"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Fear of Failure Week 3: Changing Tracks

As encouraging as the events of last week were, they kind of ruined my resolve. When I first pictured being rejected by girls, I imagined it becoming so natural that I could eventually just walk down the street, see a pretty girl, ask for her number and skip merrily away when she gave me the resulting no. Alas, I'm nowhere near that stage. It would probably be quicker to build a shopping center than it would to build up the courage to approach a total stranger and ask her out.

As many of you have pointed out, that's not the only way to do it - a lot of people ask out friends that they've known for ages. You already know you get along well and you have each other's interests at heart. I definitely prefer that option, but this project isn't actually about getting a girlfriend - it's about confronting rejection and being unafraid to look stupid.

There's another factor about asking out friends that I was hoping I wouldn't have to deal with - things getting awkward. When I went back to the pub on Thursday, I was hoping that both Holly and Rose would be able to carry on as if nothing happened. When I got there, Holly was nowhere to be seen. When Rose arrived, she mumbled her hello without meeting my eyes. Don't tell me I've ruined two relationships...

The situation didn't diffuse until after the quiz, when I went to chat to Rose's team and she started chattering away just like normal. It was a huge relief. By then Holly had turned up and I'd had a laugh with her too. I view this incident now like a narrow escape and I'm going to be pretty careful about asking out friends in the future (as if I'm not already...).

On the other hand, some things did happen this week that I can be proud of. The first came when I was hanging out with my friends at the Garden of Unearthly Delights - it's a carnival that pops up on the east end of the CBD during the annual Adelaide Fringe Festival. There were sideshows there and Mitchell and I became interested in the people trying out the strength hammer - you know, the one were you take the heavy hammer, and try to hit the lever so hard that the little weight shoots up to ring the bell. We were watching people step up and grab the hammer, some with self-conscious fear and others with arrogant bravado. Mitch and I discussed the different hitters' techniques and the science behind it, while the crowd gasped and laughed at the various contestants. There was clearly only one reason we were so interested - we wanted to have a go ourselves. What usually holds me back is that when people see me step up, I imagine they see how small I am and and think "This guy will be shit". I don't want to get there and prove them right. Eventually I took the plunge. I walked into the circle and handed over my five bucks (five bucks!) and then took the hammer with an air of self-conscious fear.

There were numbers printed along the shaft counting up in hundreds from 100 to 1000. If you hit 1000, you'd ring the bell. I had a go... And got 400. Whatever, almost half way was fine by me. I gave the hammer over to Mitch who scored 600. Shut up.

Later on, we were all sitting on the grass chatting when I was distracted by some lads who were trying out the basketball sideshow. Then one where you have to get the basketball into a hoop that's 1/16th of an inch bigger than the ball itself.It's not allowed to hit the backboard either. They really don't make these games hard enough.

These lads were taking shots at the hoop with great technique, but they just weren't quite getting it in. That is until one shot that bounced off the rim at different points about four or five times and then sank into the net. They let out a cheer and demanded their prize, but the carney hadn't really been looking and claimed it had hit the backboard. There was a full minute of intense discussion in which the boys drunkenly tried to explain the exact journey the ball took around the hoop before it went in. But the carney wasn't interested. So without a word to my friends, I got up and walked into the argument.

'Excuse me, I was watching. It didn't hit the backboard,' I said with as much confidence as I could muster. Everyone stopped and stared incredulously.
'What was that?' asked the carney.
'I was watching, the ball bounced off the rim like four times, didn't touch the backboard and went in.'
'Are you sure?'
I wasn't.
'Absolutely,' I said.
The lads looked at him expectantly, and he sighed heavily and gave them a prize. The lads cheered and thanked me as I walked back to my friends, who had been watching with wide eyes. They offered to buy us drinks or at least let us finish theirs. They kind of lost interest in me when they found out I don't drink, but I'd had my moment, so I was satisfied.

