August 3rd 2015

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Arriving at Miami, all of the players at the airport were greeted by Tommy, who put a smile on our faces after our long, red-eye flights from all over the country. After all of us were dropped off at the airport hotel, we immediately pulled out our sticks and balls for wall ball across the hotel onto the fields. Through wall ball, we began talking and getting to know each other while working up a sweat in the Miami humidity and heat. After wall ball, some of us were approached by a group of Nicaraguan kids who were at the hotel for their international baseball tournament. We showed them our sticks and equipment, and how to throw the ball. One thing we noticed immediately about the kids who have never seen lacrosse was that their faces were lit with excitement and fascination as we showed them our game.

We then settled in to each of our rooms. (paired in fours and fives) And we talked to each other, watched tv, played some room hockey with our sticks and tennis balls, and played cards. After this, we walked over to our team meeting room to eat lunch and have our orientation. In the orientation, the coaches explained the significance of the code of conduct and our itinerary. We then grabbed our gear and again headed across our hotel to the small fields for a practice. For two hours, we hustled through warmups, line drills, perimeter passing, star passing, 1 v 1 around the field, 2 v 2 touch up drill around the field, and finished off practice with the west jenny drill. Most of our drills were competitive, so the losing team was forced to run sprints. At the end of our practice, all of us were winded and sweating in the Miami heat. #lebron We met up again at the team meeting room to eat pizza and get our hands on the sweet Encore Ecuador gear.

To end our day, we worked extremely hard to go to sleep for our 12:45am wake up call. However, in reality, most of us stayed up for most of the night in preparation to sleep for the flight to Colombia, then Ecuador. Our first day as a team was a success because we were able to form friendships quickly and spread our game to the group of kids.

-Grant Chin, Jesuit HS 2017

 

August 4th 2015

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12:45 A.M.  Wake-up calls rang out throughout the hotel.  Groans of despair tiredness rang throughout the hotel as people slowly shuffled around trying to repack their bags, in order to be at the shuttle by 1:00 A.M.  As the shuttle rolled down the road, everyone was struggling to keep their eyes open.  As the first shuttle arrived at the hotel, the players and coaches made their way to the American Airlines check-in area and got settled in.  It would take almost an hour for the American Airlines check-in area to open.  As everyone was settling in, the players at the airport spread out.  Some people slept, some played cards, and some just talked.  As everyone checked in, the airline employee was constantly harping on people that they could only bring one carry-on.  Everyone promised to consolidate everything into one bag, but no one actually did.  When everyone made it to board the airplane, none of the flight attendants commented on having two bags.  After everyone was on the plane, most people settled down to take a long nap, and many didn’t wake up until we were about to land.  After landing, we retrieved our luggage and passed through customs and security again.  While passing through customs, we were introduced to our 22nd player, who had just flown in from Mexico.  We were all excited because it meant we now had another translator, who could speak fluent Spanish and English.  When boarding the plane to Colombia started, everyone was waiting for Starbucks, which had just opened.  The flight to Colombia was very smooth, except for the landing.  As the plane approached the airport to land, the multitudinous canyons were creating hot pockets, which caused lots of turbulence.  Because the turbulence was so strong, the pilot had to circle around and make a second attempt at the landing.

