Monday, September 27, 2010

9 Days to Go

The Grand Final was a draw! A very tense and exciting draw. 
I'm all for it being replayed. Two Grand Finals are better than one after all!
Best of all, 1000s more real footy fans and members will get the chance to go to the game instead of all the corporate/business/sponsors and people who could afford to pay a couple of thousand dollars for package deals etc. This is a victory for the ordinary everyday footy fan who usually misses out.

Chris came from Esperance for the weekend so we could watch the game and barrack for the Saints together.
We joined the crowd at the Esplanade pub and loved the game and the atmosphere.
Mind you we had to put signs up at the massive garage sale we've been running all weekend: "Closed until after the Grand Final, Carn the Saints"
We've sold heaps of stuff and made over $1000! woohoo!

The Heir came down for the weekend too and brought Spike as far as Bunbury where he's been playing at Sportsfest. We picked him (Spike) up tonight and we went out for dinner at the Thai restaurant, very nice.
Sport Boy left for Country Week in Perth this afternoon and Favourite Daughter had to work tonight so we weren't all there.

We'll have a final family dinner on the 5th when I take Mrs Holt Press and Sport Boy up to the airport for their flight to Melbourne. It is just over a week till we move and we have a LOT of work still to do to be ready. The movers will be here this Friday to pick up the furniture!
I've done my last bus run and taxi shift so this week will be devoted to packing and preparing for departure.

I'm having an art sale and auction next weekend at the Esplanade, hoping to sell lots of my pictures. We can't take them all with us and I don't want to leave them in the shed so I'd rather sell them or give them to friends and have them be appreciated rather than collecting dust.

In other move-related news, we have found tenants to rent our house: both of us felt very positive about a lady called Angela who came to look at the house on Friday. Her referees checked out and they can move in as soon as we move out which is really helpful as well.

Everything is falling into place very nicely as we draw closer to the biggest move we've ever made as a family.

In non-move related news, we won the A Grade Volleyball Grand Final on Thursday night. I had a pretty good game in a very close and exciting contest though my back was very sore and by the end of the game was moving very stiffly. It was nice to conclude  my volleyball career in Busselton with a premiership.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A HUGE Weekend

First order of business: Friday night's football.
Turns out the Mapies were the "omenous" ones!
Collingwood blitzed Geelong with intense unrelenting pressure and the Cats had no answer.
Like all discerning footy fans I hate Collingwood but I can acknowledge how well they played and how much they deserved to win. The Cats have been up for a long time and got some sweet rewards for their time at the top but all good things come to an end some time and Friday night was the end for my beloved Cats.

My only hope is that StKilda can do what we couldn't and knock off the Magpies to win the premiership.
Carn the Saints!

My sadness about the Cats was short-lived because on Saturday morning I got one of the best prizes I've ever had. Cornerstone won the Cup Final!
It was absolutely fabulous.
Readers will remember that Sport Boy's soccer team, the Cornerstone Giants, won through to the Knock-out Cup Final of the LNJSA 13's Premier League with victories over GMAS in the first round and Dunsborough in the semi-final. We were up against the Busselton Redbacks who won the league title, going through the season undefeated and with a goal difference of +37 (ie. they score 37 more goals than they conceded!). They beat us both times we played them. We finished 5th on the ladder at the end of the season. No-one expected us to win, in fact no-one even really gave us a chance, but I had a plan!

The game was at Margaret River at 9.00 o'clock Saturday morning.
We had a scare the night before. Sport Boy and I went to the Esplanade with Pop for dinner and to watch the footy  because our TV gets very poor GWN reception and we wanted to have a decent picture to watch the game. (By half time with the result clear we decided  we could put up with a lousy picture to match the lousy result and went home to watch the second half). Before that Sport Boy was still hungry so we got him a bowl of wedges. He happily munched away on them until a look of doom suddenly appeared on his face as he remembered that wedges contain gluten (in the flour & spice coating they're cooked in). Sport Boy is gluten intolerant and eating it can make him sick for days!
I hadn't realised either and we were both worried that he would get sick and not be able to play soccer in the morning. I rang Mrs Holt Press to tell her what had happened: "Hi. Don't get mad. Just help us know what to do..." She was pretty confident that he would be able to handle the relatively small amount of gluten and that it wouldn't have an immediate effect so he should be right for the game. I felt reassured as did Sport Boy. I prayed with him when we got home and apart from the footy result the night worked out pretty well.

