Match Report 1: Hellratz vs The Deadly Dojo

Match Report 1: Hellratz vs The Deadly Dojo

Welcome everybody to another season of Hellratz basketball. The team looks rested and feisty after a short break and ready to take on the challenges that await them in this shortened summer season. There’s no doubt the Hellratz surprised a lot of pundits during the long, arduous winter season, during which undershirts and in-game tracksuit pants abounded, but there will be no surprises this time around. Everybody knows what the Hellratz are about and the whole league will be out to knock them from their lofty perch.

Critically the front office has done a wonderful job of keeping the group together so we will be running it back as they say, with the same line-up that the loyal group of sideline-parents and disgruntled younger siblings in attendance against their will have come to know and love. By way of quick recap here is the unit on hand for round 1:

The Magic Man – Audacious, competitive. Never saw a shot he didn’t like, or couldn’t make.

The Big Fundamental – All foot-work and focus. Not afraid to put his body on the line for the Hellratz.

Baby-faced Assassin – Smoothest jump-shot in the comp. Heart rate oscillates between 55 and 57 bpm.

Smoov – Sideline parent favourite. Effective, unpredictable style. Hyper cool flowing hair.

Stretch – Intimidating length, calm and reliable. A feared inside presence.

Pocket Lightning – His age is a mystery. Legend has it not yet 5, but absolute electricity across the pine.

The Boss – Representative player and coach. She demands excellence and receives it.

The Prodigy – Assistant coach, mentor, hype-guy.

Milo – The protagonist of this story, and one of the junior squad members. Given the Hellratz rookie squad is under 10s Milo has a full 5 more seasons to compete at this level. He and Pocket Lightning are undoubtedly the future of this franchise and, pending injury and general disinterest, could form a special combination for years to come.

Match Report

Well, the Deadly Dojo looked sharp in the warmups. Despite their legendary focus and professionalism, the Hellratz couldn’t help but take an envious look down the court. Really nice Dikembe-era Hawks-like uniforms, and multiple flash haircuts including undercuts, mini-mullets and arguably even a squirt or two of hair gel. The Hellratz unis are mining-industry orange interspersed inexplicably with multiple shades of blue. Yuck.

Smoov aside (whose style is irrepressible), top to bottom utilitarian haircuts under the Hellratz hoop. Deadly Dojo won the early instagram battle.

Once the ball was tipped (or gently passed in from the sideline as is the practice of our times) it was clear there is to be no season 2 hangover for the Hellratz. The Magic Man took over early, relentlessly dribbling this way and that through the entire Deadly Dojo squad, launching high arching bombs from all corners, delivering his signature ‘come and get it’ hand-gesture celebration. The Baby-Face Assassin, looking passive and possibly asleep swished everything he touched, involved team-mates with crisp passing and suffocated his man on defence.

When he wasn’t comparing heights with Milo (he has grown a little in the off season) Pocket Lightning was everywhere, leaving little tracks of fire behind him as he burned around the court, stealing, dribbling and generally terrorising everybody. Pocket Lightning’s signature moment came in the period shortly after the half time siren had sounded. Deadly Dojo’s power forward had not heard the siren, was delighted to see a wide open lane appear in front of him and dribbled apace towards the hoop. Pocket Lightning, giving up three quarters of a body length in height, pursued and harassed him for 15 seconds, achieving a held-ball while everybody else had already sat down for half-time water and Minecraft chat.

Interestingly, not content to rest on their season 1 success, The Boss and The Prodigy have implemented two significant tactical amendments to the summer game plan. Firstly, in the half court the Hellratz have adopted the legendary 90s Bulls-era triangle offence. However, the structure has been astutely modified to better suit the Hellratz style of play. Rather than a triangle they form more of a flattened squircle around the three point line which moves and oozes this way and that until somebody decides to jack up a shot. Borderline unstoppable.

