Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy Halloween!

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Halloween this year! Have fun dressing up for house parties and trick or treating for candy, but remember BE RESPONSIBLE!

It's pretty funny here in Australia of how people view celebrating Halloween. At first I didn't think they did at all(cuz I saw no commercials or advertisements anywhere), but I came to find out that quite a few people actually do. It seems like a lot of people just say "oh it's an American thing, so we don't wanna copy them!". I've also heard that it's really starting to catch on because of kids seeing it celebrated on American TV shows. My co-worker Kathy at work said her grandkids LOVE Halloween! She was curious as to why we even celebrate it and asked me the other day "so, why do you guys celebrate Halloween anyways?? What's it all about?" and I replied "you know what... I have no idea!! hahaha". I've never really been asked the question to even have to think of why we celebrate Halloween (maybe I should GOOGLE it???). I can't remember at all and even if I did ever know that was probably something I was taught back in Elementary school(wayyyyy to long ago). Anyways, it pretty much seems like another reason for people here to dress crazy, party and get pissed (drunk).

This Tuesday we have a bye week for basketball so I'm gonna be working because there's a pretty big event at the Cas Club. It's the Melbourne Cup horse races and it's supposedly like our Kentucky Derby just not quite as big. I guess we're expecting 200+ people and I'm quite sure they'll be bringing the kids as well. It should be an interesting day to say the least. I have to wear a button up white collared shirt and a black tie, I guess it's THAT kinda event haha..... On another working subject, I recently opened 3 of the 7 tins for my U.G.L.Y. contest/fundraiser and we counted $360 so far thats raised! Not bad for only 3 tins, and I'm assuming after Tuesday's festivities with a bunch of drunk people running around and feeling good hopefully the other tins will benefit from that lol! With an online donation already of $30 that brings the total to $390. SOOOO only another $600 to go with a whole month left!! Once again if you would like to help my efforts for fundraising you can donate online at my personal Leukaemia Foundation page:®istrationID=365760

I've officially got my ticket home now!! It's set for December 8th and returning back to Sydney on February 19th 2011. I'm quite confident that I will have a contract to come back to, whether it's in South Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide) or West Australia (Perth). Either way a round-trip ticket was less expensive than a one-way ticket (which is crazy to me!), so even if I don't want to come back out to Australia (like if I get a better contract offer from another country or some other random reason keeps me from coming back) it's still the cheaper alternative. I just hope that the season ends by August 20th so that I'm home in time for my brother's (Ad) wedding! Even if it's not I'll still leave early, because there's no way in the world I'm missing that!!!

Now that the NBA season has started I'm loving it even more out here because they show up to 4 games a week on regular tv, so it's awesome! Everywhere I've played overseas I've had to find a link online and watch a game that pauses every 10 seconds as it loads haha. Plus the games come on around 9 or 10AM so it's usually around the time I wake up (on a good day :) hahaha! It's usually more like 11-ish). Australia definitely makes me feel the most "at home" I've ever felt out of all the places I've been, even being so far away.

This week should be a busy one as I'm working 5 days straight at the Cas Club, doing my usual 3 school sessions AND Evan told me that there's going to be a few school clinics to do as well...Should be hectic at times, but the money will be rolling in and time will be flying by :). Both two things I don't mind at all!

One side note before I wrap this up. I went and saw Paranormal Activity 2 tonight. Please save your money AND time and don't watch that movie. It was worse than the first!

So I'll start the OFFICIAL countdown today with 38 days remaining till I'm homebound!!

Until tomorrow...
"make it happen"

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

T-Minus 39 days and counting!!!!

SOOOOOOOOOOO it's been about a week and a half since my last post and quite a bit has happened since then....

We'll start with my bball games first....

Last Tuesday we played against Ansett basketball club (who my buddy Colin plays for). They were in 2nd place at the time, just ahead of us. It was a good game up until the 3rd quarter where we slowly fell apart. It was obvious that we don't have much fire power coming off the bench to help Bobby and myself, which can really hurt when we play a team that IS deep off the bench (like Ansett). We ended up losing by around 15-20pts, if I remember right (I try to forget about the losses shortly after the game is over). I personally struggled shooting that night at 3-15 and finished with 13pts and 16 rebounds.

