Our third and final game day was an entire day filled with lacrosse activities. After another on-point Israeli breakfast, we had a small drive to Ashkelon. We split into three groups, each visiting a separate school to demonstrate lacrosse during recess and gym class. I went with three other guys to an all-boys school that had particularly at-risk kids. We taught them how to catch and shoot, and went around class-to-class telling everyone about the big event that night. This was by far the coolest part of the trip as the kids loved us, asking to see our muscles and sign autographs. It was another in a series of surreal moments involving spreading the sport across Israel. After the school visit, we went to another little mall area for lunch. I had one of the better shawarmas of the trip and was able to practice my Hebrew too as I took on the role of translator for the other 10 or so people also vying for shawarma and falafel. We arrived at the stadium, which was very nice yet still lacked lacrosse lines. The schedule for the night started with our girls playing, then youth girls at their halftime. Next would be a matchup between Ashkelon and Tel Aviv boys’ teams. It was fun to watch everyone and at 7:30 the lights came on and we were ready for our rubber match against the Israeli team. We ended up winning another one-goal game and went to The Jack, a regular bar for the lacrosse team in Ashkelon.
We woke up to conclude our trip in a very similar fashion as the previous nine days. However this day had a rather special start. We took a visit to Save A Child’s Heart in Tel Aviv and played with kids that are flown in from 3rd World countries to have life saving operations. Most of the kids in this house were from Africa and they were absolutely adorable. Sadly, we did not have much time to play as we needed to tour Tel Aviv with Elad noting the first building ever in Tel Aviv and a beautiful mosaic depicting the history of the “White City”. We were given a ludicrous 3 hours for lunch and shopping around the Shuk at Megen David Square. I decided to hang with our medic Omer and our coach David. We went to Pasta Basta, a nice place with an awesome build-your-own pasta concept. I chose fettucini with a beet-cream sauce as my base and added goat cheese and mushrooms. It was very reasonable and extremely fresh, fast and delicious. I waltzed down the open-air market a bit, but for the most part sat at a café in the shade with Omer, drinking Coke to stay cool and people watch. Our last program was Independence Hall where we learned more about the historic formation of the State of Israel and had our own time for reflection as a birthright group. This trip was amazing and it was very nice to hear everyone’s personal thoughts on it. We finished up with pizza at the Lacrosse Embassy where I’ll be staying for the next month. It has a rooftop overlooking the beach, which is about two minutes away and we met the interns that we’ll be working with. I’m looking forward to working here, but I’ll also miss all the guys not interning. This was a remarkable experience and I’m happy to share to those readers via this blog. The next month should be crazy, and thus I’m not going to attempt to blog. Jesse Hartman, signing off.