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Posts from the ‘lacrosse’ Category

Bowling, the international language

(Members of the RMU men’s lacrosse team left Sunday for Guatemala, where they will be volunteering with an organization called Safe Passage that provides recreation, tutoring and other activities to underprivileged children.)

Hello, from Guatemala once again…

Today started out as another wonderful day in Guatemala. We began the day with an early morning trip into the city and we took some of the older kids from Safe Passage to the local mall to bowl. As on the other days, the group was tentative at first to interact with us, but we quickly broke down the wall and all enjoyed each other’s company. The bowling alley was similar to an American bowling alley, except for the very loud techno music being played. The music was really great! Our group and the kids were dancing and fooling around after every bowl, and it really made for a great experience. We even learned a local dance called the “Waka Waka” and would perform the dance after every strike. Everyone got to the dance except Kyle, he was just terrible! The kids really enjoyed our attempt at their dance, and it was a fun way to interact.

After bowling we moved our group to the Safe Passage nursery to play and hangout with the younger kids. Interaction with the younger kids was another great experience, and again touching for everyone in the group. The language barrier was not nearly as bad as it has been in the past with these younger kids because all they wanted was your attention. The kids love nothing more than for the adults to chase them around, and piggyback them through the playground. Some of the younger kids were even learning how to speak English, which was interesting to see from our perspective. They, like us, were struggling with the English language.
Moving on with the day we stopped to get some food at a local stand. This is our third day eating here and it has been a delicious experience. The stores hand-prepare their food quite differently than in America and it shows in the taste. For example, the grill they used is actually an old car rim. We were tentative at first to eat the food, but after tasting the food all those thoughts went out the window. The group enjoyed grilled chicken, rice, pico de gallo, fresh guacamole, and home made tortillas. Overall the food was great, and you really notice the freshness of all the food used.

To end the day out we went back over to the nursery to prepare food bags for the mothers of Safe Passage kids. These woman not only have kids in the program, but they themselves are also in the program. These bag are used as motivation for the mothers to keep coming to the Safe Passage programs. The bags contained rice, sugar, beans, pasta, cooking oil, and salt. AS a group we had to prepare 275 bags and Coach Davis challenged to do it in under an hour when it usually takes 3. We quickly devised an assembly line and went to work. 275 bags and 55 minutes later the task was complete. The work was tedious but it was another great time, as we sang songs throughout the hour. After the hour the entire room was full with food bags, and it was truly rewarding for all of us. To top of the day we grabbed 10 bean sacks and all of us had a good old-fashioned sack race in the rain. Coach Davis’s frog hops and Robbies quickness lead their team to victory, but results don’t matter therefore everyone was a winner!! It was a great way to end yet another amazing day in Guatemala!!

Talk with you soon!

Our lacrosse team does more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day

(Members of the RMU men’s lacrosse team left Sunday for Guatemala, where they will be volunteering with an organization called Safe Passage that provides recreation, tutoring and other activities to underprivileged children.)

Today was a day full of lacrosse…our wake up call was at 7 a.m., we had breakfast at the hotel. It is pretty good, scrambled eggs, refried beans, the freshest fruit we have ever had and great coffee! We left at 8 a.m. for the athletic fields. The morning session was spent working with the older students. This was the second day of working with this group and it showed! They were excited to see us right away, joked around with us and even taught us their handshakes that they use everyday here! We all learned alot of these students. They were very attentive when it came to lacrosse and wanted to learn everything they possibly could. It is only a matter of time before Guatemala has a National Team!

We went from the fields to lunch at a local market. We had chicken, rice, salsa and the best part was our Pepsi came in the old time glass bottles! Not to mention the food is delicious….

Our afternoon was spent working with the younger students on the lacrosse field. This was more of an entertainment session but the kids loved being around people who spoke a different language they they were used to! Needless to say, we all had a great time with the young ones!

We are back at the hotel awaiting our dinner reservations…

Take a look at the pictures!

Talk to you tomorrow,

"A humbling experience"

(Members of the RMU men’s lacrosse team left Sunday for Guatemala, where they will be volunteering with an organization called Safe Passage that provides recreation, tutoring and other activities to underprivileged children.)

