Day 3 Continued-
We ended up conducting an impromptu youth lacrosse clinic due to the tardiness of the Israeli National Teams. It was amazing to watch kids who had never been exposed to lacrosse in their life pick the game up so naturally. It was a surreal moment. We proceeded to start our game after watching our women whip the Israelis. The field was scruffy, and our team equally so, we took the loss but managed to make it a one-goal game after a bad half. Not bad for players that have never practiced together. Afterwards we returned for our final night at the Kibbutz where we once again enjoyed the pub, this team with many of the players staying the night.
In the morning we wake up early to head to the town of Ramlah. It is in the center of the country and extraordinarily hot. Our game at 10:30 in the morning, on an artificial turf field gave us the thrilling opportunity to play in 100+ degree weather. I’m running long stick midfield (LSM) exclusively, which is exhausting, yet I seem to be one of the few guys in fairly good shape. The game was perhaps one of the most physically challenging things I think I’ve ever done, but we prevailed in a thrilling 12-11 victory in overtime much to the thrill of three Ramlah locals. Guys on our team were super dehydrated and dropping like flies, so after a short welcoming ceremony for Jerusalem we had some free time before dinner to rest. For dinner we had a very nice Shabbat activity and the hotel buffet was pretty solid. Just your usually meats in sauces, boiled assorted starches and of course fresh salad and hummus. Later in the evening, after some rambling, we found a lively bar district. It was an excellent night that included sampling another local beer called Tuborg and an anise liqueur called Arak. The Tuborg is lighter than Goldstar and very refreshing while the Arak was basically the essence of licorice, I liked it a lot but it wasn’t for everyone. Our first night in Jerusalem was a success.
Yom Shabbat lived up to its name as we were permitted to sleep in until 11:15 Saturday morning. The group gathered once again and we walked over to a different hotel to attend a seminar-like lecture on the state of affairs in Israel. Simon, a British ex-pat and to my delight a Tottenham Hotspurs supporter, did a wonderful job explaining the history of Israel and the current situation domestically and with its neighbors. Then, we had a long walk to Old Jerusalem to perform our Havdallah, end of Sabbath, ceremony. It was very nice and at long last we finally went to the Western Wall. Seeing, touching, smelling and hearing this hallowed ground at night was simply stunning. I was crying with joy and I’m certain I wasn’t alone. A delicious and cheap shawarma cheered me up even though Alon and I agreed it was a little on the dry side. We had a sober night to prepare for Yad Vashem tomorrow but ended up having a rowdy sing-a-long that attracted another neighboring Taglit group and eventually hotel security.