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P.O. Box 10351,
Adelaide Business Centre
South Australia 5000

The IceArena
23 James Congdon Drive,
Thebarton SA,
Phone: (08) 8352 7977
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Broomball Prose & Poetry

Let Me Count the Ways A Dream (a light melodrama)
Apropos - Canada Nationals 1996
Canada 88 1996, A Broomball Odyssey
An Italian Sojourn Project Galactic Guide

Let Me Count The Ways

      Further to the list of pad-taping techniques compiled by the International Broomball Ideas Directorate (I.B.I.D.) in it's nine-yearly publication "Broomball as a World Alternative to Culture" (B.B.A.L.L.W.A.C.) and despite repeated requests for its repression from the Sports Fitness Council, The Thebarton Council and Queensland Internal Oligarchy Bureau *B.J.E.L.K.E.), hereunder please find, for the first time, an abridged selection from the "Creative Register of Unstoppable Deliveries" (C.R.U.D.) as observed (in passing) by the author whilst in the course of losing matches.

    The Corner Shot

      Only occurs when for some obscure reason, the goalie has decided 'not to cover the post in this particular instance', and has left a space between himself and the post which exactly fits the diameter of the ball.

    The Fast Ball

      Yet to be observed, hence no available data.

    The Ace

      There is some pressure afoot to have this shot outlawed on the grounds that it severly embarrasses the defending team and can have deleterious effect on the self esteem of the goalie. No other information is available because no one wants to annoy anyone else by talking about it.

    The Rebound

      This is the ball which HAS ALREADY BEEN STOPPED, or, which has already been stopped TWICE, and is then either accidentally knocked into the net by an opponant's stick or is deliberatly bounced off the groin protector of a member of your own team, thus scoring.

    The Bastard Double Entendre

      This is any ball which calls forth the most explicit expletives in the Author's vocabularly, and includes any ball successfully delivered during an elimination match.

    The Suck out Sucked in Ball

      Contrary to any fellatious assumptions, this ball is the one which is delivered BEHIND the goalie when he (or she) has been drawn out to the front door of the rink. Quote 'It seemed the best tactic at the time.' Unquote

    The Ol Slow Ball

      What can one say ? Pridley and Hatchard in the 1869 opus (recognised as the definitive text) have defined it thus: 'The ol' slow ball is the ball which CANNOT POSSIBLY REACH THE NET, yet manages to score in such a way that the 'goal' against on the scoreboard is indistiguishable from a normal goal scored in the commonly accepted spare time continium designated real time'.

    The Spin Ball

      This ball cannot be stopped, regardless of the length of time it is held in the goalies hands.

    The Curved Ball

      See under 'Relativity - Practical Application of.'

    The High Ball

      High Balls can only occur when not anticipated, hence it is useless to try to stop them.

    The Close Up

      This occurs when the goalie has refused to be fooled by the 'sucked out, sucked in shot' (see pre.) and has decided to allow the goal to occur while he (or she) IS STILL IN POSITION AT THE NET.

    The Long Shot

      The only way in which a goalie can score AGAINST the opposition.

    The Self Shot

      Like the above, but FOR the opposition.

    The Impossible Angle Shot

      Pridley and Hatchard (1869) had this to say: 'The combined effects of coriolus force and the recently discovered phenomenon which points to the existance of a round earth, viz: circumnavigation of the globe, present the only possible explanation for the successful appearance of this kind of ball WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE NET.

    The Credits

      This compilation owes much to the work of the European academic I.B. Peutryde whose essay 'Really Underhanded By-Passes and Bounces in Several Hits' (R.U.B.B.I.S.H.) has become a by-word in the profession.
Written by Steven Davey - Broomball Association of South Australia

A Dream (A light Melodrama)

      On three sides, a marble white substance which breathes then vapours and smells like something damp.

      Behind me is a metal construction hung with plastic netting. There is something I am meant to do.

      In the distance, blurred a little by the vapours, there are people engaged in some frantic activity, vieing for possession of an object which moves very quickly across the surface. A large rat perhaps? (they may be hungry).

