Europe | Germany | South | Heidelberg – My first lacrosse tournament
As I sit here now, exhausted, hungry, tired, and cooked like a crab from the sun, I have to really ask myself– were the last few days of abuse worth it? In the morning I will say yes, I am sure. But starting something new is never easy, and doing it away from home in a foreign language always adds some element of challenge.
Last thursday at training I pulled a muscle in my leg, and I was really upset about it. I had turned down an all-expense four-day trip to Berlin with a group of students I like to head to my first lacrosse tournament, unsure of myself, not knowing my team, and having no idea what I was getting into. And then, to get hurt and realize that I would not be going to Berlin or spending a weekend playing lacrosse, but most likely watching from the sideline did not settle well with me. So, I did some serious ice and drugs thursday night and friday morning, and headed, determined to meet the team.
The weekend was a mixture of social celebrations and competitive playing, but all the German way. No carbs for dinner and eight hours of sleep before the game days, not in Germany. Instead, the hosting lacrosse teams rents out a 5-story club and everybody stays there until 5 am, then is at the field at 8 am to play. And during the half-hour breaks people don’t grab their power-aid, instead they head to the food tent that only has sausages and beer (cheep, might I add). Really, don’t they know how beer does not help one master their stick skills? Oh well, I laughed and watched in amusement as I ate my apples and drank my water. And the Germans, in turn, ridiculed my prude American ways:)
After playing sports in the states, I am used to being chastised and also berated. But, it takes on a new meaning here. I swear that ‘constructive criticism’ was not translated properly between english and german, because not a sinle player knows what that means. But, however, they do know how to yell loudly wheneven I did something wrong, yet had no idea why I did it wrong or how to fix it. By the end of our first game this morning, I was finally fed up. My little flames were coming out my ears, and I won’t lie, I was being cranky. I told some players I didn’t want to play with a team that was acting the way they were. I think they had forgotten what it was like to be new, seeing that they have all been playing it for a long time. After that I felt like the following game was different. When I had an offense called on me, one player took the time to tell me what I had done, not just yell for getting a foul. It’s just the german way, that’s what I keep telling myself.
After our final game, I could just feel my body wanting to collapse and fall into my bed. Instead, we celebrated a bit more, watched the Championship game, and then started the road trip home. On the ride home my mind was filled with thoughts, I got lost in them. But I knew I had to decide whether lacrosse was something I was going to stick with or not. Even though the weekend had been abusive, I had survived it and was part of the team, so I voted to stay. Saying goodbye to the girls was a relief, I couldn’t wait for a nap, food, a shower, and some alone time.
And tomorrow we have training, no break whatsoever… So I will go back, with my head held high, and run those laps like they have never seen before, even though I know my body will be so sore I won’t even be able to move. Because that’s a team, and that’s the German way.