As everyone got off the plane, everyone made there way to the baggage claim.  There, as everyone collected their gear, several players noticed their gear was missing.  After talking with the employee, the players were assured their gear would be sent to hotel after arriving on the next flight from Colombia to Ecuador.  After this debacle was cleared up, everyone met up to go through customs.  Even though the customs forms were passed out on the plane, several players had forgotten to or chose not to fill them out.  When realizing they were vital to make it into Ecuador, there were several frantically completed forms.  After getting through customs, the we made our way to the front of the airport, looking for out bus.  We found our bus pretty quickly, but after looking at the scenery, we decided to take a team picture with the mountains in the background.  On our way from the airport to our hostel, our tour guide Paul, described the surrounding area.  He told us about the various volcanoes we were passing, and why the inhabitants wanted to live towards the bottom of the mountain.  After arriving to our hostel, everyone helped unload the bus, and then waited for our room assignments.  The rooms held 2, 3, or 4 people in them, with each person getting their own beds.  After getting settled in, we were told we had about 45 minutes until we had to be in the lobby in order to go lunch.  During those 45 minutes, one of the biggest discoveries of the trip was unveiled.  We could buy 2-Liter bottles of water for $2.  This was incredible, especially for the California players, who could barely buy .5-Liter bottle for $2.  For lunch, we went to La Boca Del Lobo, and had an Ecuadorian dish that consisted of beef, onions, mushrooms, and french fries.  La Boca Del Lobo was a very nice restaurant, with couches and pillows so that everyone could lounge while eating their lunch.  After lunch, many people just talked, but several players pulled out a deck of cards and started playing card games.   After lunch, we all went back to the hostel and settled down for a little while, before heading Parque La Carolina.

At Parque La Carolina, the team practiced lacrosse.  We started with a lap that went from one cage, all the way to the ball that had been shot and missed, and back to the other goal.  After our warmup lap, we started dynamic warm-ups.  After dynamics came our line drills.  We formed four lines and started throwing to each other.  We started with right-handed on the outside, and then switched to right-sided on the inside.  After throwing with our right hand, we switched to our left hand.  After we did our line drills, we did partner passing while emphasizing on our throwing technique.  After our partner passing, the team split into positional drills.  The attack and midfield went to work with Greg Rose, the goalies went to work with John Rodriguez, and the defense went to work with John Christmas.  The defense worked on footwork, approaching the attackmen, and keeping our sticks up when switching directions.  The attack and middies worked on dodging from X, and their split dodges.  Along with this, they worked on rolling away and tucking their sticks, to keep their stick away from the defense.  After positional work, we broke into 2 versus 2 from top, both sides and behind the goal.  After long fought competitions of 2 versus 2, we broke into 3 versus 2 with a trailing defender.  The point of this drill is for the attack to pass and shoot before the third defender gets back and makes it an even battle.  After 3 versus 2, we switched gears and started playing West Genny.  West Genny is a game where three players come down the field and try to score.  Whoever touched the ball last goes off, and the other two players drop back and play man down defense.  After we finished, we were approached by several different people wondering what game we were playing, and how it is played.

Yesterday was a very successful day.  After sleeping on two flights from Miami to Ecuador, everyone was ready to go and play lacrosse.  We got to experience true Ecuadorian food, and learn about Ecuadorian culture.  While were playing at Parque La Carolina, we attracted lots of attention from everyone at the park.  There were all sorts of people who were watching us, at one point we even had two police officers mounted on horses watching us, and we were careful not to hit the horses.

-Michael Dean, Monte Vista 2017



August 5th 2015

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Knocks on the door for wakeup started at 8 A.M. to go to breakfast before we left on the bus for the (real) equator found using military grade G.P.S. in 2000. The bus ride, as always, was very sketchy consisting of tight turns and many close calls, but Messias kept us safe. Once we entered the equator museum, we learned about the forces of the hemispheres and how the shape and curve of the earth causes water and tornadoes to spin opposite directions depending on what side of the equator it is in. Then some of us were able to balance an egg on a nail on the equator; if we did so we received a certificate of proof. Soon after we threw the first lacrosse pass across the equator and had the first face-off on the equator (the north won). We also learned about the natives to the Amazon and about their houses and how they shrunk the heads of their elders and wore them as necklaces to keep the spirit of the deceased with them. They also used blow darts with poisoned tips to paralyze their prey or anything/anyone that intimidates them. After we got stamps on our passports that we visited 0º on the earth, we left for the other equator that the French calculated hundreds of years ago. There we took pictures of the gigantic statue right on the equator. There, one of our guys did a short stick trick video with the statue in the background as he walked on the equator. Later, we all bought gifts in the shops there and our tour guide took us to an amazing lunch consisting of empanadas, the famous Ecuadorian potato soup with avocado, and pork with plantains and corn. After we got back to the hostel, we went to practice at Carolina Park and practiced for a few hours where a few locals picked up their first lacrosse stick for the first time. By the end of practice, these guys were already throwing and catching with both hands! They were very grateful for the opportunity and went around and shook all of our hands. After practice, we went out to dinner and had some incredible Ecuadorian soda made from strawberries that was worth the wait, and we had more great empanadas. Our main surprise was Cuy, the Ecuadorian delicacy made of grilled Guinea Pig. It tasted fantastic, although many of us were hesitant to eat it because of its small, cuddly and harmless nature. For dinner we had more delicious pork, plantains and corn. Then we went off to bed at 9:00, for lights out at 9:30.

