The United States National Championship… of Australian Rules Football, 2011

I have been called many things in my life. Prompt is not one of them. With the recent conclusion of the 2012 USAFL National Championships, I decided that it was about time to put up some pictures I took of the nationals 2011 in Austin, Texas. 32 teams representing 25-ish different cities competed in the men’s division. There was also a women’s division as well. Thus this was as big an AFL tournament as you will find in the world.

Quick background information about Australian Rules Football in the United States:

Australian Rules Football: AFL is a fast paced game involving a ball shaped somewhere between an NFL ball and a rugby ball. The ball is advanced by running, kicking, and punching (the ball), but not throwing, with the target of kicking it through posts at the end of a massive field. It is a very physical game, but also very beautiful.

United States: The United States is is a new country though it has connections to ancient history as it was visited by Jesus and claimed as his. It is made up of “States,” which are like little countries who can make up a lot of crazy laws all by themselves. They cannot decide to leave the US though or they get their ass kicked. The United States invented many of the conveniences we enjoy today such as the internet, television, radio, fire, pizza, Chinese food, and Australian Rules Football.

Here are some pictures from USAFL Nationals with minimal comments as I don’t remember much. All I remember is that the Philly Hawks dominated their games. It was a long time ago. Thanks to the Philadelphia Hawks footy club for letting me join them in Austin. They’re a great bunch of guys who I wish the best for in the future. Hawks pictures are at the bottom of the post…

Random USAFL Championships Pictures

 

Australan/Canada/USA/SFL flags

USAFL Bounce

United States Australian Football Championships

USAFL Footy

Women's USAFL

USAFL nationals was my first chance to see women’s AFL. They hit pretty hard.

USAFL women's footy

AFL Woman

Women's AFL, Austin, Texas

Women's Field, USAFL, Breast Cancer Awareness

USAFL Nationals falls during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So there was a lot of pink to be found on the women’s field.

USAFL Alcohol Permit

In America, it’s believed that if children get too close to alcohol they become gay and/or a terrorist. Therefore alcohol is severely controlled. THe USAFL had to get a special permit to make it possible to drink at all at the event. And drinking was only allowed inside a tightly-monitored fenced-off area. But the bartenders made some strong-ass Jack-and-whatevers.

Youth AFL, USAFL

And now that our youth programs are in full swing the US is ready to dominate the sport. This new recruit is not afraid to get his head over the footy.

Young AFL

And he’s got a boot too.

 

 

Philadelphia Hawks ACTION!

 

Philadelphia Hawks AFL

Philly Hawks AFL Jerseys

The team throws on the strips that they all know will eventually be very valuable collectors’ items.

AFL Hawks

Hawks dominated the ruck.

Philly Hawks kick

Opponents were not fast enough to bother Hawks’ kicks.

Philadelphia Hawks attack

On the rare occasions Hawks’ opponents did get the ball, their possession did not last long.

USAFL Hawks

When the Hawks had the ball, there was always support…

USAFL, Austin, Texas

… which made for uncontested kicks and dominating scorelines.

AFL Hawks Captain

With Hawks’ supremacy established,their leadership is ready for the paparazzi.

AFL Philadelphia Hawks

Could the Hawks’ domination be just a dream?

Philly Hawks drinking

“No!” says the celebratory energy in the beer cage.

Philadelphia Hawks in Austin

The Hawks take a moment off from spraying each other with beer to contemplate off-season free-agency possibilities.

 

Thanks again to the Philly Hawks…

 

For more information about Aussie Rules Football in the US, go to www.usafl.com.

And about the Philly Hawks: www.phillyhawks.com.

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Cambodia Buddhist Temple of Dallas

Cambodia Buddhist Temple of Dallas, Taxas, USA

During my last trip to the US, I took a roadtrip, during which I tried to stop by as many Khmer Buddhist temples as possible. Here we have some of the shots I took at the beautiful “Cambodia Buddhist Temple of Dallas.”

