After the previous nights’ party Patrick had wisely scheduled Friday’s games to begin later, we had the first game beginning at 12:30pm. After a 5am bed time for the majority of both teams, this was still a struggle and gradually the teams assembled in the lobby. As we arrived, to our dismay we found half of the German team were mid-beer, we assumed trying to psyche us out before the game. Classic Germans.
As the group made its way to the bus it became apparent that there were not as many players on board as there should be. It turned out one of ours was still recovering and one was injured from the previous day’s games so we would have to play the game without subs, with a hanger, at 12:30, in 30 degree plus conditions. We had it in the bag.
Arriving at the ground it became apparent that neither team was feeling it’s best and we didn’t expect a champagne game of lacrosse. The game was started with a face off decided by a good old fashioned game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. The ball came up DreadLAX and we got underway.
The game wasn’t exactly champagne lacrosse but it was enjoyable and enough to play in and close throughout. With the temperature and lack of subs really taking it’s toll we had to sub the middies through the attack and defence, starting the second half with all three poles running middie (and getting possession from the face!). Both teams battled to the end however and the final score put DreadLAX out of the running for the championship with a 7-6 loss. More damning was the fact that the loser had a 9am game the next day to contend with!
After the game we slowly grabbed all our gear and as the advanced party left the field we unleashed the water balloon sling, taking out one of our dutiful supporters in the process. After mending our bridges we hit the car park to find that the German team was still waiting and there was no coach in sight. So out came the water balloons again.
While a group of our team mates and referees assembled near the bus stop we assembled the catapult and filled up some balloons, keen to get involved in the action some of the Just Lax It! guys and girls assume the position and fired a few at both our team and theirs. Then up stepped a particularly keen young man. He aimed for the group of our guys and released. The sound of the impact was loud even from our vantage point, and on closer inspection our new German friend had hit our German teammate Rossi, square in the head. The shot couldn’t have been better, and fearing another barrage Rossi donned his helmet for the remainder of the wait.
The bus ride back saw the rebirth of a great university bus song. The premise being to get as many people on the back seat of the bus as possible through the use of peer pressure and song. It would prove very popular over the rest of the tournament!
After we got back to the hotel we settled in at the pool bar to grab some food and slowly dived in to a round of 3 man. It wasn’t long until we were joined by Patrick and Zeynep, Patrick’s mother and a few of the ArchLevel team and we had a real game underway!
After a few beers, lots of chatting and a general good time we were also joined by some of the Galway team and we had to expand our tables once again.
The afternoon was fantastic, we all had enough to drink, plenty to eat and most had a few dips in the pool to cool down. Zeynep was so concerned about Patrick remaining cool that she tried to cool him off with a water balloon, which promptly bounced right off and soaked his mother. After some detective work and flat out silence from the table Mama Patrick took out her frustration on the culprit, a table of Just Lax It! players sat behind her, only to find out her wrath should instead have been directed much closer to home, to her daughter in law.
Paulien, one of our friends from Belgium who we’d all got to know really well was flying home that evening to participate in the Rhino Cup back in Brussels so we all said our goodbyes as she left, shame for her to have to leave before the end but we’d all had a great time together regardless.
The afternoon’s festivities continued until the pool bar ceased serving around five and we moved up to the lobby bar to carry on the game.
At this point it became apparent that someone would have to step up from DreadLAX and represent us in the All Star game that evening at Oba stadium. Some of us stepped up and grabbed our kit, with that we swiftly finished our drinks and everyone boarded the buses to Oba stadium for the game. On the way a new record was reached with 27 sitting on the back seat of the bus and a whole new group was introduced to the song.
It it has to be said that with most of the tournament attendees in the stands and the flood lights on full it was a fantastic place to play lacrosse. The game was played with a mix of players from NTNUI, DreadLAX and Just Lax It! playing in blue against a mix of the rest of the teams in white. Despite the hesitant start that may be expected after playing 3 man all afternoon the game got going and turned into a hard fought but fair contest. It was a great idea allowing us the opportunity to play with the other teams. The good guys (Blue) came out winners and everyone made their way back to the hotel for some roof time,
Hitting the roof bar we assembled our usual long line of tables and began drinking the standard whiskey and cokes, shots, beers and anything else presented to us from our German friends nearby! We had a chance to chat to the Galway and Moscow teams who we hadn’t spent so much time with which made a nice change. The evening was again excellent, with games going on until the roof bar shut and we once again took the party downstairs to the lobby bar. Despite the games starting the next day at nine the party kept going until five and everyone gradually made their way to bed for a bit of sleep before the last day of games.
