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Wikinews interviews Australian wheelchair basketball player Tina McKenzie

Friday, January 3, 2014

Preston, Victoria, Australia — On Saturday, Wikinews interviewed Tina McKenzie, a former member of the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team, known as the Gliders. McKenzie, a silver and bronze Paralympic medalist in wheelchair basketball, retired from the game after the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London. Wikinews caught up with her in a cafe in the leafy Melbourne suburb of Preston.

Tina McKenzie: [The Spitfire Tournament in Canada] was a really good tournament actually. It was a tournament that I wish we’d actually gone back to more often.

Wikinews Who plays in that one?

Tina McKenzie: It’s quite a large Canadian tournament, and so we went as the Gliders team. So we were trying to get as many international games as possible. ‘Cause that’s one of our problems really, to compete. It costs us so much money to for us to travel overseas and to compete internationally. And so we can compete against each other all the time within Australia but we really need to be able to…

WN It’s not the same.

Tina McKenzie: No, it’s really not, so it’s really important to be able to get as a many international trips throughout the year to continue our improvement. Also see where all the other teams are at as well. But yes, Spitfire was good. We took quite a few new girls over there back then in 2005, leading into the World Cup in the Netherlands.

WN Was that the one where you were the captain of the team, in 2005? Or was that a later one?

Tina McKenzie: No, I captained in 2010. So 2009, 2010 World Cup. And then I had a bit of some time off in 2011.

WN The Gliders have never won the World Championship.

Tina McKenzie: We always seem to have just a little bit of a chill out at the World Cup. I don’t know why. It’s really strange occurrence, over the years. 2002 World Cup, we won bronze. Then in 2006 we ended up fourth. It was one of the worst World Cups we’ve played actually. And then in 2010 we just… I don’t know what happened. We just didn’t play as well as we thought we would. Came fourth. But you know what? Fired us up for the actual Paralympics. So the World Cup is… it’s good to be able to do well at the World Cup, to be placed, but it also means that you get a really good opportunity to know where you’re at in that two year gap between the Paralympics. So you can come back home and revisit what you need to do and, you know, where the team’s at. And all that sort of stuff.

WN Unfortunately, they are talking about moving it so it will be on the year before the Paralympics.

Tina McKenzie: Oh really.

WN The competition from the [FIFA] World Cup and all.

Tina McKenzie: Right. Well, that would be sad.

WN But anyway, it is on next year, in June. In Toronto, and they are playing at the Maple Leaf Gardens?

Tina McKenzie: Okay. I don’t know where that is.

WN I don’t know either!

Tina McKenzie: (laughs)

WN We’ll find it. The team in Bangkok was pretty similar. There’s two — yourself and Amanda Carter — who have retired. Katie Hill wasn’t selected, but they had Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy back, so there was ten old players and only two new ones.

Tina McKenzie: Which is a good thing for the team. The new ones would have been Georgia [Inglis] and?

WN Caitlin de Wit.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah… Shelley Cronau didn’t get in?

WN No, she’s missed out again.

Tina McKenzie: Interesting.

WN That doesn’t mean that she won’t make the team…

Tina McKenzie: You never know.

WN You never know until they finally announce it.

Tina McKenzie: You never know what happens. Injuries happen leading into… all types of things and so… you never know what the selection is like.

WN They said to me that they expected a couple of people to get sick in Bangkok. And they did.

Tina McKenzie: It’s pretty usual, yeah.

WN They sort of budgeted for three players each from the men’s and women’s teams to be sick.

Tina McKenzie: Oh really? And that worked out?

WN Yeah. I sort of took to counting the Gliders like sheep so I knew “Okay, we’ve only go ten, so who’s missing?”

Tina McKenzie: I heard Shelley got sick.

WN She was sick the whole time. And Caitlin and Georgia were a bit off as well.

Tina McKenzie: It’s tough if you haven’t been to Asian countries as well, competing and…

WN The change of diet affects some people.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah. I remember when we went to Korea and…

WN When was that?

Tina McKenzie: Korea would have been qualifiers in two thousand and… just before China, so that would have been…

WN 2007 or 2008?

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, 2007. Maybe late, no, it might have been early 2007. It was a qualifier for — Beijing, I think actually. Anyway, we went and played China, China and Japan. And it was a really tough tournament on some of our really new girls. They really struggled with the food. They struggled with the environment that we were in. It wasn’t a clean as what they normally exist in. A lot of them were very grumpy. (laughs) It’s really hard when you’re so used to being in such a routine, and you know what you want to eat, and you’re into a tournament and all of a sudden your stomach or your body can’t take the food and you’re just living off rice, and that’s not great for anyone.

WN Yeah, well, the men are going to Seoul for their world championship, while the women go to Toronto. And of course the next Paralympics is in Rio.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, I know.

WN It will be a very different climate and very different food.

Tina McKenzie: We all learn to adjust. I have over the years. I’ve been a vegetarian for the last thirteen years. Twelve years maybe. So you learn to actually take food with you. And you learn to adjust, knowing what environment you’re going in to, and what works for you. I have often carried around cans of red kidney beans. I know that I can put that in lettuce or in salad and get through with a bit of protein. And you know Sarah Stewart does a terrific job being a vegan, and managing the different areas and countries that we’ve been in to. Germany, for example, is highly dependent on the meat side of food, and I’m pretty sure I remember in Germany I lived on pasta and spaghetti. Tomato sauce. Yeah, that was it. (laughs) That’s alright. You just learn. I think its really hard for the new girls that come in to the team. It’s so overwhelming at the best of times anyway, and their nerves are really quite wracked I’d say, and that different travel environment is really hard. So I think the more experience they can get in traveling and playing internationally, the better off they’ll be for Rio.

