30 April 2008

More pics from Prague

by Chris
Ahh Prague...what a great trip.

Here is Mike aka Bingo at the opening ceremonies...drinking beer just before I pantsed him in front of several hundred people.

You can tell by the picture below that the Dublin Team means business ! Kinda..

Did I mention they had acts/groups performing in between games and at halftime ?

Its like every dance group in the Czech Republic was there !

Our Team captain and Trip Coordinator Sean Gibson (click his name to check out his blog) had a great tournament. Setting the tone early with two jumping-from-behind-the-cage goals in our first game.

He also took every face off for our team and on the All-Star team.... I don't want to inflate his ego too much so lets remember that he's still a cherry picker that doesnt get back on defense or listen to his coach unless the coach says "Ignore all your teammates Superstar, do whatever you want then take a shot"

Regardless of SuperStar Gibson's shortcomings, he is an All-Star...as the trophy they gave him says.

Ok the picture below shows what a team looks like

Notice the difference on the Dublin Bench ? 2 SUBS !

This is what an English Team looks like...weird huh ?

The other Offensive weapon Dublin brought to the tournament was Matt Walsh...or as the announcer pronounced it mattValsh

Bingo and Chris...reunited and it feeeeelllsss so gooodd (sing the song in your head)

28 April 2008


by Chris

Holy Moly, what a great trip ! The other members of the Dublin Riggers Box Lacrosse team and I went to Prague to play in a tournament, but I had no idea how cool it was going to be.

We flew into Prague and were met at the airport by a driver to take us to a small suburb of Prague called Radotin (Rad-o-teen)

It has a very small town feel. Not many shops and certainly no western style amenities. There are still many reminders of the Czech Republics cold war era past as Czechoslovakia, like this building below.

Which turned out to be our hotel !

It actually turned out to be a very convenient, clean suitable accomodation for a bunch of lacrosse players, even if the elevators seemed unsafe.

From our hotel room you could see the train station below and the hillside dotted with houses...wait a second, whats that in the center left of the picture below ?

Holy, its a brand new lacrosse field and a club house with a restaraunt & bar !

Thats right folks, somehow the North American Indian game of lacrosse got a loyal following in Eastern Europe and they take it very seriously.

The box lacrosse Aleš Hřebeský Memorial is held by Lacrosse Club Custodes Sokol Radotín to honor its former player who tragically died in the autumn of 1993 (click on either of these logos to go to their website)

Aleš Hřebeský was born on July 1st, 1972 and was among the most gifted LCC players. Moreover, he was a keen ice-hockey player, gymnast, and cycle-ball player. On November 30th, 1993 he died of the injuries caused by a drunk driver who hit Aleš while he waited at a bus stop.

This is the third year the Dublin guys have gone to the tournament, but my first. Unfortunately, I hurt my back/ribs at another tournament earlier this month so I decided to coach instead of play.

Their were 16 teams in the tournament this year. 8 teams from the Czech Republic and 8 teams from abroad, including Canada, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, England, 2 from the US and us from Ireland...the Dublin Riggers ! This tournament is really run well. After the first round of games during the day Thursday, there was an opening ceremony that night...pictured below.

Thats us in the middle wearing black & blue with only a 7 man roster.

The atmosphere at their little stadium is awesome. They have a lot of fans who come out to support their local teams and they really get into it.

The weather was great, except the one day it rained. There is only one field, so the games started at 8am every day and lasted until 8pm. Plenty of lacrosse to watch in between trips to the beer shack, the bbq stand for kielbasa or going into the restaurant for proper meals.

They even have acts that perform in between games and at halftime.

The last night of the tournament there was a game between the Czech Under 21 National team and an all-star team of the visiting teams from abroad.

Each player got introduced and ran out onto the field...hey wait, who is that coach of the all-star team running onto the field
Why its Dublin Lacrosse's own Chris Arnold !

At halftime of this game they had Czechs doing Native Indian dances...they are crazy with lacrosse fever !

After the game they had some people twirling fire and swallowing burning sticks, it was crazy.

They even had a huge fireworks display afterwards. They really know how to put on a tournament.