-Frank Campanale, The Shipley School 2017

 

August 6th, 2015

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We awoke at 7:45 A.M. to a classic breakfast of bread coffee and eggs. After we all finished breakfast we went and got on the bus and headed to the oldest part of Quito. While on the bus Paul our tour guide for the trip enlightened us on the history that surrounded this part of Quito. When we got to the right area we first made a stop at a huge Virgin Mary Statue that is the protector of the town of Quito. After walking around for a while and checking out the various little gift shops we gathered for a great picture with the Encore Lacrosse banner with the town of Quito in the background. The view was terrific but Paul then told us that this was only a small part of Quito. Paul went on to explain that Quito is thirty five miles long and is six to seven miles wide at the widest point. The reason that Quito is so narrow is because of the mountains that surround them. After a few more pictures we then all loaded onto the bus and headed down into the heart of the old part of Quito. We walked around the old part of town for a while where we visited a huge church that it totally covered in gold on the inside. We also got to try some of the local snacks, which were peanuts and corn nuts covered in molasses. We then were treated to a great lunch where we had chicken with maze. After lunch we decided to exit the restaurants and have a catch with the group and to our amazement we had the entire square plaza watching us. After about 5 minutes we had 10 kids coming up to asking to try. This was by far the best part of the day! Practice went smoothly and few local came over and we were able to show them a few of the basics of lacrosse. Also a random lady came to water and out of the blue she asked Santiago (a player from Mexico) to be the godfather of her child because she wanted an international godfather. So Santiago will be attending a baptism tomorrow. After a good session of practice we headed back to the hotel a little early to get a good rest and shower before dinner.

-Robbie Erickson, St. Ignatius, MT 2016

 

August 7th, 2015

 

After the long day yesterday, Coach Christmas rewarded us with a late wake-up of 8:30. We got ourselves ready for the day by washing our dirty laundry across the street at the Laundromat. After getting situated at the Laundromat, we got breakfast at the hostel consisting of bread, eggs, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.

After eating our breakfast we got our lacrosse bags packed and went outside to wait for Mecias. While waiting for our laundry we got harassed by sunglasses vendors and tried to bargain them to as low a price as much as possible. During this time, we also played catch in the streets and one of the street vendors joined in with us. He caught on to the game immediately and was able to catch and throw during the short time. As he was about to leave, he wanted to buy one of the sticks from us, so instead, I gave him the stick that I was going to donate to the Ecuadorian kids. He graciously took the gift and thanked us thoroughly. For lunch we went to a steakhouse where we enjoyed some great food. Somehow, the boys were able to convince the waiters at the restaurant that it was my birthday, so I got a dessert, a plastic hat, and some chocolate. After lunch, we went to the mall to get some tennis balls and some necessities at the pharmacy. After going to the mall, Paul was able to talk to one of the security guards for us, so that we would be able to see the field where the Ecuadorian National Soccer team plays. We walked on the field and raced around the track during the time. When leaving the soccer field, Mecias passed a roller hockey rink, and we thought that it would be a good idea to get some box practice in on the rink. While waiting to receive word if we would be allowed to play, we learned that the rink was where an Ecuadorian roller hockey team played. We thought that if we were playing before them, they might be interested in learning how to play lacrosse. Unfortunately, the kids using the rink before us took a while, and only left us with a thirty-minute time slot before they would resume practicing. We took the slot and played some 4v4 box/indoor lacrosse. When we were kicked off the rink, we were disappointed to notice that the hockey team had not shown up, but were still happy when some of the kids asked us if they could try playing with our sticks. However, Juan (the Ecuadorian Lacrosse Association founder) was able to get the contacts of the hockey team coaches and President of the hockey association and is planning starting youth, high-school and adult teams through them. After teaching the kids a little about the game and how to throw and catch, we boarded the bus and went back to the hostel to clean up a little before enjoying some Ecuadorian food for dinner. When we got back to the hostel, Tommy introduced us to an exercise called fear and hope. Everyone was given a small piece of paper and wrote something they hoped for on the trip and something they feared. Once everyone was done writing we put all the pieces of paper into a hat, passed it around and read out load what was on the paper. This was an amazing exercise and it really allowed everyone to have a voice without feeling uncomfortable. Lastly, we played the 5 minutes of fame game which consisted of the daily captains taking the head seat at the lobby/breakfast area table while everyone in the group was allowed to ask them any question (all question must follow the code of conduct). This was the second night we did this and its AWESOME. Cant wait for the next phase of the trip!!!