WN One of the things that struck me about the Australian team — I hadn’t seen the Gliders before London. It was an amazing experience seeing you guys come out on the court for the first time at the Marshmallow…

Tina McKenzie: (laughs)

WN It was probably all old hat to you guys. You’d been practicing for months. Certainly since Sydney in July.

Tina McKenzie: It was pretty amazing, yeah. I think it doesn’t really matter how many Paralympics you actually do, being able to come out on that court, wherever it is, it’s never dull. It’s always an amazing experience, and you feel quite honored, and really proud to be there and it still gives you a tingle in your stomach. It’s not like “oh, off I go. Bored of this.”

WN Especially that last night there at the North Greenwich Arena. There were thirteen thousand people there. They opened up some extra parts of the stadium. I could not even see the top rows. They were in darkness.

Tina McKenzie: It’s an amazing sport to come and watch, and its an amazing sport to play. It’s a good spectator sport I think. People should come and see especially the girls playing. It’s quite tough. And I was talking to someone yesterday and it was like “Oh I don’t know how you play that! You know, it’s so rough. You must get so hurt.” It’s great! Excellent, you know? Brilliant game that teaches you lots of strategies. And you can actually take all those strategies off the court and into your life as well. So it teaches you a lot of discipline, a lot of structure and… it’s a big thing. It’s not just about being on the court and throwing a ball around.

WN When I saw you last you were in Sydney and you said you were moving down to Melbourne. Why was that?

Tina McKenzie: To move to Melbourne? My mum’s down here. And I lived here for sixteen years or something.

WN I know you lived here for a long time, but you moved up to Sydney. Did your teacher’s degree up there.

Tina McKenzie: I moved to Sydney to go to uni, and Macquarie University were amazing in the support that they actually gave me. Being able to study and play basketball internationally, the scholarship really helped me out. And you know, it wasn’t just about the scholarship. It was.. Deidre Anderson was incredible. She’s actually from Melbourne as well, but her support emotionally and “How are you doing?” when she’d run into you and was always very good at reading people… where they’re at. She totally understands at the levels of playing at national level and international level and so it wasn’t just about Macquarie supporting me financially, it was about them supporting me the whole way through. And that was how I got through my degree, and was able to play at that level for such a long time.

WN And you like teaching?

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, I do. Yeah, I do. I’m still waiting on my transfer at the moment from New South Wales to Victoria, but teaching’s good. It’s really nice to be able to spend some time with kids and I think its really important for kids to be actually around people with disabilities to actually normalize us a little bit and not be so profound about meeting someone that looks a little bit different. And if I can do that at a young age in primary school and let them see that life’s pretty normal for me, then I think that’s a really important lesson.

WN You retired just after the Paralympics.

Tina McKenzie: I did. Yeah. Actually, it took me quite a long time to decide to do that. I actually traveled after London. So I backpacked around… I went to the USA and then to Europe. And I spent a lot of time traveling and seeing amazing new things, and spending time by myself, and reflecting on… So yes, I got to spend quite a bit of time reflecting on my career and where I wanted to go.

WN Your basketball career or your teaching career?

Tina McKenzie: All the above. Yeah. Everything realistically. And I think it was a really important time for me to sort of decide sort of where I wanted to go in myself. I’d spent sixteen years with the Gliders. So that’s a long time to be around the Gliders apparently.

WN When did you join them for the first time?

Tina McKenzie: I think it was ’89? No, no, no, sorry, no, no, no, ’98. We’ll say 1998. Yeah, 1998 was my first tournament, against USA. So we played USA up in New South Wales in the Energy Australia tour. So we traveled the coast. Played up at Terrigal. It was a pretty amazing experience, being my first time playing for Australia and it was just a friendly competition so… Long time ago. And that was leading into 2000, into the big Sydney Olympics. That was the beginning of an amazing journey realistically. But going back to why I retired, or thinking about retiring, I think when I came home I decided to spend a little bit more time with mum. Cause we’d actually lost my dad. He passed away two years ago. He got really sick after I came back from World Cup, in 2011, late 2010, he was really unwell, so I spent a lot of time down here. I actually had a couple of months off from the Gliders because I needed to deal with the family. And I think that it was really good to be able to get back and get on the team and… I love playing basketball but after being away, and I’ve done three Paralympics, I’ve been up for four campaigns, I think its time now to actually take a step backwards and… Well not backwards… take a step out of it and spend quality time with mum and quality time with people that have supported me throughout the years of me not being around home but floating back in and floating out again and its a really… it’s a nice time for me to be able to also take on my teaching career and trying to teach and train and work full time is really hard work and I think its also time for quite a few of the new girls to actually step up and we’ve got quite a few… You’ve got Caitlin, and you’ve got Katie and you’ve got Shelley and Georgia. There’s quite a few nice girls coming through that will fit really well into the team and it’s a great opportunity for me to go. It’s my time now. See where they go with that, and retire from the Gliders. It was a hard decision. Not an easy decision to retire. I definitely miss it. But I think now I’d rather focus on maybe helping out at the foundation level of starting recruitment and building up a recruiting side in Melbourne and getting new girls to come along and play basketball. People with… doesn’t even have to be girls but just trying to re-feed our foundation level of basketball, and if I can do that now I think that’s still giving towards the Gliders and Rollers eventually. That would be really nice. Just about re-focusing. I don’t want to completely leave basketball. I’d still like to be part of it. Looking to the development side of things and maybe have a little bit more input in that area would be really nice though. Give back the skills I’ve been taught over the years and be a bit of an educator in that area I think would be nice. It’s really hard when you’re at that international level to… you’re so time poor that it’s really hard to be able to focus on all that recruitment and be able to give out skill days when you’re actually trying to focus on improving yourself. So now I’ve got that time that I could actually do that. Be a little bit more involved in mentoring maybe, something like that. Yeah, that’s what I’d like to do.