Another highlight of the trip was meeting professional hockey player David Koci, who until recently played for the Chicago Blackhawks. He was just traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

We know all of this, because Bingo met him on the plane to Prague ! Koci gave Bingo his phone number and insisted they get together, which one night we did over drinks (and drinks and drinks)

Here's a highlight reel of Mr. Koci's specialty...being a kick ass hockey goon.

Ok, this is going to take a while

Prague post is going to take a while.

Here are a few things to keep you busy.


22 April 2008

"Deep Thoughts" [by Jack Handey]

It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. "Oh, no," I said. "Disneyland burned down." He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.

Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis.

Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: "Mankind". Basically, it's made up of two separate words - "mank" and "ind". What do these words mean ? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind.

The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

If you define cowardice as running away at the first sign of danger, screaming and tripping and begging for mercy, then yes, Mr. Brave man, I guess I'm a coward.

I bet one legend that keeps recurring throughout history, in every culture, is the story of Popeye.

When you go in for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever press charges.

To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.

We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can't scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me.

Probably the earliest flyswatters were nothing more than some sort of striking surface attached to the end of a long stick.

If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

Better not take a dog on the space shuttle, because if he sticks his head out when you're coming home his face might burn up.

The memories of my family outings are still a source of strength to me. I remember we'd all pile into the car - I forget what kind it was - and drive and drive. I'm not sure where we'd go, but I think there were some trees there. The smell of something was strong in the air as we played whatever sport we played. I remember a bigger, older guy we called "Dad." We'd eat some stuff, or not, and then I think we went home. I guess some things never leave you.

Check out more at www.OliverBenjamin.net

20 April 2008

Another great season!

by Chris

This weekend two seasons came to an end.

My first season as coach of the University College Dublin Lacrosse team.

and another great year for my old team, the Tampa Jesuit Tigers who made it all the way to the West Florida championships again, but lost to defending State Champions, H.B Plant High School from South Tampa.

It's not so sad, good friends of ours coach the Plant team so we wish them the best of luck at the State Championships next weekend, Go Panthers !

Next up for me ? Coaching Team Ireland through the summer as we prepare for the European Championships in Finland in August.

13 April 2008

Vroom Vroom Vroom

by Chris

Ah my first car, a 1989 Nissan Pulsar. I bought it brand new from a dealership at the Army base in Furth, Germany (then still West Germany) and drove it all over Europe hampered only by the amount of time off I had, the money I had for gas and the Iron Curtain. I blew out its tinny little speakers playing cassette tapes of all the embarrassingly horrible bands of the day and took the t-tops off any chance I had, even in winter. I loved that car.

When I left Germany to go back stateside, I had the car shipped from the port of Bremerhaven to Newark. I promptly picked it up and stopped making car payments (didn't bother to insure or register it either). For 13 glorious months I beat the system and logged oodles of miles criss-crossing Long Island. I even drove my free car to Florida twice including when Kelly & I moved to there. It was a great time, until we woke up after our first night to find the car had been repossessed now that I was back on the radar with a new apartment. To make it up to my distraught girlfriend, we took the bus to the animal shelter and got a kitten. We named him, The RepoMan...I miss Repo too, but thats a different blog post.

The same time I was tooling around Europe in my Pulsar, Kelly was barreling around Long Island in her 1981 Datsun 210. This picture isn't Kelly's actual car, but it might as well be...Kelly rolled her Datsun over making a turn on Hempstead Turnpike.

Luckily for all of us, Daredevil Stunt Driver Kelly made it through unharmed and her parents let her use their safe, slow, economical 1984-ish Dodge Omni....which she promptly totaled.

In her defense, it wasn't her fault, she was rear-ended. (and once again luckily uninjured)

Next up for Crash Haltigan was her 1982 Buick Regal. The car she had when I met her. It had a huge back seat...
Anyway it was a nice car...until it was completely demolished in yet another no-fault accident where Kelly was rear ended on Merrick Rd. Luckily once again, Kelly was unharmed.

Goodbye Buick Regal, say hello to the Datsun and the Omni in the ever growing junkyard of Kelly's cars.

After they swept what remained of Kelly's Regal into a small box, Kelly got yet another Buick Regal from a friend of a family friend. Fortunately this Regal's tenure was unmarked by traffic incidents and was to be sold before we moved to Florida. That is until we found out, at the time of inspection, that it was horribly unsafe, in fact the body of the car wasn't even attached to the chassis due to rust corrosion.

