Editor’s Note: Jordan West-Pratt will be providing updates on the German team and his take on the 2010 World Games from Manchester, England. This is his second installment and from what he has to say, it sounds like an unbelievable experience.
What a start to the tournament. Once we all arrived and got settled, we were right into our final steps training for the opening game against Spain on Friday. (The Germans are eager for redemption after Spain dismissed the National Soccer team in the other World Cup)
We had a team training session this morning and we took advantage of the opportunity by running our legs up to full speed and going through some staple drills to get our muscle memory sharpened up.
After showers we hit up a team lunch. Food so far has been phenomenal, lots of it, and lots of good quality and variety. Hats off to the organizers and the university for setting out such a great spread. I have to say, from the accommodation to the food, to the facilities and the staff, everything has been top notch. Special thanks to Barry and Sue, our German team chauffeurs. They platooned to and from the airport for a day and a half to get our whole team in here.
The atmosphere here is unbelievable. As it is my first world games, I can’t offer you any comparison, except through the eyes of my teammates. So far, all indications are that the players, fans and staff have a buzz going here that is above and beyond anything that has existed before.
Superstar sightings are the highlight for a lot of players, myself included. We were lucky enough to watch part of a Canada practice this morning, and it was humbling to watch Jr., Billings, and Greer hang out on the crease trying out trick shots while coaches worked the middies. Guys get excited every time they see Snider giving an interview, or Powell talking up some coaches. Coach Pressler has been in the mess hall with us a couple of times, and he certainly draws the eyes of the players.
As we walk from practice to lunch and back to the dorms, we run into old friends, and teammates. Many of the German team players have played in Australia, or on travel teams with members of the Finnish, Spanish, and Austrian teams. Two of the Netherlands coaches, Travis’ Gillespie and Taylor, were teammates of mine back in B.C. We won a National U-19 title together and now they will be coaching against me here in Manchester.
After an early dinner, we had an exhibition game against Australia. An 8pm start, on the turf in the main stadium under the lights, and following a short rain, with lightning threatening our play. What a dream… It has meant so much for us to play a few minutes of lacrosse at full speed against a Blue division team. It was great of the Aussies to come out and give us this opportunity.
Coach Kaley stressed for us that this was a scrimmage, an extension of our training and a chance for us to really improve. This is not a tournament game, and we should use it to make ourselves a better team before meeting Spain. The energy and excitement has been palpable all day. After the week in Grunberg, after the hours of training in the heat, the sprints… we were chomping at the bit. I have to say, I was hesitant, I didn’t know what to expect, I have suspected for a while that this German team is better than we thought, but to take on Australia.
The details of the game are unrecorded, that stats sheet unavailable, but the feeling in the huddle after we lost 4-2 is worth talking about. A team that has been excited to be here, happy to have a chance, pleased at the opportunity and experience, has a different demeanor after this scrimmage. It was just a scrimmage, and Coach reminded us afterwards, this was not the tournament. The game was called after three quarters, and then the Aus. were good enough to get in a little extra man work with us.
The two goals came from myself, and captain Hendrik Dubois who drove up the pipe from X, through a double and planted a sweet bounce shot high on the short side. The Man-up looked good, lots of space, but we forced our passes a little. Defensively, we have to be very happy. We applied a lot of pressure, and we worked hard on the loose balls. No sense in more analysis than that, though I have to say our goalies (who split time) were steady, confident and at home in the crease behind our D. My impression is that Kaley has built exactly the kind of team he wanted, a team that can win games between the lines.
Opening ceremonies tomorrow night, we’ll be training again in the morning, and then we’ll watch England play someone in the tournament opener. It looks like the Iroquois will not be here for the opener, though as I write this I am not sure if they will make it at all. I don’t have to tell you all what a loss it is for us to play this championship in their absence.
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