We then played a game this past Saturday against the Razzle (currently winless and in last place). They are a young and inexperienced team with no imports and have yet to really play anyone tough. I won't get into much detail since we won by about 45pts. Me and Bobby only played about 20-25mins so that other guys could get some good playing time and experience on the court. I finished the game with 24pts and 12 rebounds.

Finally, the last game we played during this past week and a half was on Tuesday against the Warriors (who are currently in 4th, about 3 wins behind us). We've already beaten this team twice but each time they've added a new American player. So now they have 4 import players on their team, where as most other teams only have 2. Even with their new and improved team they've been struggling to play together and win. We knew it would be a scrappy game to say the least. We were up by 2pts going into half time then they came out on a run to start the 3rd quarter and took the lead to about 10pts. From then on it was back and forth until the closing minutes of the game. There were some pretty "shaky" calls from the refs that really hurt us at times and we couldn't break into any rythm to take over the lead. We ended up losing by 8pts. I fouled out for the first time this season on some pretty soft calls. I finished with 16pts and 7 rebounds. We are now 10-5 and still in 3rd place by 3 wins over the Warriors. There are only 3 regular season games left and only the top 4 teams make the playoffs so we are already locked in!!! We still need to finish the season on some good wins going into the playoffs.

Now for life other than bball...

Work has been going great and I'm still having fun each shift I have (plus the free meal is always something to get excited about lol)!! My U.G.L.Y. campaign is going great and the the tins have been getting heavier and heavier each day. I bet we already have 600-800$ just in the tins alone! I'm thinking I will open 3 or 4 of the 7 tins on Sunday to get a rough number of where we stand thus far! I am currently planning a few fun things for sometime in mid November that will hopefully bring in a few hundred bucks, like a pool and dart tournament. With a few fundraising events I should be able to reach my $1,000 goal pretty easy. I'm excited to help this cause in any way possible and of course be eligible for some neat prizes too. If you would like to help me in my goal by donating you can do so online at my personal Leukemia Foundation webpage! Here is the link below (just copy and paste it into your address bar). We all know someone in our everyday lives that is affected by a cancer of some sort. It's time to make a difference. Any ammount helps guys!!!!®istrationID=365760

This past Saturday we had a team gathering after our game we won. It was one of the first Saturdays I've had off since I've started working so I was happy to get to kick it with the fellas. It was the first time we've actually all gotten together to hang out. We all went over to Anthony's house (he's our team captain) and played some poker, ate some good food and a few people took a late night dip in the pool (cuz it was still about 90degrees at 2AM!!! geez!). It was a lot of fun and I'm glad everyone showed up to hang for a while. Hopefully we can do it again soon, especially before time runs out and it's time to go home.

So as you can tell from the title of this post I have 39 days till it's blast off from Darwin and back to the lovely Northwest! I haven't exactly gotten a ticket yet BUT when I do it should be around December 6th. The championship game is on December 4th and we're planning on being in that game so I'll be leaving shortly after we take down the nets :). I'm really excited to be coming home for a few months and can't wait to see friends and family! I feel like a lot has happened these past 5 months I've been gone and I'm ready to catch up with everyone!

I don't have any concrete deals set up yet for the 2011 season, but as it typically goes in this business you don't get something until you least expect it haha! I'm in contact with a few teams right now in Perth and also Adelaide but nothing for sure yet. My agent is also starting to push my name out there to teams in all areas of Australia so I'm very positive things will happen eventually. The next season doesn't start until March and the recruiting is still in the early stages at the moment, but it would be nice to leave here already having a contract set up! Nice Christmas present to myself :). We'll see what happens as time goes on...

The Smith house has now been on the market for about two weeks and there hasn't been any offer quite yet, but it sounds like theres definitely been some interest from a few families. Hopefully an offer will pop up soon because it sounds like the fam has found a nice house to make an offer on in Edmonds, but can't make any moves on it until our house sells first! Fun times :). Be praying for a nice family to find our home soon.

