Sorry for the delay! Here is an update on our final day in Portugal.
Day 8: Our last day really sprung up on us. After another 7 a.m. wake-up call, we headed down to breakfast with all of our equipment. After eating breakfast quickly, we boarded the buses by 7:30 so that we arrived at the athletic center in Cascais by 8 a.m. Because of the hard work we put in all week, our coaches cut down the practice to a 4o minute speed and agility session. Coach Walts was in prime form putting us through a hard work out. Then Coach Bathory surprised us by announcing that we would be going go-karting as a reward for the hard work we put in through out the week. We returned to the hotel for a quick shower then boarded the bus to head to our go-karting session.
At the go-kart park we divided the group into freshmen and sophomores for the first race and juniors, seniors and coaches for the second race. Some of us showed some go-karting prowess (Jack Bodine, Coach Wilber, & Jordan Hitchcock) while others were just plain awful (Victor N’diaye, Eric Caliendo). After the dust cleared, Michael Classen took home first place in the first race while Jordan Hitchcock took home first place in the second race. It is worth noting that Coach Walts and Coach Bathory were struggling to keep up in the back, and Hunter Witmer, despite his politeness, did not bring his manners to the track with him, aggressively pursuing turns and leaving spun out go-karters in his wake.
The two races were packed with so much adrenaline we shared stories of the races the whole way into Lisbon. In Lisbon we visited a school for the hearing-impaired to once again spread the sport of the lacrosse. The kids at the school, ranging from about 6 to 18, were shy at first, but once we offered up our lacrosse sticks, they were very eager to give it a try. Mixing in with some of the guys, all the students got the hang of it very quickly. It got to the point where some of the students could even have a catch with each other and not us. It was very inspiring to see such enthusiasm for the game of lacrosse. It is exciting to think that one day lacrosse could become a popular sport among the Portuguese, and that we played a minor role in that growth.
After spending an hour or so hanging out with some of the kids, who clearly didn’t want to go back to class, we headed back to our bus which took us into downtown Lisbon to meet up with Marta again, for a nighttime walking tour of Lisbon. Being the local she was, Marta took us on a tour through some of the back streets and, as she put it, “neighborhoody neighborhoods.” The nighttime tour was a great way for us to experience the culture of Lisbon through the eyes of a local. Stopping in local stores, slipping down quiet back streets, and capturing some great photos from the foot of the historic Lisbon castle, I can confidently say we got the authentic Lisbon experience.
The long day did not stop there. To close out our stay in Lisbon we ended the evening with a traditional Fado dinner (pronounced like “Fahdu”). Fado is a type of Portuguese folk music that dates back to the days of Portuguese explorers. Back in the 16th and 17th centuries many Portuguese explorers ventured westward to find new lands often leaving behind wives, children, and lovers. Fado music is characterized as love songs that those sailors or sailors’ wives would sing during the long months of separation. Fado, literally translated as “fate” or “destiny”, are often love songs that must be actively listened to. It is a sign of disrespect to talk during a fado performance because the audience must be actively accepting the emotion of the singers. Our fado dinner was a truly authentic Portuguese experience that very few of us will ever have the opportunity to experience again.
After dinner we returned to our hotel by midnight. Scheduled to leave at 5:45 a.m. to head to the airport the next day, most of us headed off to bed to get some sleep for the long travel day ahead.