Some Cornellians decide to venture out of Ithaca on a semester abroad. For athletes, dedication to their sport is a full-time commitment precluding an opportunity for them to take a semester overseas.
However, when the women’s lacrosse team heard that their coach Jenny Graap ’86 planned a trip overseas to compete in the Prague Cup, their faces beamed, thrilled at the prospect of leaving East Hill for greener pastures across the Atlantic.
The journey began at JFK airport on July 6, where the team boarded a plane bound for London’s Heathrow Airport. It arrived in London at 9 a.m. and drove to its residence in the College of London dorms, located in downtown London.
Most of the players went to sleep early that night, mentally preparing themselves for their eight games of international competition. The next morning, the laxers opened up their overseas experience with a match against the Welsh national team. Their international opponent proved to be no match for the 2000 ECAC champion, as the Red claimed its first abroad victory.
Besides getting a taste of international glory, the team had its first experience with cultural differences. After the game, the two teams tailgated with one another. Players from each squad were discussing the nightlife of London.
One of the Red players asked a Welsh laxer, “What kind of pants do you wear at the nightclubs?” The Welsh companion started laughing. Then a Cornell player thinking that their international comrade had not understood the inquiry, subsequently rephrased the question, “Do you guys wear black pants at the clubs.” Finally after controlling her laughter, the Welsh player explained that pants meant underwear in their nation.
In the Red’s second game, the laxers played England’s European Championship team. The players were some of England’s finest and best trained laxers and proved to be a difficult task to handle. Nevertheless, the Red continued its winning ways and defeated its opponent.
Though the victory was nice, the game’s playing field left a more indelible impression on the women laxers.
“Their were no lines, just acres of beautiful green grass,” senior captain Sarah McGoey said. “We were definitely in tune with nature.”
International rules differ from American collegiate regulations. For example, there is no official out of bounds in international play, which explains the acres of green grass in their match without any hint of white lines to explicitly define out of bounds.
The team took its two wins and many English experiences to Prague in the Czech Republic, to compete in an international mirage of lacrosse. After winning its first five games in the Prague Cup, the Red stepped into the spotlight to play in the championship game against the two-time defending champion, Czech team.
Despite the host team having history and the crowd on its side, the Red outplayed the Czechs to capture the highly coveted Cup.
Though the championship was a thrill for the laxers, the highlight of the Czech cup occurred when the Red played Japan in the first round. Though the Japanese team had only played lacrosse for a couple of years, the Red was impressed with its intensity and grittiness.
“It was so interesting playing Japan,” Anne Pfeffer said. “They have been playing lacrosse for only a couple of years, but they worked so hard to get to where they are now.”
After the match, the team’s exchanged shirts. The Japanese team was excited to receive a Cornell jersey with the little bear on it, while the Cornell players were thrilled to bring home a Japanese jersey printed with the phrase, “Kansai All-Stars.”
This international exchange exemplifies the glory of sports. Two teams from two different continents speaking two completely different languages, and yet bound by one similarity — their mutual love of lacrosse.
Archived article by Jason Skolnik