Today was our first full day in San Jose. It started off with a breakfast at Denny’s (obviously), which turns out to be the most expensive restaurant in all of Costa Rica (huh?), then we packed our lacrosse bags and headed to the ‘pitch’. The location of the field is rather difficult to explain as the city of San Jose, and the country of Costa Rica for that matter, doesn’t use street names or numbered houses/buildings. (weird eh?) Instead they use descriptive addresses. (after the Shell gas station in the south of the city, go left for 10 blocks, go right after the church with the big front yard, and it’s on the right about 4 blocks down).
We showed up to a field of 15 men and 6 women, between the ages of 20 and 32. A few players have a little experience, but in general there is little more then a few months of practice.
After introductions, we run them through some drills for the rest of the morning. An authentic Costa Rican lunch is prepared by Walters (local organizer of the event) mother. A heartfelt speech was given by Aldo, thanking us for our support in their sporting endeavor.
When lunch was finished, that’s when the real fun started. With a coed team of players from both nations, team Rojas (red) took the field with the enthusiasm of recess in an elementary school.
For the next 2 hours, with the sun blazing and a temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius, a spirited match was played in front of 10 or so onlookers.
After the game, the locals were presented with Team Canada Lacrosse shirts and were given the opportunity to take pictures with their coaching staff. A generous supply of gear was donated to the squad, who can not purchase their own equipment within the country.
We set a time to join them for dinner later that evening, and headed back to the hotel.
The mood and expressed emotions on the ride home were that of pride, accomplishment, and a great sense of giving back to the game of lacrosse. To participate in the formation and building of a national lacrosse team is an incredible feeling. Something I will not forget. Friendships were forged that transcend language, race, and a continental divid… all through the power of sport.