      There is a cold penetrating my shoes from the marble white surface and in my hands an odd shaped stick. The thought again - there is something I am meant to do.

      The sound of shouting voices through the mist changes intensity, and looking up I see that the people are drawing closer. One of them is pushing the object before him. It is not a rat (because rats are not spherical).

      He has broken away from the others in the group and seems to be running at me. I do not want the spherical object. Something urgent is happening. Voices are calling loudly, many of them from the sides, outside the marble white area. My heart is beating faster and I have forgotten the cold.

      I look behind and there is only the metal thing with it's net. There is nowhere else for the runner and the object to go, I am in the way.

      All extraneous thoughts disappear. It is concentrate. It is flight or fight. I know what I am meant to do. It has always been this way. For a moment there is a long toothed animal in the undergrowth, then an armoured man wielding a heavy sword, and ranks of people cheering for blood. But now there is the runner and the object which I must block. It must not pass behind me into the metal and plastic cave. Much depends on this (the world is teetering, I feel it).

      Now the runner weaves a little as he comes. I see only the sphere. Orange and hard. I will spring, I will lash with the stick, or my feet and head. I will scream it away back out into the vapours. And the world will be safe again. It is a bullet fired from a hundred rifles, just one bullet and one direction, but I will not know the direction until the bullet is fired.

      The runner is close - too close. I can move forward to meet him, but he has the momentum, and he has the sphere. There is only a staying and a waiting. Time is doing strange things............

      The object-rat-sphere-bullet is fired. There is only a blur to percieve, until time is frozen like the marble white and orange enemy is poised in the air, close beside me, glistening and laughing, mocking my aims.

      There is no time to manouver the stick or drop it. One hand frees itself and reaches, so slowly to the immobile object. Imminant contact. The earth is still teetering.......

      Time has slipped back into existance. The object is no longer merely abullet. It is a rocket broaching the earths gravity and my hand thinks to stop it. The thing has seen the cave net and wants it fast. My hand is half way in it's path. It brushes my hand aside, leaving the earths mantle for the space and vastness behind me.

      I already know that in a micro-second, that I have not stopped the enemy, nor saved the world, and I am falling, without dignity, my armour and useless weapon clattering to the cold marble white as the screams and yells fill my head.

      Someone is helping me up.

      "It wasn't your fault" he says.

Written by Steven Davey - Broomball Association of South Australia

Canada 88

      We departed Adelaide exhibiting uncontrolled excitement, reminiscent of school children embarking on a long waited excursion. We were fresh, fit and full of enthusiasim. For three months we had trained 6 times a week, and sacrificed weekends to raise money to relieve the enormous financial outlay. Now the preparation was complete - the dream was reality - the adventure had begun...........

      Thirty one days later, we returned to Adelaide, exhausted bruised and broke. The hectic schedule had taken it's toll. The feeling of exhaustion was overwhelming - it was a legacy of 21 hard Broomball games, 27 wild, late nights, jet lag, and the reluctant realisation that the adventure had drawn to a conclusion.

      The whole experience is a difficult one to explain, it's uniqueness was inherent in the organisation that had made it possible - 11 social sport people and one volunteer team manager had visioned and nurtured to fruition a concept that would take them halfway around the world to experience first hand the most professional and skilled Broomball in the world. 50,000km of plane travel and 1,600km of train travel would take them to 11 cities across Canada to spectate and challenge all levels of Canadian Broomball, recreation through to elite.

      Amongst the games, parties and travel, problems ranging from lost luggage, restructured schedules, lost players, media coverage, to language barriers and inter-personal friction, were encountered and resolved with a mature independence that reflected the resourcefulness and ingenuity of the group.

      A group of 12 emotive people, guided by shared experience, dependant on one another for support and friendship, both on and off the ice.

      The hospitality over the month was overwhelming and humbling. Although reluctant at first, most of us adapted to being the centre of attention (some adapted quicker than others!). We played and partied hard and were never disgraced at either activity.

