USA Lacrosse Tour 2016

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USA Lacrosse Tour 2016



19/04/2016

 

The U19 lacrosse team have just returned from a very successful lacrosse tour to the USA. Over the course of 10 days, we visited 5 cities, played 5 matches, visited 3 schools (staying with host families) and visited many American sites of cultural and historical significance. We were able to sit in on American high school lessons and learn about the American education system and how it differs from the UK system, and we played lacrosse according to US rules, experiencing the formality of US high school matches and the interpretation of the US umpires!

We visited Washington first, seeing the sights of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, World War II memorial, the White House and finishing with a visit to the National Museum of American History. That afternoon, we met our first hosts, Holton Arms who treated us to a game of 360® Doctor Dodgeball and we taught them our favourite game of Kings and Queens. The next day we played our first set of matches against their Varsity and Junior Varsity teams – after a rocky start in the Varsity game, during which we conceded 8 goals with no reply, we picked ourselves up and fought back to close down the score line and were delighted to win the second half – the overall score line of 16-7 does not really reflect how close the game was. In the Junior Varsity game, we dominated from the start and although Holton started to come back at us in the second half, we won comfortably 12-5.That afternoon Holton took us to a fantastic high ropes course and the girls spent between 2-3 hours traversing their way around various ropes courses – an American style ‘cook out’ completed the day and having being given a tour of their school the next morning, we were on our way to Baltimore for some lacrosse shopping and then onto Philadelphia to play our second hosts, Methacton High School.

 

In this Junior Varsity match, we were clearly stronger and took charge of the game early on displaying excellent transition and stickwork, and we again won with a very comfortable margin – final score 15-7. The next day the girls sat in on a number of different lessons – Politics, History, Psychology – and we even took part in a raucous PE lesson which involved dragging each other on little wooden boards with wheels – scooters!! To further our cultural and historical knowledge of the US, we visited Philadelphia where we saw the Liberty Bell and had a tour around Independence Hall.

 

Grabbing a swift bite to eat, we set off for our third match against Germantown Friends, based in Philadelphia, and played our first and only match on grass. Germantown Friends pushed us mentally and physically but we were a match for them and, despite trailing for most of the game, we were able to draw level in the second half. The travelling and consecutive matches finally took their toll on us in the last part of the game and we were unable to stop Germantown Friends scoring 3 more goals to win the match 12-9. Despite this, the girls were immensely proud of the manner in which they played, especially their determination and the strength of their team spirit.

 

We were treated to more Methacton lessons the next morning before we set off for a shopping spree at the King of Prussia Mall (2nd largest in the US) and a long drive north to Long Island to our final hosts, Bay Shore High School. Bay Shore were very excited to host us and were very welcoming – the girls sat in lessons the next day and the whole staff were thrilled to have us, the Principal came out to greet us personally and even took our photos on the steps of the school.  Before our match, we took a trip to see the ocean and ate our lunch at a fabulous Mexican restaurant in nearby Babylon. The Mexican food was too difficult to resist and feeling uncomfortably full, the girls took to the field to play their last match against Bay Shore. We played 3 short 20 minute games and more than held our own in each – although we lost the matches, we improved with each game and this was reflected in the scores – 7-1, 4-2 and 5-3. Bay Shore were impressed with our stickwork, defence and overall game play and were amazed that we only trained 3 times a week, with 2 sessions lasting 30 minutes and one session lasting an hour. Bay Shore train 6 days a week, with each session lasting 2.5 hour and they play 2 matches a week! After the game, both teams indulged in a hilarious game of ‘international’ Ninja and had to be dragged away by families impatiently waiting to go home!

 

The next day we set off for the final stop of our tour, New York. We spent 2.5 hours in the Ground Zero museum which was moving and educational – Donald Trump was doing a promotional visit to the museum and some of the girls managed to get a photo of his ‘walkabout’!

 

After checking into our hotel, we set off for an evening at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, where we were treated to non-stop songs from our waiters and waitresses, followed by a fantastic performance of Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre. The sun shone for our final day and we were up bright and early to take in the sights from the Empire State Building and we then took the Staten Island Ferry to view the Statue of Liberty. We squeezed in some shopping in our remaining hours before we boarded our coach for the airport and our flight back to London.

 

We had fitted in so much into such a short space of time that it was hard to take it all in and savour everything we had seen – it had been an amazing experience in terms of the lacrosse, getting to know some of the American people, learning about their history, culture and school system, sampling and, in many cases, overeating the typical American diet and making so many new friends and memories. This is the kind of opportunity that only comes once in a lifetime and the girls will remember this experience for the rest of their lives.

 

Mrs A Earnshaw-Punnett, Head of Lacrosse

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