Sunday, 25 November 2007

Schoolies Round Up

Well it's been over a week since I posted... so some of you may have started to wonder if I'd been trampled to death by a horde of schoolies.

Close... but not quite.

I was totalled after the long hours and stress of Friday, but Saturday was much much worse. I got up to set up all the laptops - we'd only allocated 10 laptops to assign wrist bands, and 14 for the schoolies to use who hadn't registered yet. I also had 10-12 laptops for use on the beach for the event entry scanning, and as I'd said in the previous post, they weren't working.

So my first job after setting up for the day was to cart those 12 laptops up to my apartment, and set about reimaging them from my self made imaging server (another laptop) and hashed up network set up on the dining table. I worked all day until they were ready to go, when I got a call from the MBC that things were banking up and getting out of hand, so they needed extra laptops to do the wrist band assigning. Event Entry went out the window and I used the extra 12 laptops at the MBC... in the end I jumped on one and started handing out wrist bands myself (we had 12 extra laptops, but not 12 extra people to use them).

At about 9pm the line for wrist bands was about a kilometre long, and 10 schoolies wide! I think it even made the news, as some schoolies were waiting up to 6 hours in the line - there was no coordination with the event staff and crowd control was horrible. In the end the inevitable happened and we had ourselves a mini riot.

The police shut the line down saying they could get onto the beach without a tag for the Saturday night... but for a few moments there it was very scary. A thousand or so schoolies surging forward ended up with the table I was sitting at pinning me against the MBC (so hard I had a bruise on my belly the next day), and when I went to get up I timed it really badly and stood up just as some drunken, ticked off kid decided to throw something at the truck.

It hit me in the head... it hurt... I don't know what it was, but I was really light headed and ended up falling over as I tried to get out of the area. I was helped into the truck and after 5 minutes or so and a bottle of water I was fine.

Eventually the crowd disbanded as police moved them all on - I'm amazed they didn't start hurling the laptops around or vandalising the Mobile Business Centre. A few of the cars around the MBC were kicked and stuff written in the dust... I'm quite grateful my work car - a silver Commodore Wagon - looked a lot like an unmarked police car... it was untouched, and when I went to leave people were getting out of my way quick smart.

Things could only get better after that and they did... on Sunday the IT manager and a couple of other IT staff came down, bringing an extra 25 laptops - we ended up with 50 laptops doing the wrist bands and registration combined... again I spent the day registering and assigning wrist bands, but with some proper crowd control in place everything ran very smoothly. The decision was made to cut the event entry scanning - which sort of made the wrist bands useless - but meant I didn't have to worry about setting laptops up on the beach every night.

By Monday the registrations had started to settle down - new problems arose like rain... and kids wanting replacement wristbands all the time (we found out they were selling them to toolies for $20 each!), so we had to come up with ways of solving these issues... but I've never been verbally abused so much in a week as I have this past one.

By Tuesday I was able to set up in the mornings, go have a swim, catch up with some friends, swim in the afternoon and then hang out with some of the friends I'd made at the MBC from Red Cross. Friday night I went and hung with some mates who were doing Red Frogs, it seems they had a much tougher week than I did.

The only other painful part of the week was getting stuck in the elevator of my apartment block. I'd just ducked out to grab some Indian take-away, and jumped in a lift with 4 other guys who seemed really rough round the edges... then the lift got stuck between the 1st and 2nd floor!

We rang the security, and one of the roughies swore his way through an explanation of what had happened... he annoyed the girl on the other end so much she threatened to leave him in there all night (which is when the others told hit to shut the %^$^%# up and that there were other people in here too). The conversation was not the least bit pleasant... and one guy had just had his nipple pierced and it was bleeding everywhere.

Oh these weren't schoolies either... men probably in their 30's!!!

Eventually after 30 minutes or so the repairman arrived at the apartments, reset the lift and we were free. I finally got to my room on the 24th floor, and enjoyed my somewhat cooled Indian dinner.

It was certainly a week of very different experienced... nothing like what I was expecting, but in some ways something I'm glad I went through, because it's taught me to deal with a lot of very different stuff out there in the real world... not that cushioned world us Christians sometimes find ourselves in.


Mark Edwards said...

did you see Ben Cousins???

Anonymous said...

I take offence to this article. Not all schoolies act the way you explained. I do agree there are a few morons out there who act like bafoons. But down to the fine line, we're not all like that.

People really appreciate the effort you put in setting up the wristband registration. I know when i got mine done it was quick and easy.

It slack how you think that there could be a riot from school leavers. They're there to have a good time and enjoy the atmosphere.

Anyway, your article was interesting and i enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the effort you contributed in setting up for 2007.

g said...

did i say all schoolies were behaving badly?

actually i felt really sorry for a few of the schoolies who were at the front of the line that night, they'd behaved fine but it was the people further in the line who stuffed it for everyone.

the fact is though that the line got out of hand, and the police shut it down, it was like a mini riot, with the swearing, the abuse, bottle throwing and surging crowd.

i think you're a little too sensitive when it comes to your precious schoolies... the facts were there, I was right there, and you can't say those things didn't happen.

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