Come Saturday morning he was showing no ill effects and we set off for Margaret River. Mrs Holt Press had decided not to come so she could go up to Perth with Pop and Greenie and be sure of getting to the wedding on time.

When I pulled up at the soccer ground a bloke pointed out that I had a flat tyre! I'm glad he spotted it cause if I hadn't noticed it it would have caused a major drama and time delay in me getting away after the game. I rang Graeme and he and a group of the soccer Dads came and fixed it while I went and got the team ready for the game.

I had put a lot of thought into our tactics for the game. I knew that if we just went and played our normal game we would lose. To have any chance of winning we needed a different strategy and a changed line-up.
The key was to strengthen our defence and make it harder for Redbacks to score then try and score on a breakaway or from a free kick. With this as my plan I lined the kids up in an unorthodox 4,2,2,2 formation, creating in effect a 6 man defense, 2 in midfield and 2 forwards. I brought Ben C  back to partner Jozeph in defence and Sport Boy back from his usual striker position to partner Josh just in front of the back 4. 
I hoped that by clogging up the defence we could stifle Busselton's attacks and then send long balls to our forwards to try and score on the rebound. I figured that if we were to win it would be by 1-0.

It worked perfectly! In fact it worked so well it was even better than I'd hoped. Not only did the defenders stop Redbacks from scoring or even creating many chances, but our midfield were inspired and continually cut through their defense with great passing to feed our forwards so that in the end we had a lot more chances than Busselton. Every kid in the team played well, they were great and because of how well they were playing their confidence grew and the opposition began to struggle. We had more scoring chances and looked more dangerous and on the odd occasion when Busselton did penetrate, Ben A in goal made great saves and clearances to further deny them. It was 0-0 at half time and I told the kids the game was there for the taking: if they kept playing that well the goal would come. Sport Boy was playing brilliantly, beating Chris M, not only the best player for Redbacks but the best player in the league, in a couple of one-on-one situations. Jozeph was inspired and time and again he raced back to beat his man and win the ball before sending it forward again.

The ref did a great job, paying every free kick that occurred (something that usually didn't happen throughout the season!) and 80% of them were to Cornerstone. Several of them were in potential scoring positions but we hadn't been able to capitalise until finally, at the 15 minute mark of the second half we got a free kick about 5 metres outside the penalty area. 
This was our moment!
We had practised and prepared for just such a situation. This was our chance.
Redbacks had 2-3 really big kids, way taller than anyone in our team, in fact our fleet of forwards and midfielders, Josh, Callum, Jacob and Paul looked like mosquitoes buzzing around the feet of dinosaurs at times. The Redbacks wall was filled with these big kids, a smart move by them.
Ben C had the responsibility to take the kick.
He lined it up, stepped up to the ball and struck the sweetest free-kick you could ever hope to see, chipping it over the wall and the out-stretched arms of the goalie and into the roof of the net!
It was sublime, perfect, magnificent and stunning.
As we erupted in cheers on the sidelines the whole team mobbed Ben and danced and celeabrated his goal and our 1-0 lead. I picked Graeme up in a bear hug and we danced for joy on the sideline.

Cornerstone Giants: Cup Winners 2010
Jemma, Georgia, Jozeph, Jacb, Graeme, Jack, Morgan, Josh, Ben C, Me, Callum, Tim
Sport Boy, Georgie, Jarrad, Ben A


Then came the most nerve-wracking final 10 minutes imaginable! Busselton responded as a good team should and redoubled their efforts to score but time and again they were unable to get through as the defence thwarted them with heroic determination. A couple of timely substitutions helped steady the team and as the minutes ticked down I hoped they could hold on for a famous victory.

