Monday, October 19, 2009

Andrew Symonds (Thanks, Michael)

Andrew Symonds.

Who are you?

A cricket player?!!!


Okay, I am not loving Michael too much right now.

Why would I have agreed to add another cricket player to the list? What the hell was I thinking?

I'm not loving myself too much right now either.

Oh well.

I'll begin.

Baby Andrew was born in England. One of his biological parents was West Indian. What would that be? Where is West India....west of India?

Oh. Lord Wiki says it's the Caribbean. Really?! I need to look at a globe.

Well, I guess you could say the Caribbean is west of India, but it's really far west. I don't really see the connection.

Wait. I got it! It's about Columbus. Duh. He came to the Caribbean and THOUGHT it was India. So he probably gave it the name West Indies.

Thanks Columbus. Your ignorance has led to my great confusion.

Anyway, Andrew was born and adopted. Then the new parents took their baby, and moved to Australia.

Well, they might have taken their other kids too. They had two biological offspring.

The Symonds family moved to northern Queensland. They lived in some place called Charter Towers. That sounds more like a hotel or office building than a town.

I'm having trouble dealing with it on Google Maps, so I'm just looking at what Lord Wiki has to say. It was a gold-mining town. In the late 1880's, it was a big city. I think now it's a bit more quiet.

Daddy Symonds was a teacher. He worked at the All Souls St Gabriels School, and Andrew attended the school as a student.

Daddy Symonds was obsessed with cricket. He played the game often with his son. Andrew would play cricket with The Wanderers Cricket Club in Townsville. Townsville is fairly close to Charter Towers. The Wanderers website features Symonds on their front page. I think they're pretty proud of him.

The Symonds family later moved to the Gold Coast where Symonds attended All Saints Anglican School.

Shit. Now I have read the cricket stuff.

He's a right-handed batsman. Do I know what that is? Of course not. Well, what I'm seeing from Lord Wiki, it's pretty self-explanatory. Symonds is right-handed, and he hits with the bat in the cricket game. Good. Okay. I can handle that.

Lord Wiki says he's an AGGRESSIVE right-handed batsman. I think I can handle that too.

Lord Wiki says he has a good throwing arm, and he has excellent reflexes. Cool.

Symonds started playing for the Queensland State Team in 1994. This would be the Queensland Bulls.

If I'm reading this right, he played for England for awhile. He did this for awhile, and then declared his allegiance to Australia. Was he able to play for England because his parents were British? Or can anyone play for any country if that country wants them?

Oh. Lord Wiki answers my question further down. He was qualified to play in England since it was his country of birth.

I'm kind of just reading to myself here....I'll let you know if anything exciting comes up.

Here we go.

In the 2007-2008 Commonwealth Bank Series, a streaker came onto the field. Lord Wiki says that Symonds shoulder charged the man. I'm not sure what that means exactly. But Lord Wiki says that Symonds may have faced assault charges if the man had decided to take legal action.

Well, it's probably not a good idea to jump into the middle of a field with big strong humans playing a game. Not that I condone violence, but I think the guy made the right choice in not trying to bring the law into it.

Later in 2008, Symonds and his team were in Bangladesh. There was a compulsory meeting. Symonds skipped it so he could go fishing. He got in trouble for that one.

At one time, Symonds almost switched to rugby. But he decided to stay with cricket.

Also, in 2008....Symonds had racial issues with a player from India. Harbhajan Singh called Symonds a monkey. That caused all kinds of problems.

Symonds has had other controversies. On an interview with comedians, he called a new player on his team a lump of shit. Then he said he enjoyed having dinner at another player's house because it gave him the opportunity to look at his wife.

In 2009, Symonds was kicked out of international cricket, and his Australian contract was canceled as well. The guy is having a rough year.

He did an interview on Sixty Minutes where he declared he's not an alcoholic. He's just a binge drinker.

Lord Wiki says that 49% of Australian males engage in binge-drinking on a weekly basis. Wow. That's a bit scary. Although I don't drink at all. Maybe if I did, I'd understand the appeal of it.

About.Com has information about how alcoholism is different from binge drinking (or alcohol abuse). In the latter, one isn't addicted to alcohol. There's no strong physical craving.