      Although not able to boast many match victories, our small inexperienced group tackled experienced teams of 17 or more players with a determination that scored goals and won respect.

      We learnt a lot, made a host of friends and projected a positive image of Australia and Australians. The bottom line... the trip offered intrinsic rewards that obscured the physical, emotional and financial sacrifices required to participate. If the opportunity comes again, I urge you to give it careful consideration. If in doubt, just ask someone who has been!!

Written by Allan Mills - 1988 - Broomball Association of South Australia

Apropos - Canada

      So, I wake up on a week day morning in Autumn and that isn't good because I work on week days.

      I perform early morning functions and sit down with the first coffee and health-giving cigarette.

      Something is wrong, and it isn't the coffee. The cigarette is as invigourating as ever. The cat hasn't harassed me yet.

      Something is strange, and in a metaphysical push I know what is troubling me.

      I am not in Canada.

      Just why this should be significant at 6.40am on a mild Autumn morning is not immediately apparant.

      I have my work, my cat, and my cheap Mozart tapes, and the first cigarette is always the best. What is more, Canada may not have Chocolate Halva's at $4.65 a kilo.

      Still there is something crass and incomplete about not having 'been' somewhere.

      Geraldton, Parndana, Cooktown, Marble Hill and Caltowie are all fine in there way, but you can't talk about these places at parties, and the photographs don't have that erotic smugness which characterises the Deccan Plateau or the St Lawrence Estuary.

      I decide to spend my mental energy tallying my finances and planning for an exiting future. I am not worm spit. I am a reasonably average human being.

      My expenses for the fortnight total $503. My take home pay for the same period is $529. I double check the decimal place.

      I am worm spit.

      I dispense with financial indices. There are other measures of a man, e.g. this summer past I have for the first time worn blue singlets to work. Surely masculine status will follow me all the days of my life. This is something; power and exhibitionism, glorying in the body. Now I have the answer: I will take advantage of the absence of certain key sportsmen, and excel at Broomball while they gad about the northern regions, freezing in a barely sub arctic spring and tripping on the numerous beaver dams which infest the streets of Provincial cities in that country I will not name.

      It is now a thursday Evening. The time is nigh for a new kind of manhood to manifest itself. A non world travelling, proudly parochial spirit, lacking perhaps in certain sophistications but overflowing in that genuine working class knowledge of what is real, lasting and important, viz: being better than the slobs around one.

      I arrive home from an unusually hard days work at 5.35pm. I am thinking of Broomball. I sit on the big, comfortable second hand couch in the lounge room. I am exhausted. I neither shower nor eat, nor go to the shop. I doze off. At 7.00pm I go to bed. I do not play Broomball.

      I am worm spit.

      One week later, I learn that my team had, in my absence, a stunning victory.

      That same week I do play Broomball. My team, ably abetted by me, lose decisively. they are nice people and don't ask me to quit.

      I wish I was in Canada.

Written by Steven Davey - 1988 - Broomball Association of South Australia

Nationals 96

      As I arrived in Sydney my mind racing, I was in town for the Broomball Nationals, the highlight of the sporting season. It did however seem incongruous as I walked alone through the airport that there was none of the fanfare that I expected would accompany the arrival of a visiting representative sporting team. However I thought nothing more of it, and wandered on, alone, through the airport. It was then as I topped the escalator that I saw, them, the waiting hoards of reporters, groupies and other associated crowd control personnel. I tried to ignore them, but this was strangely more than I expected, I continued on oblivious to their screams and requests for interviews. I did not have the heart to ell them that the object of their desires (Ash) had not flown into Sydney, but had chosen instead to catch the bus, who was I to shatter their dreams.

      Having collected my bags, and avoided the crowds I headed out to Narrabeen, the venue for the 1996 National Broomball Championships. Once comfortable in the palatial 5 star Narrabeen Caravan Park, I set about to prepare for the coming battles.

      My mind was awash with the quotes of sporting greats.

