Delhi Diary 8
10 years ago the skinny, long armed, freckly faced, 14 year old Renae Hallinan didn’t think she would be sitting here now with a once in a lifetime opportunity only a few hours away.
Trying to describe how I feel just a few hours before I step out onto court for the gold medal match is extremely difficult. I almost feel sick in the stomach because I am so nervous, excited and pumped to play. My heart is already beating at a hundred miles an hour..
To my family, friends and fans back at home; thankyou for your support during my first Commonwealth Games Campaign. I have loved every moment of my journey, but hopefully, the best is still to come. Scream your lungs out at your TV screens today and hopefully The Australian Netball Diamonds can do you proud.
The past doesn’t matter. It all comes down to today. Each and every diamond will be out there fighting; fighting for our country, for you and for our own Commonwealth Games Gold medal. Nothing will be left out on court.
Delhi Diary 7
At a Commonwealth Games, Olympics or World Championships some days are hard, and some days are easy. Even though each day may not be physically challenging, each and every day requires a high level of concentration, discipline and commitment to the task ahead. As I sit on my balcony and watch the different athletes from all the countries walk down below, it is evident that no two athletes are ever the same yet we all have so much in common. Some are short, some tall, some are strong, others lean and some are mean; so it gets me thinking about what got us here as athletes today.
The fun part of been an athlete is playing the game, competing in the competition and having that winning feeling, these are opportunities to execute what you so often just practice and train for. But before game day, there are early morning trainings, hours of practice, strength and conditioning preparation and a large variety of restricted diets.
I love watching other sports here at the commonwealth games and comparing them to netball, like watching swimming and seeing the perfection needed for that perfect start, the focus needed is no different to that of our shooters. These sorts of comparisons can be seen everywhere across all the sports but I think the one thing that every athlete does have, is that hunger to win. It’s the drive for success and it’s that drive that gives all of us the discipline to do the work behind the scenes.
I love the different physical characteristics of different athletes, from cyclists to gymnasts and shot put throwers to table tennis players. Netball is no different; we have the small fast midcourt players and the tall timbers at each end, we play our own position and are all different in so many ways yet have got to where we are in exactly the same way.
A world-class athlete must require absolute commitment to excellence in their chosen talent. In my opinion, the best athletes are not always the biggest, the strongest or fastest. It’s the athlete who has the absolute burning desire to be the very best that they can be, luckily I think we have 12 of those in this Diamonds team.
The rewards of being an elite athlete are great. Playing the game you love whilst travelling the world, making friends for life and achieving your lifetime goals, this is what we all aim for and not only for the 12 Diamonds but for all the Australian athletes here in Delhi. So all of you out there… Just dare to dream!
Ps.. Your quote for today: “Sports do not build character, they reveal it”.
Delhi Diary 6:
Athletes are a funny breed of people, in fact we are stupid sometimes, we are creatures of habit and at times, if things don’t go our way then we are not happy at all!
Pre game routine and superstition in sport is everywhere, for some, it can verge on obsessive. Things may need to happen at exactly the right time or in exactly the same order or in a particular way or we might not feel ‘ready to go’.
Some of the most famous names in sport have these sort of routines; Basketball superstar LeBron James has his chork throwing act before each game, Formula One driver Michael Schumacher doesn’t like having odd numbers on his car and Soccer pin up boy David Beckham has to wear long sleeve shirts (yes girls, unfortunate I know) and a new pair of boots every match.
To get to this point is simple. It would be the smallest one off occasion that occurs and then somehow it is planted it in an athletes mind that from now on to be able to perform at that same level we have to carry on doing that little silly thing every single time.
I for one cannot play without having my hair in a plait, and I am even very particular that the physio needs to strap my left foot before he does my right one. Although my biggest concern is being ready early; I am the early bird. At times I am ready before my team mates even begin to prepare.
Karma is at work every time we walk out on that court and I know that most of the girls over here have their own little superstitions and pre-game routines to deal with.
Here at the Commonwealth Games I am less particular about all of this stuff than I ever have been. Even though I am worried that if I get my right foot strapped first or if I am late getting ready then it will throw my routine out, over here in Delhi, things are run much differently to back at home. We have to adapt to these changes… but can we? This is how an athletes mind works.
Karma is plain right stupid, I know it and you know it, but you know what? Whether we as athletes believe in it or not we all do it at some point or another and we can’t stop, it’s a drug!
So next game you watch us play while over here in India I want you to look at us all and realise there is a silly little thing inside every one of us and we can’t get rid of it.
How’s this for pre-game routine… Before getting on the bus for our game against India, a bird poo’ed on one of our goalers!! We have to giggle but is it really good luck??
Ps: please don’t watch our games wearing Mexican style hats (that’s also something I can’t let you do, karma will bite us)
Delhi Diary 5:
Who do I talk to? I have a bone to pick with all Australians, yes ALL of you!
We are doing so many things wrong in our country and we need to learn from the Indians to help improve our way of life.