Cambodia buddhist Temple, Dallas, Texas, USA

Cambodia Buddhist Temple, Dallas, Texas, USA

Cambodia Buddhist Temple, Dallas, Texas, USA

Cambodia Buddhist Wat Dallas, Texas, USA

Cambodia Buddhist Temple of Dallas

Cambodia Buddhist Temple Dallas, Texas, USA

Cambodia Buddhist Wat Dallas, Texas, USACambodia Buddhist Temple Dallas, Texas, USA

Thank you very much to the folks over at the wat in Dallas for letting me look around and take some photos.

www.cambodiantemple.org is their website.

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Nebraska

On January 2, 1984, my life changed. Many people can point to important moments in their life where they reevaluated the world around them and that represented significant turning points between the future, and the newly ancient past. 9/11, Kennedy assasination, the final Cheers episode. For me it was the 1984 Orange Bowl.

The undefeated, top-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers were taking on the fourth-ranked, one-loss, Miami Hurricanes. (Back then a #1 vs. #4 championship game was not a shocking occurrence. Complain all you want about the BCS, the process of picking a national champion used to be worse)

Miami, 10.5 point underdogs, came out 17-0. They held onto this lead until Nebraska ran a fumblerooski for a touchdown. A FUMBLEROOSKI! One more touchdown and the Huskers were down 17-14 at half. Field goal, 17-17. Two touchdowns by Miami, 31-17. Touchdown Nebraska, 31-24. 4th and 8 from the 24 yard line. Backup tailback Jeff Smith takes the option pitch from Turner GillTouchdown Nebraska, 31-30… Extra point to come…

There were 48 seconds left. There was not yet overtime in college football. #2 Texas had been upset by Georgia in the Cotton Bowl. #3 had won unconvincingly over Michigan. Kicking the extra point would probably earn nebraska a tie. A tie would be enough to persuade voters to give Nebraska the national championship. Champions don’t play for ties. Nebraska went for two. Gill rolled out, tried to pass to Smith in the flat. Broken up beautifully by Miami’s diving Kenny Calhoun. Miami wins the game and the national championship.

On that day I became a Nebraska fan. I have seen them play a number of times at the Orange Bowl. Usually to get pounded by a Florida team. Though the last time I went I got to see the Nebraska defense lay a hurting on Peyton Manning playing his last college game.

I had never been to Nebraska though. Finally got there, Felt good.

Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Nebraska

Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Nebraska

Check out the end of the game on youtube. It is amazing. I found myself still cheering Smith on…

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Wat Buddharangsey in Philadelphia, USA

Mural at Wat Buddharangsey, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

During my most recent United States road trip I made an effort to visit as many Cambodian Buddhist wats as possible.

These are some photographs of Wat Buddharangsey in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. And of course big thanks to the best guide to South Philly ever, Rany…

Wat Buddharangsey, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Mural at Wat Buddha Rangsey, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This mural really brightens up the greys of the South Philadelphia cityscape.

Street view of Wat Buddharangsey Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

One aspect of this wat that I really like is that it is an urban wat. It is right in the middle of a South Philadelphia residential neighborhood.

Monk walking

Apsara Laundry, Philadelphia

Just down the block from the wat. Laundry by apsaras...

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Three Wheeling in Ocala!

So the road trip began. Naples to WV to Philly to Madison to Denver to Austin and back to Florida.

By the time I passed Tampa there was a terrible sound coming from the front of my car. And a shaking. Whatever. No problem. Can’t listen to the radio because of the volume, but no worries. I’m a guy. I can tough it out. Then I decided to pull over in Ocala. Well, it was kind of decided for me.

Oh, a car pulled over. I wonder why.
Oh, that don’t look good.

Oh, I see. So the front wheel tried to escape. Bending up the fender. That ain't no good.

So how did this happen? Bolts holding the wheel broke off. Awesome.

So off to the mechanic. Four wheels are better than three for cars. Need my car made whole.

As they were working on the car I heard some semi-human voices coming from the back of the garage. Sounded like a retarded child. I don’t need to go look at the retarded child. Yes I do.

So here’s the car being fixed. And the retarded child is in the foreground.

They really are taught to say things like "polly wanna cracker." This one lives in a cage in Ocala. In a garage. He should learn "this sucks."

So that’s what happened in Ocala.

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