Travelogue 3: 'Roo Poo, Magpies and Postgame Analysis'
**Travelogue by Dr. Chuck Morris
May 9, 2004
Canberra, Australia - G'day Family and Friends of Seminole Soccer,
Before bringing you up to date on events in Australia, we all would like to extend to our mothers and grandmothers a very Happy Mother's Day.
Yesterday (Saturday) went as planned except for the outcome of the game. Breakfast was at 6:45AM after which we loaded and boarded our buses for the 175 mile, 3 ? hour ride south to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra, the nation's capital located in the Australian Capital Territory. Immediately upon arrival we stopped at The Habit for a pasta and salad lunch. It was then off to AIS to check in to our dorm-like accommodations. The team had about an hour to relax before walking over to the game field to warm up for the 4PM game. Along the way we saw wild parrots, magpies and cockatoos. We were also told that at sunset to be on the lookout for the kangaroos to come down to dine on the lush grass playing fields-more on this later.
The game started on time under warm, clear conditions. The field was in excellent condition except for the "Roo Poo" that had been left during earlier kangaroo visits. Not a place players wanted to be tackled. As the game progressed the sun set and the temperature dropped about 20 degrees. It was quite cool when the game ended.
Just as promised, during the second half about 30 kangaroos and Joeys came bounding out of the woods onto the adjacent playing field. What a thrill!! They often sat up and appeared to be very interested in the match. At one point, while the teams were sparring on the field a couple of the larger kangaroos began to box. It is fair to say that the kangaroos were a huge treat for us all. Following the game, after coach Baker spoke with the team, several of the players went over to the field to get a closer look at the kangaroos. The residual field lights made photography difficult but the memories of our first encounter with the kangaroos will last forever. After several minutes we all went back to the dorm for a shower and then had dinner with the Australian team in the AIS dining facility.
Coach Baker has provided his assessment of the first game. "Looking back on the 90 minutes I was pleased with a majority of things that transpired throughout the game. Possession was even in the first half and we had five shots to their three. Unfortunately, two of their three ended up in the back of the net. (That's international finishing for you) We really played well in the 2nd half-holding lots of possession and creating quality scoring opportunities. We gave up a counter goal to go down 3-0, but continued to play well and scored a wonderful goal two minutes later. Three of our four midfielders were involved in the buildup (Trotter, Rosseau, Bybee) and Bybee drove an endline service through the box which Gallegos dummied and Schnugg finished first time. With spirit and fight, Bybee got our second five minutes later with a great shot from the top of the 18. The team created two more dangerous chances in the final minutes but their keeper came up big. It was an honor to play the women's national team at the Australian Institute of Sports.
Coach Baker also pointed out that:
? Katie Beal played her first minutes post surgery of her knee being
scoped. Logged 30 minutes and looked good.
? Ali Mims played the entire 2nd half in goal. Saw little action but it was great to have her back in the mix after two years of surgeries and rehab.
? Australia's lineup consisted of a few starters, reserves and bubble players looking to make their first Olympic roster.
Today (Sunday and Mother's Day) was another very early start. We loaded the luggage on the buses at 5:30AM and departed shortly before 6AM with our breakfast in a bag. Along the motorway back to Sydney Airport we were treated to countless kangaroos in the meadows and on the hillsides adjacent to the road. We arrived at the airport plenty early and had time to relax before boarding our late morning flight to Coolangatta Airport south of Brisbane. After loading our motor coach we drove to the ferry terminal. Following check-in and lunch we took a 20 minute journey to South Stradbroke Island where we will be staying at the Couran Cove Island Resort for the next two nights.
On arrival at the resort we boarded the tram for the brief ride through dense foliage to our eco-cabins. At the train station were several Agile Wallabies dining on the grass-another photo op for the team. One of the wallabies had a Joey in her pouch and was grooming her baby. Our bags were transferred directly to our cabins. The preferred mode of transportation on the island is by bike so we all headed directly to the bike shop to pick up our bikes and helmets. By the time this was all accomplished it was nearly dark and the end of a long travel day. Some of the team did go for a swim before dining on our own at the pool side restaurant.
On Monday morning the team will be free to enjoy the island's many activities-biking, swimming, surfing, kayaking, tennis, gold driving and putting, rock climbing wall and much more. Coach Baker is off for some open water fishing. Diane is on a bird watching walk at the environmental center. We will all gather again for lunch at 12:30 and then head off to the Surf Club for the Down Under Challenge (Part 1) organized by Darren and Jon. We've not yet been told what this entails so you'll have to wait for the details during my next message. After the Challenge, Coach Baker will put the team through a training session on the adjacent field. We'll have dinner tonight as a group-probably at the Surf Club Restaurant on the water.
Again, a very Happy Mother's Day to our loved ones at home.
**Chuck Morris is Florida State's Director of Event Management and he will be updating everyone stateside on the Tribe's trek through Australia.