lacrosse and taxonomy (2005-01-28 - 2:20 p.m.)
I'm pleased to report that lacrosse, although a very bizarre game, is actually quite fun! Of course I'm still not all that much closer to knowing how to play, but what the heck, I had a good time.
Jen and I showed up (slightly late) just as they were starting what I could only think was a rather strange drill. It involved running around shouting your name and the name of the person across from you: fine if you knew anyone, which I didn't. (Okay, not entirely true. I know a fairly good portion of the team, if only because I attend a lot of lacrosse parties!) But then a very kind girl took me aside and actually showed me how to throw and catch the ball, which was much more helpful.
The rest of the practice was drills (semi-useful) and scrimmages (not so much because I still didn't know the basics of the game). I finally realized the best way to go about it was to pick another new girl on the other team, and just guard her the whole time! So the two of us basically ran up and down on the sidelines, rarely going near the ball. Except once, when I did get to pass it back into play.
Oh yeah, and apparently there's a rule where you can't move once the whistle blows - which no one mentioned! And of course it took me ages to realize that everyone else on the field had stopped dead. I'm reading up on lacrosse rules today. (Yes, I'm aware I probably should have done it yesterday - oh well...)
The other trouble was my tendency to want to use the stick like a hockey stick. I mean, it would make so much more sense to just sort of flick the ball across the ground... Passing in the air seems completely counterintuitive. (So does playing a game involving a stick that looks like a miniature snowshoe!)
I feel great today, though, despite being sore. I never thought I'd say this, but I really missed team sports - all that running around outside, and then going for a pint together afterwards! One of the girls on the team told me, "Even if you've never played, you'll soon pick up the game if you're sporty" and I said, "But I'm not!" Having thought about it, though - I'm definitely not athletic, but I do like playing and am good at strategy (if not always excution). Maybe that's all it takes. The same girl told me she has a friend who is involved in the Edinburgh women's football league. She said they have low-level social teams. May have to look into this - at least I know the rules in soccer!
It's Friday, and casual day again. I love working in my jeans.
I have realized that since I've been working here, my most dreaded phrase has become, "Hi, I was wondering if you could help me." Those are always the callers who have no idea who they need to talk to, and sometimes no idea what they even want. They don't have reference numbers handy and have only a vague idea of what department they might want to speak to. I like people who call and say, "Can I speak to so-and-so?" Much easier to deal with.
That was a pointless rant, since I'm LEAVING ON MONDAY (yay!!!)
Rob, who wins for "most number of mentions in this blog", has sent me this link, which lists interesting biological nomenclature. This amuses me no end, as I'm a sucker for geek jokes that are only funny when translated from Latin. For example:
Aegrotocatellus (trilobite) Latin for "sick puppy".
Eucritta melanolimnetes (fossil amphibian) Loosely translates as "Creature from the black lagoon" [Nature 394: 66-69].
Megapnosaurus Ivie (theropod dinosaur) Translates as "big dead lizard."
Pulchrapollia (Lower Eocene parrot) Translates to "Pretty Polly".
Vampyroteuthis infernalis (squid relative) "Vampire squid from Hell".
Say this one out loud:
Dissup irae (Kovalev, 1989) (a hard-to-see fossil eremochaetid fly)
And finally, the dinosaur named after Mark Knopfler (whose solo CD, Sailing to Philadelphia, is extremely good):
Masiakasaurus knopfleri (theropod dinosaur) Named after Dire Straits singer/songwriter Mark Knopfler. Sampson said, "Whenever we played Dire Straits in the quarry, we found more Masiakasaurus, and when we played something else, we didn't." Knopfler replied, "The fact that it's a dinosaur is certainly apt, but I'm happy to report that I'm not in the least bit vicious." ("Masiaka" is Malagasy for "vicious.")
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