If you read my third Blog you’ll see how much I miss home, you’ll understand how much I appreciate good food and you’ll realise just how much I love Australia. But there is one thing I don’t miss, there is one thing I hate above everything else and I think the Indians have nailed it, they have worked out a way to turn pure chaos into a system that works by simply not over thinking things, so here comes the big statement…
Indians are great drivers. Yep I said it, it’s true, they are! (Before you write me off as crazy.. read on…)
After doing some research I have discovered the Australia Road Rules book is 375 pages long, that is a huge amount of rules.
From what I gather, the Indians have only 11 rules, let me run you through them.
I am certainly not saying that I want everyone of you to go out and make a point by braking every road rule in the 375 page book, I just think we should do as the Indians do and go with the flow. Traffic is a mess here, but it works (most of the time) and I love it to bits…
Until next time, drive safe and speak to you soon.
Delhi Diary 4:
No Toy gets left behind..
Netball is a game like no other, its tough, emotions get very high and above all it’s a sport that involves some of the most amazing people in the world. To play for the Diamonds involves such a huge level of commitment and every girl in this team needs to take things very seriously to make sure we as a group are mentally and physically right for each and every game. We are a family; one in, all in… We are just like the toys in my bedtime movie last night, Toy Story 3.
No Toy or No player is better than the other and no player will be left behind, if a player is down or a player is sore it is our responsibility as teammates to lift her back up.
In Toy Story, the toys must ponder their uncertain futures; much like us here in India. We can smell that gold medal but so can every other country; this means there is a lot that must happen to make our dream a reality. Things don’t always go to plan, and here at these games it will be the team that deals with change the best that will increase their odds of success and take home that gold medal.
All of the toys are different; a cowboy, a dinosaur and even a potato, its not about the biggest or the strongest but it’s about each of their individual characteristics within their group that make them a team that achieves amazing things and in the end it is their enthusiasm that gets them their desired result.
We will see some of the games best players for the last time at a commonwealth games this year and I am going to do everything in my power to give those players an amazing send off, this needs to be as much about my teammates winning a gold medal as it is me living my dream.
Being in this Diamonds team is special, we are a family, we are the best of friends and it is our individual strengths that make us the group we are. It is very rare that a team will stay together for more than a year so this is our one and only chance to give us a special bond that will last forever.
Who am I? Well that’s easy; I am Woody the cowboy, because he too has extra long and skinny arms. (Someone needs to get me a cowboy hat)
"To infinity and beyond"… Naebo
Ps: "Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes teamwork" ~ Vince Lombardi
Delhi Diary 3:
Being on tour isn’t always the party that it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes it’s hard… very hard. It’s not the training - if you ask any of my teammates, I love training. I enjoy being challenged whilst learning new things to put on the court. But how am I meant to write a decent blog when all I can think about is my Dads home cooked curried sausages?!
Sat on my bed writing my diary, food is all that I can think of! I really miss Melbourne food (after all we have some of the best restaurants in the world) because the meals on tour are rarely fun (although I must say, they are consistent!). The main rules here in the athlete’s village are to avoid the salads, cold foods, anything not thoroughly cooked, AND ice-cream (devastated!) The last thing we want is Delhi belly!
I think when you have these sorts of thoughts while you are away the experts actually call it “being home sick”. The dictionary describes homesickness as ‘a feeling one has when missing home’- this is me as soon as I get out of the car at the airport.
The things I miss the most are: food, family and friends. I also miss the simple freedom of having your own car to pop out to get a fresh coffee (you know I love a Starbucks!). It is so easy to miss home while on tour but on the flip side there are two simple reasons why I love it too. They might sound a little cliché but these are the reasons why being on tour is so enjoyable....
The first and most important thing is that I am living my dream. I am now in India about to compete in the Commonwealth Games. This is something that I have dreamt about for over 10 years, and a dream that I honestly still really don’t believe is actually true. In a few days I am going to step on court as a Commonwealth Games athlete for the very first time. Home will always be there but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The second reason is that I feel you need to think of your teammates as family. They are everything to me, and as individuals we will achieve nothing. We go through this journey together - every high and every low. Now that we have arrived in India, I think it has only now hit home what I’m actually doing. I am living a dream in a beautiful country with 11 of the most remarkable girls.
To put it simply, I love these girls and I love this place! Right now there is nowhere in the world I would rather be.
Funny sighting of the day: Not only did I see people walking dogs, I also saw an Indian man walking a monkey!!! Brilliant!
Yours truly, Naebo
Delhi Diary 2:
Hopefully I didn’t lose to many readers after my first blog. For those of you that have come back then I must say thank-you: I have come to think that writing a blog is like learning to surf, if you try your best and don’t give up then eventually you’ll stand up and really nail it.
