Tales from semester break: Nicole Vandermade
Jan. 27, 2010
Hope everyone's holiday break went really well and everyone had a chance to eat some good food and spend time with loved ones. I really enjoyed my time at home in Canada. I love being in Austin, but there is just something about being home that can't be matched. It was nice to see my family and friends again. I even got a chance to go skating at a local outdoor rink and play a pickup game of hockey.
Although being home was nice, I also got to do something else really cool- travel to Argentina with the Canadian National team. On January 2nd we left from the Toronto airport and embarked on the 10-hour flight to Chile, and from there connected to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Both the men’s and women’s national teams were there and once we landed we hopped on a bus and traveled to our hotel.
We were staying in downtown Buenos Aires and it was unlike anything I have ever seen. Streets are really narrow with skyscrapers everywhere. When you walk down one of the main roads there are venders set up selling their handmade goods. You are within walking distance of restaurants, malls, and cool shops. Buenos Aires is a pretty big city - around 12 million - so there are people everywhere lining the streets.
The real reason we were there though was not for sightseeing. The Royal Canadian Golf Association sent the National Teams to train on the courses that the World Amateur will be on later this year. Canada wants to compete more on the world stage, and they figured that this was something they needed to do in order to achieve the results they want. We played each course two times and also practiced a few hours each day. The trip was very beneficial for me because I was not only able to see the courses for the World Am, but I was also able to practice outside for the first time since I left Austin. It really felt good to get out on the course again.
The courses were about 45 minutes away from the hotel, so everyday our coach would drive us to which ever course we were at that day. That was quite the experience. The highways are seven lanes wide each way! It was really something to see. We also came to realize pretty quickly that the drivers in Buenos Aires were not the best we have ever seen before. Lanes are ignored, turning left from the right lane is not out of the ordinary, and pedestrians cross the street whenever is convenient for them. I cannot tell you how many accidents we almost got in the first couple days.
Even though I was in Argentina on January 7th, I still showed my school spirit. Both the men’s and women’s team gathered our hotel room to watch the BCS National Championship game. To our surprise, it was actually on TV there! One of the girls on the team attends Alabama, so it was kind of fun to watch the game with her and the rest of the teams. Although we lost, I am proud of how we fought back. We showed that Texas does not back down, and we really are Texas Tough.
When I arrived back in Toronto I stepped off the plane and the temperature was quite the shock to my body. When we left Buenos Aires it was 32 degrees, and it was -14 with wind chill in Toronto.
I am really excited for the season to start and I know good things are in store for our team. Our first tournament of the spring is in Palo Alto, Calif., on February 13-14. Wish us luck and make sure to follow our results on TexasSports.com.