March 30, 2012
So, it's day six of our Costa Rican adventure and we are heading on a five hour bus journey from our amazing beach hotel in Flamingo, toward the rainforest, and the city of San Carlos. This gives me a perfect opportunity to catch up with you all on what has happened since I last wrote....
The morning after the Cartagines game began with a nice breakfast before we loaded up on the bus, making our way toward the coastal town of Flamingo. First up on our journey, however, was a visit to a local children's daycare in the city of San Jose.
The daycare was primarily for children aged 1-12, and all were children of single mums. Once we got inside the building and entered the play area, all the kids sprinted over and held on to players and coaches, and for the next hour it was absolutely wonderful to see how much fun everyone was having. Even though we were told how the kids would be thrilled to be around men, I don't think we could have ever predicted the incredible response we had.
After an amazing beginning to our day we arrived some five hours later at our hotel in Flamingo, which was going to serve as our base for the upcoming game verses Liberia. The Fox Soccer TV crew, whom we had picked up along the way, were there to film our next two days. As soon as we entered the lobby, tropical fruit drinks awaited the entire travel party, and a hotel view of an incredible pool leading up to the beach and the Pacific Ocean. Needless to say, the boys were in paradise.
The rest of the day was spent by the ocean where we managed to catch some awesome waves and see the sun set on the day. After a lovely dinner at the hotel, we closed the restaurant down with a two hour "stand up if you...." session, which ended up being a highly entertaining exercise, and also a great way for us all to get to know each other better.
Game day began with a nice breakfast, followed by a 'walk-through' on a patch of grass just in front of the beach. Most of this was filmed by the fox soccer crew, and will be aired on an upcoming documentary, so I won't spoil the rest if it for you, but, I will say it was fun to watch the players surrounded by cameras.
The trip to Liberia to play our second game was about 70 minutes, and much to my chagrin, the boys didn't really like the pregame music I provided from my iPod....I guess Tom Jones isn't en vogue any more.
After a really good warm up, the guys were on the front foot from the very beginning, and it was definitely fitting that a fantastic goal came before the half from Adam Jahn via some great work on the left from Eric Verso.
The second half was pretty similar to the first, in that the boys played some lovely, flowing soccer, and were rewarded with two great goals from the feet of Jimmy Callinan, and Drew Hutchens, who had moved out of goal to play minutes at right midfield.
Overall, a 3-0 performance against a second division professional team, was just rewards for a job well done. The drive back to the hotel was a high spirited one, with the boys happy to have played some attractive soccer, and delighted that Mike Graczyk's iPod had replaced mine on deck--I guess there's no accounting for taste!!!
Until next time.