VCRD (Ventura County Red Devils), a youth high performance field hockey team, had the opportunity to play a four-match series against the Baja Under 17 and Under 19 teams at the Baja Sports Institute in Mexicali on December 1st and 2nd.
Divided between three cars, the players and parents made their way down to Mexico, passing the time by playing games, listening to music, and stopping at restaurants when it was time to refuel. One place that was especially unique was the date shop where the players got to try date shakes!
After traveling five hours, the cars crossed the U.S./Mexico border and arrived at the Institute. The team toured the Institute and then began their weekend of playing. VCRD’s first game was against the number one ranked U-17 team in Mexico. VCRD fought hard, but fell to the fast and skilled Baja side. Following that match, VCRD made tremendous strides and tied the number four ranked U-19s, a larger and more physical team.
Later that day, VCRD experienced authentic Mexican food when the Baja Head Coach took the boys to a local restaurant in the town of Mexicali.
To start the second day, the boys warmed up by participating in a jog and stretch and then headed to the hotel breakfast buffet to fuel up before another tough day of hockey. The games differed from the previous day as the matches were to be played in the hockey-5’sstyle with boards surrounding the entire field of play. After the last two games were played, the boys took a team photo with the opposition before beginning the long journey home.
This amazing weekend opportunity was made possible through the efforts of Shawn Nakamura and Marc Bakerman who organized the trip. Much support was also provided by drivers Matt Hawley, Alan Scally, and Marc,along with Mitch Katz and John Spach who accompanied the team to provide extra hands and moral support.
—submitted by Spencer Walshaw