DreadLAX got themselves down to the lobby to find most of the opposition already there and we settled down to wait for the bus.
On the bus ride there we came to a gentlemen’s agreement with Galway that we would ease in to the game, starting it at ‘a gentlemen’s pace’ to soften the blow of the early start. After a slow motion face off came up to Galway there was a very slow dodge from their excellent Swiss international, Superman (or Ian), who drove gently down the field being channelled equally slowly by AL Harris. As soon as he fed the ball though, their attack went back to full speed and the bad guys opened the scoring. We had a game on our hands.
We rallied and our experience came through with a final score of DreadLAX 3 – Galway 1. We had a gap until mid-afternoon for our last game as so we headed back to the hotel for some more pool time.
Once we had some lunch and some lazing around we had to head back out to Oba to play Moscow for our final game of the day and of the week. Following the game we planned to hang out there until the final had been played as we wanted to watch both the men’s and women’s final with ArchLevel competing once again against Just Lax It! for the women’s and NTNUI facing Northstar in the men’s.
We got the coach over to the game and came out on top once again against a side boosted in numbers by a few of the Galway team as some of the Russian’s had left early.
After the game we chilled out on the stands during the rest of the afternoon as the teams began to arrive for the two finals. We ordered ourselves some pizza with the help of Coco and as it arrived we fairly quickly become noticeably more popular.
After cheering on ArchlLevel who unfortunately came out second best against a very good Just Lax It! display we settled in to watch the men’s final. The NTNUI team was slightly depleted due to some mix ups on dates and timings and so our very own Mental Ben and Stu stepped up to help them out.
Northstar played some fantastic lacrosse and it was pleasure to watch from the stands with friends old and new as they came out on top in a fitting final for such a great week.
Throughout and after the final the trading began. DreadLAX shorts, as ever, were in much demand and most of the team cashed in with trades from various other teams. As often is the way with tournaments by the journey home the buses were filled with players in various mix matches of kit.
After showering and a few lobby beers we assembled at the front of the hotel to get the buses to the closing ceremony in town.
Being a public area in Turkey the closing ceremony was to be a dry event. We were under strict instructions to wait in the venue for everyone to arrive and not to leave so as not to delay the proceedings. But as everyone knows there is always time for one beer, so we sneakily filed out of the venue and walked down the strip to the bar we had seen on the way down, our stealthy exit was not quite as slick as way might have liked however and we had a train of Irish, German and American players follow us out and to the bar. We got a quick order in of a beer each and a bottle of wine to share and raced it down. As we returned to the ceremony we were just in time for it to begin, perfect.
Patrick and his team really pulled out the stops with the ceremony and everything went off fantastically with each team collecting their medals and trophy from a local dignitary, after the end of the proceedings there was even a successful proposal in front of the whole tournament, it was fantastic.
Once the raffle and some other formalities had been dispensed with it was back to Miami club and the roof bar for one more night of dancing, mingling and obviously fishbowls.
As with the previous nights out the final one turned out to be an epic. The drinks were flowing and many a table was danced on. The buses transferred the surviving party back to the hotel at three and once again it carried on into the not so early hours in the lobby bar.
The next day was our last and we decided to end the week as we started it, boozing in the sun playing 3 man.
As everyone gradually arose and assembled by the pool we built up our usual collection of tables as we were joined by various different people and decided to hit the beach for the final time to start the more serious drinking. Our precious wristbands ceased to deliver us free drink from mid-day so we chipped in our remaining lira and purchased the daily bands to get us lunch and some more drinks over the afternoon.
We drank at the beach until mid-afternoon and then returned to the pool bar to carry on and get a last dip in the pool before having to leave.
Despite Patrick’s best efforts with a bottle of vodka we all made our buses and hit the airport for the long journey home after a truly wonderful week of sun, drinks, friends and lacrosse.
See you there next year!