Secondly the Hellratz have taken on a straight line Uruk-hai inspired defence, with devastating effect. They form a straight line, spread out across the width of the the court just their side of half-way. There they lie in wait for the opposition to dribble tentatively forward. As soon as the poor ball handler crosses that half-way line there is no going back. The Hellratz descend, hollering and waving their arms around, and amidst the ordered chaos the ball-handler is overwhelmed, generally flinging it to The Magic Man or Pocket Lightning who finish things off at the other end. It is like a half-court trap with more terror, and may revolutionize basketball.

Well, the second half was more one way traffic. The Big Fundamental took over as he usually does when energy begins to flag and discipline evaporates. Fundamentals deliver in the 39th minute as they do in the 1st. Jump shot, lay-up, jump shot, including a beautiful swish from 15 feet into the opponent’s hoop. The Big Fundamental was somewhat dismayed by his oversight but he needn’t have been, it was yet another glorious display of technique and focus.

Any opportunities that the Deadly Dojo briefly identified in the second half were hunted down by the prowling pair of Stretch and Smoov, and snuffed out by superior length and athleticism.

A final note on our protagonist. It would appear Milo has de-prioritised tucking his arms inside his singlet for warmth this season and is starting to deliver on his significant potential as a feared defensive stopper. His focus and increased confidence were notable, involving himself with timely passing and smothering, demonic efforts on the defensive end. Milo scored two baskets in his debut season and is hungry for more this summer. Based on what we saw in game one, Milo would be a strong overs bet and the future is bright.

Final score, Hellratz 33Deadly Dojo 10

Which shows length and switchability on the wings will beat sweet haircuts and classy uniforms every day of the week.

Subscribe for more Hellratz updates as the summer season hots up.

Parenting is not a spectator sport

Parenting is not a spectator sport

People choose to take on the role of full-time parent, long or short-term, for all sorts of reasons. People are also lured back to their careers for all sorts of reasons; money, boredom, stage of life, morning teas. One important reason that I think is not discussed or acknowledged enough is the basic human need for compliments.

Children are generally not great at delivering positive feedback. The meals I deliver day in and day out to my boys are always critically evaluated. As they chew, they hold their little fists out perpendicular to their bodies like mini Caesars of Rome. My teeth clench, my eyes widen in anticipation and my heart sinks as their little thumbs plunge downwards. Sometimes I am rewarded with a horizontal thumb and very occasionally I get one that briefly hovers around 10 o’clock before settling back at the 9. My dancing is the subject of derision and scorn, Monty now thinks I am only the third best Lego builder in the house (he is not right about that) and last month Milo said I look ‘okay’ but I would be much better looking if I had hair.

As for adult feedback, I assure you the only time adults-in-public ever notice your parenting is when your child has opened a box of spaghetti and is making pasta angels on the floor of aisle 3, or when they hold up the ice cream queue by asking for 5 samples, including the rainbow twice… just to be sure.

No, during the day your moments of parental pride are almost always achieved alone. Yes! Negotiated Milo’s birthday party list down by 4 without causing any playground fallout. Yes! Managed to brush Monty’s hair while convincing him it will not impact his long-term ambition to have dreadlocks. Yes! Convinced Milo for the 7th straight week to go to Coding Class while he begged for a week off only to hear what a great time he had afterwards. Yes! Super-glued Monty’s water bottle lid back together for the 3rd time. Yes! Found and returned 12 Minecraft books to the library the day before they are overdue. Yes! Resolved an argument over the last banana by eating it myself.

Fist bumping yourself gets boring, and your knuckles get sore.

The workplace has all sorts of structures and systems in place to ensure people are regularly given feedback and praise for their work. Admittedly these compliments are often bland and meaningless, but that steady, nurturing flow can usually be relied upon in some form, and it is good for morale. But expecting or delivering compliments for positive, creative, effective or just brave parenting is largely taboo. Parenting is seen as an expected, almost universal skill, and the day-to-day grind of its execution nothing remarkable. To receive thanks or acknowledgement is one thing. But to receive a compliment for your skill or perseverance is, I think, something else altogether.

