In The Service Of All Nations: Princeton Spruces Up Costa Rican Rec Center
The humidity had to be near 100 percent, or as high as humidity can be measured. Temperatures were approaching 90, and there was absolutely no breeze blowing off the nearby Pacific Ocean.
And none of that deterred the Princeton men's lacrosse team Tuesday.
The Tigers' three mini-buses pulled up to the community center at Samara at about 10:30 in the morning, and they wouldn't leave until 2:30 - or until the job at hand was completed.
This would be no easy task either.
Princeton's current trip to Costa Rica is meant to include lacrosse, vacation and service, and the Tigers have had plenty of all three. The main service component was Tuesday's trip to the community center, where the day before the Tigers had held a clinic and played an exhibition for the local children and where now they were to give the facility a massive overhaul.
The community center consists of a field - usually for soccer, though still lined for lacrosse, and an open-air building next to it. Both needed serious painting, and the field needed some amenities.
Princeton was divided into five groups, and each was assigned a task.
Some would sand and paint the goalposts on the soccer field. Some - two groups, actually, since it was a huge undertaking - would sand paint the building's interior. Some would build benches and bleachers on the field itself. Some would paint the fence posts.
By the time the Tigers left, all jobs were completed.
The goal posts were stripped of their rust and now are bright red and white. The fence posts are red, white and blue, the colors not only of the American flag but also the Costa Rican flag.
There are now seven benches built onto the field, including three on the hill on the far side that create a stadium seating effect. albeit a small one.
Everywhere on the field, the Princeton contingent gave maximum effort, and these were not simple assignments. The weather only made them more difficult.
As the groups finished their jobs and ate lunch, a few of the players left to jump into the ocean, which was about 100 yards away.
Three players - Peter Smyth, Cliff Larkin and Jeff Froccaro - came back from the ocean riding horses.
Afrer that, it was back on the mini-buses for the two-hour ride to Tamarindo, another beach town.
The Tigers will be here through Thursday morning, when it's time to fly back to New Jersey.