Aug. 3, 2011
Seniors Cathy Hebert and Gwen Branscome are defensemen for the UC lacrosse team and are spending part of their summer in London, England for the London Lax Challenge with Sherry Sports Tours International, an organization aimed at giving collegiate and post-collegiate athletes the opportunity to participate in tournaments and team camps all over the world. For the next week, Hebert will provide updates for GoBEARCATS.com as the duo competes internationally, experiences a new culture of lacrosse and roams the royal city.
We were able to sleep in a bit before heading to the fields at 9 a.m. We practiced for about two hours, mostly working on stick work and stick protection, but we did do a few drills as well as some conditioning. Afterward, anyone who wanted to could swap some of their school's gear for some Welsh gear. I traded one of my 513 lacrosse tank tops for an awesome Welsh lacrosse t-shirt, while Gwen traded a Cincinnati football tee for one of their World Cup tees.
After quick goodbyes, we hustled back to the hotel to get ready before our trip to the British Museum. We spent about two hours looking at things like the Rosetta stone, Greek statues, ancient money, and some of the world's first lacrosse sticks! After that we headed out to the Churchill war room museum. There we toured the bunkers used by Churchill and his wartime staff during the war. This museum was particularly cool because it was unlike any other museum any of us had ever been to and it allowed you to hear some of Churchill's wartime speeches.
Following our tour of this museum, the group headed to Brick Lane for some shopping and a late dinner, while another girl and I went to meet up with our families. I have an aunt, uncle and two cousins that live out in the English countryside in an area known as Surrey. My uncle works in the city so I met him at Waterloo station where we took the half hour train out to Dorking. We drove another 20 minutes to their house. I haven't seen them in more than three years, so we spent the whole night catching up before my aunt dropped me at a different train station in the morning.
We spent our last full day in London touring two palaces - Windsor and Hampton Court. Everything at Windsor was gorgeous and it was really cool to be in places where the Queen holds royal gatherings. Hampton Court was different because it hasn't been occupied in a really long time. The people that did live there did so in very different architectural time periods, so you have two very different styles throughout the castle. It was also unique because it has two huge gardens, a golf course as well as hunting grounds. We were able to tour the "apartments" that the various rulers and their spouses inhabited during their stay in this castle.
After the tour, we went back to the hotel to get ready and pack before dinner. For our farewell dinner we went to a traditional English pub in the Leicester Square/Piccadilly Circus area, which is an area similar to New York's Time Square. After dinner we all hung out for a while. Gwen and I had to leave at 5:30 a.m. for our 8:30 a.m. flight.
Overall, it has been an amazing opportunity for us to play lacrosse at an international level as well as experience everything London has to offer! We've had an unbelievable time and could not be more grateful that our parents and Sherry Sports Tours International gave us this experience. Hope to see you at some of our games this spring!