Then the ref blew the final whistle and there was pandemonium! The kids rushed together to jump and hug and dance and cheer in celebration. Graeme, Neil the club president and I had our own hug and dance then I ran onto the field to embrace every one of our players. They had all played fantastically well, every one of them played their part and made a vital contribution to the team's success. I was overcome with emotion and pride. I looked for Sport Boy and saw him surrounded by kids from Margaret River who were hugging him and buffeting him in celebration: the kids from MR really love him and they were as happy for him in victory as if  they had won the cup themselves. 
The Redbacks players were understandably subdued, stunned really but they were gracious in defeat and after the three cheers I spoke to them and commiserated with them, we had lost the cup final the year before, but congratulated them on a fantastic season and their success in winning the league. Mark their coach is a really good bloke and he spoke glowingly about how we had played and that we had deserved to win.

Then it was over to the parents and supporters on the sideline to continue our celebrations.
I had very little time as I needed to leave for Perth and Aimee and Luke's wedding but I did have time to speak to the kids and our supporters and congratulate them on their superb performance and wonderful achievement. I hugged a few more kids and shed plenty of tears and thanked everyone for their efforts and their support.
As it was my last game as coach after 6 years with this group of kids and I wasn't able to stay for the trophy presentation or the club wind-up back at Busselton, Ben A the captain presented me with a lovely gift bag on behalf of the team and Neil gave me a framed award thanking me for my years of service to the club and the team. Graeme's family is moving to Perth at the end of the year and with our departure for Victoria it was Ben C and Sport Boy's last games for Cornerstone too so it was an absolutely perfect way to finish the season and our time at Cornerstone. I had plenty of hugs and handshakes and a few more tears before jumping in the car and heading for the wedding, leaving Sport Boy to enjoy their triumph in the company of his teammates and friends.

Later in the day, in between the wedding and the reception, Graeme set up a "link via sattelite" (holding his phone up to the microphone) so that I could speak to the audience at the club wind-up back in Busselton and acknowledge the kid's achievements once again before they received their trophies and medallions. There was a great party atmosphere happening by the sound of it.
Sport Boy has declared it was "the best day of his life" and has vowed to always remember the 18th of September.

I made it to the wedding with about three minutes to spare and despite having to change into my suit in the carpark was seated in the church in time for the arrival of the beautiful bride.

Friday, September 17, 2010

An Omen?

I am not superstitious. 
But I did have a strange experience the other day and who am I to say it wasn't an omen of things to come?

While driving Glass Dave's ute back to his place there was a huge crash and thudding noise and I was certain someone had thrown a rock at the car.
I got out to survey the damage and was very surprised to find there was none.
Then I looked back up the street and saw a dead bird on the road with a few seagulls hovering around it as if inspecting it.
I drove back and discovered it was a magpie.
Although I never saw it, I'm sure it was the magpie that had crashed into the ute causing the loud bang. I suspect that the seasgulls had been chasing it away and in it's attempt to escape had flown full speed into the side of the ute and and had thus committed inadvertent suicide. 
Without wanting to be too macarbe, I had to take a picture.

Is it a coincidence that a magpie came to a sad end in a head-to-head contest with a Cat (fan)?
Is it a coincidence that the Magpies are playing the Cats in the Preliminary Final tomorrow night at the MCG?

We'll have to wait and see if the result reflects this "omen"!

Carn the Cats.

NB. I am not celebrating or advocating the killing of magpies, it just happened, and took me completely by surprise. But, when there's a BIG footy game on, I'm open to possibilities!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A BIG Weekend

Saturday: LNJSA 13's Premier League Knock-Out Cup Semi-Final result
Cornerstone 3 Dunsborough 2

It was a very close and exciting game that went right down to the wire before we prevailed. Sport Boy scored two goals and Ben C got the 3rd from a penalty. Earlier Dunsborough had taken the lead and missed a penalty of their own. There were a few contentious decisions which got me a little hot under the collar although I'm blaming my emotional state on tiredness, having driven a 12 3/4 hour shift in the taxi Fri night that didn't finish till 1/4 to 7 Sat morning. The three hours sleep before having to get up and go and coach the soccer team didn't seem quite sufficient!
But, we won and we're through to the Cup Final this Saturday morning.
Ordinarily I'd say that was great, but consider this:
The game is at Margaret River at 9am.
At the earliest it will finish at 10.15.

