Editor’s Note: LAS welcomes back Mark Fortunato of Team Italy. The FIL World Championships may be over but a lot of stories are just beginning. The events of the last 2 weeks will have a lasting effect on everyone involved and shape the future of our sport one way or another. Let’s see how the Italians ended up, hmm?
– 11 days
– 8, 80 minute running time games with zero days off
– Being a part of the first International win for the Italian National Team
– 23 hours of travel
– Lost baggage
– Trip to Scotland
– “Great” weather combined with “great” food
– Dealing with some unheard of calls by our fellow Officials
– Interacting on and off the field with some of the most amazing people from all over the World
– Helping represent our country of descent— Italia
After a truly memorable experience in Manchester, we have finally made our return to the “States”. I could literally write a novel on our 11 day adventure however that’s just not in the cards tonight—-jet-lag is kicking in. That being said, La Nazionale Italiana Di Lacrosse completed the tournament with a record that surpassed all of our expectations, 5-3. We ended up beating Latvia on Friday to become named 17th in the World which we were all very pleased with.
To be honest, we went into the game a bit nervous due to Latvia being rumored as one of the more physical teams–pretty much the type of defense that all attackmen and middies hate, all body and no finesse. It’s a bit intimidating when all the Physios cringe when you tell them your playing Latvia—you man up until you walk out onto the field and see a group of 6’+ Eastern Europeans stretching to Slipknot—in short we ended up crushing them and proving that intimidation can only get you so far. (editor’s note: it didn’t hurt that Rob Fortunato had 16 saves and Mark dropped 4 goals in the win)
After learning that we were named 17th in the World, us Americans hopped on the next train to Scotland—we were determined to see something else besides Manchester and lacrosse. We arrived around 10 PM in Edinburgh thinking that it would be easy to find a hostel for the night—we were immediately proved wrong when we were laughed at by the Front Desk of several Hostels—reason being was due to the “Tattoo Festival” taking place in Scotland. No, it has nothing to do with passing the same needle around to get some new ink–it took us till the next day to realize this.
We ended up finding a hostel by midnight— now everyone that knows us are probably laughing right now when picturing Rob, Tim and I walking into a dark room with 20 bunk-beds filled with random backpackers from all over the place—without going into detail, it was quite the first hostel experience to say the least—once we got changed we headed out to explore the night life (yes we left our passports in the room unattended—not the smartest idea but nothing was taken so we lucked out) After having the famous Scotland Haggis.
We went to this club called Espionage—it seemed like an awesome place until we realized that there were a lot of dudes and they were dancing way too close—enough said…the following day we toured around Edinburgh seeing everything from the Castle to the cafe where Harry Potter was written.
Upon our return to good ol’ Manchester, our Coach, Pete deLisser, took the team out for a great dinner—obviously, an Italian Restaurant. We had an awesome time reminiscing with the team over some pasta and red wine followed by some Grappa to cap off a great night.
This morning, Tim Fuchs, my brother Rob and I flew home to JFK with the US Team which was really awesome—-laxers were definitely dominating the flight to say the least—the Captain even got on the loud speaker to congratulate the US players on the Gold Metal!!
As you can see, the FIL 2010 World Lacrosse Championships was an amazing experience for both us Italian Americans as well as the Native Italians—we ended up walking away from the Worlds with some great memories along with some great friends. More importantly, it was surreal to see how far the sport of lacrosse has come—to sit in the stands and watch the Japanese, as well as other more off the radar countries, give the best in the World a run for their money was astounding.
We look forward to The 2012 European Games in Amsterdam as well as the 2014 World Games in Denver.
If you plan on playing in a tourney & want to contribute to LAS like Mark did, drop us a line at [email protected].