Aug. 18, 2006
The University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team reached the final destination – Dublin, Ireland – on its European tour this week. Junior Sheeva Parbhu describes the squad’s first full day in the capital of the Emerald Isle, touching on the team’s sightseeing adventures, practicing on grass courts, and having a splendid time at the home of Notre Dame senior Barry King. Check back to und.com, as junior Brandon Pierpont will recap Friday’s events, which include a grasscourt match at the Fitzwilliam Club in Dublin.
Men’s Tennis European Tour Diary #7 – August 17, Dublin, Ireland, Sheeva Parbhu
Hello from Dublin!
After yesterday’s soccer game between Ireland and the Netherlands, everyone came back pretty exhausted, and were eager to pass out in our hotel. After a couple hours however (I don’t know what time it was because there are no clocks in the room), I awakened to the sound of boisterous laughing and yelling from what seemed to be right outside our hotel window. I quickly learned that there is a pretty popular nightclub almost directly underneath our hotel, and that all the people waiting to get into the club were gathering one floor below our window. Although it startled me for a couple minutes, I was so tired that I was able to block it out and fall easily back to sleep. Mrs. Bayliss informed me the next morning at breakfast that in the drawer next to each bed there are a pair of earplugs to help with the noise … and I’m sure that I’ll be making good use of those tonight!
After eating a full Irish breakfast (minus the black and white pudding… I wasn’t brave enough to try that this morning), our whole group set off to see the city of Dublin. Our whole group, that is, besides (sports information director) Bo Rottenborn, who had to excuse himself from the game last night after he caught the flu bug that’s been floating around the team. He still didn’t feel well enough to come explore Dublin, so we all had to step up and fill his shoes and create some good ”TPOs” (team photo ops).
We first set off from our hotel and walked through St. Stephen’s Park, which is one of the biggest and most beautiful parks in Dublin. After meandering through the park and getting several memorable TPOs, we continued on to O’Connell Street, which is one of the most famous streets in Dublin. The street is named after the famous Irish revolutionary Daniel O’Connell who led the Irish in their fight for freedom against England, and is commemorated with a great statue. We continued on to Dublin’s famed Post Office, the site of a famous revolt against Great Britain early in the 20th century. The most amazing thing that I noticed was that you can still see the bullet holes in the pillars right in front of the Post Office. I then proceeded to bother our Irish tour guide, senior Barry King, about the state of the Irish battle for independence, and then attempted to mimic his Irish accent. I’m lucky that Barry is patient with me and doesn’t mind my horrible attempts to mimic his distinct accent.
One highlight of our morning in Dublin was the amount of souvenir shops we stopped at. So far, all trip long, I’ve been a little hesitant to buy things, and have wanted to save as much money as possible. Today, however, I decided to make sure that I didn’t let opportunities pass me by and was able to buy a few things for myself, as well as buy some presents for my sister, my mom, and of course for my roommates back in Siegfried Hall. The joke of the day was that today might have been the one day the whole trip that our teammate Brandon Pierpont wasn’t the one carrying home the most souvenirs in his backpack.
After our short tour of Dublin, we headed off to the best known tennis club in Ireland, and the home club of Barry, The Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club. Fitzwilliam, which has been described as the ”Wimbledon of Ireland” lived up to its name as an extraordinarily prestigious club. It was my first time playing on the artificial grass, otherwise known as ”Omni,” and it’s safe to say that it was quite an experience. Although Coach Bayliss was constantly making fun of me for looking a little out of my element on the grass, I managed to save some face and at least team up with Brett Helgeson to take down the formidable doubles pair of Stephen Bass and Irackli Akhveldiani.
We hurried back to the hotel, quickly showered and caught a bus to head over to Barry’s house, where Barry’s mom had prepared a wonderful meal for us. After everyone ate until they could not possibly take another bite, we started a small ping-pong tournament in King’s backyard. Needless to say, although I was given very little respect at the beginning of the tournament, after seeing me play, no one questioned my huge forehand and consistent backhand. By the end of the night, I had many people asking me for advice on how to better their own ping-pong games. Somehow, however, I got taken down in the tournament and our most athletically-talented teammate, Stephen Bass, took home the crown. It was late by the time we returned from Barry’s house, so we all decided to hit the sack and rest up for tomorrow’s match against players from the Fitzwilliam Club.
I would first of all like to thank Barry’s mom and dad for their incredible hospitality in inviting the whole team into their home. They made everyone feel so welcome and comfortable that it was not as if we were in a foreign country at all, but rather at any one of our houses, just hanging out with our friends. Barry and his family have been incredible hosts while we have been in Dublin, and that has made the trip that much more enjoyable.
I would also like to thank all the alumni and donors who contributed to help make this trip possible. Without your generosity, we wouldn’t have been able to share this incredible experience as a team, and on behalf of everyone, I would like to thank you for giving us this opportunity.
That’s all for now, I hope everyone is enjoying keeping up with our travels on und.com, and stay tuned to read Brandon Pierpont’s account of our match tomorrow against Fitzwilliam.