      I really lack the words to compliment myself today (Alberto Tomba)

      I'll always be number one to myself (Moses Malone)

      I don't mind a beer (Ben Ziesing)

      As we sat down as a team to prepare for what would be a tough weekend other thoughts came to mind.

      Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. (John Wooden), I did not know whether we could win, but I knew we could drink, so that is what we did.

      To succeed.....You need to find something to hold on to , something to motivate you, something to inspire you. (Tony Dorsett)..... we did find something to hold on to, Hahn Longbrew.

      The organisers however were obviously well aware of our cunning plan, and countered by arranging for the first games of the tournament to be played at 6.30... IN THE MORNING!

      Our first match, in the men's competition, against North Queensland, was not looking good early. They were young, they were keen, they were fast. We; well we were there on time!

      The half time score cast serious doubts on our method of preparation. We were 3 nil down and looked in big trouble. Overnight, a team of midgets had mysteriously entered the Narrabeen ice rink and cut down the boards around the rink to about 18 inches, well it seemed as if they were that high didn't it Rod! Every pass we tried to make ended up out of play.

      In the second half we resolved to do better and display some of that SA fighting spirit.

      As Lou Holtz (whoever he is) said How you respond to the challenge in the second half will determine what you become after the game, whether you are a winner or a loser.

      We fought hard and gave North Queensland the fright of their lives, equalising with minutes to spare and having chances for the winner in the dying seconds, or so they tell me as I can't remember much after about halfway through the second half when I made a save with my head that ended up somewhere near Newcastle (the save, not my head).

      That was it for the men's team for the Saturday. This left plenty of time for further team bonding and preparation .

      All this time an elite band of sportsmen and women were also battling out the mixed title. The SA players playing with a group of NSW Broomball virgins were having a great time. As they say it is not whether you win or lose but how you play the game, and the SA contingent played the game hard, led from the front and were a credit to themselves. Highlight of these matches included Debbie's passing, Keith's pace on the wing, Craig's wit, My stupidity, Gavin's defending, and of course how could we forget Ash's goal (ask him about it sometime).

      Sunday arrived and started in a similar fashion to Saturday, ie criminally early. Our first match was against ACT 2, a must win encounter. To cut a long story short (or more importantly because I have not stats from the game we won 2 nil. A pleasing outcome, but somewhat down on expectations. We knew the next game was the crunch game, ACT 1.

      Coming into this game we knew that we had to win, we could not afford to lose. North Queensland had been beaten by ACT 1 and could be expected to down ACT 2. A loss from us would mean that the fight for a finals berth would come down to goal difference between us and North Queensland.

      Leading into this match we were told be our coaching staff that we should approach it as any other game, and save ourselves for the finals, (someone had forgotten to tell them we were not necessarily in the finals).

      The game started as always with ACT 1. It was a rough bruising affair with no concessions asked and none given. But it some became apparent (to me anyway) that we were in strife, they were fired up to prove a point, they were slick, they were accurate; Hell they were bloody good.

      As time ticked by in the second half I was beginning to wonder if I would need to take my shoes and socks off to count the score but fortunately our defence held out and when the game ended we had been soundly defeated by 8 goals to nil. This officially ended out 1996 Nationals Campaign, we were beaten by a better team, on the day.

      The final was held between North Queensland and ACT 1 and promised to be a hard tussle. Naturally we stood by as impartial observers because we were sure that Broomball would be the winner on the day. It was with that in mind that we mercilessly sledged ACT and Raucously cheered the Queenslanders.

      The Queenslanders showed great guts to return from a two nil deficit to tie up the game 2 -2 at the end of full time taking the game into overtime. Unfortunately the Queenslanders lacked the experience in overtime to take the National title eventually losing 4 - 2. However they should be very proud of their performance over the weekend.

      I look forward to meeting the Queenslanders in the final new year on the Gold Coast.

      For those who are interested in starting to save for next years trip, the nationals will be held over the June long weekend on the Gold Coast, everyone is welcome, I would recommend it as a great experience.

      For the record the final standings were;

      Mens: National Champions ACT1, second North Queensland, third South Australia, last ACT 2.

