Bulldog Men's Basketball Standout Recalls Ireland Experience
Submitted by Tristan Kirk
The University of Redlands men's basketball team traveled to Ireland on August 16-28 to play a total of six games while experiencing the amazing culture. Here is senior guard Tristan Kirk's (Redlands, CA) personal account of the outstanding opportunity for basketball and much more.
Our men's basketball program was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel to Ireland and compete in six international games this summer. The trip was an amazing cultural experience that will not soon be forgotten by any member of our team; it also didn't hurt that we went undefeated and had great effort from every player involved. Our first stop was in Kilkenny for five days, where we also competed in a one-day tournament that consisted of three games. We had a great showing and defeated the Dublin Thunder in the final, after which our beloved Josiah Brensdal was named the Most Valuable Player. It had been awhile since any of us had played multiple games in a day so we definitely had to take some time to recover, but it ended up being a blessing because we had more time to explore the beautiful city of Kilkenny and become more acquainted with their local team, Left Bank BC. Left Bank was a great host to us and we cannot thank them enough for their hospitality.
Our second stop was in the city of Limerick, where we stayed for two days and played the University of Limerick. We then visited Killarney, which was one of our more interesting stops because we stayed in a hostel with nine of us landing in the same room together. It was a little cramped to say the least, but it was fun and entertaining, nonetheless.
Our final stop of the trip was Dublin, where we visited for three days and played two games. Dublin is an amazing city, with plenty of tourist attractions to offer. Although I must admit, it's not the easiest place to navigate but after we gained our bearings we successfully saw the majority of the city. A highlight for us was having the opportunity to take the tour of the Guinness factory, which has a very interesting background. Because we had a fair amount of days off, we took the time to drive around a good portion of southern Ireland and visit some of the historically significant sites it has to offer.
Driving around the rural parts of Ireland really gave us ample opportunity to see the beautiful and lush countryside that covers most of the country. We were constantly surrounded by amazingly green farmland. Two of the major tourist spots included the Cliffs of Mohr and the Blarney Castle, both of which were very intriguing and enjoyable stops.
In summary, the trip was a complete success, both on and off the court. We immersed ourselves in the Irish culture and developed a great appreciation for it. We also learned the hard way what it really means for the dollar to be valued less than the Euro. But once again it was an amazing experience that will not ever be duplicated and cannot be underestimated in the effect that it had on each of us. I realized that I did not know the true meaning of camaraderie until I shared a room with eight of my teammates. It has already had an extremely positive impact on our team and we look forward to continuing to build off of the success that we enjoyed overseas.