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Ballarat Tournament 2002 - Sam's Version

March 12th, 2002 - submitted by Slamming Sammy S

** In 25 words or less:

Five teams- plus the Old Blokes- three nights and several hundred sausages.

** The extended version:

The tournament started out quietly enough, in fact the boys were all back at the motel very early on the Friday night- some would call them soft but I decided to hold off judgement until I’d seen the rookies in action (or inaction) for myself. 

Saturday saw the rest of the MUBCers arrive in beautiful Ballarat (home of the Begonia Festival) and the tournament began in earnest.  Teams were pumped, headbands were put on, potty mouths were tuned up.  On court action included Matt, Karl, Con, Brendan, Kuhn and Raef’s team.  Up by a long way in their first game, they tried to put on a show but couldn’t make a shot to save themselves (not even a lay-up).  Yeah, great show guys.  In another game they took on Gary Pendlebury and the Old Blokes (for those who have been around a while, this included the likes of Rubes, Matty Scholes (in the shortest pair of MUBC shorts ever to leave the factory), Mark Foster, James Pierce, and for some reason, Raef’s Dad).  The highlight of this game was seeing Raef get burnt by his Dad after trying to make the steal in the open court.  Oops.  But don’t worry Raefee, no-one noticed.  Other games were won and lost, Adriano made his coaching debut and things progressed in a very tournament-like manner.  Tammy managed a HUGE three on the halftime siren that had the crowd rocking, she was to back it up with another the following day too, just to prove it was no fluke. 

Saturday night, and everyone enjoyed the BBQ put on by James, Adriano, Jared et al., snags, burgers, bread, tomato sauce and for the vegetarians, onions.  Everything went very smoothly AFTER they managed to get the BBQ going (half an hour, much lost gas and eventually the sheepish visit to reception to get the motel owner to light it for them).  Joy invited everyone back to their room to drink Karl and Raef’s Cowboy shots and then it was time to head into town- the 21 Arms.   Glenda lasted about half an hour and had the honour of providing the first vom of the night, before Jenine kindly took her home again.  For future reference, it’s supposed to be the veterans looking after the rookies, NOT the other way around!  The band was loud and everyone danced.  I’ll admit I was very impressed with the rookies, most of whom danced the night away and put some of the vets to shame.  Boys that actually dance!  We need to keep these ones.  CJ even made friends with the band somehow  (“Hey you in the grey shirt- have a beer” and they handed him a coldie).  Highlights of the night included: Tim being randomly picked up by a girl walking past; Karl trying to convince everyone that he’d managed a snav as well, but no-one believed him (more to come on that one);  Eiko and Lauren being introduced to the classyness of country Victorian nightclubs (they were offered money by the band, to snog each other on stage).   I also had the pleasure of being introduced to one of the girls I’d played against that afternoon, by a mutual friend (thanks Belinda).  The conversation may have been polite on the outside, but on the inside it went something like:  “Thanks for the two-handed shove in the back you gave me in that game.  Did you enjoy the elbow to the gut that I gave you?”  Voms for the night numbered three (that I’m aware of), the Gender Bender of course, followed by Jazz (aka Jazzy Pants), and Rach who apparently passed out on the bathroom floor.

Hmmm.  It gets kind of hazy after that, but if any of the following applies to you, I apologise!  If I said you couldn’t finish a lay-up to save your life, or that you had the same hairstyle as your Dad, or if I confiscated your mobile phone for sending SMSs in the nightclub, stole your cigarette and stubbed it out, or laughed at you for having grey hairs at the age of 23- don’t take it personally, I didn’t mean any of it!  I think that barman was spiking my drinks with alcohol….   One thing I do remember clearly was the trip home in the taxi.  What might have seemed innocent enough to us (a bunch of basketballers heading back to where they were staying after a night out), was obviously viewed differently by the cab driver (taking two guys and three girls to a motel in the middle of the night).  He offered to help out by making it three on three.  Nothing if not accommodating those Ballaratians.  Do I need to put in here the fact that the offer was declined?

