The Lions In Costa Rica - Day 8

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By Connor Hunsicker

Today the squad took off from our new hotel and started towards our newest Costa Rican adventure, white-water rafting.  We were on the road for about twenty minutes before we made a quick detour to check out an iguana hotspot.  Not really knowing what to expect we made our way over to where they were at.  Wow, there were a lot of them.  We spent about ten minutes taking pictures and watching what seemed to be like over 100 reptiles crawl and lounge in the trees and shade.  Coach Krumpe called us back onto the bus and we were off to San Carlos. 

About an hour and half later we had reached our destination.  The town is most known for its exportation of pineapples and other fruits which have significantly increased over the last ten years.  Finally, we made our way down to the river and met our tour guides and started to gear up.  Dressed to impress in our helmets and life-jackets, we listened to some safety instructions from the guide.  I won't name names, but it was obvious that some of the boys were a little nervous after hearing all the possible scenarios.  And with that, we were off.

 I jumped into a boat with Dylan, John, Jack, Bryce and Flores with our tour guide being Luis, which we changed to Louie.  We started down the river after about five minutes of practicing paddling in sync together and learning the verbal commands.  Soaking in all of the surroundings, we went down the first rapid and it definitely woke up anyone who was still a little groggy from their bus ride nap.  The adventure had begun.  At one point we all just looked at each other and no words even had to be spoken, we were in heaven.  It doesn't get much better than this.  Louie made the trip down the river that much more enjoyable.  He was eager to answer our questions about the country and express his favorite spots along the river.  His english was surprisingly good and he was quite the comedian.  We took a break about thirty minutes in to enjoy some freshly sliced watermelon and pineapple.  While the guides were dicing our snack, we were allowed to do some cliff jumping into the river. 

Coach Mennel displayed a dominating performance in the splash competition.  Krumpe looked like he was back in his prime with a well executed front flip.  After everyone got there fair share of jumps in our guides were calling us back over.  We scarfed down the fruit, which might have been the best we've had all trip and we were told to get back on our rafts.  At first I couldn't find Louie and started to worry a little bit only to find him all the way across the river with a big smile on his face.  I guess our group was going to get some extra swimming in.  Everyone made their way across the current and finally got back in the raft.  Once all in, we started back down the river.  Louie would start us off with a "Forward boys" and count out our strokes with a deep "One, Two, One, Two".  Pretty remarkable to see how everything we have done this trip requires us to work together. 

Today was an excellent example of how we needed timing and execution to prevent our teammates and ourselves from falling into the water.  An exhausting two hours later, we had made it to lunch and everyone was starving.  Shoulders tired and worn out from the hot Costa Rican sun, we couldn't have been more happy to receive our plates of either chicken or beef, with rice and beans as our sides.  Full and content, there was only one thing on my mind.  Get back to the bus and take a nice nap.  Once we stopped, I was woken up by my captain Seany Sears, and Coach Krumpe informed us we were going to have an inter-squad 11 vs. 11 match at practice.  We had about two hours before training and apparently my nap on the bus wasn't sufficient because I was woken up about fifteen minutes before training. 

Our hotel is massive and literally has everything you could every want including a full-size soccer field, which is by far the best surface we've played on.  We had a very intense practice and looked very sharp.  The MVP of practice would have to be go to my dear friend, Aaron Garfinkle.  During our pre-training stretching, he happened to lay down straight onto an ant farm and was immediately covered in hundreds of ants.  Unlucky for Aaron, but the rest of the team got a good laugh out of the situation before we began.  After training we had a team stretch in the hotel pool and headed back to our rooms to shower before dinner.  It is hard to believe that this trip is coming to end and we can't stay here the rest of summer.  Our team is coming together more and more everyday and the anticipation for the fall is almost too much.  I am just trying to enjoy every second of the day with a group of guys I would gladly do anything for.  Pura Vida!

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