      Mixed: National Champions ACT1, runners up North Queensland, NSW (including SA) finished a creditable 5th.

      Van Morrison (that great sportsman!) said,
      In order to win you must be prepared to lose sometime.

      This time we lost, Next time we WIN!!

Written by Andrew Blaskett - 1996 - Broomball Association of South Australia

1996, A Broomball Odyssey

      The time 4.00 am, the date October 18 1996, the place Adelaide South Australia. Months of preparation have come to this as three intrepid travellers book their bags onto a flight to Sydney, starting what will be for some the broomball trip of a lifetime, and for others (Shaps) just another chapter in their already long and distinguished broomball career.

      The participants in this odyssey, Kim Shapley seasoned world broomball traveller, Paul Weatherall, well known playboy electrician and yours truly (Andrew Blaskett) sometime goaltender othertime accountant.

      Ahead of us lay one month of intense broomball excitement and for others untold liaisons and unscheduled rendezvous. (Don't worry Paul untold means untold)

      After a long first day (36 hours) we arrived in Eugene Oregon, we were met at the airport by Mark Hunter, the head of the US Broomball Association and all round nice guy. In Eugene we were scheduled to participate in the local mixed (no contact) and men's (contact) competitions. In order to play we were all drafted onto teams for the night, with the assurance that at the end of the night we would have to be cut from the team. We all managed to get our names on the score sheet in one way or another (Shaps and I for scores and assists and Paul for visits to the penalty box), making our first broomball outing in the US an unbridled success, notwithstanding the fact that we were cut from the team at the end of the night. Our first outing in Eugene left us wondering what all the excitement about checking was all about. These guys weren't rough, we had nothing to worry about, or did we.

      After further sightseeing in the lovely Oregon area, we bade our hosts farewell and headed off into the Canadian prairie to Saskatoon Saskatchewan. Here we were met by the President of the Saskatchewan Broomball Association Terry Forbes. Terry and his partner Terri (confusing? You bet.) were to be our hosts for the next few days. They had organised for us to be drafted onto one of the local teams, the Knights. The Knights were playing their traditional rivals the Grizzlies in what we were told would be a no holds barred contact struggle of epic proportions (Sure we saw checking in Oregon!).

      The game started quietly, I was in nets and already nursing what felt like severely smashed hands from their unique style of warm up. Line up and smash the ball at the goal keeper from about fifteen yards out (boy can those fellas hit the ball! Think of Matt Holder x 2). After about thirty seconds all hell broke loose, two guys were in the corner throwing punches that would make Mike Tyson look like a wimp. Ahhh so this is what they meant by checking (by this stage I am thinking glad I'm in goals).

      The Australian contingent came out of this game holding their heads high. It was a hard fought tussle, incredibly skilful and on ice that was like running on sticky tape. The final score was a three two defeat for the Knights. We had now seen how real full contact was played, and were all a little sore for the experience. Lessons learnt: don't stand still for too long (especially near the walls), ALWAYS keep your head up, and stay on your feet (unless someone is punching you, then fall to the ground as soon as you can, because only then will the ref come and save you from being beaten to death). Notwithstanding all that we had learned we got cut anyway.

      Having heard of our visit the residents of Regina the capital of Saskatchewan some 260 km south of Saskatoon were keen for us to come and play in their mixed competition. So we climbed aboard our borrowed and beat up chevy van and drove south. We played two games in the mixed competition wining the first 8 nil. Shapley picking up 4, Weatherall 1 and Blaskett 1. Cut again.

      From Saskatoon we headed to Vancouver for some sightseeing. From Vancouver we headed across to Victoria for the worlds. Because there were only three of us it seemed unlikely that we would have much success if we played on our own. Accordingly the organisers were good enough to find us a place with the local Victoria Cougars team.

      Our first outing with the Cougars was an exhibition match against the Japanese. Kim missed this match due to international administration commitments. We won easily 10-2, and had a great time, swapping players with the Japanese after half time to increase the enjoyment.