Sunday was much the same as Saturday on court.  My team were officially crowned the biggest losers in our division after managing zero wins for the tournament. Much the same for the other girls team (those of you who came to Warrnambool will now understand the celebrations of that amazing Sunday night when we were four from four, the best ever tournament pre-finals result in the LONG history of Sam on tournament).  The guys teams fared somewhat better but still all failed to make it through to finals.   This is not to say that the teams played badly.  Tournaments are always tough, the opposition teams come from a diverse range of backgrounds and the affect of alcohol can never be underestimated!  Still, a lot of fun was had by all and it is amazing how much a player improves after four or five games in a row.

Sunday night and the BBQ was on again, this time organised by Rach and Glenda.  Beer was being enjoyed and the vibe relaxed, but Belinda was keen to get out on the town, very keen in fact.  I wonder what could be up there?  As the girls giggled about whether or not she was, in old fashioned terms, “on a promise”, the unsuspecting (I didn’t say thick) guys decided to accompany her to the nightclub early (before all the beer was even finished!).  But the first place they went to wasn’t quite right.  So on to the next and the next.  Finally Belinda found a place (or the person) she was happiest with, saying to the guys who had accompanied her on this whirlwind tour- “don’t bother waiting”.  So who did Belinda seek out with such tenacity?  Hutchy.  Yes, that’s right, ex-Geelong-VBL (friend of Marty’s), Hutchy.  And no, I don’t know what the rest of his name is, and it’s not relevant to the story anyway.

Karl managed to find the chickie he had told everyone he’d snavved the night before and was making tough work of the second attempt.  She was driving (i.e. sober) and surrounded by a couple of friends who didn’t seem too keen to let Karl get close.  The fact that there were about 10-15 MUBCites watching proceedings probably didn’t help to make the situation any more relaxed either, but it was pretty funny from our side of the room.  Karl was back at the motel (alone) long before the rest of us made it back to the room.  Aaaawww. 

The rest of the night was pretty quiet as well, best remembered for Glenda’s request to Owen: “Please do your fly up”as he headed out for a night on the town.  Without even blinking, Owen replied: “you wouldn’t believe how often I forget to do that”. Sometimes you learn too much about people on a basketball tournament!  The smile on Kuhn’s face when he’s really pissed is also worth a mention and the fact that a large group of the guys didn’t even make it out of the motel on the Sunday night, they were too busy playing PlayStation.  Very, very sad guys- the verdict on whether or not the guys are soft?  Well these ones are. Others did far better though, which is encouraging.  Raef managed to amuse Tammy by referring to his singlet as his “jersey”all tournament.  Tammy finally cracked and asked him: “You do realise that a jersey is a cow don’t you?

Lauren and Corey get a special mention, they only came to training for the first time the week before the tournament and seven days later were competing for MUBC on and off the court, a fabulous effort.  Raef trying to explain everything Australian to the American Corey was pretty funny too.  Corey was the only person in the pub who didn’t know the words to “Working Class Man” though, funny that.    Matt Green didn’t make it out with the MUBCites at all for the whole weekend (pretending to have other friends to catch up with or something), so this serves as official notice that his rookie tournament is yet to come.

These are only snippets of what was an incredibly fun and funny tournament.  The most common injury sustained being sides that hurt from too much laughing.  The fact that the girls were the ones with the potty mouths, sometimes so far down the gutter that the guys didn’t know what was going on, is unusual to say the least- probably best explained by the fact that most of the guys were rookies and/or new(ish) to the tournament scene.  The marked absence of Howie on the last few tournaments has had a big effect on the quality of those that came before and after.  Next tournament = Portland, Queens Birthday Weekend (June).   You should come.

MUBC Reporting Disclaimer: all care has been taken to ensure the facts reported here are of the highest quality and vaguely related to the truth.  Names have not been changed to protect the innocent.