Princeton Works With Local Costa Rican Children After Morning On The Beach
Andy is named for Andy Garcia, the actor, who Andy the eight-year-old Costa Rican boy's mother thinks is very attractive.
Andy speaks English better than most American eight-year-olds, and it's his second language, behind Spanish. Or maybe third language, behind Spanish and German, with Portugese almost mastered.
For all that, Andy was a bit reluctant to get involved when the Princeton men's lacrosse team began its clinic at his community center Monday afternoon. Until he was introduced to Jonathan Meyers, one of Princeton's starters on defense.
Meyers, all 6-1, 220 pounds of him, knelt down and told Andy the story of when he first started to play at the same age and how he had been afraid as well.
When Andy finally left, he had played a little lacrosse, gotten a practice Princeton shirt from Peter Smyth and took home a lacrosse ball autographed by many of the Tigers.
The men's lacrosse team spent the day in Samara, a coastal town on the Pacific Ocean. After being non-stop with early morning activities to start the trip, the team had much of the day to do whatever it wanted, which for most meant bicycling, running on the beach, jumping into the ocean, volleyball in the pool, kayaking and generally relaxing.
Several members of the team and staff swam well out into the ocean to a blue boat that was anchored there. The water was perfect, with a level of warmth to be expected this close to the equator coupled with waves that were just big enough for decent body-surfing.
The afternoon, though, was all about the kids.
Princeton's travel party made a short drive to the community center, where about 40 or so kids were waiting for lacrosse drills, a short game - and the chance to mix with the American college team.
The first few minutes were a frenzy of balls (mostly tennis balls, but some lacrosse balls) flying all over and a scavenger hunt of sorts as the Princeton players opened their equipment bags to the kids.
After the drills, there was something resembling a game, as the Costa Rican children were divided into two teams. For the game, the busiest place in town was around the ball, since every kid surrounded it at all times.
Once the kids were done, the Princeton players split into two teams and played a 15-minute exhibition intrasquad game, which was the first lacrosse game that everyone there had seen, much the same way that Sunday's game between the Tigers and the Costa Rican national team was back in San Jose.
When it was over, Princeton was treated to a snack from the Costa Ricans and presented with a handmade trophy thanking the Tigers for being there. "Gracias Princeton," it said, from the "SSA," the Samara Sports Association.
Like Andy, none of the kids left empty-handed, with a mixture of shirts, shorts, gloves and pads distributed.
Princeton will return to the center Wednesday morning to help in maintenance and beautification efforts before making a two-hour drive to another coastal town, Tamarindo, for the final two days of the trip.