WN That would be good.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah! That would be great, actually. So I’ve just been put on the board of Disability Sport and Recreation, which is the old Wheelchair Sports Victoria. So that’s been a nice beginning move. Seeing where all the sports are at, and what we’re actually facilitating in Victoria, considering I’ve been away from Victoria for so long. It’s nice to know where they’re all at.

WN Where are they all at?

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, dunno. They’re not very far at all. Victoria… I think Victoria is really struggling in the basketball world. Yeah, I think there’s a bit of a struggle. Back in the day… back in those old times, where Victoria would be running local comps. We’d have an A grade and a B grade on a Thursday night, and we’d have twelve teams in A grade and B grade playing wheelchair basketball. That’s a huge amount of people playing and when you started in B grade you’d be hoping that you came around and someone from A grade would ask you to come and play. So it was a really nice way to build your basketball skills up and get to know that community. And I think its really important to have a community, people that you actually feel comfortable and safe around. I don’t want to say it’s a community of disabled people. It’s actually…

WN It’s not really because…

Tina McKenzie: Well, it’s not. The community’s massive. It’s not just someone being in a chair. You’ve got your referees, you’ve got people that are coming along to support you. And it’s a beautiful community. I always remember Liesl calling it a family, and it’s like a family so… and it’s not just Australia-based. It’s international. It’s quite incredible. It’s really lovely. But it’s about providing that community for new players to come through. And you know, not every player that comes through to play basketball wants to be a Paralympian. So its about actually providing sport, opportunities for people to be physically active. And if they do want to compete for Australia and they’re good enough, well then we support that. But I think it’s really hard in the female side of things. There’s not as many females with a disability.

WN Yeah, they kept on pointing that out…

Tina McKenzie: It’s really hard, but I think one of the other things is that we also need to be able to get the sport out there into the general community. And it’s not just about having a disability, it’s about coming along and playing with your mate that might be classifiable or an ex-basketball player. Like I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and she’s six foot two…

WN Sounds like a basketball player already.

Tina McKenzie: She’s been a basketball player, an AB basketball player for years. Grew up playing over in Adelaide, and her knee is so bad that she can’t run anymore, and she can’t cycle, but yet wants to be physically active, and I’m like “Oooh, you can come along and play wheelchair basketball” and she’s like “I didn’t even think that I could do that!” So it’s about promoting. It not that you actually have to be full time in the chair, or being someone with an amputation or other congenitals like a spinal disability, it’s wear and tear on people’s bodies and such.

WN Something I noticed in the crowd in London. People seemed to think that they were in the chair all the time and were surprised when most of the Rollers got up out of their chairs at the end of the game.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah.

WN Disability is a very complicated thing.

Tina McKenzie: It is, yeah.

WN I was surprised myself at people who were always in a chair, but yet can wiggle their toes.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, it’s the preconceived thing, like if you see someone in a chair, a lot of people just think that nothing works, but in hindsight there are so many varying levels of disability. Some people don’t need to be in a chair all the time, sometimes they need to be in it occasionally. Yeah, it’s kind of a hard thing.

WN Also talking to the classifiers and they mentioned the people playing [wheelchair] basketball who have no disability at all but are important to the different teams, that carry their bags and stuff.

Tina McKenzie: So important, yeah. It’s the support network and I think that when we started developing Women’s National League to start in 2000, one of the models that we took that off was the Canadian Women’s National League. They run an amazing national league with huge amounts of able bodied women coming in and playing it, and they travel all over Canada [playing] against each other and they do have a round robin in certain areas like our Women’s National League as well but it’s so popular over there that it’s hard to get on the team. They have a certain amount of women with disabilities and then other able bodied women that just want to come along and play because they see it as a really great sport. And that’s how we tried to model our Women’s National League off. It’s about getting many women just to play sport, realistically.

WN Getting women to play sport, whether disabled or not, is another story. And there seems to be a reluctance amongst women to participate in sports, particularly sports that they regard as being men’s sports.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, a masculine sport.

WN They would much rather play a sport that is a women’s sport.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, it’s really hard. I think it’s about just encouraging people, communicating, having a really nice welcoming, come and try day. We run a… like Sarah [Stewart] actually this yeah will be running the women’s festival of sport, which is on the 30th of January. And that’s an amazing tournament. That actually started from club championship days, where we used to run club championships. And then the club championships then used to feed in to our Women’s National League. Club championships used to about getting as many women to come along and play whether they’re AB or have a disability. It’s just about participation. It’ll be a really fun weekend. And it’s a pretty easy weekend for some of us.

WN Where is it?

