehow won. then they were 22-17 up in the 2nd set and we won again. they just fell apart in the third and we somehow stole our way into the gold medal game. The experience profoundly changed my life and made me want to coach and fnally get off my arse and have a decent shot at starting the business i now have.

* * *

We lost our first game in straight sets to Victoria and we just assumed that our chances were over. Meanwhile U21M lost to Victoria in 3 sets and the U19M lost to QLD Maroon in 3 sets knocking both teams out of medal contention. The U17W and U19W had already been knocked out the day before. All four teams will be playing off for bronze. It’s currently 9:40pm and the U17M are 1:0 up against WA Black and need to win to make a Gold Medal game.

After our morning game Simon stayed behind for the all-star-7 meeting while i took the girls back to the caravan park and chilled out. I was half curious about going to the all-star meeting. i’ve heard they can become shitfights. One year, in one competition a state association insisted the all-star-7 be expanded to 9 players and that all of them come from their state. These things shouldn’t amuse me but they do.

We made our last game all about two things: making a statement that we would be the team to beat next year; and making sure our two final year players got a good send off from the state team experience. Our game was against WA. they played some good music in the warmup through an iPod connected to a fender amp – possibly the most epic iPod deck ever. I noticed on the floor there was chewing gum stuck in a wrapper. one of the players said there was more on the other side. That a brand new beautiful floor in a great venue is defiled like that is simply disgraceful. The stadium is also the first i’ve seen with these awesome net-poles and pole pads that have winders that lift the poles to the right height.

WA (coached Pauline Manser & Laurel Wentworth)and rested a lot of their starters and it became an interesting match. we lost the first set but won the next 2. Some of the U19 men and U17W came out to support us. In the 3rd set we ran out of water and Mark Moore and some of his girls helped us out by filling up the bottles. After a bit of dramas we won the fourth. Like all the games we’ve played, it took all of our available players to get through it and was once a gain a good inclusive effort. After the match, one of the QLD coaches congratulated the girls about getting into the bronze medal game. apparently we had knocked out the QLD team. But we weren’t too sure because the computer system was down and we wouldn’t get an official confirmation until an hour later. So we got our “Friday Miracle: and will be playing off for bronze tomorrow. The QLD girls were probably not too happy with WA resting some of their starters. I’m getting behind WA to win tomorrow against Vic in the Gold Medal game. WA plays a great team game and you can tell that the players just love playing with and for each other and being in each other’s company. They help out when someone makes a mistake to get back in the rally and just a lot of faith in each other. They’re also have 2 gun coaches.

We had Chicken Schnitzels, Chips & Salad for dinner with a choice of Diane, pepper and roast meat gravies. I miss the Thursday night dinners at the football club whenever i’m away and chicken schnitzels just give me a sense of being at home. With no oven, i deep fried the chips and shallow fried the schnitzels. The stove is gas and pretty good. I set off the smoke alarm. again. It will be the last meal i cook as we’ll be going out tomorrow night. Hopefully to celebrate!

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