Do you know what I want? A place where I can go to watch GWS or Swans games with other GWS or Swans fans. Yes, it’s Sydney, but that doesn’t mean I know very many GWS and Swans fans. And if I get my way and end up in Melbourne in a few years (working for the AFL, of course) I’m going to know even fewer GWS and Swans fans. There are a few bars that say they play all the Swans games but should be easier than it is to find them (if anyone wants to know, Dick’s in Balmain is my new favourite place to watch games – can’t wait until the season starts again). Even harder is finding other NBL and ABL fans. Other than the people I know who work for NBL and ABL teams and leagues, I don’t know very many people who are keen to watch the game. So why not partner with a venue? Since it’s Australia, it should probably be a bar (have you ever told Aussies they can’t drink while watching sport? Yea – you probably don’t want to) although you’d want to have an alternate venue for families… more on that later. Continue Reading
A few weeks ago, I went to see the St. Kilda/West Coast game at Etihad Stadium. I had a great time (if we ignore the fact that I was so cold that I couldn’t feel my toes for about 3 days afterwards).
But there was something that almost ruined the whole experience (and I am very enthusiastic about improving the game day experience): the ticket line. It was sooooooo long.
We got to the stadium about 45 minutes before the game started but because of the ticket line, we missed the first few minutes or the first quarter. We weren’t the only ones of course – there were many, MANY people behind us in line.
Now, you may be thinking, “Serves you right – you should have bought your tickets online. ” And you know what, I thought the same thing. But why would I? There are several reasons I wouldn’t bother buying my tickets online.
A few months ago, I wrote a post about how American (and America-trained) basketball players don’t fit in the NBL. I’ve been meaning to write this post for several weeks now, and seeing as tonight is the Hawks Gala Dinner, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity (FYI: my mind is also racing about the Swans/Geelong game tonight… don’t even get me started).
I take it back. Well… sort of.
I will say that I think I caught Adris on a bad stretch… because after my article, he played like a beast and went on to win player of the week in Round 19. He played very well – no question about it – so he does have my apologies for my previous analysis of him. Hopefully he likes this one better.
But I do think there was another factor… one of my new favourite basketball players: Malcolm Grant.
Now I have lots of opinions on teams and leagues that go abroad to pick up talent, but in this case, it seems to have paid off. You see, the main the struggle with foreign players is that they don’t understand the sporting culture which, as I tried to explain in my other post, is very different between the US and Australia. Plus, it can take years for players to get used to playing with each other – learning styles and nuances (Sydney Swans, anyone?).
But this isn’t the case with Grant and the Hawks.
In case you didn’t know, Grant and Lance Hurdle (who is completely lovely, might I add – everyone at the club thinks so) are amigos from back home in the states (or so the rumor mill tells me). This meant Grant was aware of the culture before he came to Aus, and had Hurdle to help him out when he was unsure. NOTE: I have to say that I haven’t spoken to either of them about this, I am just assuming. They are after all, good friends, so I assume they speak. Is that too much?
I also think that the reason it worked was because of Deleon. If you see Grant and Deleon play together… now, that’s some great stuff. Deleon no longer looks out of place – Grant seems to have bridged the gap between Deleon and the rest of the team and has complimented them amazingly. As such, I see that Grant has brought out the best in Deleon giving him more opportunities to dominate how he wants (with those crazy between the leg dribbles and behind the back passes). And Deleon compliments Grant. Otherwise, he would just be another one of those crazy Americans that throws in the opposite direction of the one he’s looking. It’s seriously one of the best foreign transplants I’ve seen in a while. And remember, I’m a fan of Mike Pyke.
After all, the Hawks made it to the final four! And they performed well! My money is on them for the big win next year. They are a seriously great team and I’m lucky to have been involved with them this year.
Although I do have one problem with Grant… WHY DOES HIS JERSEY HAVE HIS FIRST NAME ON THE BACK? Everyone else has their last name. Consistency please. (I assume this was just an error, but STILL).
(Sorry if this post seems scattered – my mind is racing about this!)
Now that I’m volunteering with the Wollongong Hawks, I almost don’t want to write this post. The team is great and I love working with them, but while watching the games the past few weeks, I noticed something that I had to speak up about: Americans don’t fit in the NBL.
I know this is a very general statement and there are some Americans who do make great NBL players, but there are so many differences that it makes it hard.
What really drove this point home for me was watching Adris Deleon, the Wollongong Hawks point guard, play this past Friday. Yes, I am aware that he was born in the Dominican Republic, but he was raised in the US and that’s where he learned to play basketball, therefore, I’d consider him a American basketball player, at least in terms of style, and that’s what I’m talking about.
Americans Play Faster
Deleon is a good player, yes. But his playing style doesn’t suit his team because he’s playing as though he’s in the NBA, and he’s not. No two ways about it, the NBA is better quality than the NBL (they have about $10 katrillion more than the NBL, so they better be). The NBA is known for being fast and crazy and chock full of showboats (Dwight Howard ring any bells?). Even teams that are known for their calculated, organized style of play, like the Boston Celtics circa 2008, or teams that are at the bottom of the laddder still rack up the three point shots and fast breaks on a good night. They can do that, in part, because of their abilities. The NBL can’t do things like that – they’re still playing basketball in it’s most basic form.