Tina McKenzie: Next year, in 2014, it’ll be January the 30th at Narrabeen. We hold it every year. And last year we got the goalball girls to come along and play. So we had half of the goalball girls come and play for the weekend and they had an absolute brilliant time. Finding young girls that are walking down the street that just want to come and play sport. Or they have a friend at high school that has a disability. And it’s just about having a nice weekend, meeting other people that have disabilities or not have disabilities and just playing together. It’s a brilliant weekend. And every year we always have new faces come along and we hope that those new faces stay around and enjoy the weekend. Because it’s no so highly competitive, it’s just about just playing. Like last year I brought three or four friends of mine, flew up from Melbourne, ABs, just to come along and play. It was really nice that I had the opportunity to play a game of basketball with the friends that I hang out with. Which was really nice. So the sport’s not just Paralympics.

WN How does Victoria compare with New South Wales?

Tina McKenzie: Oh, that’s a thing to ask! (laughs) Look I think both states go in highs and lows, in different things. I think all the policies that have been changing in who’s supporting who and… like, Wheelchair Sports New South Wales do a good job at supporting the basketball community. Of course, there’s always a willingness for more money to come in but they run a fairly good support and so does the New South Wales Institute of Sport. It’s definitely gotten better since I first started up there. And then, it’s really hard to compare because both states do things very differently. Yeah, really differently and I always remember being in Victoria… I dunno when that was… in early 2000. New South Wales had an amazing program. It seemed so much more supportive than what we had down here in Victoria. But then even going to New South Wales and seeing the program that they have up there, it wasn’t as brilliant as… the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, cause there there good things and there were weren’t so great things about the both programs in Victoria and in New South Wales so… The VIS [Victorian Institute of Sport] do some great support with some of the athletes down here, and NSWIS [New South Wales Instituted of Sport] are building and improving and I know their program’s changed quite a lot now with Tom [Kyle] and Ben [Osborne] being involved with NSWIS so I can’t really give feedback on how that program’s running but in short I know that when NSWIS employed Ben Osborne to come along and actually coach us as a basketball individual and as in group sessions it was the best thing that they ever did. Like, it was so good to be able to have one coach to actually go and go we do an individual session or when are you running group sessions and it just helped me. It helped you train. It was just a really… it was beneficial. Whereas Victoria don’t have that at the moment. So both states struggle some days. I mean, back in 2000 Victoria had six or seven Gliders players, and then New South Wales had as many, and then it kind of does a big swap. It depends on what the state infrastructure is, what the support network is, and how local comps are running, how the national league’s running, and it’s about numbers. It’s all about numbers.

WN At the moment you’ll notice a large contingent of Gliders from Western Australia.

Tina McKenzie: Yes, yes, I have seen that, yeah. And that’s good because its… what happens is, someone comes along in either state, or wherever it may be, and they’re hugely passionate about building and improving that side of things and they have the time to give to it, and that’s what’s happened in WA [Western Australia]. Which has been great. Ben Ettridge has been amazing, and so has John. And then in New South Wales you have Gerry driving that years ago. Gerry has always been a hugely passionate man about improving numbers, about participation, and individuals’ improvement, you know? So he’s been quite a passionate man about making sure people are improving individually. And you know, Gerry Hewson’s been quite a driver of wheelchair basketball in New South Wales. He’s been an important factor, I think.

WN The news recently has been Basketball Australia taking over the running of things. The Gliders now have a full time coach.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, which is fantastic! That’s exciting. It’s a good professional move, you know? It’s nice to actually know that that’s what’s happening and I think that only will lead to improvement of all the girls, and the Gliders may go from one level up to the next level which is fantastic so… and Tom sounds like a great man so I really hope that he enjoys himself.

WN I’m sure he is.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, I’ve done some work with Tom. He’s a good guy.

WN Did you do some work with him?

Tina McKenzie: Ah, well, no, I just went up to Brisbane a couple of times and did some development days. Played in one of their Australia Day tournaments with some of the developing girls that they have. We did a day camp leading into that. Went and did a bit of mentoring I guess. And it was nice to do that with Tom. That was a long time before Tom… I guess Tom had just started on the men’s team back them. He was very passionate about improving everyone, which he still is.

WN Watching the Gliders and the Rollers… with the Rollers, they can do it. With the Gliders… much more drama from the Gliders in London. For a time we didn’t even know if they were going to make the finals. Lost that game against Canada.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, that wasn’t a great game. No. It was pretty scary. But, you know, we always fight back. In true Gliders style. Seems to be… we don’t like to take the easy road, we like to take the hard road, sometimes.

WN Apparently.

Tina McKenzie: It’s been a well-known thing. I don’t know why it is but it just seems to happen that way.

WN You said you played over 100 [international] games. By our count there was 176 before you went to London, plus two games there makes 178 international caps. Which is more than some teams that you played against put together.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, I thought I’d be up to nearly 200. Look, I think it’s an amazing thing to have that many games under your belt and the experience that’s gained me throughout the years, and you’ve got to be proud about it. Proud that I stayed in there and competed with one of the best teams in the world. I always believed that the Gliders can be the best in the world but…

WN You need to prove it.

Tina McKenzie: Need to get there. Just a bit extra.

WN Before every game in London there was an announcement that at the World Championships and the Paralympics “they have never won”.

Tina McKenzie: No, no. I remember 2000 in Sydney, watching the girls play against Canada in 2000. Terrible game. Yet they were a brilliant team in 2000 as well. I think the Gliders have always had a great team. Just unfortunately, that last final game. We haven’t been able to get over that line yet.

WN You were in the final game in 2004.

Tina McKenzie: Yep, never forget that. It was an amazing game.