I have to admit. I get the two issues confused. I know of certain people in Fort Worth who do a LOT of drinking. I always think of them as alcoholics, but they're probably not. They're probably just binge drinkers. In the end, I don't think it matters much. I mean I don't think there's that much of a difference. They still act embarrassing. They're still destroying brain cells and their livers. They're lack of inhibition is still likely to cause them to make unsafe choices.

I can understand people who get drunk a few times a year. We all need to go a little bit crazy sometimes. Hopefully, they're safe about it. They'll wake up with a hangover, vow to never do that again, and six months later they repeat the performance. No big deal. But weekly? I don't know. There may not be a PHYSICAL addiction, but I do think there is probably some kind of mental/emotional addiction.

I shouldn't be too judgemental though. I overindulge on unhealthy food. That probably messes up my body. But it doesn't make me act obnoxious or violent. Not that all drunk people are obnoxious. I've actually met people who I could barely tolerate when they were sober. They were much more fun, friendly, and interesting once they had some alcohol in them.

Even with these people though....I think weekly binge-drinking is taking things way too far. I would think a daily drink or two would be enough to make them more easygoing.

Here's a fairly recent article about Symonds.

I don't fully understand it. He's playing freelance now? Well, that's good. He's still playing the game he loves. He's just not playing for the traditional establishment cricket thing.

The ninemsn site has an interview with Symonds. Maybe I'll understand some of it.

It's actually made up of questions asked by fans via email. This might be cute.

The first question was from a kid, and it had nothing to do with cricket. Symonds went on a fighter plane, and the kid wanted to know if he got sick. Symonds said no. He liked the experience. He said he was more scared during the initial debriefing. He had sweaty palms and everything. But once he was in the air, he was fine. Jack and I talk about this regarding vaccinations. Waiting for the shot is usually MUCH worse than the actual shot.

The next email asks what sports, besides cricket, Symonds played in his youth. He says pretty much everything. He says there wasn't much to do on the weekends outside of playing sports. Yeah. A bookworm might say they spent all their time reading, because besides that there wasn't much to do. There are many different things we could do with our free time. I think we choose to do what we personally like to do.

It kind of reminds me of people who use the excuse that they're too busy to do something. I heard that recently in regards to Harry Potter. Someone told me that they haven't read it yet. They've been too busy. I know for a fact that this person has recently had a ton of free time. I think it's much more honest to say, I haven't read it yet because it's not a priority for me.

I think most people have enough time to do what they truly WANT to do. If it's truly a high priority, they'll do it. We all have stuff that we are mildly interested in doing. It's not that important to us though, and we keep pushing it until later. I think I'm like that with foreign languages. I tell myself I'd like to learn a certain language someday. But it really must not be that important to me. If it WERE important to me, I'd likely already be fairly proficient at the language.

Oops. Tangent time.

Let me get back to the video......

Someone asked if Symonds had a girlfriend. I didn't really hear the answer. I THINK it might have been yes.

Someone else asks how they can bat like Symonds. He talks about using his instinct.

Symonds is asked if he'd cut his hair for charity. He actually seems rather eager to do it.

Anyway, I think I'm going to quit here. If I keep writing, things will only get worse.


  1. Hiya Darling still reading you every day but life's got in the way so sorry for not commenting!! Have you dropped by my blog and found the new blog I've found "52 subrubs ..." I thought of you straight away and am sure you'll love it. xo

  2. Redness,

    Hi! I haven't seen the blog yet. It sounds cool. I'll go check it out right now : )

  3. Hi Dina

    I hope my comments over the last couple of weeks aren't too out of place. I can be a bit focused on the little things and aren't yet tuned to your humour (which by the way is great) but I'll try to be brief and I may take a little break after this comment.

    Meanwhile here are a few little explanations that you may or may not feel were worth giving.

    You can see in the video that Andrew bats with the left side of his body facing the bowler and using his right arm as the driving arm. That makes him a right handed batsman (as opposed to batter in the similar US pastime of baseball). A left handed batsperson does the converse.