Last week I was standing at the supermarket check-out with Monty, loading our groceries onto the conveyor and discussing the relative merits of chicken wings versus chicken thighs, while I simultaneously rebuffed his varied requests for chocolate, Chupa Chups and New Idea Magazines from the evil end-cap of temptation. Mid-load I looked up at the 18 year old check-out chap, who was sporting a nice wispy moustache and a passive expression (as is the style du jour), to say hello and without warning he said to me “you’re a really good dad.”

“Thanks” I said. But, caught off guard, I had teared up a little. He noticed this, found it weird, and we continued the rest of the transaction in silence. But his compliment had lodged itself in my cerebral cortex, and was perhaps more resonant than any I have received during 20 years of structured feedback sessions in the office. As Monty and I walked back to our bicycle, I squeezed his hand and grinned.

Parenting is confusing, confounding, confuddling and sometimes even contorting. It is a constant work-in-progress, with each day filled by numerous little wins and a roughly equal number of little losses. It is generally impossible to know if you are winning. I think therefore that when we witness good (or even slightly better than competent) parenting we should all be more comfortable delivering compliments; to friends, family and to strangers with children in the airport security queue. Especially to strangers with children in the airport security queue.

All humans need compliments; and perhaps at certain moments white-knuckled, solo child-wranglers need them more than most. So, if an opportunity arises, be free and loose with a parental compliment. It will be more impactful than you think.

Thanks Bradley
Half-assed answers to reasonable questions

Half-assed answers to reasonable questions

When your baby is tiny they ask no questions. As they grow into something slightly more human-like they begin to notice the inconsistent, confusing and weird world around them and look to you, their all-knowing oracle, for guidance and explanation.

Their first questions are like this; “Daddy, where is my foot?”

You say “oh my darling”, show them, maybe give it a little tickle, and feel smug that you know where all the major limbs are on a human body and they do not.

Then without warning, one day, while eating a Cruskit with peanut butter… “Daddy, what’s a soul?”

“Huh?” you say, spitting out the bit of Cruskit that you had fished up off the ground absentmindedly and popped into your mouth. And so it begins, the deeply humbling realisation that you know almost nothing about anything.

For the last few months I have been noting down the quite reasonable questions Monty has been asking me, questions for which a fully-formed adult human should have a reasonable response, and questions for which I have, unfortunately, been providing entirely half-assed answers. Here they are:

“Daddy, why does the teaspoon float on the water?”

“Well, you know it’s because the void space in the spoon is displacing more volume of water than, you know, it’s own volume. Yeah, so, surface tension. You know?”

“Daddy, how does a sleep apnea device work?”

“Well, it gives you more oxygen which helps you sleep.”

“How does that help you sleep?”

“Well, oxygen is pretty good isn’t it? I mean, particularly good for sleep right? So, that’s how it helps you sleep.”

“Daddy, what is that little plastic circle thing on your COVID mask?”

“It’s a filter.”

“What is the rest of the mask?”

“Oh, that’s also a filter.”

“Well, what’s the plastic bit for?”

“Um, that’s to get air in… or out.”


“Daddy, why are prawn tails good for chickens to eat?”

“Well, calcium. Yeah, it’s the calcium in the prawn tails and that’s good for chickens. Pretty sure that’s what it is.”

“Daddy, why are those clouds so low?”

“Umm, it depends on atmospheric conditions… you know, temperature, pressure and maybe, you know, altitude.”

“Daddy, why is the iced tea so foamy?”

“Well that’s because you shook it up and, umm, sent all the air bubbles out of it and, umm, into the foam.”

“Daddy, what’s that slippery ultrasound stuff for?”

“Umm, well, it helps the machine see through your skin I guess, or helps the wand slide back and forth. One of those… or both.”

“Daddy, how does a tornado get formed?”

“Low pressure. Yup, the low pressure forms a cone thing, with wind. And that’s a tornado.”

“Daddy, how do frogs breathe through their skin?”

“Well, it’s all about permeability isn’t it? Wait, frogs breathe through their skin?”

“Daddy, what was before the Big Bang?”

“Huh? … oh hey, do you want ice cream?”

More to come.

E does not in fact equal MC x 2