WN What was it like?

Tina McKenzie: I think we played our gold medal game against the USA the first game up. We knew that we had to beat USA that day, that morning. It was 8am in the morning, maybe 8:30 in the morning and it was one of the earliest games that we played and we’d been preparing for this game knowing that we had to beat USA to make sure that our crossovers would be okay, and knew that we’d sit in a really good position against the rest of the teams that we would most likely play. And I think that being my first ever Paralympic Games it was unforgettable. I think I’ll never, not forget it. The anticipation, adrenalin and excitement. And also being a little bit scared sometimes. It was really an amazing game. We did play really, really well. We beat America by maybe one point I think that day. So we played a tough, tough game. Then we went into the gold medal game… I just don’t think we had much left in our energy fuel. I think it was sort of… we knew that we had to get there but we just didn’t have enough to get over the line, and that was really unfortunate. And it was really sad. It was sad that we knew that we could actually beat America, but at the end of the day the best team wins.

WN The best team on the court on the day.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, absolutely. And that can change any day. It depends where your team’s at. What the ethos is like. and so it’s… Yeah, I don’t think you can actually say that every team’s gonna be on top every day, and it’s not always going to be that way. I’m hoping the Gliders will put it all together and be able to take that way through and get that little gold medal. That would be really nice. Love to see that happen.

WN I’d like to see that happen. I’d really like to see them win. In Toronto, apparently, because the Canadian men are not in the thing, the Canadians are going to be focusing on their women’s team. They apparently didn’t take their best team and their men were knocked out by Columbia or Mexico or something like that.

Tina McKenzie: Wow.

WN And in the women’s competition there’s teams like Peru. But I remember in London that Gliders were wrong-footed by Brazil, a team that they had never faced before. Nearly lost that game.

Tina McKenzie: (laughs) Oh yes. Brazil were an unknown factor to us. So they were quite unknown. We’d done a bit of scouting but if you’ve never played someone before you get into an unknown situation. We knew that they’d be quite similar players to Mexico but you know what? Brazil had a great game. They had a brilliant game. We didn’t have a very good game at all. And it’s really hard going into a game that you know that you need to win unbeknown to what all these players can do. You can scout them as much as you want but it’s actually about being on court and playing them. That makes a huge difference. I think one of the things here in Australia is that we play each other so often. We play against each other so often in the Women’s National League. We know exactly what… I know that Shelley Chaplin is going to want to go right and close it up and Cobi Crispin is going to dive underneath the key and do a spin and get the ball. So you’ve actually… you know what these players want to do. I know that Kylie Gauci likes to double screen somewhere, and she’ll put it in, and its great to have that knowledge of what your players really like to do when you’re playing with them but going into a team like Brazil we knew a couple of the players, what they like to do but we had no idea what their speed was like or what their one-pointers were going to do. Who knows? So it was a bit of an unknown.

WN They’ll definitely be an interesting side when it comes to Rio.

Tina McKenzie: I think they’ll be quite good. And that happened with China. I’ll always remember seeing China when we were in Korea for the first time and going “Wow, these girls can hardly move a chair” but some of them could shoot, and they went from being very fresh players to going into China as quite a substantial team, and then yet again step it up again in London. And they’re a good team. I think its really important as not to underestimate any team at a Paralympics or at a World Cup. I mean, Netherlands have done that to us over and over again.

WN They’re a tough team too.

Tina McKenzie: They’re a really tough team and they’re really unpredictable sometimes. Sometimes when they’re on, they’re on. They’re tough. They’re really tough. And they’ve got a little bit of hunger in them now. Like, they’re really hungry to be the top team. And you can see that. And I remember seeing that in Germany, in Beijing.

WN The Germans lost to the Americans in the final in Beijing.

Tina McKenzie: Yes. Yeah, they did.

WN And between 2008 and 2012 all they talked about was the US, and a rematch against the US. But of course when it came to London, they didn’t face the US at all, because you guys knocked the US out of the competition.

Tina McKenzie: Yeah, we did. It was great. A great game that.

WN You won by a point.

Tina McKenzie: Fantastic. Oh my God I came. Still gives me heart palpitations.

WN It went down to a final shot. There was a chance that the Americans would win the thing with a shot after the siren. Well, a buzzer-beater.

Tina McKenzie: Tough game. Tough game. That’s why you go to the Paralympics. You have those tough, nail-biting games. You hope that at the end of the day that… Well, you always go in as a player knowing that you’ve done whatever you can do.

WN Thankyou very much for this.

Tina McKenzie: That’s alright. No problems at all!

Is it Procrastination or Something More?


Troyann Williams

Procrastination is one of the most notorious symptoms of self-sabotage behavior however, when I talk with people about their struggles I always try to dig a little deeper. Once I ask a few questions, I often find the elusive self-sabotage behavior of “getting stalled in the planning stage.”

I have always found my clients to be perfectly capable of reaching the goals they set for themselves, and they were usually much closer to their success than they believed themselves to be; they just needed help getting rid of their self-imposed roadblocks.

Whenever I work with a client that uses the self-sabotage behavior of “getting stalled in the planning stage,” they will typically tell me that they are great at coming up with new ideas and planning them out. However, once they’ve planned the implementation of their ideas down to the nitty-gritty detail, they begin to lose interest in the project, so their energy and motivation stalls out.