-JT Wechsler, San Ramon Valley, Ca, 2018

 

 

 

August 8th, 2015

As players and coaches awoke from their beds, a unique mood filled our hostel in Quito.  The mood was a combination of excitement and nervousness.  Although we had traveled thousands of miles to a developing country, we still remained in the safety and security of a big city.  In Quito, water was plentiful, medical attention was easily accessible, and lacrosse fields were easy to find.  We were now abut to travel to an area that lacked such necessities.

 

Everyone boarded the bus and we began our journey to Imbabura, in the heart of the Andes.  Our bus climbed up and down the peaks until we got on the Pan-American Highway, which took us all the way to Otavalo.  After a quick stop to view Volcano Cayambe aand Lake San Pablo, we were on our way to Otavalo’s world famous open market.  After and hour of walking through hundreds of tents, we met back up and compared our purchases.  Among the popular purchases were handmade ponchos, hats, jewelry, and other unique items.  We then headed to La Casa SOL, a colorful 3 story lodge and restaurant high up in the trees, where we ate lunch.

Our plan was to head to Peguche, a waterfall sacred to the indigenous Ecuadorians.  However, as we were on the road, a turf field caught our attention.  We decided to change our plans and take advantage of the first, and most likely the last, turf field we would come across while in Ecuador.  Although fatigue had sent into many of the players, we had a fantastic practice.  For three hours, we competed with each other and noticeably improved.  We got back on the bus and drove for an hour to Hacienda Guachala, a 400 year old Hacienda where we would be spending the night.  After a fire-side dinner, we all headed to bed and prepared for practice at 7 am the next morning.

-Garrett McCulough, St. Ignatios Prep 2016

 

August 9th, 2015

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Today’s adventure began with an early wakeup call at 6:30 AM. Some slept through their alarm clocks, but eventually we gathered everyone together and headed over to our practice field. Unfortunately, this field was crappy, literally; it w not the ideal place to play lacrosse due to the horse droppings. Luckily, we were able to find a clean and rustic area to practice in and got the morning started. It was a crisp morning, so we warmed up with a few laps and fireball. We then worked on our shooting mechanics….HANDS, FOOTWORK, FOLLOW THROUGH, similar to the popular dance move “The Whip.” We then had an intense shooting contests; some ripped top shed, some went low, but in the end Harrison prevailed. We finished the day with a 3 x 3 tournament; a game where we use trashcans for goals and focus on finesse and finishing ( #CoachGreg’sTeam). This got our blood flowing and ready to take on the day’s adventures.