Well I think that's about it for now... I hope this post reaches all of you in good health and spirits. I'm constantly praying for everyone back home. I miss you all very much!

I'll leave you all with a quote- "The only disability in life is a bad attitude" by Scott Hamilton-

Until tomorrow...
"make it happen"

Friday, 15 October 2010

U.G.L.Y. you ain't got no alibi, YOU UGLY!

So as you can see from the pics I am officially the UGLY (Understanding-Generous-Likeable-You) Bartender for the Casuarina Sports Club! As I was at work a few days ago this lady named Shelly who works for the Leukemia Foundation approached me about representing the Cas Club to be the UGLY bartender, so without any delay I said I'd love to do it. She then told me about the foundation itself and what the goals of this contest/fund raiser are going to be. Basically I try to raise as much money as possible through different events that I plan out at the Cas Club. It can be raffles, pool tournaments, Kareoke nights, etc... And whatever money is made from those events will go straight to the foundation. All money has to be turned in by Dec.1st so it's really only about a month and a half of time to raise as much as possilbe. We also get a bar mat that says "I'm UGLY i need your help!" and some tips jars and posters to hang up around the bar so people know whats going on and can help the cause. If I can raise over a $1,000 then I will be entered into a drawing to win a bunch of prizes/vacations, so it should be a lot of fun.
I've been wanting to do something for the community of Darwin (outside of bball) while I'm here and have been lazy with really trying to get involved. So I felt like this was God's way of saying "here's a good opportunity for you!" I hope I can put a lot into this and really help make a difference for a few people here in Darwin that need help.

On another note. We had a bball game this past Tuesday and I told coach I was ready to play but wasn't 100% quite yet. The ankle was more like 80%, still a little tender when making cuts and lateral movements. So I started off playing about 3-4 minutes in the first half, and it wasn't a pretty half for the Eagles. We were playing a team that's been having trouble winning games, but they are hungry for a win. At halftime the game was about a 5pt lead for us. Going into the second half coach Wombat looked at Bobby (his leg had been bothering him, so he wasn't playing much either) and myself and said "Soooooo how does it feel, can you guys go more or what??" So we said "yeah, lets do it." We finally pushed the lead up to 20pts at one moment then it slowly drizzled away and we were stuck in a dog fight with less than 4 minutes to go. It finally came down to 19 seconds and we had the ball, tie game, Bobby was dribbling around up top and waiting to make a move. He then dribbled to my side and kicked it in to me. I made a move and got fouled with 7 seconds left! With no hesitation i knocked down both free throws to go up 2 points! ICE IN MY VAINS BABY! The other team called a timeout and got to advance the ball to half court. We had 2 fouls to give and decided to foul them as soon as they passed in the ball, before they could get a shot off. To run the clock down of course. Well after we made our 2 fouls the clock was left at 3 seconds and their final inbounds was a turnover and that was it! We escaped with a close victory, but that's all that matters. We are now 9-3 and in 3rd place but only 1 loss behind 2nd and 2 losses behind 1st. So the top of the ladder is a close competition. I finished the game with 28 points and 12 rebounds. I think I only had about 7 points in the first half and then went on a killing spree in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter. But that's when it's time to take the "CLAMPS" out and shut things downnnnnn baby! hahaha
Anyway the ankle is feeling better and hopefully after another week of rest I will be 100% for our next game. This is a very important game because we are playing the #2 team who beat us prettY badly last time around, so we're out for revenge. Plus this is Colin's team (my buddy from Seattle who's out here with me), so that always makes for some good ol' trash talking :)

Work is still work and it's just motoring right along no problem. I get to start my "school sessions" this week finally. I will have 3 schools for this whole semester until Christmas break, one Monday, Tuesday and one Thursday. It will always be the same school at the same time. They are a one hour session and will just consist of teaching some bball skills and playing lots of games. The goal is to get kids interested in not only basketball but the idea of being active. So it should be a lot of fun, plus I'm getting $40 an hour so that's not bad either lol!