Watching Deleon on Friday was… hard. He’s the point guard which means he’s shorter than most of the other guys on the court and faster. That’s just how basketball is, but it was magnified because he was playing like an American. He was pretty much running circles around the Perth Wildcats, which was great, but it also looked like his teammates were confused, which was not so great. I don’t think he’s acknowledging where he is. DELEON: YOU ARE IN THE NBL NOT THE NBA. PLAY ACCORDINGLY.
While there’s nothing wrong with the playing style in the NBL and there are so, so many talented NBL players, they point I’m trying to make is that the leagues are different. The men play differently. You only need to look at the scores of an NBL game to see the difference. A low scoring game in the NBA has points in the 80s – in the NBL, that’s a high scoring game (the highest score from a team so far this season is 97 points).
Americans Are Selfish
The other big difference is that basketball is still a team sport in Australia (just like in Europe). For better or worse, basketball in the US is more of an individual sport now. Yea, you play as a team, but most guys are more concerned about making themselves look good. That’s where that showboating comes in. Everyone wants to stand out. Every good player does make the sacrifice and hands the ball off to their teammate but not before they show what they can do. For Deleon, it was his constant between legs cross over. I saw the shot clock run out a couple times because he wasted time screwing around. Maybe he thinks that his teammates are just as fast as he is?
Americans Are… Americans
And that’s why American basketball players don’t really make a good fit. As much as I love the US and the NBA (and I LOVE the NBA) I can’t say that we like conforming. We like to think that our way is the best way and whether or not that’s true doesn’t matter – if Americans are going to succeed in the NBL then they need to learn to play with Australian players. They need to stop thinking they are in the NBA. They need to adjust their playing style. They might get here quickly, but without adapting they’re going to go just as fast.
Check out the post on Babes Dig Balls! Hot name, hotter staff.
(Photo Credit: Herald Sun)
Here’s the problem with a lot of athlete’s Twitter accounts: they retweet. A lot. Or they get into conversations with people that no one knows and carry on for ages. Now, that’s great and all, but I need some information, guys. That’s why I don’t follow athletes. And that is also why I have done the leg work for you by rounding up the best of the best. Yes, that’s right. I looked at the Twitter accounts of every. Single. Athlete. Playing for the Swans, GWS, Kings, Hawks and Blue Sox. It was not easy. Whew. The things I do for you.
Winner: Phil Davis – @phildavis_1
One of the more frequent tweeters on this list, Davis had me at ‘wannabe masterchef and battler at FIFA.’ Oh, to be young. This guy is one of the best for news from a player perspective. He updates aabout hsi real life, sure, but he talks about footy a lot, as well as other sports, and there’s something to be said about a player who contributes to the game and doesn’t just play it.
Interested in reading the rest? Head over to Babes Dig Balls to check it out!
Yesterday, I wrote a post on things Sydney pro teams should sell. I mentioned that they seem to sell things that no one would ever buy. At least, no one I know. It seems like a waste of money. If a club has to choose between these things and the ones I wrote about yesterday, they should ALWAYS choose the ones I wrote about yesterday. Here are the things they should stop selling.
Really, really expensive stuff. Memorabilia is one thing, and I know that die-hard fans will pay any amount for something they love in order to support a team but there has to be a line. The Swans, for instance, have a $190 poster. WHAT?! Nearly two hundred dollars for a sports poster? Insanity. It’s not even signed. Although, it does look like candy canes, so maybe for Christmas?
Massive stuff. No. I do not need a refrigerator. No thank you. Nor do I need an entire bar. Who buys these things?! Even if you have them, do you really have all the matching furnishings? And if you are a man who has something like this, I am willing to bet you are single because if you were married, your wife would make you throw this nonsense out.
Window treatments. This is just in bad taste. That’s all I have to say about that.
Gaudy items. As we have established time and time again, I fully support looking like a supporter (ha ha – that’s a funny sentence) but there are some things that are too much. Like that Adam Goodes shirt I posted yesterday. Or this hat. Or anything pinkified (don’t get me started on sexism and body image in sport and media). Who buys this stuff? I can’t imagine that anyone would buy such… elaborate items.
Bedding in any size other than single. I say this because I think it is perfectly acceptable to be a child and have sports team bedding. That’s adorable and I think it’d make an amazing bedroom. But if you need to buy a queen size doona… I just don’t know. You need to seriously rethink your values because I can’t imagine you will have a family (read: be procreating) in a bed like that.
Okay. That’s my two cents. I just don’t understand some things. Why are you doing it to yourselves? Don’t you think you could be doing so much better?!
Note: I have to commend the Port Adelaide Power and Collingwood Magpies because I scoured their shops looking for ugly stuff and couldn’t find anything. Seriously. Great merch guys. They did have the expensive stuff, but everyone does, so I can’t ding them for that. Oh, and also, they had items from my list yesterday 🙂 And the Hawthorn Hawks? Their shop needs work. Serious work.