      Day one of the competition proper saw the Cougars lining up against Ontario and our old friends from Saskatchewan. The first match against Ontario saw us beaten 4 zero. This team was good, incredible passing and shooting ability, very good control. Against Saskatchewan we had a much better tussle, and after a tough close match we were defeated 2 -1.

      Day 2 we lined up against the Northwest Territories. This game was real tough. Of the total forty minutes of game only about 5 minutes elapsed where both sides had a full team on the ice. We won 3 - 1, Kim scored. More importantly however Day 2 was also the day of the big Australian night party at a local nightclub. Suffice to say as the only Australians there we had a great time!

      Day 3, two games, Calgary Cowboys and USA 2. Within the first 5 minutes of the Calgary game I had injured myself and was sitting on the floor of the dug out knowing that I would not be playing any more that day (note to me: don't let players slide into you with their knees, it hurts, also don't drink so much at future Australian nights, it only makes you feel worse when you get hit) We lost 10 nil.

      Against the USA 2 we were expecting a tough game. These Yanks had been noted for their dirty play and we were expecting to see more. I was so sad to be manning the gate, still suffering from the morning's injury). The game was surprisingly clean and skilful. However the Americans beat us 3 nil.

      The final minor round game of the competition was expected to be the toughest of the tournament. We were playing the winless Saroma team. These guys were fantastic, they were keen, polite (they would apologise for having been checked by you), but had a long way to go before they would become a real threat. However everyone loved playing them because they epitomised what this tournament was all about, fun and friendship. We had a great time playing them, winning 3 - 1. When they scored they almost brought the stadium down. It was a delight to watch. Kim scored from my assist (on one leg).

      Having only one two games we had no expectation that we would take part in the quarter finals. However, by some strange twist of luck we finished fourth in our pool and thus qualified to play the Atlantic team in the quarter finals. This team was very quick, very clever and very French. They had our measure from the start cruising to a four one win, putting us out of the competition.

      The final day had arrived. Ontario the team who had played us in game one were playing Atlantic the team who beat us in the quarter finals. Ontario finally winning 2 -1 in a close and incredibly skilful match. For the record the women's competition was won by British Columbia and the Mixed by Edmonton.

      After a presentation dinner attended by around 600 people, we headed off to Lake Louise for a week of skiing, relaxation and recuperation. From Louise we headed back to Calgary (for some, not for the first time that week). We farewelled Paul who had to return to Australia before he got into any more trouble. Kim and I continued on up to Edmonton to try and find what it was that had lured Paul there only days earlier. This marked the start of a further ten weeks of travel for Kim and I which will have to form part of the sequel to this tale. Suffice to say the first month had been fantastic, an Odyssey to remember. Stay tuned for the sequel 1996 a Broomball Oddity.

Written by Andrew Blaskett - 1996 - Broomball Association of South Australia

1998, An Italian Sojourn

      It was with much anticipation that we departed Australia. Frank and Paul travelling to Bangkok for a couple of days R & R in the city of sin, I headed onto Rome for a couple of days sightseeing. After meeting with Frank and Paul in Rome, swapping horror stories of traffic violations, near misses and incredible traffic (my first comment on arriving home in Monday Morning peak hour traffic was, where's all the cars ?) we decided to brave another chaotic mode of travel via train. Not daunted at the entire population of Australia milling around the train station we approached a travel guide for directions. Duly "pointed" we confidently jumped a train and headed off. However unknown to us we had been "pointed" to Milan rather than Bolzano. Not daunted we jumped onto another train, that we determined was in fact heading in the right direction and $40 wiser.

      Arriving in Bolzano, we hailed a cab, and proceeded with directions to the accommodation. Receiving blank stares from the cabbie, we decided that it was our Italian. Frank cranked up his trusty Spanish, but still we received blank looks. SO deciding that our accent was probably the error we broke out the booking slip. Well, it wasn't our Italian, Spanish or accent. It was just that the hotel was not in THIS town ! It was 30 km away !

