Thursday, August 2, 2007
Belles Arrive Home!
The Saint Mary's College Soccer Team arrived home safely after an amazing 8 day excursion to the UK. The last 48 hours the Belles enjoyed an awesome view of the entire city of London from the famed London Eye. The 110 story "ferris wheel" allowed the entire team to ride together in a rather large glass capsule and get some amazing picutures of the city. The entire ride took apporximately 30 minutes and we were fortunate to enjoy it on a very clear day in London. Our Eye Ride was followed by some last minute sight-seeing to Westminster Abbey, lunch, and some power shopping on the Mall in small groups. After doing our best to spend all our UK currency before returning to the US, the entire team reconvened at the Tube at Knightsbridge in the middle of the afternoon for our quick trip back to the Regency. And then, it was off to our last match versus the London Ladies FC.
The match versus the London Ladies FC finally found the Belles playing some quality football from beginning to end. It was a back-and-forth affair with a 2-2 tie until about 15 minutes remaining. The Belles went on a scoring tear for three quick goals and in the end, came out on top with a final score of 5-3. It was a very satisfying way to wrap-up our trip. Immediately following the contest, the Belles enjoyed socializing with the London Ladies side and some even shared some of their hidden talents by participating in a little karaoke. Of course, we wished that some of their talents had remained hidden, but overall it was good fun for everyone.
Following the match, the Belles, returned to the Regency for one last night, and began the daunting task of packing more "stuff" then when they arrived. The team wake-up call came quite early at 5:45AM and then it was a quick breakfast and one last bus ride with our favorite tour guide Aidan Canavan to Heathrow Airport. After clearing security and the bag weight limit (except JH!) we all said our sad goodbyes to Aidan, and it was off the Duty Free Shop followed by a LOVELY (must be read with a British accent), eight and a half hour plane ride home. Touch down in Chicago was just before 2PM US time, 8PM UK time, where the Belles managed one more smile in a group photo before going their separate ways.
Overall, the trip was amazing and the coaching staff is already chatting about the next one and where we will go. On a personal note, Belles... you set a very high standard in terms of behavior and conduct on this trip. It wasn't possible at O'Hare to tell you how enjoyable you made this trip for me and I am sure rest of the coaching staff and parents feel similiarly! Thank you for you willingness to be flexible and open to every experience on this trip. Hopefully, the memories you take away will be lifelong. If I could summarize this trip in one word, it would be, BRILLIANT, and of course, it must be said with a British accent. Cheerios or is it cheerio, or maybe I'm just hungry for some US food, oh well...until next time!