Israel, Part 1

Monday (into Tuesday) July 9 and 10

We took off from Denver and flew directly to Paris. We had a 4-hour layover there where we had to go to baggage claim, go through customs, find our next gate by going on the airport train to the next terminal, 2 stops down. Then go through three other terminals to get to the correct terminal. Then, recheck our bags, check in for our flight, go through security and then find our gate. Thankfully we were all well rested for this chaos as we had taken first class to get to Paris.

Then we flew to Tel Aviv and got on our bus. We were surprised to find that on our bus was also team Uganda who were playing the world lacrosse championships. It was my parents and I and then a bunch of the Uganda guys. I sat in the back with their team and my parents sat in front with the coaches. It was fun to tell them about snow, bears and elk! It was a very fun bus ride and I greatly enjoyed becoming good friends with all the guys on the team.

We arrived at the team village, Nordia, at 12:40 in the morning and were exhausted. I went immediately to sleep and got ready for the next day.

July 11

Today I went back to Masada with my team and the other U15 kids. I had been there before but had only explored the southern half last time so it was great to get to explore the northern half. It was a very hot day but a very fun one. We also went to the Dead Sea after Masada. I love the sensation of floating without having to work at all. We also found a giant rock made of salt that was at least 30 feet long and a mud pit so deep that when you fell (or jumped) in there, you had to have someone pull you out. That night I got back to Nordia exhausted but happy.

July 12

Today we got up early and went to Wingate to watch the FIL World Championship Lacrosse Tournament. We got to see my friends on Team Wales as they played Bermuda. I had to leave partway through the game to go with my team to the big stadium but Wales won! That night we went to the Netanya Stadium to watch the Opening Ceremonies and the games between Jamaica and Israel and then the USA and Iroquois Nation. We got to meet some of the Team Israel guys so it was really fun!

I also got my team gear today. It is nice stuff but the gloves are some CRAZY colors! 





July 13

This morning we started our own games. This is what I was here for! My team Be’er Tuvia lost our first two games but I got two assists and an ALMOST goal. There are 6 teams and we are all a mix of American and Israeli kids. It is hard because a lot of the kids from Israel have never played 10 on 10 lacrosse so we are teaching them how to play during games! Add to that the fact that they do not speak English and it was a challenge. 

This is when a really crazy situation happened! We played the last game of the day on the field we were on. Two buses of kids had left already so there were just two teams of kids and a few coaches to take the final bus back to Wingate. As some kids were loading up the bus and we were walking to get on, the driver closed the doors, drove right past us, waved, said, “Bye Bye” and drove away! The problem? No other buses so no way for us to get back and there were NO adults on the bus with the kids! Coach D (name changed to protect the mostly innocent) started running after the bus hitting it trying to get the driver’s attention. He kept running and the bus kept driving. They went around the corner and we thought D would be back soon. After a LONG time D came back with a huge footprint on his shirt shoulder. He told us he caught up with the bus and as he was getting close “my inner MLB pitcher came out and I threw my water bottle to get the driver’s attention”. The driver finally stopped and opened the door and kicked D in the shoulder and then tried to kick him in the face! D grabbed his foot, let go and got off the bus once he saw that there was actually one adult on there with the kids.

So, we were stuck without a bus! There was one sitting in the Shuttle parking area but he was not leaving for over an hour and he would not let us board to sit in the AC. It was 90 degrees and 85 percent humidity and we had been in the sun for 5 hours. There is NO shade in this place! So, Team Italy happened to be staying in the building nearby and they heard about our problem and let us in the watch some lacrosse with them while we waited for the bus to take us back to Wingate. We all laughed a ton and Drew will probably frame the shirt with the boot print!

Then we went back to Wingate to watch more of the championship games. We watched the Wales team play Puerto Rico and it was a tough game. Wales lost but the team was so positive and respectful it made me like them even more. Lots of the players remember me and the parents do too so it is fun.  

July 14

Today was the Sabbath so we were not allowed to play. So, we spent the day at Wingate watching games and Ball Boying instead. I got to ball boy for Canada versus Scotland and I was on ESPN! Thank you Logan and Suzanne for sending the picture to us!  







July 15

The next day was Sunday. We played two games. We lost our first one. I left after that game to go watch Wales because our schedule was running really late and the Wales team had specifically asked me to be there for this tough game against UGANDA! Who was I going to cheer for? I cheered for Wales but all of the fans cheered for Uganda too at the end. Team Wales won 18 to 1 but Uganda was exciting to watch. They were having so much fun! I got to have a picture with Team Wales again like I did in Denver in 2014. One of the players gave me is team bracelet. I also got to meet Number 12, the other Rhys! A lot of the guys remember me so it is really fun to see them again. Be’er Tuvia, went and had dinner with Team Israel who we have been hanging out with a lot so I know many of the players. I went to the Canada versus Team USA game and I was on ESPN a bunch along with the Jumbotron once. USA won it in the last seconds but it was a GREAT game.   

July 16


Today I decided to leave the team village. It was a big choice but the right one for me. I didn’t like it as much as I hoped. I am glad I stayed for a few nights but I did not like it as much as most kids. The kids there like staying up very late and eating junk food and it was not the right place for me to be. So, I will still be with my team all day but I will sleep in the apartment.  

Today my team, won our game! I scored the winning goal. It was fun! Then we went to the apartment and relaxed for a couple hours. It is really hot and I was not feeling great. Some air conditioning and a ton of water and I was better. We went back to Wingate for the Wales Netherlands game. It was a tough game but in the end, Wales won. When I got there the coaches gave me a Team Wales coach’s hat that is not available to the public. I love it! Then we had ice cream with the team parents and some coaches and now it is time to sleep, I have my championship game tomorrow.

Lots more soon! I will write more often now that I have internet access.


8 Responses to “Israel, Part 1

  • Wow looks like you are having a great time! I enjoyed reading your blog:)

  • Suzanne & Logan
    3 years ago

    Wow, sounds like you all are having a blast! Thanks for keeping the blog, it will be fun to follow you on your journey this year. You are very welcome for the picture, it was fun to see you on ESPN.

  • Tom Bieging
    3 years ago

    Great to be able to read about your adventures. Good luck in the championship game.


  • Janet Shown
    3 years ago

    You are making lifetime memories, Rhys! Thank you for sharing them with us. I really enjoyed reading about them and seeing the photos. That’s very cool that you are on ESPN! Someday, they’ll be showing those videos of you when you are on a world champion lacrosse team! I’m sending you high fives and Vesta is sending you high paws.

  • Beth Patrick
    3 years ago

    You have been incredibly busy! Love what you wrote and all of the pictures. Good luck in your championship game!

  • Good job on scoring the winning goal! Looking forward to hearing more about your travels.

  • Geoff and Lyndsi
    3 years ago

    Wow. You have been BUSY!! great to hear all about it. Good luck in the championship game 🙂

  • Wow, what an amazing summer you are having. I loved your blog post!

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