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately as I always have time either at work when it's dead, or on my bike ride to the gym, or just as I lay in my bed before I shut things down for the night. This life can be sooooooo crazy/fun/boring/frustrating/awesome/stressful/exciting at times that we can forget to be thankful for the many day to day blessings in our life. I am very thankful for the family, friends, opportunities and struggles that I have in my life everyday. If it wasn't for those people and times I know I wouldn't be who I am and where I am today. There's a quote by Charles Swindoll that says "life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it". I've always liked that quote and thought it made a lot of sense. You can always take something positive from a negative situation, BUT that all depends on how you react to it...

Before I wrap this post up I wanna give a shout out to the Henley fam as they have recently had a tragic loss in their family. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. Please say a prayer for the family...

Until tomorrow...
"Make it Happen"

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

I hate injuries...

So here's the update from our NT all-star game... The home crowd really came out so show some support for us as the gym was almost fully packed. It wasn't the greatest weekend for the tournament as there was also a Rugby and Cricket tournament going on that same night (both those sports come first in Australia haha), otherwise the gym would've been sold out. We as a team were as ready as we could've possibly been, we only had a month to prepare and a total of 16 practices (most of which we didn't have the whole team there because of work obligations for everyone). From the start of the game the pressure was intense from the Adelaide 36ers and our first 4 possessions were all turnovers haha. They came out and shot the ball well building a 10 point lead after the first quarter. We finally got things rolling a little bit but definitely not enough to make it a game and we ended up down 25 points by half time. Towards the end of the first half I went up and had a real nice block shot, BUT as I came down I ended up on someones foot and I rolled my left ankle pretty bad. As soon as it happened I hobbled off the court and talked to the trainer to see what he could do for me. He taped me up during half time as I wanted to give it a go and see what I could do, but as soon as I got back in the game I knew it was a "no go" and subbed myself out right away. I took my shoes off and started icing my foot for the rest of the game. It really sucked because I was looking forward to playing against the top level of competition in Australia and I had a good game in the making before I got hurt. 7 points, 4 rebounds and 1 block by half time. Everything happens for a reason though, and it's all about how you bounce back and react from it!

Even though we got beat by about 30 points or so it was still a great opportunity to play and an even better opportunity for the NT (darwin) to show that they have some good talent up here and can compete (especially if there's more time to prepare).

As soon as I got hurt Momma Donna has been taking care of me 24/7. She's had my foot in an ice bucket at least twice a day and has been elevating my leg when I'm just chilling and not paying attention to it. She really is my Mum out here and I appreciate everything she does not only for me, but for the Eagles club and NT basketball. She is a true fan.

We (the eagles) had our usual Tuesday game the other day and of course I had to sit it out because of the ankle... I hate sitting out! Now it wouldn't of bothered me as much if we playing a team in the bottom of the ladder, but we were playing the Rebels who are currently in 1st place and have only 1 loss that was to us when we played them last time!! So I'd been waiting for this re-match to come. Other than myself being out hurt our other two starters are still out as well! Anthony, our captain and starting PG and JJ our starting 2 guard and scores about 15ppg for us. So Bobby was really on his own with trying to make things happen for us, both offensively and defensively. To my surprise we were actually winning at halftime by 1 point. We were playing great team ball and a lot of the local guys were stepping up. But we came out ice cold in the 3rd quarter and only scored about 6 points to their 20 or so, as well as Bobby had picked up his 4th foul (so that really didn't help). Bobby ended up fouling out with 7 minutes left in the fourth quarter and the lead took off to about 25-30 points and that was a wrap. It was a really frustrating game for me as I haven't had to sit out and actually watch a game for a while now (which I am very thankful for), but I cheered my guys on the whole time and tried to encourage them in the best ways I could. I know we'll bounce back next week with a win and we'll DEFINITELY catch the Rebels again and show them exactly why we won the first time around. I'm hoping to be able to practice on Sunday night and then be ready to go next Tuesday but coach told me that if I'm not 100% then he's not gonna risk me getting re-injured and being out even longer... So I'm praying for a quick and strong recovery!