One more fantastic thing happened which will set me up for next week. I was watching a baseball game between the Adelaide Bite and the Perth Heat. It was the finals series, which is unfortunately not as big a deal in Australia as it is in America. There was probably around 8 000 people at the stadium, but they were all very happy to be there. One thing that did catch my attention was the Canadian announcer out on the field. Before the game, he was firing up the crowd with a bit of "Let's hear it for our Adelaide Bite!" Between innings, he would hold competitions among the crowd and take care of some of the necessary advertising. It was a job that looked like a lot of fun. I love hosting events because it just requires you to be the most entertaining person you can be, but also to be completely yourself. As the game went on, myself and the friend I came with were chatting about the game and how achievable it would be for the Bite to come back from 2-0 down. Then the announcer walked right past us and I got distracted. My friend kept talking for a full 15 seconds before I turned back around to him and said "Look after my stuff," and bounded off after him.

I caught up with the man and tapped him on the shoulder.
'Excuse me! Hi. You're the on-field announcer, right?'
'Yes I am', he said blank-faced.
'Do you mind if I ask... How did you get your job?'
'I just asked for it.'
'Right...' I didn't quite know what to do with that information. 'Do you... know someone within the club?' He decided to throw me a bone.
'Email Nathan Davidson,' he said.
'Right! Nathan Davidson who is the...'
'General manager.'
'General manager, of course! Thanks for your help!'
'No problem,' and he walked off.
I returned to my friend who had a perplexed look on his face.
'I've got a new job lead,' I said.

And so next week, that's what I'll try and do. I don't want to take his job of course, but maybe I can be put on the waiting list for when this guy moves on or even as a fill-in if he gets sick. And it doesn't just have to be baseball, I know the guy who announces for the Adelaide 36ers in the Basketball. I can try and get involved with my favourite sporting team of all time, the Port Adelaide Power. by this time next year I want to have stood in front of thousands of people and said the immortal words "Remember to pick up your empty bottles and wrappers as you leave."

55 comments:

  1. Good for you! Hey, you never know unless you ask. Contact the general manager and see what happens.

    ReplyDelete
  2. >>... 'Are you sure?'
    I wasn't.
    'Absolutely,' I said.


    It's a Truism:
    If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance,
    blind 'em with bullshit.


    >>... by this time next year I want to have stood in front of thousands of people and said the immortal words "Remember to pick up your empty bottles and wrappers as you leave."

    Those ARE immortal words, MICHAEL, and many famous people started out on an equally small (or even smaller) stage.

    Dang, man! Your blog comes with an endorsement from Cherdo? I better start paying better attention!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha yeah I was as surprised as you are ;)

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    2. Oh, you humble cats crack me up.

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  3. haha if you make it sound true enough you will get believed. I guess just going for it really can get opportunities, you never know what can come from the new lead. Good things didn't stay awkward too.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, that's the attitude I need to turn into habit ;)

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  4. I hope you DO get to be an on-field sports host, that would be awesome!

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  5. You're an Aussie who doesn't drink? No wonder most of your friends are girls! It should be a point in your favour for girls who don't want to date a beer-guzzling bogan. Just look into their eyes to make sure they like you first!

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    Replies
    1. Meh, I'm pretty sure most people my age are still looking for someone to go clubbing with them :P

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  6. Michael, I was impressed by the hammer! Good thoughts for the rest...

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha I'm sure I could have done better if I'd had another go :P

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  7. You just never know what might pop up. Yeah, I know that seems kind of naughty, but I didn't intend it that way.

    Love,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. Totally didn't see it that way until you mentioned it... Which is what you were HOPING would happen!

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  8. A future as an announcer? Now THAT'S one hell of a goal. Cheers to that. I hope something pans out! That beats hitting things with a big hammer any day (I should know, I spent all weekend hammering things and didn't have one bit of fun).

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    Replies
    1. And I bet you weren't awarded ANY points for that!

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  9. and that's how stuff happens. Good for you. And I bet you can tell people to clean up after themselves with the appropriate gravitas. Good luck and make sure everything is spelled correctly as you send it. Rooting for you!