One of my favorite clients, Gail (not her real name), has started every kind of new business imaginable. She is creative, intelligent, educated, and very energetic, so there is no real reason why she couldn’t move forward and turn any of her ideas into a successful business. Unfortunately, Gail was consistently blocked by the self-sabotage behavior of “getting stalled in the planning stage” so she was unable to stay motivated to implement an idea once she completed the planning stage.

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Gail loves to PLAN! She loves getting a new idea and then planning it all out! She says she even gets a buzz from planning out a new idea. She will work for hours working out the details of how to implement her new idea. She will create a detailed plan of action, map out her goals for the implementation of the plan, create forms and timelines needed for implementing the plan, and create spreadsheets for tracking the impending success of her idea. When Gail talks about creating a Plan of Action for new ideas her excitement and enthusiasm actually make her look as if she is glowing.

In the past, when Gail had a new idea for a new business venture, she would work day and night to put together the Plan of Action for her new venture until she had every detail mapped out and then as it came time to transition into the implementation stage, she would begin to lose interest. The love would fade, the excitement would subside, and the momentum would die out, so eventually she would move on to some other new and exciting idea that needed to be planned.

The entrepreneurs I work with who deal with the self-sabotage behavior of “getting stalled in the planning stage” will give me detailed reasons why they dropped an existing project and moved on to a new project, but in the end they always admit that they know these “reasons” are just excuses. Their challenge is that they do not know how to break free from their self-sabotaging behaviors.

The inner part of you that blocks your success always has a positive intention behind its behavior. The inner saboteur is actually an inner protector because it has only one mission, which is to protect you from perceived danger. The goal of any good success coach is to help you find that inner perception and help you change it to something that will continue to protect you, but in ways that are much more in alignment with helping you to move toward your goal — not away from it.

As Gail and I progressed through her work she became more and more aware of when and why she set up this cycle of starting a project and then dropping it for something new.

Like Gail, her mother also had lots of energy. As Gail was making her way through her school years her mother always wanted to “help” her with her projects. Although her mother was only trying to “help”, Gail would feel as though her mother had taken over the project, so Gail would lose interest and let her mother finish it for her. Gail said she could still hear her mother’s words, “Honey, let me do that for you.”

While Gail’s mother was so very proud of how much she helped her daughter, she could not see that Gail perceived her mother’s “help” to mean that she was not capable of completing anything on her own.

Gail realized that the only time she felt she had any control over a project was when she was planning it out. Once she began to implement the plan her mother would get involved and “take over” until the project was complete. Gail had set up an internal way of protecting herself from the pain of failure by never allowing herself to actually get past the planning stage to implement any of her ideas.

Gail and I worked together to help her inner protector (previously the inner saboteur) find more effective ways to protect her from failure. Gail realized that her mother’s positive intention for helping her was to make sure she was successful, which would protect her and provide her with greater opportunities. Gail set up a new internal belief that used her mother’s positive intention of moving her toward success. Gail set it up that she could more effectively protect herself if she moved through the successful implementation of her projects. As a bonus, Gail added in the feelings of excitement and accomplishment for completing a project; feelings she has seen so often in her mother as she completed Gail’s projects for her.

Not all inner saboteurs are as easy to find as Gail’s, but it can be done with any inner self-sabotage behaviors and the rewards can be enormous!

Getting stalled in the planning stage is the result of hidden inner fears that it is not safe to actually accomplish the goal; that success might somehow cause us harm. So not allowing yourself to move into the implementation stage becomes a way of protecting you from this perceived danger.

If you are struggling with the self-sabotage behavior of “getting stalled in the planning stage,” take the time to figure out what is the “positive intention” of the inner saboteur. What does it want for you that is much more important than your success? Once you find the inner positive intentions, you can work with it to find more effective ways to keep you safe and move you toward the success you desire.

Troyann Williams is a highly renowned SuccessEsteem Coach. Troyann has devoted her life to developing a coaching program that helps people shift self-sabotage behaviors into SuccessEsteem for reaching greater levels of happiness and prosperity. To learn a step-by-step process for Breaking Free from Self-Sabotage Behaviors, go now to ==>

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Saturday, December 12, 2015 

On Wednesday, German football club Bayern Munich defeated Croatian football club Dinamo Zagreb in a UEFA Champions League group stage match played Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb.

Bayern had a greater ball possession. The match saw three yellow cards, all for the home side. A total of 16 fouls were committed in the match. Zagreb defender Gonçalo Santos was the first man to be booked for committing a foul on Lewandowski in the 31st minute and Munich won a free kick. Xabi Alonso took the kick but it was just wide. First half ended in 0–0.

In the second half, Thomas Müller was substituted in for Franck Ribéry in the 47th minute. Later, in the 61th minute, Thomas Müller assisted Robert Lewandowski and he scored a header, making it 1–0 lead for the visitors. Lewandowski doubled the lead in the 64th minute, assisted by Sebastian Rode.

Josip Pivari? was yellow carded in the 73th minute. In the 87th minute, Eduardo Carvalho was yellow carded for bringing down Arturo Vidal in the penalty area. Bayern won a penalty kick, but Müller hit the woodwork. The match ended 0–2 while Bayern had already qualified for the next stage.

Bayern Munich and Arsenal advanced to the Last 16 knockout stage of 2015–16 UEFA Champions League.

Zagreb ended fourth in the table and their European journey for this season ended. Greek Olympiacos, being third in the table after 3–0 defeat at home by Arsenal moved to UEFA Europa League.