Sorry for waiting three days for a post. You know how the weekends get… not to mention daylight savings messed up my ‘Schedule’ option so that’s just nonsense. On to business.
Recently, while I was volunteering at a Wollongong Hawks game I got into a conversation with another volunteer about Hawks merchandise. She has been a volunteer for a couple years and mentioned that last season, the team had ugly hats. Maybe that’s a bit harsh… but they only had the regular ball caps which, if you know anything about youth, went out of style back in 2004. She suggested they get the flat brim caps (New Era and I have a pretty serious relationship) and this season, they did. They’re selling like mad. (By the way, I am salivating over the AFL’s new ones!)
I do not understand team merchandise in Australia. It’s as if they don’t know they’re customer. They seem to offer products that no one (at least no one in their right mind) would purchase and omit things that would be obvious sales. I’ve come up with some things I think are obvious additions to their merchandise options.
Women’s Apparel – I follow a ton of amazing women on Twitter who are massive fans, so that certainly can’t be the case. So why is it that there are so few options for women when it comes to sports merchandise? Does it not sell? (if anyone from a pro team is reading this and you know something about it – email me, I’d love to know) Take the Sydney Swans, for instance who only have 3 items for women. The GWS Giants only have 4 (one of which is socks and that doesn’t count, does it?). Sure, women can buy men’s or children’s items, but cute stuff sells. I mean… the Victoria Secret line for colleges football and their line for NFL teams? That’s GOLD. I want to go to all those schools and support all those teams if it means I can wear that stuff. C’mon Australia – partner with CottonOn (ooh, ooh, COTTON ON BODY!) and get some cute stuff for us girls.
Undergarments – I know this is a bit out there… but I think it’d sell. I was actually looking for North Melbourne underwear for my boyfriend for Christmas, and couldn’t find any – anywhere. And I would totally rock a purple bikini with a gold crown on it for the Sydney Kings or something. I’m also sort of in love with the Boston Celtics underwear. Put it this way – on days that reppin’ your club merch isn’t appropriate (like when I was at a hen’s party during the AFL semis) it’s a stealth way to support your team.
Game Day Stuff – GWS has a good array of things, but other teams desperately need some help in this area. While you can buy some things at the game, making them available online, especially during the off-/pre-season when people are getting hyped up for the first game, is a great selling point. Inflatable hands, flags, signs or other things to bring to the stadium on game day are perfect products. The Hawks, I’ve noticed, don’t have many of these and neither do the Blue Sox. I think they’d be great additions for next season.
Subtle Products – I am going to go out on a limb and say that all products should be subtle. No one wants to look like a walking advertisement. I’m all for logos and plastering my club’s name across my chest. But sometimes, if I’m not at an actual stadium, which most of the time, we’re not, I’d like something a bit classier. Which is why the Victoria’s Secret football apparel I mentioned earlier is such a big hit. It’s a way of supporting your team, and making it known, without looking like the club’s mascot. Even on a weekend, no one wants that. Examples? Anything that looks a bit retro (kudos to the Blue Sox, who have something like this!), or something small I can rock without being obnoxious, or anything that’s not ridiculously graphic. (this Adam Goodes shirt is just too much – I love you, Adam, but no)
Shoes – Maybe this is just me but for 3 years at college I rocked a pair of Boston Celtics house slippers. The only reason I don’t still have them is because I literally wore them to death (I wore them outside during Massachusetts winter – I am a fool). I really wanted a pair of AFL ones, but couldn’t find them anywhere. The NBL and ABL would be great candidates for this since the AFL isn’t doing it – set yourselves apart, guys! A good option for the AFL would be to go the road of the NBA and team up with an athletic company for a limited edition of sport shoes – remember those? I always regretted not getting a Spurs pair (enter sigh of regret here). The AFL has enough of a presence around Australia that I KNOW these shoes would sell. Fast. They don’t need to be ridiculous, but even thongs would be better than nothing.
Jewelry – This is a combination of Women’s Apparel and Subtle Products… but I don’t care. I WANT A SWANS PENDANT. I would want a GWS bracelet… but a Giant doesn’t exactly lend itself to jewelry. Maybe try and get fancy with the letters? The Blue Sox, on the other hand have the perfect mascot to do this, as do the Hawks and the Kings (what female do you know that wouldn’t rock a crown necklace/bracelet/earrings?). This is a gold mine. Literally. Get me some jewelry. (Can you tell I haven’t been shopping in a while?)
Beach Supplies – THIS IS AUSTRALIA. ALL TEAMS SHOULD BE SELLING BEACH SUPPLIES. Bikinis, towels, umbrellas, eskys – sell them all.
I am now considering a second part to this called: Merchandise That Should Not Be Sold. Or something like that. As well as a post on possible partnerships for merchandise (like how I mentioned Cotton On). Thoughts?
Are there things you wish these Sydney clubs sold? Are there things they sell that you just don’t understand? What club merchandise do you wear most often?