    He actually never played for an England representative side although he came close (and played in English county teams as many Australians do - traditionally the pay is better than in the comparable Australian state teams and it's something to do in the Ozzie winter). If he had played for the 'England A' team for which he was once selected, he may have then been ineligible to ever play for Australia and that would have been a great loss to Australian cricket, in my opinion.

    You may have guessed this, but I think shoulder charge means charge at someone in such a way as to contact them with your shoulder (I thought he did that in quite a loving way, actually, from memory, and not really violently but batsmen and possibly batswomen tend to hate anything that interferes with their concentration so he was probably quite annoyed with the streaker (who would, incidentally, have been heavily fined and possibly banned from cricket grounds)). Personally I can't see the harm in the occasional streaker but what do I know?

    It's sad that he is out of favour with the cricket establishment here, I think, but he can still play in the international 'limited over' competitions that don't have nationality requirements (and probably make much more money, too, so that's good too).

    Here's a short cricket primer just to explain what he's now doing:

    Cricket is traditionally played at club level over a day or two and each side is usually allowed two innings (at bat). At the 'first class' level of the state or county (or, in the case of the West Indies, competing-West-Indian-nation level), a couple more days are allotted. Test Match cricket is over five consecutive days (there used to be a break for Sunday) of at least six playing hours between Test Match-playing nations (but in the case of the West Indies it is a group of nations playing as a 'national' side).

    In addition, especially more recently, teams at various levels have begun to play a form of the game called 'limited overs'. Each team has one innings at bat (we don't say inning as I think you do when talking about baseball) of 50 overs (lots of six deliveries/balls [pitches] by a bowler - it used to be eight in Australia) and it's all done in one day. It's considered more exciting by the non-purists and often the second half is played under lights at night whereas typically a test is played from 11 am to 6 pm. As in baseball, all forms have traditional break periods but I will spare you that - you can look it up if you want to.

    Not content with that excitement, in the last ten years a new form is played (20/20 cricket) with only 20 overs a side and that means 'aggressive' batters (and fielders and bowlers) as Andrew is all get more opportunities to 'go for it' without having to worry so much about having to have as much staying-power for the team. The money has recently come in because India is cricket mad (as is the rest of the sub-continent) and has recently gone so ballistic, economically, that all the money in cricket is now there and this form brings in the crowds and therefore the sponsorship. With all that money it's naturally a bit of a free-for-all and players are playing for the highest bidder and may play for personal glory as much as for the traditional club, state/county or country pride.

  4. Just another small comment:

    I also came up with another person you may be interested in that you don't seem to have done yet (though you have mentioned him - or at least the eponymous 80s Australian movie, "'Breaker' Morant") and I can link "the Breaker" to Andrew Symonds, too, and also Texas. He spent some time in Charters Towers as Andrew did.

    He was executed by the British during the second Boer War in 1902 for killing or ordering the killing of various prisoners so he was a bit flawed but also wrote poetry for the Bulletin and married Daisy Bates, a famous anthropologist of aboriginal Australians in South and Western Australia. He was also a very mysterious character and knew Henry Lawson and Banjo Patterson. There is also an instrumental 'post-rock' band based in Austin, Texas that for some reason decided to call itself "Breaker Morant" when it formed in 1999 (after the movie, I read in one band interview). Soon after, they proclaimed that that name was boring, though (I know, how dare they?!), and changed their name to, da dada da, "Explosions in the Sky".

    You probably need to be brought up with them, but I think all forms of cricket are quite spectacular and would recommend them to you (many Australians especially love the generally every one-and-a-half year 'Ashes' test return series of usually five tests against England). Again, I think it is comparable with the love of baseball of someone from the US.

  5. Martin,

    All of your comments have been great...until now!!!

    I think I should probably change my blog title to The Girl Who Loved Australia minus some important bits like Cricket and Vegemite.

    So I've heard Cricket games last a long you said. If people get tickets for the game, does it pay for the whole time? And do people usually watch the whole game, or just parts?

    I agree about the occasional streaker. It's not one of the worst crime in the world. Although I think people need to understand that there's a risk involved.

    Do you feel Cricket is losing some of it's glory because of it becoming more individualistic?

    Do you go to a lot of Cricket games? What other sports do you like?

