We are officially home safe and sound with only minor mishaps to report (lost baggage, sweating from quick layover transitions, and the like). The fact that I am sitting in 25 degree weather currently makes the past 3 weeks even more surreal. It is nearly impossible to believe we were lying on the beach in Adelaide post-game just 36 hours ago.
Yet, here we are, at the end of this wonderful journey. First and foremost, I would be remiss not to express our deepest gratitude for the financial generosity from our parents, alums, friends, and fans. Without you, this trip would not have been possible, nor would it have been the remarkable adventure you have heard about each day via this blog. Kangaroo Island, dinners, and the Great Barrier Reef would not have happened without you- not to mention our groceries for dinner! We are so grateful that you all could give us the chance to experience Australia the way we did.
As a lacrosse team, we benefited greatly from the extra practices and the quality of play demonstrated by the Australians. We feel like a seasoned team, a feeling that usually comes around mid-March. It will certainly give us the edge against our competitors in the Ivies as well as outside of our league. We have the Australian National Team to thank for giving us the glimpse of an attack style we do not normally see until out of conference games. I am confident that we learned more from this trip, playing them, then we could have from simply scrimmaging ourselves. We had to adjust to a new speed and style of play, which tested the versatility, resilience, and learning curve of our defense. In turn, their defensive style pushed our attack, and by the end, allowed us to feel more comfortable facing a high-pressure defense like those we had seen in the scrimmages this fall.
Off the field, we got to know each other, the kind of knowledge that comes with spending every waking moment together- and sharing beds. Finally being reunited as a team in Hanover was the best possible way to start this trip. The juniors reincorporated seamlessly and we are elated to have them back. Our adventures in Australia made us grow as people by facing our fears (birds for some, heights for others), by maturing as leaders, and by learning how to be the best teammates possible.
Highlights off the field included the Great Barrier Reef Trip. Copious sun, a boat deck to ourselves, and magnificent wild life stand out in particular to me. We enjoyed having the freedom to explore the city of Sydney and see its famous beaches, acclaimed Chinatown, and the zoo with the most active animals I have ever seen. Sydney, Cairns, and Adelaide all provided very different looks at the country/continent of Australia. Sydney seemed young, metropolitan and easy-going. I must say, I was totally jealous that Wally Cook '95, our very own alum, is living there. Cairns was much more of a tourist experience with activities galore, some of the funniest shopping, and an emphasis on exploration. And lastly, Adelaide seemed the most genuine- it did not scream tourism, but still had a bustling town and a very livable atmosphere. Maybe it was because we did what was most normal for us there- played lacrosse.
I am sad to have to look back on this trip because it means it is finally over. But, I would not trade that because that would mean forgetting the experiences we've had. Thank you coaches, for teaching us so much, for your patience with us, and most of all for looking out for us. We are all home in one piece sans jellyfish stings so at least we can take that burden off your shoulders! Thank you parents for giving us the permission, trust, and support to go on this trip. Thank you fans for your presence online, for following us through our Australian adventure step by step. Please continue to track our progress and accomplishment on the Dartmouth Sports Homepage, and via our Twitter and Facebook accounts.
All the best and happy holidays!
Courtney Bennett '13
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