 

After a delicious breakfast at the Hacienda, we headed to the Condor Conservancy Center. We got to see the birds of prey native to Ecuador and even got to see a Condor…the national bird of Ecuador . My favorite birds were the Bald Eagle and the Harpy Eagle, named Olafa. We then returned to the bus and headed to Cotacachi, a town famous for their numerous leather stores; if it’s leather, they’ve got it. I, personally, did not buy any leather, but made perhaps the greatest purchase of the trip… a crocodile skin named Croctavius. Although it may be dicey getting it through customs, I believe it was worth the $80. We had a fantastic lunch and got to eat ceviche for the first time. We then headed to the crater lake of the Imbabura volcano and got to explore it by boat. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and we had a great time in our crowded boat and the views were almost as phenomenal as Messias’ driving skills. We made our way back to the dock through the 10 foot wide canal to be treated by hot cinnamon tea. The hour drive back was filled with laughs, jokes, and smiles.

Tonight the coaches surprised us with another tasty treat. They are letting us sleep in until 6:50am so we are energized for our 8 hour bus drive tomorrow. Cant wait for tomorrow’s adventures! #prime

-Connor Malark, South Cakalaka 2017

 

August 10th, 2015

We awoke on a crisp Monday morning, eager to get the day started. We enjoyed a scrumptious yogurt parfait, and hopped on the bus to begin our long awaited journey to the amazon rainforest. We had a quick refuel stop at the gas station, we engaged in a gnarly hacky sack sesh led by GR (Zen-lax strings/Professional hackysacker). After a quick bus ride we arrived at the hot springs fueled by the lava of the Papallacta volcano. We had the pleasure of enjoying the numerous pools of flaming hot but also briskly cold water.
We then boarded Messias’s bus (“The Dream-Maker”) and moseyed on over to our lunch spot. We were served a soup appetizer followed by fish and an Ecuadorian attempt at pizza. The encore boys hopped back onto “The Dream-Maker” and continued to make our way down 13,000 feet to the amazon rainforest. We made a stop at a gorgeous viewing point along the way.
We finally arrived at our homestay deep in the heart of the amazon. We quickly hopped on the field, and introduced the game to the children. The kids were excited to learn about the game, and we were uber excited to teach them. We were then treated to a farm to table dinner, and continued nightly tradition of playing five minutes of fame. While trying to use the restroom we had an encounter with the largest insect known to mankind, it was literally sixteen inches. Although the insect population at the homestay was large, it was a nice change of pace, and an amazing experience to say the least.
 #prime #wet #mooseontheloose #snakebug #lacrossemissionaries
-Logan Geller, Columbia Prep 2017
 
 
 

August 11th, 2015 

The wake up call was raining pounding on the tin roof over our heads in a tiny village in the Amazon. Crazy to think that we were experiencing the rainforest first hand with the native people. The bugs. They were relentless, I felt like I couldn’t cover myself in enough bug repellent. The first night we even named one the Flying Snake because of its size. The villagers were extremely welcoming, and the children were eager and excited when we showed them lacrosse. Emerson was the name of the boy I was coaching and within minutes he could catch and pass with both hands. Pretty special to see that.

Because of the torrential rain when we woke up, the lacrosse session for that morning was cancelled. Instead, we ate breakfast and then got on the bus to go river rafting. We were split into groups of 7 and 8, and soon after we got on the water the rain stopped. Looking around felt like something out of Jurassic Park with the fog rolling over the tropical tress and the waterfalls coming off the cliffs. Surreal. The next couple of hours of fun on the water was only interrupted by a lunch break and an emergency repair on my raft, which broke. Rafts were flipped, people were thrown off boats, and bladders remained full because we were instructed not pee in the water due to a predatory urethra fish. Yikes. We finished a couple hours and even more miles down the river later, thanked our guides, and almost immediately grabbed our gear off the bus and suited up for a training session on an outdoor 60 by 60 yard basketball court area. Hundreds of these cement outdoor, clear span covered arenas exist in Ecuador, with mixed us purposes (basketball, soccer). Adjacent to the court was a beautiful mini turf fenced in field. Certainly no rest for the weary in Ecuador.

