Today was full of working out, “stretching”, field hockey, sun, laughs, some tears, and a lot of team togetherness. We began early in the morning with a wonderful continental breakfast provided at our hotel. The entire team and coaches packed into the small and quaint breakfast room to enjoy a traditional Irish breakfast: eggs, sausage, toast, beans, tomatoes, and fruit. We began our first of three workout sessions with yoga, taught by Ashley (Cory’s wife). Dublin is currently experiencing a “heat wave” (65 degrees and sunny) so the park in which we did our yoga was extra serene. Plus, there were many observers in the park this morning while we did our yoga, including several young men twirling batons and a couple who couldn’t quite contain their summer love. The yoga was a little more difficult than we all thought, but we all felt strong and more flexible after the session.
In our free time before our first clinic, we enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells of Dublin. The cobblestone streets and red brick buildings give the town an olden times feel, but it’s the diversity of restaurants and shops that make the city so fun. We ate a small lunch and then boarded the bus to go a session with Mick, the Irish Men’s National Team Assistant Coach. We played games, learned new tricks, and new phrases in Irish that I hope to use in my daily conversations. Mick said he was very impressed with our level of skill and capability on the “pitch”. After our two hour session in the sun, we took a quick break to rejuvenate before our first game. We played against a U-18 club team full of fierce fighting Irish girls. Your black squirrels played very well and we tried to incorporate our newly learned skills into the game. After the match, we enjoyed lasagna and fudge brownies in the club field house and scouted the men’s field hockey team.
Once everyone had returned to the hotel and showered, we went to a comedy club in the heart of Dublin. We were a little skeptical if we would understand Irish humor or slang, but our mass presence in the small room created a lot of communication and banter between the team (namely, Elena Veale) and the comedians. All in all, it was a very hysterical and fun cultural experience we enjoyed.
It was a great day full of many hours of field hockey and some great laughs. The only bad part of the day was our young Nikki Witte sustaining a bad ankle sprang (did I mention the other team held up the stereotype of the “fighting Irish”). Nikki is good spirits and doing well and is currently rocking some fancy Irish crutches.
We are excited to explore the rest of Ireland tomorrow!
HCFH and GW Academy…new friends!