Arrived Budapest to be greeted by heat and humidity. Bus to digs and then across the bridge of 'phews' - lugging 40kg of bags through a glass covered tunnel. Supervised pizza production with Ed and Mike. Forced to drink beer to prevent dehydration working the pizza oven.
Temperature plummeted to 28 degrees C during the night. Awoke in involuntary sauna.
Arrived at pitch for scrimmage with Germany to discover temperature now 35 deg C. Forced to drink WATER to prevent dehydration. Came secondish in the scrimmage.
Things finally coming together for the team, now have 2 fans per room and Meghan has negotiated release of the sticky tape from the red tape at customs.
Well, off to make sure the campus 'cafes' are safe - important for us senior statesmen to honour our health and safety commitment to the squad.
Temp 28 deg - after a cooler evening and night, back to the new normal. Picked up more press ups for chronic inability not to say 'ten', at this rate I'll need new shirts but that's OK as lax world appear to have switched my order with the team manager's who is 2 sizes larger. Got lost round campus looking for the CO-OP but did find the pizzeria.
Great excitement...washday. All straightforward but 'we have a request for you, because the materials need to be washed in a different way could you put the shorts and t shirts and other clothes of the same material in the team bag and the other materials in your personal bag'. Ah, well...
20 balls down! I'm not going to bear the ignomy of being part of the 1st Welsh lacrosse team to return home in deficit. I'm going to have to talk to the lads. They think it's about the glory, about bringing the cup home to the land of our fathers ( or parents, or grandparents in some cases) but it's not. It's about taking more balls back than we came with. Can't they see that.
Took one for the team yesterday and attended the ELF conference. 2 1/2 hours but at least air conditioning. Downside = boredom with no relief going outside as usual 26-30 deg C with high humidity. Then medical meeting at 6 pm, met the other medical staff - charmed by all - normally only realise they're medics by the absence of a lacrosse stick. Utterly exhausted by the effort of staying awake and then concentrating forced to rehydrate with beer.
1st game today, made judgement call that wouldn't need poncho. Torrential rain, thunder and lightning, got soaked but temperature dropped to 22deg!
Game delayed by hours, would have been called off but Meghan 'mother of dragons' McKay lead athletic trainer and all round something fierce threw a strop and made the officials call it back on.
The boyos did themselves proud and suffocated a skillfull Austrian side running out 16-3 victors. Rick the coach off to watch the Scotland v. Ireland - got to admire his dedication.
Taken one too many shots for the team recently and have been too exhausted to write - after the Austria victory there was a fascinating defensive duel with Norway followed by another with Ireland, sandwiching bodyguard duties for the mother of dragons, about which more later......
Really exhausting battle with the Norweigans held on to scrape a 6-5 win, bad enough for the boyos on the pitch but 'we also serve who only stand and wait' and my head was spinning at the end. Just closed my eyes after lunch and the next thing; 2 hours had gone by. Actually a good thing because mother of dragons had a cunning plan. She would attempt to get the Irish coach drunk and persuade him to spill his team's plays. After all she knew him from the States and 'he's good people, Doc'. The management volunteered me for bodyguard duties - protestations that she would probably end up looking after me fell on deaf ears. The Irish coach proved to have the constitution of an ox and it was soon clear that our plan was in tatters. We met more Americans whom I later discovered were the rest of the Irish coaching staff who also appeared to have the constitutions of oxen. They insisted we accompany them for a kebab (a giros) and, err, a beer. Then back to the university for more beer. Soon Irish rebel songs echoed through the campus - I was amazed to discover that none of the coaches knew any and they couldn't even get their tongues around the chorus for 'Merry plough boy' let alone 'Follow me up to Carlow' . I didn't even start on 'Arthur McBride'. All the boyos know 'The war song of Dinas Vawr ' off by heart. On return to the digs, bodyguard duty discharged, I quaffed 2 litres of H2O , slept like a log and woke up fresh as a daisy.
Another hard, close fought match, this time Ireland, that we lost 5-3. Defence awesome and uncompromising as usual. More fouls than usual but not the cause of the loss. Ireland's team packed with NCAA experience and used every trick in the book to intimidate (coaches) and sucker (players) the referees. Sour grapes? Maybe, but no less true for all that. Refereeing patchy - it seems ELF are using this tournament as a training ground for some of the refs - and it shows.
Denmark, yesterday, a much needed relief from nail biting. Their smallish squad was depleted further by injury and although they competed all over the field we had a victory by a satisfying margin.
I understand from the obsessives on the staff (Rick) that the permutations are manifold (what is he on about -ed.) and that in our final match tomorrow victory by 1 goal will have a different impact on our position in the group than a 2 or more victory but that a 12-10 victory will lead to Ireland being 3rd etc. etc. etc. It puts years on you. In common with the boyos I just want a win.
Day off today, so went to Budapest, lovely buildings and the Danube is a mighty, mighty river. But the beer is 3-4 x the price at the local bars. It's scandalous. The players with us seemed to need food every hour or so; they ate in the cafeteria before going, had a huge hamburger in Budapest, had a kebab at the railway station in B. and another one when we got off the train. Where do they put it all?
Crunch time. Scotland, all to play for. Time for the attack to step up. Coach Dan has laid out the strategy and coach Rick the tactics. The boyos all quiet and (hopefully) focused. Frequent toilet flushes echo throughout the dorm.
BRING ON THE JOCKS.
THEY WILL BE DANCING IN THE STREETS OF LLAREGGUB TONIGHT.
The boyos came good against the Jocks. After slipping to 1-3 in the 1st quarter they ran out worthy winners 12-8. The attack finally clicked, movement off the ball, movement with the ball, everything.
The defence was all controlled aggression and as a result we weren't killed by penalties. We won the overwhelming majority of the faces - yeah Sammy, yeah Tomo and as for the supporters "baa...sheep, baa...sheep, BAA...SHEEP"* ; they were brilliant.
Only downside Gresh tore a hamstring and he will be sorely missed - still Matt should be back for the rest of the tournament. Unless the coach and the medical staff (I.e. Mother of Dragons) disagree, in which case watch out for a Mourinho/Chelsea medic type scandal.
Oh, and we're TOP OF OUR GROUP
*it's a chant not a description. It isn't a very sophisticated chant but it's a brilliant start - certainly confused the Hungarian support staff.