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Notre Dame Soccer in Canada, eh?

Mar 10, 2013, 12:13 PM EDT

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Travel Day/Day 1:

 

Oh Canada! The spring season has already arrived for the Notre Dame Men’s Soccer team, and what a way to celebrate the start of the season by leaving the country. While normal college students attempt to find weather opposite that of South Bend during Spring Break (although we all enjoy South Bend weather ever so much), we decided to go with the opposite approach. We went to Canada!

I think the best way to begin this blog about our trip to Canada is with naming some famous natives of our neighbors to the north. Let’s start with actors. Funny guys Jim Carrey and Seth Rogan can call Canada home, along with Ryan Gosling and Pamela Anderson (those names were bolded for the sole purpose of catching the eye of any female or male readers who didn’t want to actually read this blog). Let’s move to artists (the ones that sing, not the ones that paint and stuff). Hip-hop artist Drake, who did indeed start from the bottom (Degrassi reference), resides in Canada, along with everyone’s favorite teenage heartthrob Justin Bieber (again, trying to catch the attention of the teenage girl audience). Now let’s move to famous military leaders. Oh wait nevermind… Moving on!

As our bus approached the United States/Canadian border, nerves amongst the coaches filled the air. Did everyone have their passports? Or would Freshman Evan Panken stay consistent in his flawless record of losing important items at the most inconvenient times? The only thing the players were worried about, however, was the bet placed on whether or not the border patrol officer would say “eh” to finish every sentence. When the officer stepped onto the bus, slow chants of “U-S-A” started by Sophomores Vince Ciccerelli and Brendan Lesch began to grow throughout the bus. Thankfully our resident Canadian Freshman Patrick Hodan was able to stop the chants with a loud, passionate rendition of “Oh Canada” (Patrick is actually from Wisconsin but his accent tells a different story).

Upon arrival to our home for the next five five days at the Holiday Inn Express, we were reassured to see that it was located right next to the local police station. We were less assured when we witnessed the police officers in the parking lot of the station partaking in donut eating contests to kill time (Turns out there’s not very much crime in Canada).

This morning, we were up bright and early for breakfast in the lobby of the hotel. One of the younger members of the team walked into the lobby without shoes on, instead wearing his brand new issued Adidas socks. Turns out, not wearing shoes to breakfast is frowned upon in this establishment, and he was immediately sent back up to his room (on the sixth floor) to get shoes. I will not say who this player was, but I will say that Boss refers to him as “Big Man” (take your pick).

After a surprisingly short meeting, it was off to watch Toronto FC take on Sporting KC in the Roger’s Centre (home of the Toronto Blue Jays) in the middle of downtown Toronto. We all were thankful for the wonderful seats provided by the Notre Dame Monogram Club, and Sophomore Nick Besler was especially appreciative for the opportunity. His older brother Matt, a former player at Notre Dame, was starting at center back for Sporting KC. Coincidentally, a Scottish soccer fan, who was also a big fan of Coach Clark, was seated directly behind us. The man asked us, “How well do you know Bobby?” Confused, we said, “Pretty well. Why?” Nervously, he responded, “What are his feelings about Celtic FC?” He took off his coat and showed us his Celtic jersey. Eventually, the man got the courage to introduce himself to Boss… and show him his jersey.

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After the game, we were able to enjoy a walk around nearby Lake Ontario, which was cut short by our discovery of a dog park on the way. Turns out, dog is man’s best friend. We were eventually forced to leave when Sophomore Vince Cicciarelli angered the owners at the park by saying his dog, Tank, could take all of their dogs in a fight (Tank is a 10 pound Yorkshire Terrier).

After the altercation, we are able to get Vince to calm down and headed to dinner at the Rainforest Café. Although there was a little confusion amongst the team as to how much we each could spend on the meal (who really understands Canadian dollars anyway?), and Freshman Connor Klekota had to be strapped to his chair due to his excitement over the variety of animals in the restaurant (we never told Connor the Elephants weren’t real), we were able to finish dinner and head back to the hotel.

I may not be very funny, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night… Until next time, friends.

Brian Talcott

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