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A European Summer: Lacrosse Style

Summer hit Europe in a big way last weekend, with temperatures soaring well into the 30 C’s (100-110’s). The stage was set for a great weekend in Germany, in the city of Essen, for the fifth edition of the Glück Auf Cup (loosely translated it means Lucky Cup or Happiness in a Cup). With fields right next to the famous Baldeney Lake, it was time for some fun in the sun.

The GAC is organized by the Ruhrpott Pirates and attracts teams from all over Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium for two days of quality lacrosse. This year, the GAC coincided with the FIL World Championships, but this did not mean less players or less teams. Twelve men’s teams as well as eight women’s teams made their way down to Essen, with a total of 44 games being played over two days.

The biggest difference between European summer ball and American summer ball, in Europe, 99% of players are college-age or older. You’ll see a few under-18s at the tournaments, but they’re there to learn from the older guys. For a lot of players, summer tournaments are a way to get out of the city and to get away from work and to do what they love. To put it in the words of one of my friends; “It’s great to see that there is such a love for lacrosse everywhere.”

As a pick-up player, you just go and play, it’s that simple. Of course, it’s better with friends. You might end up playing with guys you’ve met before, but you also make new friends. Depending on who you play with, pick-up teams can make waves, as happened this year as well. With guys from Bremen, Kiel, Hannover as well as from the new Brussels team, a third place was reached, winning the third place game over Turbolufthockey, a team made up of players from Aachen and a few pick-ups from Hamburg.

These tournament weekends are equal parts playing competitive lacrosse, as happened in our games against the Cologne Indians and TLH, and equal parts kicking back and relaxing while watching games, jumping in the lake, enjoying some barbecue and listening to tunes all day long. The GAC organizers even made sure there was a slip ‘n slide for the much needed cooling down.

Many thanks go out to the Ruhrpott Pirates for organizing another amazing tournament weekend and providing players with good barbecue and an amazing dinner (I’m sure the kitchen staff did not know what they got themselves into with hundreds of hungry lacrosse players) and generally making sure everything was on lock.

If you ever get the chance to hop over to Europe for the late spring and summer, there is plenty of lacrosse to be played, with tournaments in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. Explore new countries and meet new people while doing what you love.