      Establishing that the financial penalty of a daily trip to the rink and back would bankrupt us within minutes ($25 for a 7 minute ride !!) we decided to seek our accommodation locally. Hailing another cab, one that would in fact take all our luggage, we pointed him in the direction of the ice arena, hoping to find a hotel nearby. Well, he did, we did but it was closed sort of. Deciding we could check out the accommodation on foot and suffer no further bankruptcy, Frank and I set off leaving Paul to defend the luggage with a sleepy looking German Shepherd eyeing off Pauls food.

      We must have chosen the wrong direction for we walked, and walked and walked and walked and... eventually found a place. Yes there were open sort of, but they would not be tomorrow, sort of, yes we could have accommodation, sort of. Undaunted we booked and gratefully dumped our gear.

      Deciding that Paul was probably running out of edible fingers and probably already eaten the Shepherd, we hiked back to retrieve him and our luggage. NEVER have I been so grateful to the inventor of the wheel. What a guy !

      Wandering the streets that night for food we managed to find one closed restaurant (our hotel was closed that night, at least the restaurant was, sort of). Eventually finding a pizza joint, that surprisingly sold pizza, sort of. We ate, and then decided that the wafer thin pizza covered in 0.3 mushrooms was not enough, ordered again. The wine was good.

      Up bright and early, we sleepily lumbered to the showers to find out why the hotel was open, sort of. We sort of, had no hot water. Cold showers later we made our way to the rink for the meeting with the international group. Meeting up with a few old friends and making many new ones with the Italian organising committee (!!!). Especially new ones when we managed to transmit our dilemma with the accommodation.

      The Italians graciously invited us to a soccer match between them and the Canadians, which they had decided that they had to win as a point of honour, Frank and Paul headed off. I was charged with securing the accommodation and organising a vehicle (after determining that bankruptcy would strike before the end of the day at the current cabbie rates). Deciding that we would all meet at the stadium after the soccer (2 hours away) we went our separate ways.

      Now I don't know if you have ever driven in peak hour traffic in Italy, but I don't recommend it for the faint hearted. Thinking that how bad can it be, hey I've driven in LA, down the wrong side of the street in peakhour in Montreal. Hey I'm experienced in this wrong side of the road stuff. Well, it seems the Italians have managed a few tricks that the yanks have never ever thought of. Firstly all major roads must have major road works. All roads must have detours, All detours must detour back to the major road works. All major roads go in one direction. Which is NEVER EVER the direction that you have to go in. All street signs point in the direction that you have just come from. So for some 1 1/2 hours yours truly travelled in ever diminishing circles, fortunately that corresponded with the accommodation.

      Somehow, in what can only be described as a truly creative cockup, we got our wires crossed. The Italians thought we had screwed them for the accommodation and gave poor Frank a thorough tongue lashing in frantic gesticulating Italian, Frank and Paul thought we had decided to stay at the accommodation and I thought we decided to go with the Italians. SO, I duly booked us out and headed back to the rink. Ha.... easier said. Meanwhile Paul and Frank having decided that I was terminally lost, headed back to the accommodation. Only to find out that I'd checked us out. Eventually we sorted it out, a further 2 hours after the original meeting time.

      Well this is fun said we...

      Somehow, in the 11 days we were there, we never actually went the same way twice either to or from the ice rink, somehow.

      Now having sorted transport, accommodation and venues we felt confident to tackle the ice the next day for our first crack at the big time. Paul and I, being somewhat more familiar with the Canadian style of play, watch Frank closely for any sign of rolling eyes and jelly legs. To his credit he only fainted once.

      Meeting up with our team was a truly memorable experience. I remembered one of the reasons we had unisex change rooms at Payneham rink (those of you that can remember that far back). It was I'm bound to say... nice ! But they were a great bunch of girls, 2 Canadians, 1 American and I think six Italians. Hard to tell as we had a different turnout each day. They were all great and we had a great time with them all.

      Oh, and we did play some broomball along the way. We DID have a great time !

      Written by: Kim Shapley 1999

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