Saturday, January 15, 2005 

Jeff Tweiten, a 27-year-old graphic artist, is encamped in front of the Cinerama Theatre, on a blue sofa, in the northwest city of Seattle, Washington. Tweiten plans to wait 139 days for the premiere of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” which opens May 19, 2005.

He has received help from a community of friends and local business people who have supplied changes of clothes, coffee, food, and a nearby restroom.

City authorities have chosen not to enforce vagrancy laws that would force Tweiten to move between the hours of 7AM and 9PM local time.

Tweiten also camped out for the previous two episodes of the Star Wars movies, “Episode I” and “Episode II”.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007 

Daniel Snaith, better known as Caribou, formerly known as Manitoba until a lawsuit by musician Richard “Handsome Dick” Manitoba, recently played New York City’s Bowery Ballroom. Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s conversation with the electronica pioneer.

David Shankbone: How is the tour going?

DS: How do European and American audiences compare to each other?

DS: But they are more electronic in Europe than they are here, right?

DS: You reach the same fans in each place?

DS: Do you play to larger audiences over there or here?

DS: Do you have a favorite venue?

DS: What would be a dream venue to play?

DS: Is there a continent you haven’t played where you would like to?

DS: Rio or São Paulo?

DS: How has the Iraq War affected you as an artist?

DS: Has it affected you as a person?

DS: Do you find you’re more inspired by manmade things or things in nature?

DS: What sort of ideas inspire you?

DS: Would you consider your music to be mathematical?

DS: Do you have a favorite mathematician or unsolved mathematical problem?

DS: What’s a trait you deplore in other people?

DS: What’s a trait you deplore in yourself?

DS: You think that might be a negative?

DS: That’s a challenge for any human of whether or not to pursue something you think is a greater good or indulge yourself. How do you wrestle with that question?

DS: Well, we need music in this world and if people are responding to it, you’re giving something to them.

DS: Maybe. [Laughs] Hillary or Barack?

DS: What do you think of Gordon Brown?

DS: What would be a bigger turn-off for you in bed, someone who was overly flatulent, or someone who spoke in a baby voice?

DS: Do you have a favorite curse word?

DS: Favorite euphemism for breasts?

DS: If you had to choose between the destruction of the entire continent of Africa or the entire continent of Asia, which would you choose?

DS: What are traits you respect in a woman?

DS: It doesn’t differ in men?

DS: What’s your most treasured possession?

DS: Any favorite films?

DS: What difficult question in an interview do you anticipate but are never asked?

DS: What question are you tired of answering?

DS: In the last year, where have you drawn most of your influence, and you can’t have been listening to them beyond a year ago.

Submitted by: Robert Christian Jr.

Media and private home theater screening rooms are becoming more and more popular with homeowners because of the lower cost of media electronics, greater availability of local companies specialized in the remodeling and renovating of rooms designed specifically for media and home theater use.

The Media Room is where you can put all those video game consoles, computers, dvd players, plasma screen TVs with surround sound and all electronic gadgets find their home in this room. Generally, this room combines games, computers, music and TVs.

A Home Theater screening room is often dedicated as a room where the entire family can sit down in comfort dig into some popcorn like the movie theaters and watch movies on a very large wall screen.

In today s economy with the rising price of tickets just to see a movie combined with the cost of popcorn and drinks often equal to the cost of a complete meal in any near by restaurant. It makes real sense for homeowners with a family to consider remodeling ideas that include utilizing the garage as a home theater, media room, or just an expanded family space. The one consideration most homeowners openly express are they do not want to sacrifice any of their current living area for home entertainment. This makes the garage the ideal remodeling space to consider for additions to your home.

If the garage already exists and is attached to your home it becomes the prime remodeling candidate for a new media room or home theater family room.

Remodeling your garage into a family media or home theater screening room could well be your dream come true. Remodeling the garage into a usable family room requires the displacement of everything currently in the garage including the car. Do not let this scare you. Look at the garage as an empty space, walls, floor, and open ceiling offer a lot of unused storage space area for the many things you may be now tripping over.

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During the planning and design stage some things you might consider based on how finished or unfinished your garage interior space is and if weather conditions are an issue.

Within your planning stage, an important consideration is plumbing and electrical for your new room.

-Do you need a bathroom in the garage?

-Is your washer and dryer currently located in the garage?

-Do you need a kitchen or food service area?

-Do you need heating and air conditioning?

Here are some important storage considerations to get you started.


The cement garage floor allows you a wide choice of coverings such as wood flooring, carpet, and many types of tiles. The garage floor needs to be sealed with a primer coating and a vapor moisture barrier coating applied to the floor. This step prevents mildew and moisture buildup under whatever final floor covering you have selected.


If the garage walls are unfinished, they will need to be covered with drywall and possibly insulated, painted, and trim added. The walls offer the largest area for storage cabinets, shelves, and wall organizer systems. A well-designed wall storage solution will get most of the boxes, bags, tools, bikes, and holiday decorations off the garage floor.


Your new remodeled garage will look much more organized and homey when everything in the room has a place where it belongs. Shelves come in many decorative styles and sizes. You can easily add shelve space to your room without the cost of adding square footage.

Overhead Storage

Overhead storage is a very popular option used in homeowners garages. Most home garages have an open ceiling. This upper ceiling area is very much the same as the main house attic- If you cover the beams in the garage with drywall and paint the drywall you have a finished ceiling. Put in a drop down ladder and even an electric hoist and you can lift and store almost anything you don t need on a regular basis in the attic.