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  10. Nice work on the job lead; that's the way to nail it, Michael.

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  11. Sounds like you've had a very productive week! Really getting out there and taking the bull by the horns, so to speak. Good luck with your announcer gig! One day I bet I'll be able to say "Hey! I know that guy!" Just don't forget us little people on your rise to the top ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't worry, you guys will always be bigger than me ;)

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  12. Gorilla Bananas23 February 2015 at 02:28
    You're an Aussie who doesn't drink? No wonder most of your friends are girls! It should be a point in your favour for girls who don't want to date a beer-guzzling bogan. Just look into their eyes to make sure they like you first!

    Reply
    Replies

    Michael D'Agostino23 February 2015 at 09:10
    Meh, I'm pretty sure most people my age are still looking for someone to go clubbing with them :P

    Reply

    EVOLUTION IS A WONDERFUL THING,!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Love that you're so game to step out of the box. That's how things get done...wish I'd have learned that a lot sooner than I did. ;) Good luck w/the job lead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well knowing what's required is one thing, being able to do it is another :P

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  14. Here's one of my favorite quotes (and it's sports related, so it kinda fits!): "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take." If you don't try, you'll never know...and that applies to everything you do.

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  15. You inspire, Michael. You keep going for it, in spite of fear. Awesome stuff.
    PS These tall guys who can sink baskets repeatedly and score a win at the strength hammer CANNOT POLE DANCE. (I'd bet my life on it.) Don't forget that.

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    Replies
    1. Ahahahaha! So check mate for all the jocks out there.

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  16. There is yet another option: Ask a friend to set you up. Then both of you know going in each other is single. They can't say, "No" the first time because they are getting set up to. Sometimes your friends know you almost as well as you know yourself.

    My parents met that way. Actually my Dad went out with a girl. It didn't work. He said to her, "I know you like me. I don't have the same feeling for you. Instead of leading you on how about I set up one of my friends with you, and you set up one of your friends with me?" She went for that. My mom was the other friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to admit, the reason Jerida and I met is because Sarah decided to play matchmaker behind my back. When I cottoned on to what was happening, I was very resistant. But eventually I had to admit I'd fallen for her.

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  17. I loved this post, this was an inspiring story actually. Good luck!

    www.theunbrokendaydreams.blogspot.com

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  18. Loved the basketball story-hahaha! :D Best of luck with contacting the general manager. That sounds like a cool opportunity, even if you fill in as a substitute.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah I'm happy to be accepted in any capacity :P

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  19. Good job stepping forward. Hope more fantastic things happen for you!

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  20. Good job stepping forward. Hope more fantastic things happen for you!

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  21. Things can't stay awkward forever as you learned. Lol!!!!!!! You made me giggle with that story...

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    1. Hahaha good, I'm glad it's a cute story ;)

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  22. Never let it be said that you don't have courage, Michael! Standing up for the guys with the carney and then getting a lead on a job...way to go!

    As for the girl thing, I'm not sure whether systematic desensitization or flooding is the best approach, but I do know you'll eventually succeed. This may be a weird analogy, but we've all heard about couples who are trying every which way to get pregnant, but it's only after they relax and stop being anxious about it that they hit the jackpot (er, so to speak). Maybe that will happen for you in the dating realm...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, I imagine that you're perfectly right :P

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  23. It was so nice of you to help them win a prize! Your act of kindness paid off by getting the baseball announcer lead! Good luck, Michael!

    Julie

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  24. Oh wow You know what I learned from this post... if someone walks up to me and asks me how I got my job, he/she might have designs on stealing it from me! Next time that happens I will just punch the person in the face.. or I suppose I could just give him some false info. I don't think American baseball players even know about the Australian league. Maybe I could be good enough to move to Australia and play baseball for a living. I'm horrible but I probably have better coordination than a bunch of koala bears and kangaroos...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'd probably make the team, but you'd get no money for it :P

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