June 12, 2007
Silver Spring, Md. -
The Notre Dame women's lacrosse team concluded its 12-day trip to Ireland and England with the final four days spent between Oxford and London. Sophomore Mary Veith reports on her teammates and their European tour from June 6-10.
Our second day in England (June 6) was spent in Oxford which most of us found to be a charming college town, not too busy, yet not too quiet. After having the morning to roam around on our own, we met back up as a group and our tour guide, Tim, showed us around some of the main attractions while providing history about the town and the college. Many were delighted to see the elegant dining hall in the college after Tim informed us that it was the setting for where some of the scenes from "Harry Potter" were filmed. Another highlight of Oxford was the Christ Church Cathedral, a beautiful Anglican church that was built during the 12th century.
We spent the last three days of our trip, enjoying enchanting city of London. On our first day there we we were able to see the changing of the guard in front of Buckingham Palace. An elaborate process which takes place every day at noon as the changing of the guards consists of a procession of decorated horses and guards through the city and to the gates of the palace where orders are exchanged verbally between the commanders of the guards coming on and off duty.
After we saw the changing of the guard we had lunch in Covent Garden, as well as a little free time to walk around the local area. Following lunch, Tim gave the team a tour of The Tower of London and then showed us where to spend some time exploring on our own. That included viewing the Crown Jewels. Held in a museum of sorts, the Crown Jewels were displayed along with some explanation and history of the Kings and Queens who wore the crowns and held the scepter which now confirm to all who come to see them the reality of the their seemingly only fairy tale existence. That night we had dinner at a traditional Carvery and then were free to explore London on our own.
On our second day in London (Friday, June 8) the team went with our guide to the Wax Museum, where many pictures were taken with the lifelike statues of famous celebrities. From there we went to Westminster Abbey where the team was fascinated by this beautiful church of such both religious and political significance. That night we enjoyed one of the highlights of the trip when we went to see the play "Wicked" at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, just around the corner from our hotel. The play was spectacular and I think all were in agreement that the actress who played Elphaba, the wicked witch of the west, was the star of the show with her amazing vocal talent.
Saturday morning (June 9) we woke up for a pre-game meal in the restaurant at the hotel where Tracy Coyne immediately shifted us into a more serious game mode. The game against the English Under-19 team was a big event for us and for the sport as it was held as an exhibition game to try to promote lacrosse in the area. The English girls gave us a good game but the Irish, or USA as the scoreboard called us, took a 14-10 win in the game to give us a 2-0 record in the two games we played on the trip.
After the game we had tea and refreshments while we mingled with the English players, many of whom are interested in playing at colleges in the United States. On our final night in London we went out to a fabulous and very nice restaurant called The Bank, where we had our last dinner as a team and wished our seniors farewell. The next morning, Sunday, June 10, we woke up early to make the long trip home.
While I enjoyed our European Tour immensely, it is good to be home. What I learned on this trip is of different cultures and their pride, patriotism and loyalty, and that, however different, we are each proud of our own homeland and that is what makes each so special. That the Irish are proud to be Irish, the English proud to be English, and I and my teammates are proud to be American, hailing from the "land of the free and the home of the brave." May God bless America, but most importantly, may God bless us all!