Hey again world wide web!
Today after brekky (breakfast) some of the gang caught some sleep before our planned activities for the day, and the others started off the day by heading to the Queen Victoria Market yet again! It’s interesting to note the similarities in Australian market culture and American market culture. For instance, some stands sold items that were made in China. In both the US and Aus, I would say that aboriginal/native American crafts might be one of the few things that qualify as unique products to the country. Just like most American cuisine is influenced from other parts of the world, so too is the Australian cuisine heavily influenced from other countries. It was really interesting to see how many stands sold a variety of US pro sport jerseys. We saw NFL, NBA, and NHL jerseys being sold (at really low prices).
After the market, we journeyed back yet again to the University of Melbourne for a tour and presentation given by Rod Warnecke, who is the Sport Development Manager. This was a more sports management oriented tour. We toured their fitness and aquatic center, which fall short in comparison to athletic facilities in the US. It was originally built as a warm up/training facility for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. It was so strange to see how small their “elite performance” (=D1 athletes) weight room was. Aside from the fact that they only had one weight room for all the sports, it was much smaller that the weight room that was open to students and public. Whereas in the US, it is common that college athletes have state of the art training facilities, and the school opens a dinky little gym for students and the public (i.e. Xavier University).
The most notable difference in the 2 sports culture of Aus and the US, is the difference in university sport. They don’t have NCAA D1-D3 levels of play. They don’t have full ride scholarships available. They don’t have a vast amount of coaches, trainers, dietitians, and other staff for every sport. They only have 5 total facilities that they use for sports. The emphasis is on community based sport, rather than intercollegiate sport. Each college has community level programs that can be made up of alumni, friends of alumni, and even locals. Each team may be based on levels of play. Whereas in the US, most community sport is organized through the city governments, and private facilities. It is not a dream for every athlete in Australia to play college sports. In Aus it just so happens that you can play a sport while getting a good education. Whereas in the US, we all know that high level D1 athletes usually aren’t at the top of their class. Scholarships are given partially to single athletes that the school wishes to sponsor. The best athletes can earn up to 5,000 dollars cash a year to help pay for equipment, travel costs, and school. While successful Olympic and pro athletes have come out of university programs in Aus, it is not common. Most pro athletes come from U18 travel and semi pro teams.
Rod also talked to us about the University of Melbourne as a whole. It was founded in 1853, and now has 48,000 students. They are a member of the Go8 conference, or the Group of 8, which is made up of 8 other universities in Australia. U of Melbourne continually ranks as the #1 college in Australia. Tuition is about $10,000-12,000, plus about another $20,000 for room and board. So in total it could be about 30,000 dollars a year to go to the #1 ranked school in Australia.
After the presentation, Rod took us outside to teach us the fundamentals of footy (AFL)! We had a fun time trying to get the hang of proper kicking and handballing. It’s not nearly as easy as the pros made it look!
After our time at University of Melbourne, we came back to the hostel to get ready for our last group dinner. We went to a restaurant called Berth, which was a beautiful restaurant right on the bay. We all enjoyed our fine dining there, as well as the comedic nature of our waiter. He sure enjoyed chatting it up with the Americans.
Another successful day here in Melbourne!