At 2pm we have a family wedding in Perth!
Margaret River to Perth is over 300km.
With a wedding to get dressed for.
Not ideal.
As it is, Mrs Holt Press won't be going to the game and I won't be able to stay around for the post-game celebrations/commiserations let alone the trophy presentations as they don't happen till later in the afternoon.
We'll also miss the Club wind-up and presentations which are scheduled for 3pm in Busselton, although Sport Boy will be able to stay and attend all the ceremonies.
We'll hopefully be in Perth for a different sort of ceremony by then: my niece Aimee's wedding to Luke.
There'll be a big family gathering in Perth for the weekend which should be plenty of fun. Dad and his mate Warren are enroute to Perth as we speak on another of their round the country jaunts.
Vicki will be coming from SA too. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone, and it will also give us a bit of a chance to say goodbye as well as it is now less than three weeks till we leave WA and head back to Victoria.

WAGS Dinner
On Saturday night we went up to Perth for a couple of dinners. Sat night was supposed to be the Wives and coaches dinner for the CFFL, a footy comp I've been part of for about 10 years. We were going to a Thai restaurant in Mt Hawthorn. Or so I thought! Turns out Cam and Broadie had arranged a BIG surprise for me, a "Farewell to Chaplaincy" dinner in my honour and 2 dozen people were there instead of the 8-10 I'd been expecting.
It was a fantastic night, very special and very humbling that my friends and colleagues had got together for me. There were lots of stories and lots of laughs, great food, great company, great memories. It gave me an opportunity to explain the reasons behind my somewhat sudden departure from chaplaincy last year. It was also a chance to explain our reasons for moving back to Victoria.
I know many of you will be surprised to hear that I became a bit emotional, and even shed some tears on the night! 
It was something I never expected to happen and a blessing I did not expect or even hope to receive so it was a very memorable and special occasion.

Broadie and Cam did a great job pulling it all together at short notice, and keeping it a complete surprise. Thanks guys, I deeply appreciated the whole evening.

Surprise Dinner Guests
The weekend finished on a high with the annual CFFL Winners Dinner at Letchy's and as usual there was great mirth and story-telling as we celebrated another year of  (fantasy) footy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

13 Mermaid Av Ocean Grove

We now have a place to live when we move to Victoria, which incidentally will be in less than three weeks!

Plenty of room for visitors, hint hint.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Vic Progress Report

I got the job.

Passed the medical, the drug screen, the blood, sight and hearing tests with flying colours.

I can start as soon as we get over here. Our planned departure date from Busselton is October 4 so should be able to start work by the 11th at the latest.

Awaiting news on housing: we've applied for two houses in Ocean Grove, hopefully we'll get one of them.

Managed to change over to a Victorian driver's licence.

Couple more hoops to jump through before I'm legal but shouldn't be a problem.

All of which is better news than the footy on Friday night! We'll have to win it the hard way now.
Glad the Dockers won, for a couple of reasons!

Just caught the train up to Melbourne. Flying back to WA in 4 hours so got a little bit of time for a look around

And in some very exciting news: The editor of the Busselton Dunsborough Mail just rang to tell me that their story about the Behind the White Crosses program won the Road Safety Council Media Award at last night's award ceremony! A nice feather in the cap for BTWC. I'm hoping to do a handover of the program to some staff from Busso before I leave town and I'm also keen to see if I can develop and introduce the program over here once we move to Victoria.


Thursday, September 02, 2010

Victoria Bound

Just heading out the door.

Glass Dave's ute is loaded with Spike's stuff.

Headed for The Heir's place to drop it off before he drops me off at the airport.

Arrive Melbourne 6.45am

On to Geelong then down to Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove to look at houses.

Praying we'll find one that meets our needs (size, price, warmth, proximity)

Footy tomorrow night, carn the Cats

Job interview and medicals Monday and Tuesday, hopefully just formalities!

Home again Tuesday night.

See ya