DreadLAX at the Turkey Lacrosse Open 2013 – Part One
After months of preparation and anticipation we finally started to make the trip for the final summer DreadLAX tour of 2013, and we planned to make it a big one!
Straight from work the team began to assemble at the train station and the excitement was evident immediately. After the obligatory passport panic and a few nerve settling G&T’s the train left for Stansted airport with all the expected DreadLAXers present, we were already ahead of the curve on the last tour to Tilburg.
At the airport we met with a first time DreadLAXer and once checked in we settled in for a pre-flight beer in the departure lounge and discussed the various expectations of what was ahead, little did we know quite how fantastic the next week would be!
The first flight to Istanbul was the long hop of the journey so we ordered some more G&T’s and sat back for the ride. On arriving those of us travelling on one of the Queen’s passports had to pay the good country tax and shell out ten pounds for a visa before being ushered through to airport arrivals. We arrived just in the nick of time for our internal transfer to Alanya and set off for the short journey south to start the week.
The arrivals section of Alanya airport doesn’t mess around; it’s got a runway, it’s got a luggage carousel and it’s got a door. Through the door we arrived into a gorgeous morning to be met by our driver complete with TLO13 t-shirt and with an air conditioned mini bus ready and waiting. We had just enough time to check out the lovely coastline and finish off the last of the pre-flight wines before we arrived at the Diamond Hill resort.
Patrick (the organiser of the TLO) was on hand to greet us into the hotel and the staff took our bags while we registered and found out who was sharing rooms, having carefully spread the German DreadLAXers out we found we had a few hours to kill before we could get into the rooms, so we had breakfast and hit the pool bar.
The bar opened at 10am and we made ourselves at home getting to know the few players already there as well as some of the referees. We introduced 3 man to a whole new audience and had a pretty perfect start to the trip! Over the course of the day we got involved in some pool aerobics, (wholly unsuccessful) gladiator-style surfboard battles, and some pretty intense water polo.
For the afternoon session we hit the beach bar, it was awesome. We were joined by some of our new friends and had a few beers with the occasional dip in the sea to cool down. After we’d had one Baywatch style rescue too many we headed back up to the hotel and found the pool was still pretty popular with our fellow laxers and so joined in. Once the pool closed down (and after a few jumps from the bridge) we retired to the rooms and ate.
That night we had some drinks on the rooftop bar and chatted further with the other teams before the more hard core of the crowd jumped on the hotel bus to Club Miami with the Just Lax It ladies team and had their first taste of Alanya nightlife.
The next morning with some very sore heads we gradually made our way to breakfast and found our friends from Norway (NTNUI) had arrived over night, after some catching up and trading of the previous night’s war stories we settled in for a day by the pool. Over the course of the morning most of the team assembled and took advantage of the all-inclusive bar while we got to know some of the other teams arriving over the day. Predictably we got the dice out and built a crowd fairly quickly for a good day of three man in the sun.
That evening we ate at the hotel and then hit the roof bar for some post dinner, pre club whisky and cokes and got the bus once again to club Miami, this time accompanying the Norwegian men’s and women’s teams. The night was sure to be a good one when we found out one of the Scandinavian former DreadLAXers was celebrating his birthday.
We had a great night and got to know lots more of the Norwegians, refs and some locals. After many hours of topless dancing, some pretty aggressive gin measures and some fantastic currency bartering we all boarded the bus back to the hotel and hit the bar as everyone gradually retired to bed.
Monday was the first day of lacrosse with the hosts putting on a beach lacrosse tournament in the evening starting at 7pm, so once again we had a full day in the sun, on the beach and at the bar. By now the American team Northstar Nation head arrived so we had a few beers with them and did did some of the pool aerobics to prepare for the big games later that night. The pool had two water slides which had been providing us with some light entertainment all week but today they (and Mental Ben) bit back. After a tandem slide with Metal Ben Bradd emerged looking dazed and confused, on closer inspection he’d got a nasty knock to the head cutting it open and needing stitches (staples), and so DreadLAX had its first player sent to the hospital.
We chilled out by the pool and at the beach all day before the buses left for beach lacrosse in the early evening. We piled onto the bus and drove across the bay to the beach volleyball stadium where there was a red bull tent, music and a pitch marked out, all under flood lights. The games consisted of mixed teams with women’s sticks and were played in very good spirits. Once the games finished up we bused it back to the hotel and got changed for a night on the roof bar. Many drinks were had, friends made and glasses broken by the time the roof closed at 1 and we were ushered down to the lobby bar to see out the evening.
Tuesday was our last day without games during the day so we made the most of it by having a hearty breakfast with some of the other teams before hitting the pool bar for some looseners. There were a few groups in the hotel taking a keen interest in the lacrosse by now and so we arranged to have a few drinks with some of them that night and for them to try and catch a game later in the week, real growing the game being done by the TLO!
We spent the afternoon at the beach enjoying the sun and the company while our fearless leaders attended a tournament meeting to iron out some issues for the coming days and to finalise the plans for the transport.
DreadLAX put in a much bigger effort at the beach lacrosse on Tuesday night with players (and kit) showing up in almost every game. Heading back to the hotel we had another night on the roof playing dice and were joined by some of the other guests who rapidly caught on to the intricacies of the game. Once again it was a late night in the lobby bar after the roof shut down.
It was an incredible few days and we were all suitably bonded for the start of the tournament on Wednesday…