    I'm joking, of course, about your comment. I like it. I can handle Cricket long as it's in small doses.

    I've heard of Breaker Morant, but I don't think he's on my list. So I'll add him : )

  6. Thanks for that. Now you've got me started again because I always feel I should answer questions (sometimes even rhetorical ones - I can't always tell which yours are).

    Just briefly then. I usually watch it at home on TV but I bet it would be great in Melbourne or Sydney (or Adelaide, Perth Brisbane and perhaps Hobart) where I understand you may be one summer soon. Especially Melbourne because they're sports mad (as is Adelaide but on a smaller scale). I have been to games in Adelaide and country SA but not many.

    If you can find an Ozzie friend who wanted to show you the game I think you would and your family might enjoy a day (which I understand is a purchase option). If you wait, and the game seems to be a foregone conclusion, you may end up getting to see a final day cheaply or for free (which can end up shocking everyone and producing an unexpected or exciting or even historic day of cricket).

    I think there are probably ample options for wandering around, eating, drinking and talking with friends, strangers, etc. (especially at a smaller ground but I think also at larger ones). If you came in December 2010 you could catch the very traditional Boxing Day test which is an Ashes match that year (the fourth in the 2010/2011 series) but there will be 20/20 and 50-over matchs throughout the summer as well. The English team will probably also play some matchs against another national team while here (as would the Australian team) and against state teams so there will be a lot of cricket choices should you so desire. If you use a travel agent, s/he may be able to arrange some kind of a package or of course you could research it.

    Tests are divided into three two-hour sessions with the third session often extended for various reasons (or occasionally reduced in length if there's poor light) and each session is further divided in half by a short drinks break. There are also short breaks for fielding captains and bowlers to change their fields, sight screen adjustments, changes of over, changes of batsmen, changes of innings, etc. so there's always an opportunity to take in the atmosphere, sun bake or fall asleep (you could do that while the game is going on, too :)). Jack might have an opportunity to get an autograph.

    I enjoy most sport, typically on TV. My favorite events/sports apart from cricket are Australian Rules football, Wimbledon tennis and Tour de France cycling but I could watch most sports occasionally. That said I don't actually watch a lot of sport. My family (mainly my parents and brothers but now their children, too) was sports mad while I was growing up both as participants and spectators but I mainly caught the spectator gene. So that's why I occasionally still get obsessed by sport even though I can still take it or leave it most of the time.

    Finally, I think cricket is still glorious at all levels from club to test/one-day international and in each of the three types of game I mentioned. There has always been an individual element (for example Don Bradman was idolised even in a period where the players were all played a pittance and had to have 'real jobs') that doesn't detract from the game. I hope I haven't oversold cricket to you. The beauty of the game is that you can enjoy a 20/20 slogging match with the likes of Andrew Symonds or the matching of wits and athletic ability over a five day marathon (and 'barrack' for both favorite players and teams) and there's room in the sport for it all.

  7. Martin,

    I suppose watching a Cricket game is something that might possibly happen to me one day. I'm not sure it would be by choice though ; )

    But if I AM coerced into such a've helped me to see that it might not be that torturous.

  8. Loved your comments about the binge drinking. Alcohol is a bit of a way of life for most Australians. I don't have the addiction problem, but I was binge drinker until I did too many stupid things and grew up, got over it. I still drink on occasion, which sometimes can be weekly, but I keep it moderate. I have to admit, I really do enjoy a good drink.

    But also - sometimes the heat gets so bad here and I'm a bit green and feel that if you want an air-conditioned home then maybe you shouldn't live in the sub-tropics so I suffer the heat. But there's nothing like a beer at a pub with friends to make you forget those hot days.

    Does it get like that in Texas? During the year I lived in the States, we road tripped to see my husband's sister in Abilene, TX and I really enjoyed it there. I liked that you could feel the sun in Texas, I really missed sun burn in Nthn Michigan.

    PS the only good thing about Cricket is playing backyard cricket with your family when you're a kid.

  9. Amy Michelle,

    I think my husband was that way with drinking. He told me he did a lot of binge-drinking in college. Now he'll drink a lot...but only occasionally. I mean he drinks a lot occasionally. He drinks a LITTLE fairly often, but not like on a daily basis or anything.

