By Meredith Reape and Emily Sencindiver
Today was our final day of field hockey in Argentina. We started off with a clinic session with a coach who spoke only Spanish. It was an interesting experience being coached with a language barrier but she had a translator who helped us and often her demonstrations and gestures were explanation enough. During this session we learned some new skills as well as developed the new ones we had learned the previous days. We found the offensive drills very helpful and they can easily be used in a game.
We were on our own for lunch and were able to explore the city a little more. We found a bunch of new restaurants around our hotel and were able to relax a bit before our game. Today was the earliest game we had; it was 4:30.
So our last game in Argentina was the one where we could finally put all of the new skills that we have learned this week into play. It happened to be officiated by one of our coaches from this week, Maria. We were able to learn during these games as well because we saw firsthand the skills that the Argentine players have. We also continued with our newfound tradition of kissing the opponents on the cheek following the game rather than forming a line and slapping hands. It's more informal and different from American ways.
After the game we had a reception with the opposing players. When we walked into the room, the tables were set up with a teacup and saucer at every space. The snacks included tea, coffee, and various delicious cake-like desserts -- including the obligatory dulce de leche filling. While sitting and chatting with the players, we learned more about Argentine field hockey programs. Once you start playing, you have practice every Saturday from noon to at least six at night, in addition to the weekday practices. One of the girls was telling us that if you miss a Saturday practice, you are unable to play in the games for the next two Saturdays. We were surprised at how much of a commitment it was considering they only have off from these practices from mid-December to the end of January -- their summer -- and gained even greater respect for their commitment to the sport.
Tonight we are looking forward to an authentic Argentine night out. We are going to dinner at 11:00 p.m. -- which they call 23hrs -- at a famous club, Asia de Cuba, where we have our own VIP table for dinner and later dancing. This should be a very fun night!
We are loving our trip so far, and are excited for our next day's adventure at our service activity!