Athletics: Lacrosse in Great Britain
Day 3 of Lacrosse Trip to Great Britain or Dan's Having a Tough Time with E-mail
by Dan Ryan '09
The third day of our trip was a great day for touring. We woke up about 8 a.m. (which was very early for most of us) and started back towards London. I realize now that our first day was very brief and we were not able to spend a whole lot of time in the city.
Today, we got to really explore London on our own for a few good hours. Teammates Stephen Shuba (Orlando, Fla.), Max Vinograd (Bethesda, Md.), JP Lupetin (Wantagh, N.Y.), and I were given a map by our tour guide and we decided to make our own route around the city. We started by looking into shops and learned London shopping was much different than U.S. shopping.
One store that drew our attention was called Lillywhites, a five-level sporting goods store. The store was very crowded and extremely hot (no a.c.) and the people were on the move and could knock you right over if you don't watch yourself. If you are wearing a backpack of any reasonable size it gets bumped constantly. Max said he had a hard time keeping his balance in the larger shopping crowds.
From the stores, we made our way to Parliament Square to spend a few good minutes looking at the architecture and of course, taking pictures. Right next door stood a unique building named Westminster Abbey which was breathe-taking and we wanted to venture inside it but due to the time we decided to keep going.
Our next stop was the Guard Barracks, a residence to the Queens Guards. Out front, there were two men mounted and standing like statues and there was another guard standing at the inside gate. Stephen Shuba was standing next to him at about 6'5" and I am pretty sure that the guard was looking down at him. We were trying to figure out if they were in fact that tall or if the elaborate boots they were wearing gave them a few more intimidating inches. Our entire touring circle was planned out so we could see the changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. We were shocked to find out that the "men with the fuzzy hats," the Queens Guard, were actually very animated, marching an entire band into the courtyard for the ceremony.
At Buckingham Palace, we bumped into a few guys from the team and walked back to the bus. They took us to the old city of London which only took about ten minutes to get to. According to Stephen Shube, it was a "totally different city." We had always heard that the London Bridge was falling down, but I assure my readers that it is still standing and is quite magnificent.
The best thing we saw here was the Tower of London. We Americans say that a building standing since 1700s is a big deal, but try on for size a town built in 1097! And talk about great history — it held some of England's famous enemies ever — even Henry VIII's second wife Anne Boylen.
Many of the teammates enjoyed our tour guides description of the execution technique, "hung, drawn and quartered," in which a prisoner was in fact hung till near death, followed by organ removal, the cutting off of limbs, and ending with decapitation.
After all this, it was finally time for our first game. This game took place in a town called Hitchin. It was nice to get in a good stretch before the game after so much walking and bus riding, but before we knew it we were starting the game and sprinting up and down.
Lacrosse really had a different style of play over here. Besides a few different rules, we were able to overcome and get up by a few goals in the first quarter thanks to players Kurt Green (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Mike Dolesh (Aquasco, Md.). We held on to this lead for the remainder and all the time, we were laughing and joking with the other team when the ball was at the other end of the field. We found that in this town they had some real good people.
After the game, the team invited us to the local pub and offered to buy us refreshments. Here, one of the Hitchin's team members made a toast to the "klutz of the day." The award actually had a slightly more vulgar title, but went to a player of our team who embarrassed himself on the field. It was a Hitchin tradition to recognize the player who maybe missed an open goal, passed to the wrong player, or something like that. Our defenseman Phil Newton (Charlotte, N.C.) was the recipient of this award in recognition of a moment in the third quarter where Phil's man got the ball and began running out to him at which time his foot slipped out from under him and he fell like a 6'2" 250-pound man should — hard and right on his face. His man was able to score a wide open shot and both teams were able to get a good hearty laugh at this in the pub. It is safe to say that everyone had a blast today traveling and playing.
It seems hard to describe just how much fun we are having and I find myself wanting to go on for pages. Tomorrow we are on our way to visit Warwick Castle and play our second game. I want to conclude with today's lessons:
Things we learned:
- Watch out for other shoppers.
- The busses will hit you if you are in the way.
- Sean Sullivan (Rockville, Md.) was the first to realize that the Brits throw some serious lumber.
- Brad Ross (Freeland, Md.) and I discovered that a peace sign has a double meaning.
- Jesse Hansen (Schenectady, N.Y.) realized discovered that some Brits love American teeth.