A media room or a home theater remodeling project involves good planning and design to create a family room that becomes a comfortable and natural part of the entire house.

About the Author: Robert Christian is a freelance writer and published author specializing in garage renovation and remodeling for the DIY home owner. To learn more, contact Robert at


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Thursday, August 9, 2007 

Investigators say that flaws in the design of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota may have caused it to collapse and that the design flaw is not “unique” to the Minneapolis bridge.

According to an ongoing investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the flaw was found in the steel plates connected to girders, which are large support beams used in construction and connect the plates together. It is reported that extra stress from construction equipment might have caused the plates to separate, causing the bridge to collapse.

The flaw has not yet been confirmed to be the source of the disaster, and the NTSB says that the investigation could take several months to fully be completed.

At least six people were killed and at least eight are missing, whilst over 100 are injured after the bridge collapsed on August 1.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 

Rescue efforts are underway to free more than 200 skiers trapped Tuesday at Maine’s Sugarloaf ski resort, which is located 120 miles north of Portland. Several injuries were reported after a ski lift broke down; an employee at the resort said this caused several people to fall to the ground.

The Spillway East lift reportedly came to a halt during high winds due to a derailment. Around 10:30 a.m. ET, a cable slid over one tower’s pulley leading to five chairs falling about 30 feet.

Ethan Austin, a resort spokesperson, revealed that several individuals were taken to near-by hospitals with non-life-threatening conditions. At the time, winds originating from this month’s blizzard were blowing up to 43 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. Austin confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the lift was carrying around 220 people at the time of the breakdown.

Efforts to remove trapped skiers are in progress Tuesday afternoon.

Thursday, August 9, 2007 

Investigators say that flaws in the design of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota may have caused it to collapse and that the design flaw is not “unique” to the Minneapolis bridge.

According to an ongoing investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the flaw was found in the steel plates connected to girders, which are large support beams used in construction and connect the plates together. It is reported that extra stress from construction equipment might have caused the plates to separate, causing the bridge to collapse.

The flaw has not yet been confirmed to be the source of the disaster, and the NTSB says that the investigation could take several months to fully be completed.

At least six people were killed and at least eight are missing, whilst over 100 are injured after the bridge collapsed on August 1.

By Ajeet Khurana

We have been noticing that even today, many teachers continue to stay away from technology. They had to stay extremely organized in order to produce easy to understand graphs, charts, and other forms of graphic learning material. If a graph got messed up during an exercise or lecture, they were out of luck and had to move on and start afresh on new paper. However, things are certainly changing. New electronic graphic organizers are available which make life much easier for teachers and help students to understand their lessons faster.

SmartDraw Electronic Graphic Organizer

SmartDraw has a new piece of software that offers full capability for teachers who have little idea of the computer. Instead of just going along with the old, bland templates of the past, teachers have begun to create graphic organizers with this software. They can take previous examples and make the necessary modifications in order to ensure that their students get the point.

This product is one of the most revolutionary ones on the market because of the great functions meant for teachers. The software has more than one hundred of what SmartDraw refers to as “SmartTemplates”, which are specially designed applications that can be changed and quickly saved by a teacher. In addition to that, the markets are full of this product. With a quick download, you will have the software. After that, you shall be creating top notch applications for teaching and presentations using this software.

MatchWare Open Mind 2

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Among the more popular brands is MatchWare, who has introduced its new Open Mind 2 organizing product. This software is a professional looking mind mapping application that enables you to create your own professional looking presentations with no complications at all. With this new software, ideas can be turned into great looking graphic presentations in the matter of a little while. That flexibility and quickness is important for those people that are rushing against time constantly.

This product has drawn rave reviews from many of the customers who have used it to make their presentations. It allows for quick use and it one of the easiest systems to follow. Because it is fully compatible with Microsoft Windows and it has full integration properties, there should be no problem getting it up and running. The only problem with this product is figuring out which of the many applications to use. From the mind mapping software to the time table making ability, there is a whole range of features.

Just like other electronic graphic organizers, MatchWare Open Mind 2 can be quickly downloaded on the Internet with little trouble. This means that you can be creating great looking documents on the same day as your download.


For those folks that want a highly functional piece of software that is both powerful and easy to use, Tinderbox has become a popular choice. When compared to the other programs on the market, this one is extremely deep and has a lot of capability. Though it may not be as flashy as some of its competitors, this piece of software will help you do your job easily. Regardless of what kind of graphic presentation that you need to put together, there is an application within Tinderbox that will help you create it.

Tinderbox prides itself on providing products that are do the job and offer great features. The product comes with a great deal of assistance in case you happen to face trouble using the software. Because of the depth and overall capability of the application, you might end up having some questions about various features. That is all right, as there is included a help section which could put you on the right track.

Tinderbox also claims that its product is one of the fastest on the market. There are features included in this product that make it very easy to get work done quickly. You won’t be waiting around when you see that some work must get done.

These three products are some of the top electronic organizers making waves in the markets. Each one offers something that is unique and can help bring something special to any presentation. When you are looking to get across a point involving some data, how can you accomplish that then through visual, good looking presentation material? With a lightning quick download of any of these products, you can be on the way to creating terrific presentations that will surprise even you. Regardless of whether you are teaching English to a bunch of 7th graders or presenting a business proposal to a set of new clients, you will certainly enjoy these products.

About the Author: Did you know that

Graphic organisers are effective tools

. And did you know that

graphic organizers

also make an effective

brainstorming web



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