Aug. 11, 2006
The Notre Dame men’s tennis team began its three-country European tour on Tuesday, leaving campus and flying from Chicago to Dublin and then – after an eight-hour layover – on to Munich, Germany. There the team spent Thursday sightseeing in the capital of the province of Bavaria. Irish sophomore Brett Helgeson took the time to chronicle the first few days of the adventure. His teammates on the trip will follow suit in the coming days, beginning with an update from senior team captain Stephen Bass recapping Friday’s time in Salzburg, Austria. Check back to und.com for further photo galleries, as well, in the near future.
Men’s Tennis European Tour Diary #1 – Aug. 8-10, Brett Helgeson
This trip to europe is a wonderful opportuinity and an amazing eye-opening experience for me, mostly due to the fact that i have been sheltered in the states my entire life. I know that at least for me (and I’m sure I speak for most of the rest of the guys, as well) this trip has been germinating in my head for so long that it was nice to finally hit the road. Unlike most of our trips, we started out fairly smooth with few problems, but this was soon to take a turn for the worst. The flight was long but exciting, and we landed in Dublin at 8 in the morning to the greeting arms of our Irishman, teammate Barry King. This was also the birthplace of our first hurdle, which was our captain and utterly responsible leader Stephen Bass losing his wallet. This made Coach (Bayliss) quite concerned, which was understandable, but comical, as well. Personally, I believe it was a sign given to Bass showing him that if you own a Louis Vitton wallet, things like this will happen to you.
So after much chaos we decided to hit the streets of Dublin for some sightseeing during our eight-hour layover. While walking through the streets and enjoying this new experience, we were reminded of how small this world really is when we bumped into our own athletics director, Kevin White, and his wife (who were in Ireland for some meetings). Soon afterward, we hopped back on the bus to the airport and headed for our first destination of Munich.
Everything seemed like it was in control after we all successfully received our bags and proceeded in a train to our hotel. It was the exiting of the train that gave us problems; only about half of us were able to exit the train before the doors shut on us. So – like usual when something goes wrong – everyone seems to have the right answer and wants to share that advice, so we once again had massive chaos. Let me paint a picture for you: we had coach pounding on the doors, the guys inside trying to open the doors, the rest of us attempting to inform the driver of the train, meanwhile the locals just walked by and thought to themselves “Americans!” So finally we got the doors to reopen for us, but do we get everyone out this time? No. Brandon Pierpont decides he just wants a little more time on the train. But after we finally get Pierpont off and Coach’s blood pressure drops to normal, (sports information director) Bo (Rottenborn) realizes his bag is nowhere to be found and that it was still on the train that was shrinking in the distance. It takes awhile but we remain calm and decide we will call the train station from the hotel when we get there and work everthing out. (He got his bag back with no problem the following morning.)
So just as the tension is at an all-time high, here comes our Colombian teammate Santiago Montoya (who had been vacationing in France) to lighten the mood. We then proceed to walk through town with our bags and attempt to find our hotel, which you can imagine didn’t exactly go picture perfect. When we arrive in the lobby of our hotel and are getting the rooming assignments, Sheeva Parbhu decides that he doesn’t want to get home free without any mistakes, so he knocks over the ash tray with a big bang and everyone bites their tongues in anticipation of Coach’s reaction to the latest headache. All in all, it had some rough patches but we got through day one and got some much-needed rest in order to appreciate Munich in the morning.
We met for breakfast at 9 and at 10:30 decided to hit the town for some sightseeing. Most of us were pretty tired from the long day of travel so we kept the sight-seeing short and informal. I managed to see some historcal buildings and intersting shops. I also got some souveniers, and an athentic lunch. Where i encountered my first language barrier. I attempted to order a glass of water, and i was brought natural sparkling water that sold for $5. At first I was frustrated, but then i realized that things were just just going to happen sometimes and decided to take the bottle back with me for a keep sake. After touring the heart of Munich, most of us felt like it was best if to lay down for a bit and catch up on some sleep … to get ready for an exciting next day which would likelz have many more hurdles to face.