After practice we packed up and headed back to the village for the evening. Time was mostly irrelevant during the day; the sun, rain, and temperature were all we cared about. We spent a little more time bonding with the kids of the village before dinner. Dinner was a Talapia fish with rice, tomatoes, onions, rice, and a local ground root. On a whole the food from the entire trip has been absolutely delicious, but has also required brave tasting. Example A was last night when our guide Paul (pronounced Pa-OOOWL) brought out live caterpillar like looking worms for us to try. And after much contemplation, some of us did. Whoa. Eating a live, moving thing was certainly thrilling but it doesn’t have to be done to understand why we usually cook food first. Not sure I would do it again…

To round out the night the villagers showed us a local dance of theirs while we showed them the cliché American phenomena Whip and NaeNae dance in what was a cultural exchanged. Would certainly be interesting to see how they felt about our presentation. As well, each of us stood up and introduced ourselves to the villagers. Then before bed their staple cinnamon tea was brought out and we all had a toast to the special cultural clash.

For me, this leg of the trip was my favorite part because spending time and speaking with the kids and people was what truly drew me to Ecuador. Opportunities like this one don’t come up often; one of limited chances to understand the life of another part of the world, which gives ultimate perspective on our lives back home.

-Clayton Read, St. Ignatius CA 2016

 

 

August 12th, 2015

For the second day in a row, the heavy rain pounding against the tin roofs above our heads and the screeching sounds coming from roosters served as an alarm clock. We gathered at the place where we ate every meal, ate a quick, delicious breakfast that consisted of eggs, roots, and tomato juice, and then headed back to our respective homes to pack up our stuff. It was difficult saying goodbye to the families whose homes we slept in, due to the strong connection everyone created with them over the short time we spent in the village. As we loaded our bags and gear on the bus, the locals generously gave us necklaces and bracelets in order to make the experience even more memorable.

We then headed back to the town where we had practiced the day before after rafting, where there was a natural grass field we got the opportunity to practice on. We ran a lap around the field, did a dynamic warm up, and warmed up our sticks before we began competitive play. The bulk of the practice was made up of 1 on 1 ground ball drills, transition drills, and west genny to cap off our last practice in Ecuador.

 

Sweaty from a tiring, early practice, we got back on the bus and left the Amazon in order to see the famous waterfall located in Banos. We stopped at a restaurant nearby for lunch. As we stepped outside the restaurant, we were greeted by pouring rain. Luckily, there was a store that was on the way to the waterfall where most of us bought rain ponchos, which was a cheap, but very clutch purchase. The trail that led to the waterfall was about a half a mile long and very steep. The trek, however, was definitely worth it. The waterfall was spectacular. There was even a path enclosed by rocks that allowed for a close look at it. Although it was hard on the knees as the path forced you to crouch down almost the entire way in order not to slam your head on the rock ceiling, it dropped us off directly behind the waterfall. We then had the opportunity to cross the Devil’s Caldron, which is a bridge overlooking the waterfall.

After a long day of traveling, lacrosse, and site seeing, we were dropped off at the hostel in Banos where we would spend the night. We desperately waited outside the hostel for the coaches to check us in, since we had not showered in a few days. We showered, got some well-needed rest, and ate a tremendous meal in town where we were fortunate enough to be entertained by two local musicians.

-Luc Gervais, Saint Ignatius, Ca, 2016

 

This whole trip has been a life changing experience. Being able to explore a new country and being able to spread a game that I so dearly care for is just an “all in one package” deal. This all started in Miami where I got to meet people I will remember for the rest of my life. Kids from the USA and Mexico. Our base practice gave us all a feel of the competition that was to come. Eat, sleep, and were off to Colombia, where we will then took a short flight to Quito, where we then started the journey of a lifetime. From the second we all got off the plane, all eyes were on us. We made our way to the hostel where we got to meet one of the best drivers and tour guides I have had.

