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A Weekend for the Books

Monday, November 18, 2013

 

 

 

 

Every so often at home, things line up just right, and I feel inspired enough to spend the vast majority of my weekend sweating (sounds pleasant doesn't it). Well, I am pleased to report that I had my first "Ironman" weekend here in Istanbul.

 

It started with a try out for the Turkish national lacrosse team. After a little bit of Googling, I discovered the Turkey Lacrosse Association, and emailed Patrick Dougherty, an American national who married a Turk and is living in Istanbul for business. In his "free time" he has launched the Turkish national team, and has set all sights on the World Lacrosse Championships in Denver this summer.

The team shot from the national team try out. Really one of the coolest experiences that I have had.

Although the style, pace, and quality of play are different from what I am used back with my CU club team, I made the adjustment and had a blast teaching and playing the game that I love so dearly with local Turks half way around the world.

 

Some of the players after practice

My new friends Tyler and Ezee. Tyler is actually an American who is teaching in Turkey, and Ezee lives in Zurich, but is from Istanbul originally.

 

Most of the Turkish players were fairly new to the sport, and it is still very much in it's nascency in Turkey. But Coach Dougherty is working hard to build the infrastructure necessary for the sport to succeed, and he has a good unit of players willing to learn from all over Turkey. I did a little bit of coaching and a little bit of playing, but mostly I really enjoyed hanging out with the team, who are a great group of guys that I look forward to meeting and playing with again. I am also anxious to host them when they come to Colorado over the summer.

 

The team has super cool equipment, including these custom helmets. Great design.

 

So I spent my Saturday on the Asian side of the city playing in two, two-hour long training sessions. I then commuted directly back to Osmanbey (on the European side) to play in my weekly soccer game with my Turkish friends. I was delighted that we added some new players this week including two Cameroonian players who were very skilled.

 

That night, I dragged my feet home and fell immediately to sleep.

 

The next morning, Conor and I woke early, and met our friend Sidar to run the Avrasya. The Avrasya is a marathon race held annually in Istanbul. The Avrasya is special because the city shuts down one of the two bridges linking the Asian side to the European side and the course actually takes you across the bridge from one continent to the other. While we only did the 10k race, we still got to run across the bridge, and there was a moment of serenity halfway across the bridge when I realized that I was in continental purgatory and that my legs alone were carrying from one continent to another (in case you have missed it, I really enjoy relying on my legs).

 

 

The sun rising over the bridge on our way to Asia. You will never ever see an Istanbul road this empty, except on race day.

The bridge from the starting line, looking back across at Europe.

Conor, Sidar, and I after the race with our medals.

The race was great and we finished in just over an hour, although we had to take a 15 minute or so break for an emergency restroom stop. From there, I went home, collected my lacrosse stuff, chugged some water, and caught the ferry back over to the Asian side for a final two hour lacrosse practice.

The underside of the bridge

Then there was this chick, who ran the race with a Peyton Manning shirt, but didn't know who he was, or even a word of English. However, I would like to take a moment and say congrats to the Broncos and Peyton who beat the previously undefeated Chiefs on Sunday. Go Donkeys!

 

Due to some commuting logistics, I actually ended up crossing back and forth between Europe and Asia 6 times on Sunday, which has got to be some sort of record.

 

 

Conor and Sidar running across the continents.

Near the finish in the old city. You can pick out Conor and his soccer jersey if you look closely.

In total I had 6 hours of lacrosse, 1 hour of soccer, and a 10k race in a 48 hour span. I even found a few minutes to study for my midterm Monday morning (although probably not quite enough). Textbook definition of a phenomenal weekend. And an even better one when I get to think about the fact that I spent it in Istanbul with good people.

The jerseys really did look good, even on an American boy.

 

All the best,

Griff

 

Griffin
Marketing • Boulder, CO

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