Been a busy few weeks of camp back here in the States but I am slowly catching up. This week I have 3 players and 2 fathers from Saint Oren’s staying with me. I’ll do a full post of there stay in New York next week. But having visitors in New York kind of gave me the incentive to finally do the post of when my parents and my sister, Kaitlin, came to visit me in Toulouse. Not only them, but my cousin Ben, from Wales also came to visit.
So they were all getting in the same day but Ben was getting in that afternoon, whereas the rest were getting in late that evening. I got a ride to the airport, found Ben, and then had to go rent a car so that my parents would have a means of transportation during their stay. Sure enough, despite reserving an automatic, they don’t have automatics (I don’t know how to drive stick). Great thing Ben had just arrived. He’s Welsh so he knew how to drive stick. HUGE help. Quick sidenote- I lived in Ireland for a year. And in that WHOLE year Ben never came over to visit me but I made it over to Wales to see him. I never let him live that down. Back to the story, I told him if he would drive then I would no longer give him a hard time about the Ireland thing. He agreed and we put that behind us.
My parents arrived that night and after stalling out only a couple dozen times, Ben and I made it to the airport. The next day it was time to take them into Toulouse to have lunch and see a few things. Fortunately for us, Ben brought the rainy, cold weather with him from Wales. Thanks Ben. Although the rain did stop just long enough for us to take a quick photo.
We had an amazing lunch at one of my favorite places in Toulouse. They couldn’t get over how amazing the food was and came to the agreement that we could just eat all of our meals at this restaurant. We sat outside the restaurant under an awning and next to a heater so we could still watch the street and try and take in Toulouse as best as possible. Just like in the movies, there was the guy walking around the streets playing French music on the accordion giving my family a proper experience in the south west of France. Obviously got a photo.
After a great lunch and a wet walk through town, we did the only logical thing and went to the pub. It was a must for me to take my family to De Danu, the most famous Irish pub in Toulouse. I figured it was cold and rainy, so if we go sit in a pub it will feel like I’m back in Galway again.
That evening was the final for our women’s second team. By the end of the season I was head coach of this team. They had already finished first which meant they would move up a division next year. However, now they were playing for champion of the region. The way this works is that you play the same team twice, once at their place, once at your place. Then the winner is whoever comes out on top of the difference of the two games. The week before we had gone to their place and TIED!! Can you believe that you can actually tie a basketball game in France?? I don’t know about all that. Anyways, now this game was really the championship. Our girls played an outstanding game, leading from start to finish to win the cup.
-My sister said it was funny seeing me coach and yell in French!
-Had to take a drink from the cup after
The next day was gameday for me as a player. My team was playing for the opportunity to move up to Pre-National next year. And that weekend was our first playoff game. It was a couple hours away against a team from the other pool. I was thrilled about the fact that my family would get to see me play again because it is something that I know my parents enjoy and something I take a lot of pride in.
-Fixing the pony tail
In this game we led pretty much the whole way. I think we got our lead up as high as 15 or 20 points in the third quarter. However, they had a furious comeback in the 4th quarter eventually tying the game with about 15 seconds to go. We were working the ball around against their zone looking for a shot when I drove baseline and put up a floater with about 2 seconds left. I thought for sure it was good. Front rim. BUT my boy Benoit happened to be there for the putback at the buzzer and we won by 2!!! It was not only a great win for us, but awesome that my family and all of our fans who made the long drive got to see such a great game.
Aside from the basketball, my family had a great time at the game anyway. Maybe it was because they were a little tipsy from their “French style tailgate” at halftime.
-Cheese, bread, and wine at halftime!!With the win of this game, we were headed to the final for our chance to move up a division next year. Factor in that it was a buzzer beater win. My sister and cousin were there. It was Saturday night. We were HYPED and ready to go out and celebrate.
My two teammates Manu and Jean-Ma came out with us (as per usual) as well as a few of Manu’s friends and some of the players from our women’s team. Suffice it to say we had a solid crew for the night. And a solid night it turned out to be. The night started off slow at a rhum bar we frequented on a regular basis to kick things off. I told my sister and cousin that nights out in Toulouse go for a long time….like until 8 or 9am. They weren’t sure that they were ready for this. So as we were all chillin, sipping some fine Martinique rhum, keeping things low key, they kept looking at the clock and were like “Damn, this is going to be a long night.” I kept saying, “Just wait.”
-At the rhum bar (or the calm before the storm!)
-Ben couldn’t get over how tall Jean-Ma was
-Things then escalated pretty quick, as we knocked back a few rounds of really strong rhum and then headed to the club…Ben started mixing it up right away!
-This is probably the one that did Kaitlin in
-Ben again with Jean-Ma, and being tall, and yea…
-The crew again, when we left. Kaitlin and Ben (pretty banged up at this point) just kept going on about how they couldn’t believe that it was light out, how it was already morning, and how they can’t believe how fast the time went and how much fun they had and all that. I was just like, “Hey, I tried to tell you!”
And so ended an awesome weekend in Toulouse with friends and family. Ben headed back to Wales on Monday and my family spent a couple more low key days in Toulouse. We went down to see the shrine at Lourdes.
-I made Kaitlin come to my fitness class. That’s a great burpee by the way Kaitlin!!
-And on our last night, there was one last requirement for my family before they headed off to Paris. They had to eat FROGS LEGS!!!
It was an absolute pleasure for me to have my family come visit me in Toulouse. It was great that they were able to come over, see where I was living, what I was doing, everything that I was a part of, and allowed me to take great pride in not only where I was, but being able to introduce everybody in France to my family! Thanks for coming out guys. It was a blast!!