That's about it for now... I hope everyone is doing well and life is treating you good! I miss everyone back home in the USA and think about you all a lot. You are all in my prayers every night! Much love

Until tomorrow...
"make it happen"

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Today's the BIG day...

Tonight we (the NT all-star team) tips it off against the Adelaide 36er's from the NBL. We play at 6pm and its suppossed to be a packed sold out stadium in front of our home crowd. It's going to be televised live on channel ONE HD, so I told as many people who can't make it to at least tune in on the tv. All the guys are ready to go as we had an early morning run-thru practice session to talk strategy and what not. I'm excited and blessed to have this opportunity to play, hopefully some good things can come from just this one never know in this life who is watching... we'll see! I'll update everyone on how it goes.

We (the Eagles) had a game this past Tuesday against the TV Jets and lets just say we were "saved by the buzzer" hahaha. We started out pretty cold missing some easy lay-ups (bobby and myself, but mostly ME lol). We finally got warmed up and in rythm then extended our lead to 15pts by halftime. We pushed the lead to 20 at times but the Jets slowly worked their way back minute by minute as the game went on. Next thing you know we're only up 4 with about 2 minutes in the 4th quarter. We had the ball with about 15 seconds left, up 2, and Bobby was just dribbling around running out the clock waiting for them to foul. BUT they ended up stealing it away and with about 3 seconds left tried for a fast break, only to lay it in as the buzzer was going off!!! hahah we got lucky that night and we know it! I finished with 33 points and 15 rebounds. I finally shot the ball well from the 3pt line going 4-4. I should've finished with about 45 points if I would've just made about 5 of the EASY layups I blew hahaha. Oh well, we got the "W" and that's all that matters (after getting your stats anyway hahaha! Just keeping it real BABYYYY)

Even the President (Reedy) finally decided to show up to a game for a WIN!

Other than bball life in general has been going great. Everyone in the Smith clan back home on the west coast has seem to of caught a "love bug" because now i've just heard that another one of my cousins is getting married!!! GEE WILLIKERS.... now that makes 4 family members (3 cousins and 1 brother) engaged since 2010 began... Am I missing the boat here??? Or am I just fine with where I'm at??? Hahahaha I think I'm ok with not being married quiteeeeeeeee yet (I'll just focus on having a date for the weddings ;) ).... I hope I'm around the town to get to catch some of these weddings eventually, but I don't know when exactly I'll be home quite yet.

My parents just recently put our house of 15 years on the market :( haha. No i'm just joking, I'm not sad! I'm glad they are moving and making a change of scenery, I think it'll be fun to move into a new place and design it and have house warming parties and such. I just wish I was home to have helped out with all the painting that took place and all the lifting/moving thats left to come. It's all an exciting process though and there are 2 open houses this weekend, so send your prayers that a nice family will be interested in buying our crib!

Life out here is day to day, but going great! It's pretty much just bball and work everyday, but in a few weeks I will start doing school sessions too, twice a week at local schools around the area of Karama. That will be fun and also another good form of income :)! Bball sessions aint free coming from an American Professional basketball player baby haha! Work has been good, but just a little slow at times. Still I'm very grateful to be where I am and working with the people I do, it's a fun group.

I was able to speak with the Head Coach from the Adelaide Bearcats of the ABA league in South Australia. He came up this week to watch some of his players play in the NBL tournament as he is also an agent in his free time. He also heard about Bobby and myself and decided to come up and hopefully get to meet us while he was here. He was a nice guy and looking for a player like myself for his team for next season! So i passed him some game films and highlights to take home and watch (as he can't stay for tonights game). We'll be in touch and hopefully he likes what he sees and this team will be a possibility for next season!! I'm excited for the next step in my career already, but I can't get to far ahead of myself quite yet! One step at a time for now...

I think that's about it for now. I hope everyone back home is doing well! Thanks again for following me throughout this blog and enjoying some special moments with me! I appreciate allllllll the love and support from everyone, if it wasn't for ya'll I don't know if I'd be where I am today... I'd probably still be running around Nordstroms looking at 90yr old women's feet (YUCK!!!) hahahah! Remember life is good, but GOD is great!

Until tomorrow...
"Make it happen"