After the Repo incident, Kelly and I needed some wheels. I said I would go finance a new car.

When we stopped laughing, we went to the Honda dealership so Kelly could get us a car.

Kelly's first new car was, much to her father's chagrin, a Japanese car... a 1992 Honda Civic.

The Honda was everything you want when you buy a Honda. Dependable, trustworthy and it held its value. We drove that thing all over Creation.

After a year of bumming rides with friends, having my girlfriend drop me off at work, and saving money... I was finally able to get a car too.

$300 will get you a beautiful 1971 Ford Maverick with bald tires, questionable brakes and an original stereo! ( I dont actually have a picture of that hunk of junk but I found this one online..although mine was white)

The Maverick was great. It had an inline-6 engine and lots of get up and go...the problem was stopping. One time while coming up to a traffic light in the rain, I did my customary pumping of the brakes while praying, but instead of stopping, I was sent into an uncontrolled spin in the middle of 3 lanes of traffic. I ended up in the middle lane still, but sitting at the light backwards in between two cars. This story is true.

The Maverick didn't last long, in fact I don't even remember what happened to it. No matter, I had another excellent opportunity: a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle with 40 gajillion miles on it and no floor boards in the front passenger area!

(this is not my bug, mine was white but was in WAY worse shape)By this time, my new business had just started and we finally had a nice steady income. So I did what any 25 yr old who is flush with money would do. I bought a new 1996 Mustang!

Ahh the 8 cylinder, 5-speed, black toboggan. How I loved to race you around the streets of Clearwater & Tampa, weaving in and out of traffic like a complete asshole. What fun it was to paralyze my passengers in fear while demonstrating my prowess behind the wheel.

(Once again the picture above is not my mustang. Mine was way beefier)

Alas, it was a short relationship. After 18 months, 4 major traffic citations, the subsequent insurance cost explosion and a weekend stint at traffic school, I traded my mustang in for something more sensible.

A 1998 Ford Explorer, which although I have pictures of, they are old fashioned printed pictures not new fangled digital ones. The one below is close enough.

Perfect timing for the Explorer, we had just bought our new house. It was a great truck, comfortable and powerful. We were like real people, we had a house and an SUV.

Shortly after I got my 4th car, and 2nd new one in 5 years, we decided Kelly should have something new too. After much deliberation and one impressive test drive, Kelly got a new 1999 Volkswagen Jetta. Typical of Kelly it was a smart buy. A very dependable, economical car with lost of bells and whistles. I talked her into upgrading to the 6 cylinder engine and she loved it.

Next up for me was a 2001 Jeep Wrangler seen below after one of our many trips to Withlacoochie State Forest. The Jeep is quite possibly the best automobile ever invented. Not the fastest, but who needs fast when you are that freakin' cool ? The weather in Tampa is perfect for a jeep and we rode around with the top down for weeks and weeks on end in the winter. We only put the top up to protect us from rain, long drives and mud. Wooohooo Jeep !

By 2005 I had completely erased any bad memories of owning a sports car, and traded my Jeep in for the sexy beast that was my 2005 Nissan 350Z... good God that car was awesome. Bose sound system, power, speed, incredibly tight steering. It was short lived fantasy though, the speeding tickets piled up and the demands of lacrosse season slapped me in the face with reality again. It was fun, but I needed a truck.

Sensing that I was going to buy yet another car, Kelly stepped in still full of grief and despair over the loss of my jeep. We fixed that by getting Kelly the most kick ass Jeep ever!

A 2006 Jeep Rubicon. You could drive this thing up a tree if you wanted to. Once again we were complete. Me, Kelly & a Jeep.

Finally after 15 years, I picked a good sensible vehicle. A 6 cylinder Toyota 4Runner. Good for long trips and hauling lots of stuff, yet still cool with a kick ass sound system. We've taken it on many long trips including our going away tour of the Eastern Seaboard.

The 4Runner is still in NY , as we have used it on all of our trips back stateside over the last year. After my next trip in May, I'll sell it and for the first time in 20 years, I won't own a vehicle. Weird.

Currently, Kelly and I use the followinhg transportation. as you can see I'm still driving.

Although here in Ireland they drive on the wrong side of the road, and the steering wheel is on the right...