Confessions of a drinker student abroad

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring time and Leeds

Springtime in Wales, absolutely fantastic place to be. We've had pretty consistent sunshine and 65 degree weather. I guess it kind of makes up for the winter. And what better way to enjoy the spring than with shenanigans and athletics. So, we'll do a football post, probably the last one.

Playoffs, an absolutely magical time. We've basically been playing for our playoff chances since November after starting the season 0-2. I clearly remember sitting in Live Lounge the night after we lost to Swansea (bloody Swansea) by one point. It was heartbreaking. Since then we steamrolled, going undefeated in the second half of the season, including the UWE bullets, who were undefeated. That 6 game winning streak was enough to put us in third in the conference. Since we beat UWE we were ranked pretty high, actually the second seeded team in the Challenge Trophy tournament, which was all of th 3rd and 4th conference ranked teams on the island. Since we were seeded high we got a bye week before playing in the quarter finals against Exeter. Exeter didn't quite live up to the hype, and we racked up 39 points. then came NTU in the semis, we railroaded them...sadly I didn't play, I sprained my ankle on Thursday before the game and was having trouble walking.

Last week was crazy, people were bouncing off walls all week with excitement. I got myself an ankle brace and doped up on Ibuprofen. Thursday was fun, I ran at Slot receiver and ended up throwing a touchdown on a reverse pass. On friday we all got on the bus up to Leeds, got there and crashed in the hotel. Saturday morning we were all up early, destroying the breakfast buffet, stacks of bacon and eggs later we all grabbed our kit and went outside to do starting lineups in the sunshine. There was an thrill in the air as we boarded the bus for the ride to the stadium. When we pulled into the parking lot there was murmuring running up and down the bus. All year we've been sweating and bleeding and freezing on floodplain pasture, and now we were going to play in a stadium.

We got into the locker rooms, music pumping. After a bruising season everyone was popping ibuprofen by the sleeve and slathering on icyhot. Once we were all in kit that matched for once, so we looked the part of a finals qualifying team. We actually got to do a run out of the tunnel to Enter Sandman, which was awesome. Even more awesome was the wait in the tunnel before running out, we were jumping and shouting and headbutting each other. Charlie and I smashed our heads (helmets on) so hard that a rivet popped out of my lid, literally I had a screw loose.

What followed was our most physical match, we got two receiving touchdowns early in the game. Then in the third quarter nobody scored. Finally, in the fourth quarter I got on for the last drive, we punched in a rushing touchdown on the last play of the game...not that I had anything to do with it. We ran weak side so all I did was headbutt a few linebackers. With the final whistle we were up 20-0. Next came an epic celebration, body checks, hugs and shouting. Postgame celebrations, ladding it up on the bus, and then after a day of recovery on sunday we capped it all off last night with a night at Tiger, which of course led to Live Lounge when a bunch of us didn't want the night to end. We all got home around 4:30 in the morning after a mackey d's. There aren't many better ways to cap off a night than shouting and screaming along to the Live Lounge DJ with a bunch of friends.

Anyway, here's some pictures, be warned, sweet hair styles are inevitable. Enjoy.

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