Thursday 12th March
We are supposed to be rejuvenated after our day of rest but I have say we’re all still yawning! It’s definitely something to do with the air here. As usual the boys were away early this morning at training while we had our morning coffee. A ski competition started yesterday and it’s impossible to move around here at the moment with all these ski teams. It also feels like the united nations with representatives from Ireland, Iceland, Bulgaria, Iran, Uzbekistan, India, Sweden, Russia, Pakistan to mention a few. Oh, and of course Turkey! No doubt, with the exception of William Fay the Turk, we stand out because we are so pale! Did we happen to mention we go to the gym every day!?! Well, we pass it on the way to the dining room. We haven’t ventured in just yet and we’re not likely to either. There is a lovely swimming pool and a nice sauna as well as a Turkish bath. Some of the boys have had a massage and they highly recommend it too. Although, none of us have been brave enough to go for the Turkish bath.
Anyway, match time was approaching. We had lunch before hand and it was torture. We pushed it around the plate and tried to swallow but everyone was nervous as hell with the pending match. We headed downtown in our little chariot on a road that is getting worse by the day with the severe thaw that is on at the moment. Into the rink we headed and the crèche was open as all the local school kids poured in. Mustaf, our Turkish rep, got some of the kids to start chanting for Ireland. The photographer from the hotel even came down to take some photos, obviously! We will do our best to get a disc with as many as possible on it to bring home.
Soon the boys were on the ice for the game and we were screaming at the top of our lungs. The roller coaster of emotion started. As I said before, the stats for the match are up and as the stats suggest, the boys never dropped their heads no matter how it looked. After the first period, John (the equipment manager) came to us looking for chocolate. Katie and Pete obliged and headed off to find a local shop. They brought back as much as they could find. Once they bought it, the shop shut down for the rest of day!! The owners probably went on holiday!!! Anyway, we brought the chocolate to John in a hurry thinking it was for the team. However, we then found out that all he really wanted was one bar for himself! Not to worry as it didn’t go to waste.
What can we say about the game!!?!! It was nail biting, stressful, there were lows but there were extreme highs. It was really hard to watch but we just couldn’t keep our eyes off it! With about a minute or so left, the coaches called for a time out to give the boys an inspirational talk which is surely one for the history books. Immediately following the talk, Ireland went and scored the winning goal. Final Whistle!! We won!! The phones started to hop with texts and calls of congratulations from home and as far away as Canada. Thank you to everybody. Hugs, tears, screams and everything else you can imagine from us and the boys. Nobody was able to sing while the Irish flag was raised to the roof because we were all choked up. As well as being hoarse from the shouting we did!
We headed back to the hotel and started our slippery slope once more… We were totally exhausted, both mentally and emotionally. It took us well over an hour to calm and settle ourselves. You won’t believe this but we all actually hit the bed early tonight. We weren’t fit for anything else! We face Turkey tomorrow and the roller coaster starts all over again…