    He does a good job with moderation.

    It's hot in Texas. I'm sorry to say but we do use air-conditioning. We try to be moderate about it. Our house is still fairly warm when it's hot out. We're not the type to have a cold house in the middle of the summer.

    Yeah. But beer is probably the much more green way to go ; )

    I don't think I knew you came here. Is that how you met your husband? If not, how did you meet him?

    Did you have an okay time here? How did you end up in Michigan? It's cold there, isn't it? I can't remember if I've ever been there. I don't think so.

  10. I hold no judgement on the air-con users! I just think if you chose to live in Queensland that maybe you could put a little more effort into home design rather than build a brick box that you cool with energy, when you can do things to prevent them getting hot in the first place.

    My husband was a Marine, met him here in Brisbane a few months before Sept 11. It's like a bad romance movie/novel and the cynic in me still can't believe we actually met and fell in love! In 2003 he got out of stoploss and stayed with me for three months in Brisbane and then we moved to live with his family in Michigan on a whim. We got married there and I attempted to immigrate, which ended up being quite an ordeal. Just under a year later I decided that life was better for us in Australia - so I came back and then immigrated my husband here without a single hitch, or lawyer.

    I didn't completely enjoy my time in the States, I wasn't really prepared for all the changes I jumped into. I loved that we caught the bus from New York to Traverse City when we arrived and I wanted to stay in New York so badly. Looks like an amazing city. Detroit made me sad, because the mall-cities built outside its limits means the inner city is just crumbling away and it's sad to see such amazing architecture not be revived. I was only in Texas a couple of days but I found society there really nice and the climate wasn't as hard to deal with for me - sub-tropics to a mostly winter year was harder than I thought it would be!

    As much as I struggled I still loved my experience and I wouldn't change it. We've recently considered moving back, the Husband wants to rejoin the services and is looking into his options with that. We considered living in his home state Alaska, but I don't think me and cold isolation go so well together!

    Are you Texan born and raised or have you moved around? And I'm completely curious - what got your interested in Australia? It reminds me of Brit backpacker I met because we laughed over the childrens books we adored as kids - mine was Wind in the Willows because of the woodland creatures and he loved Blinky Bill with all the crazy bush animals.

  11. Amy Michelle,

    It's interesting that it was easier for your husband to immigrate to Australia, than you to America. It gives me hope. Well, maybe... It might just be easier via Australia marriage-wise.

    I lived in NYC for a few years. Yeah. I'd probably much prefer that to Michigan!!

    I've never been to Alaska, but it sounds very cold.

    I don't like cold weather. Sadly, I also don't like hot weather. I only seem to tolerate perfect weather.

    I can imagine the hardest thing about an international-marriage is deciding which country to live in. I think it's the same with people who have family in different states. Although the country thing would make it much more dramatic and severe.

    Did you get homesick? Does your husband go homesick now?

    I'm not from Texas. I've lived here a pretty long time though...since 2000. And my parents were here for half my college time, so I'd come here during the summers and holidays.

    I was born in Illinois, and have lived in Missouri, Wisconsin, Georgia, Tennessee, New York, and California.

    What about you? Have you lived in other places besides Queensland (in Australia)?

  12. Sorry about my epic replies! I feel bad my comments are so long!

    So Sydney would be your ultimate climate? It's moderate compared to what we have in Brisbane!

    You know, I didn't think I would get homesick because my whole family is British, I'm 1st Gen Australian and I grew up thinking Australia was backwater. When dealing with society and Government in America, I felt really alienated and out of control and I missed living in Australia. The immigration ordeal was a big factor into not making it work for us there. Everyone I talked to were really surprised about the trouble that I had with it.

    I think at the time US Govt were in the process of changing the system, and also in the area that I was they had so many cases with the Middle East, people moving away from war-torn places, that mine wasn't really an important case. In fact it was so unimportant that they lost my paperwork and I was considered to have over stayed my visa. The biggest problem I had was that no one could talk to me until I got a case number but no one would give me a case number because there was no record of my paperwork (but the cheque was cashed that was with the paperwork - go figure). I've since looked into US immigration when we've considered going back and it seems like they have a lot more information available. It looks a little more like our system here.

