It's been a while since I've posted here, so apologies to my regulars who've missed my cutting humour, excellent journalism and all round great blog!
Since I last posted, things have been really busy. On the hockey front, I've played 2 matches and won 2, so cant complain. In our game on the 19th against the bottom of the league team, we won, but did it the hard way. We were 3-0 up at half time. But due to some "questionable" umpring, their 1st and 3rd goal shouldn't have been allowed. So 3-3 with about 10 minutes to go, but thankfully we pulled it out of the bag.
Our game this past weekend, we also won 3-1 which I was very happy about. We only had a bare 11 players for this game that was played in sub-zero (well close anyway) temperatures. It was a bit of a trek away to the game, but it had to be done. I was hoping that it would be postponed so we could re-schedule and play with a full strength team. But we didn't need it. One of our player's girlfriends came along to watch and was "encouraged" (read forced) to umpire for us. We all played excellently and won comfortably. We should have won by more, but a win is a win.
As most of you know I play volleyball (well not currently). I've played with UCC Volleyball Club
for a number of years and even though I'm in London, I still stay in touch with everyone. Since I joined the club in 2000 I have been to 5 intervarsities, which is the main tournament in Ireland for all the university volleyball clubs. They run from Thursday to Saturday in mid to end of November. They're always great fun.
A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from the club captain asking was I going to the intervarsities this year in Galway
. I told him I couldn't as I was playing a hockey match that weekend, and as I'm going to Chicago tomorrow for a week and missing 2 hockey matches, I couldn't afford to leave my team down. So with great pain I told him I couldn't go.
But it doesn't finish there. Because they're so much fun and I know so many people from the universities, who themselves are leaving university this year, I began to think about why I should go. It'd be a great night in Galway and I could say hello to everyone in UCC and the other universities. I'm good friends with the organiser in Galway so also wanted to see what he pulled off.
So Thursday morning I texted 2 friends in the club saying that if they could spot me a few pints and a bed, I'd fly in for the Saturday night. I could fly from London Luton
with Aer Arann
and out of Shannon Airport
to London Gatwick
. It'd cost a chunk of change, but not too much. They called me back and it didn't take much convincing of me to say I'd go. So I booked the flights and all was good.
However, the game I was playing was up by Stansted airport
which would have been really handy, but I had to go back to my apartment, get my gear, drop the goalkeepers gear back to the club and get a train to the airport. My flight was at 7.25pm and I needed to get a 6.03pm train fom Kings Cross. I got there at about 6.03pm, got my ticket, and ran to the train. Thankfully the train was a few minutes late so I ran on. It didn't end there though. When I got to the train station, I had to get a taxi to the terminal. But I didn't have any money. So I had to run into the terminal and get money and run back in. (I did the exact same thing in Miami when I was rushing for my flight to San Francisco which I also nearly missed)
When I got into the terminal, there was no one at the check in desk for the flight to Galway. Now I knew that they close the check-in 30 minutes before the departure, but it was only 6.52pm when I got there. So I found someone and they got someone to come down and check me in. I didn't relaxe until I was on the plane.
Things got better from there though. Once on the plane I relaxed (even if it was a propellor plane). We arrived into Galway 25 minutes ahead of time into probably the world's smallest airport with a shopping conveyor belt as the luggage carousel. I called people who were at the hotel for the big dinner as part of the intervarsities, and the thing was only starting.
So a quick beer in the car on the way to the hotel and things were very much looking up. I arrived with a few minutes to spare before the main course was served. I was greeted by loads of friendly faces and immediately someone was dispatched to the bar to get me a pint! Talk about service with a smile.
I also was in time for the awards cermony. I even got a thank you from John, the tournament organiser, (a good friend of mine) for travelling all the way over from London for tonight. It was really nice even if half the people there didn't know who I was. But the people I came to see did, which was fine.
Unforutnately neither of our teams won anything, although our ladies team lost the cup final to UCD
by 2 points in the tie-breaker. That made it 5 in a row for UCD ladies and the 3rd time of those 5 that were against us. As before, our ladies got a bigger cheer from the other universities than the winners. Guess people don't like to see that domination, but you have to appreciate a good team.
Also as part of the tournament, they announce the Most Valuable Players (MVP's). They give an award to best setter and best hitter for men and women. The UCD setter won the best setter (for the 3/4th time in the last 5 years), even though everyone on our team said that our setter deserved it. Tough to topple someone who's won it for the last few years.
But UCC had our time. Another Megan on our team won the best hitter award. When I heard it, I actually jumped out and left out a big "YESSSS!" Thankfully everyone else in the club joined it (0.5 seconds later) For 0.25 of those seconds, I thought I had made a fool out of myself by being the only one to shout out, but I was safe.
Afterwards we had a great night and left the hotel at 2am and went back to the hostel. I hadn't a bed, but just walked straight past the reception, no questions asked. I ended up going to bed for 6am and woke up at 10am. Nice!
So without wanting to write a book on the weekend, I'll fast forward to Sunday afternoon. My flight was from Shannon at 8.20pm and I got dropped by the team at 3pm on their way back to Cork. Usually the team would go to the beach for a bit of a drive, but everyone was so tired, they jsut wanted to go home. So I had to amuse myself for 5 hours before I left. Bought myself some duty free. It wasn't too bad actually.
I got home to my apartment at about 11.30pm and collapsed in bed. The end of an amazingly busy weekend, but it was totally worth it.
Now roll on Chicago! I'll do my best to keep you posted.