Tuesday, December 4, 2007
It's December. It's snowing outside in NY. So it seems hard to believe that 24 hours ago, I was in 90 degree sunshine in Trinidad!
What an incredible weekend. Along with 4 of my NYRC teammates, I represented the Atlantis women's side at the Carib Beer International Rugby 7s Tournament. I was a bit nervous about playing with people I had just met, but hey--I did that at Saranac and look where it got me :) But everyone was really cool and we got along well right off the bat--we weren't at the hotel for more than 15 minutes before we were all in the pool playing an intense, full-contact game of water polo (and by full contact, I mean all-out, wrestle-the-ball-away, tickling allowed, dunking encouraged)! Hilarious.
Our hotel--the Royal Palm Suites--was surrounded by all the important amenities: a grocery store, a drug store (which had its grand opening while we were there--free gift bags for all, score!), an ATM, an adult-entertainment store (sadly, no free gift bags ;)) and not one, but TWO dance clubs. Our beds were literally vibrating from the bass every night. We also took over the pool and I think the couple that were looking for a romantic vacation there weren't too happy to see us around...25 rugby people with beer, songs, skits, and ceremonies apparently didn't fit into their plans!
Trinidad itself was gorgeous and we got to see a bit of it, between our walks to & from practice on Thursday & Friday and our drive out to Maracas Beach on Friday afternoon. At the beach we played in the big waves and had a blast playing touch football, and got to try a famous local dish, bake & shark. It's basically fried shark on a bun with whatever toppings you want--I went with tomatoes and cucumbers and it was amazing, the perfect beach food. It was such a good way to relax and enjoy ourselves and get loosened up after two hot days of practice, and get ready for the games!
Our jersey ceremony on Friday night was so cool. I've never been part of anything like it before. The coaches and captains said something about each player before announcing their position and handing out the jerseys--I was wearing #5 as flyhalf (although being Atlantis, we wore Roman numerals, so I was V). I'd played FH for half a game at NY 7s, and was really excited to play some more! Everyone kept talking about Emil and how badly we all wanted to play well because he built Atlantis and we had to represent it well, even though he wasn't there this year. I think it brought us all back to the reason we were really there and got us all focused for the games the next morning.
The games themselves were awesome. I think it took us some time to settle down and get used to each other, because we started out pretty flat and lost our first game. But once we got started...man, was it pretty. Lara was stiff-arming girls all over the field and choo-choo-ing her way into the try zone over and over. Mira, Rosie, Cupcake and Jess were burning everyone on the outside. XL (our scrummy) was dummying and juking all over the place, powering her way through the defensive lines. JD & Emily were poaching machines at every ruck & maul! Sarah (our captain) kept us all focused and encouraged, and set up some amazing plays. After that first game, we shut out every team we played--including the first team when we played them again in the final! It was a great game, with all of us coming through and playing to our strengths. JD had a beautiful try when the other team had the ball in their own try zone--we were in the middle of a maul where I held the girl up so she couldn't touch the ball down for a 22 drop out, and JD drove in, ripped it from her hands, and dived in to score right on the line. Gorgeous! I also had a blast playing sweeper and working on my defense and my tackling (which has never been one of my strongest points...). Right at the end a girl broke our line and I took her down and was so proud of myself. I knew we had collided, but I didn't realize how hard--it wasn't until 2 plays later, when the whistle had blown and I running towards my teammates to celebrate, that I realized blood was running down my face! So in half the post-game photos, I have a tampon up my nose :) But I didn't really care because WE WON!
WE WON. Hardware was our motto for the weekend, it was what we wanted and what we had come for. Atlantis has such a history everywhere and especially at this tournament, and we didn't want to let that history (or Emil) down. We had such a blast celebrating...first at the field, with pictures and pyramids and drinking out of the trophy (which was so heavy, someone had to help you raise it), and then with the rookie skit (which was hilarious, if I may say so myself!) and then at the tournament party. It was at this great outdoor bar with a crazy playlist and so many people...so much fun. We closed down the party and left the dance floor pretty much empty when our team went back to our hotel and a bunch of us spent most of the night chilling in the pool, looking at the stars and talking about random stuff...
So many stories, so much fun, and so many great people--I probably forgot tons of stuff and will add it on as more pictures are sent out! Also, so many new facebook friends (especially since we helped a few teammates join and set up profiles while we were down there)! I love rugby and tours and the amazing people you meet...It's such an amazing sport that way. Gotta love it!