So with my second Tour Diary I need to start with the biggest news from the weekend and it makes me one very confused and frustrated Saints supporter. I certainly didn’t ever expect to see myself screaming at a television in a Malaysian hotel, but that was me today. A DRAW… AND a second grand final? Now that seems crazy to me, from a players point of view nothing can be compared to the build up of a grand final; the excitement, the pressure, the lack of sleep and all of those pre game nerves; To now think that they have to do it all again just seems unrealistic and exhausting and that’s just the players, what about me the saints fan?
Before settling in to watch the AFL Grand Final we had our final practice match with the AIS girls before they headed home. Sometimes in sport it’s the smallest things that can give you the biggest kick, maybe it’s something like getting oranges at half time in under 11s netball or it’s the time when a dog runs across the court… For us it was even simpler, something as simple as the power going out half way through our game. The rollercoaster of emotions that go through your mind with something like this is quite funny. First it’s the shock taking a second to work out what’s happened, then you move to a lot of laughter and finally relief that I can stop and give my poor legs a rest, I do wonder if one of the girls were behind it.
As a good luck gift the AIS girls chose to present each of the 12 Diamonds with a ‘Little Miss’ book this morning, it was a great surprise and provided much laughter amidst the group. Mo’onia received little Miss Trouble which was very appropriate (maybe she was behind the power failer), Nat Von is little miss Splendid and what for me? Well I’m Little miss Helpful. My best guess is because I always over pack which makes me the team cookie-mart for spare uniforms and beauty products, Ok I could be worse things, little miss grumpy for example.
I have been a victim many times in my life of been a follower in the world of fashion, I really wish I hadn’t of copied my best mate in primary school and worn a denim jacket with a full length denim skirt for example. There are great designers and leaders in the fashion world; these people are the ones that inspire the world to dress in a certain way, Paris Hilton & Posh Spice to name a couple… I only bring this up because I think I met some of these people tonight, after a walk through a Kuala Lumpa Market it wasn’t the smell nor was it the amazing amount of rip off merchandise that got my attention, it was the simple fact that everyone had the same fashion accessory which I am now despite to get. With such a high number of people wearing the same thing how are BUM BAGS not going to be the next really big cool thing down under? The only question left is what color? I’ll try to keep you in the loop once I buy another one, but please do yourself a favor and go out and get one, get one NOW.
Well that’s another blog down, my quote of the day: Attitude determines ones attitude!
Over and Out… Little Miss Helpful (yep that’s me, fashion advice and all)
Delhi Diary 1:
Hello to all that are willing to read my tour diary rabble! I figure that you'll see the netball results and will read the ‘general going on’s’ whilst we are on our quest to win ourselves some Commonwealth Games bling, so I see it as my duty to let you in on the behind the scenes goss!
So to begin our journey to India we headed to Malaysia and who else am I sitting next to on the plane other than the head honcho herself, Norma Plummer! Plum is the one person who I have always believed to be scared of nothing and scared of no one, but here is my first piece of inside information for you - she does indeed have a fear… SNAKES. Whilst I was quietly enjoying my Sex and The City movie, I got the fright of my life when I nearly had Plum on my lap after a snake came at her from her movie of choice, Robin Hood. After having a little giggle to myself I realised this is definitely one piece of information to put in my memory bank for a ‘pranks day’.
For those of you that don’t know, I am the Queen of Starbucks coffee… I try to experience different cultures by visiting a Starbucks in every country I visit, so I had my first taste of Malaysian Starbucks yesterday and much to my disappointment I have to say that it definitely didn’t taste quite as good as my normal Australian coffee fix. I guess it must be in the beans; although it was here that I was joined by a few local taxi drivers who were very fascinated by my blonde hair. I also think my fluro pink adidas t-shirt helped get their attention!
We are here for one thing and that’s to train of course and boy was it a shock to my Melbourne tailored sweat glands, it is so hot. Before and after every training we weigh in and out to see the amount of fluid that we have lost and in our first session I lost one litre of fluid… so onto the gastrolyte for me!
Gastrolyte… Ok, now that brings me onto the topic of the medical pack. This is no normal medical pack for the back of your car, in fact I had to sacrifice some socks and a jacket just to fit it in my bag! From the vitamin tablets, to hand sanitisor, nasal sprays, strepsils, Band Aids and foot powder; surely my chances of getting sick are about the same as winning tattslotto?! Thankyou Doc!
Our downtime is mostly spent in our beds with our laptops (love the free wifi) or watching the news to find out what is going on in India. Yes, I know what you are all thinking.. and yes we are thinking a lot about what is been said in the Media about the games village and the safety in Delhi but I have full confidence that Netball Australia and the Commonwealth Games committee are ensuring we don’t go into a country and village that is not safe. So our biggest concern is our on court performance and that’s all we really want to think about... Bring on the Games I say! Let’s hope that our Commonwealth Games campaign is as good as Natalie Medhurst’s half court shot after training today… Swish!!!
Lastly, my fact of the day for you; Malay currency is called Ringgit!
Until next time… Naebo.