 

In just a few days, I had grown to love Ecuador’s history, culture, food, and people. Being able to see all over Quito really opened my eyes, I could see all of their hard work. On our way to the Hacienda Grande we stopped at this one turf field and practiced hard. In just 30 minutes, we got the attention of almost all the people that walked, drove, ran, biked by us and some even stopped to record us. After that one practice, walking to the bus could see the people looking at us in awe and I knew that we had done our jobs.

-Jake Eide, College Park 2018

 

 

The whole trip described in one word to me is unreal. Ecuador as is, is a location that isn’t a commonly talked about place. It is a whole different world compared to the United States. It has been an awesome and a completely eye opening experience exploring Ecuador and all its variety of different eco-systems. Not only just exploring, but being able to play lacrosse here is unreal and unheard of. Lacrosse is game that means a lot to everybody on this trip and being able to play in this amazingly diverse country is a dream come true. Also, not just playing but spreading the game, almost like lacrosse missionaries, is surreal. Each time we play a crowd of all ages, and all genders gathers to watch and film. People here are just completely wowed by the game and it feels great to be able to show them an amazing sport that they are untouched by.

 

It amazes me that in such a short time a group of guys who didn’t know or barley knew each other has come together like a family. The even better part of this is the fact that everyone came together over the common goal of growing the game they love. Through traveling to Ecuador guys from New York to California, even from Mexico, have been able to show a diverse land of an even more diverse culture a passion of ours and spread it to place that wouldn’t have thought in a million years they would be holding a lacrosse stick. This trip has been just unreal in every aspect.

-Elliott Goldberg, Cardinal Newman 2016           

 

 

This trip has been surreal. Every aspect of this has been so much more than expected. When we first flew into Quito, Ecuador it was like something you see in a movie. There were huge mountains surrounding the airport and it was a perfect 80 degrees. The people of Ecuador are so curious and outgoing. They always wanted to see the game of the lacrosse and to try it. That is one of the biggest payoffs for me, seeing all the people stop to watch and film the game we love to play. It has been amazing to see the little kid’s faces when you hand them a stick and they make their fist throw and catch.

 

As far as the training goes, it has been super intense. All the drills are very competitive and fast paced. Being a goalie, it helps having such a great coach in Coach Rodriguez . He is great at seeing flaws and correcting them right away. In just a week of playing here, I have become a much better player. He has helped me with, stance, form, stepping to the ball, and reading the shooter. I think this will really help my game in the future when the season comes around. I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else with any other group of guys. This trip is something I hope to never forget.

-BAILEY FERGUSON, KINGS WAY CHRISTIAN 2016

 

All my life I’ve wanted to travel the world and for this trip to be my first international experience, it’s truly been a blessing. Being able to travel this beautiful country while spreading the game of lacrosse has bee absolutely unreal. One of the aspects of this country that has touched me is the culture. The people here are passionate about their country, they’re a caring people, and a sharing people. Lacrosse to me is the definition of community, and here in Ecuador community is a big aspect of life for these people.

 

I got hurt early in this trip and spent two days in the hospital. And while it dampened my spirits a little, the people of this country, the mission of spreading the game, and the teammates that have become family, have kept me going on this trip. Every time we stop and play, crowds gather around to see this beautiful game. And seeing the smile on children’s faces when they get to pick up a stick and play catch with us is one of the most satisfying moments as an ambassador for this sport. Lacrosse has given so much to me and being able to show this sport to this great country ands its great people has been the ultimate highlight of this trip.

-Gideon Brockenbrough, Roman Catholic High School 2016

I’ve never visited South America and always wanted to. Having the option to do so was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

 

First practice at Quito was probably one of the hardest in my life. As soon as I took that first step on the field, I could feel the altitude hitting me. I got the honor to show the Ecuadorean kids how to play lacrosse, the reaction on their faces was just indescribable

 

The cultural part of the trip was something that I did not see coming I thought that it would be similar to the Mexican culture but its not, its so much more colorful and active people have been really nice to us all the art work and crafts are amazing.

 

I’m looking forward to Philippines 2016.

Santiago Diaz ,Emmanuel Munier ,Mexico D.F.