Yesterday was a pretty humbling experience. We started off with an hour long bus ride into Guatemala City where we saw some difficult things. The streets were very filthy, stray dogs were everywhere, and security guards with shotguns were at every corner. As a group, we felt a little out of our element. When we met Madeline, our tour guide, at our location, we immediately felt more comfotable inside the walls of safe passage. It was a sanctuary among an area of poverty. We met so many kids eager to learn and grateful for the opportunity that safe passage has given them. When the lacrosse sticks came out, the kids erupted with excitement. They were very coachable and were trying to take in as much knowledge as possible. Although we had a hard time communicating with the kids, Madeline and Lisa were there to translate and help as much as possible.

After the morning and working with the kids we were capable of seeing more ins and outs of Guatemala City. This is when reality set in for all of us. We took a journey to the local garbage dump the expanded over 40 acres. It started with a walk from our car through a grave yard full of vultures and embaumbed graves. The government seized the bodies of loved ones if the family was not able to make their yearly payment for the grave site. After walking through the grave yard we made it to an overlook that oversaw the entire landfill. Imagine trucks pouring in with trash, and hundreds of people diving in with hopes to find anything with any value to them or their families. This site was something that none of us will never forget, and an image will stick in our heads forever. It was amazing to see what people are willing to do in order to make a few bucks and support their families. This landfill is the only thing that some of these people know, and it was a shock to us that this type of work even existed. As we move on over this entire season this is an image that will only make us appriciate how lucky we really are.

We will talk to you tomorrow,
RMU Lacrosse

Greetings from Guatemala

(Members of the RMU men’s lacrosse team left Sunday for Guatemala, where they will be volunteering with an organization called Safe Passage that provides recreation, tutoring and other activities to underprivileged children. This dispatch, the first of several to come, was filed by assistant coach Dan Mulford.)

Hello all! Greetings from Guatemala. We arrived around 5pm local time after a long day of travel. We’re enjoying our 1st night in Antigua. You will see a picture of one of our hotel rooms, it is a former hacienda turned hotel. To be honest, it’s pretty cool! We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Sky Cafe, which is just a 15 minute walk from our hotel. This gave us the opportunity to get to see the town we will be living in this week. We have an early morning and full day tomorrow. Go Colonials! Stay tuned…

Lacrosse Anyone?

I was walking back from picking up a sandwich for lunch today, when I heard music coming from the direction of Joe Walton Stadium, so I decided to take a peek and see what was going on. Turns out it was a junior varsity lacrosse match between Robert Morris University and Mercyhurst North East. I’d never been to a live lacrosse match before, so I decided to sit down with my lunch and watch for a while—and I’m glad I did.

If you’ve never been to a lacrosse match before, it’s really something to see. It’s sort of a mixture of hockey, soccer, basketball, and that cool game you play on the beach with those plastic racquets and ball—only a lacrosse ball is made of hard rubber that can knock your lights out if you’re not paying attention.

I was amazed at the skill and grace the players displayed in tossing and catching the tiny rubber ball with just a stick with a small net at the end. (Actually, “tossing” may not be the appropriate word; “whipping” or “hurling” would be more accurate.) And if that seems difficult, if not impossible, to you, try doing it while being incessantly whacked at, hammered, and harassed by members of the opposing team. Lacrosse certainly isn’t for the faint of heart.

I did a little research on the game when I got back to my office. According to, the name “lacrosse” comes from the French term for “any game played with a curved stick” or “crosse.” The sport has its origins in ancient times and is derived from a variety of stickball-type games that were once played by native peoples throughout North America. George Beers detailed the playing techniques of the Mohawk peoples in his Lacrosse (1869). James Mooney, in the American Anthropologist (1890), provided a description of what he called “[Eastern] Cherokee Ball-Play,” including details about the game’s rules and elaborate rituals.

Today, lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, with more than half a million players. And RMU’s team is steadily becoming a lacrosse powerhouse.

While I was there, RMU scored two goals and kept Mercyhurst from even attempting a single shot. When I got back to my office, I gave Head Coach Kenneth “Bear” Davis a call and found out that the team ended up winning with a score of 19-3. This is Davis’s sixth season with the team since being named the program’s first head coach in 2004, and so far, the team remains perfect.

You really never know what you’ll see here when you’re walking around campus.

Lacrosse at RMU…who knew?

Valentine J. Brkich