    If you want to immigrate to Australia without marriage/family, I'm pretty sure the only way is a work visa. And then it needs to be a profession where we have shortages, so if you're a doctor or nurse or teacher looking to work in the outback come on over! I looked into it for friends of the Husband as I was quite the immirgation expert there for awhile.

    The husband gets very homesick but denies it. He has these weeks where he constantly complains about 'bloody' Australians. But for the most part he feels at home here. I miss Denny's. Best hangover food. And I miss pie. Traverse City had some really good pie. The Husband misses the snow. And cold Christmas. And his family of course.

    I was born in Frankston, Victoria (which apparently is a place of Bogans), grew up in the Dandenongs (Vic)and we moved to Caboolture, Qld (Keith Urban's home town) at age ten where I lived until I moved out at sixteen and began my life in Woolloongabba (where the cricket grounds are) Brisbane. My parents are divorced and remarried so I've seen a lot of the east side of Australia from moving around and visiting.

    But my heart is in Brisbane. I really love Asian food and culture, and we have a lot of it around here. I also love how in Brisbane you can wear thongs (flip flops) out to dinner with a pretty dress and feel cute. Other cities in Australia hate that about Brisbane and complain about it.

    What attracts you to Australia? Would you really consider moving here if it was easy to do so?

  13. Amy Michelle,

    I like long comments, so no need to apologize!

    Sydney probably wouldn't be my ultimate I'd prefer a place with no winter. But not too hot. See, how picky I am? San Diego California probably has my perfect weather. But I really have no interest in living there. I looked at somewhere in Western Australia once...maybe Perth? The weather looked pretty good to me.

    But I'd rather live in Sydney. My fantasy plan is to live there, but go home to visit my family during the winter : )

    I can imagine how a difficult immigration process could make you not like a country. Did it make you feel unwelcome? That's very unfortunate that they lost your paperwork and all that. I'm glad you enjoyed Denny's and pie though.

    I think you're one of the first people I've talked to who understands that it's not super easy to just pack up and move to another country. I feel many people think that since I love Australia so much, I should just pack up and come over.

    It's REALLY complicated. My husband's job is not one that's in demand. I have a teaching degree. We could take that route. But first I'd have to teach in Texas for a few years. I really don't want to teach here. Plus, I really don't want to teach period. We homeschool, and I want to keep doing that. I've lost a lot of my love for the school thing. The other thing is I don't think teaching would give us enough money to live on.

    Our one main hope is that Tim will work for a business that will eventually expand...maybe internationally.

    I do want to move to Australia, but it's less of a dying need than it used to be. I have the attitude if it's meant to be, it will happen.

    What I really WOULD like to do at one point is do a really long holiday there...maybe 6 months...or a year. I'd love to go and not feel so rushed. I'd love to travel around the whole country.

    My fantasy would also have to include library privileges. I'd love to read books that aren't easy for me to find here.

    I love places that aren't uptight about shoes!! My friend lived in Weipa, and she said people go barefoot. I love that! But I'd probably prefer to live in a big city. I've become scared of driving again, so I'd probably benefit from public transportation. I don't think I'd want to go barefoot in a big city. Yikes. Maybe we'd just VISIT small towns and go without shoes for a few weeks.

    We definitely are lacking Asian food in Fort Worth. There's not many choices, and most of them are pretty awful.

  14. You did a good job with Andrew Symonds, Dina!

    I didn't know he spent time in Charters Towers. I think Australia's hottest ever temperature was recorded there. My childhood memory is the temp was 127 degrees. The fact I don't know it in Celcius shows I learnt that long ago.

    I think cricket is something you have to grow up with to appreciate.

    It's interesting that crowds are mostly male, whereas the football codes here attract pretty much equal numbers f both sexes.

    Twenty/20 cricket may expand the game because it's fast, action packed and all over in two and a half hours.

  15. Michael,

    Thanks : )

    I wonder what 127 degrees would be in Celsius.

    Well, I should just look it up. I'm going to guess it would be about 60?

    Okay. No. It's just 53. I need to work on my conversion abilities ; )