On February 15th, Lincoln Park returned to Mexico for the first time since the 80s, this year to Guadalajara. The squad left a cold Chicago at 6am and they were soon on their way to sunnier climes.
With many first time tourists in our midst, the players were soon kept busy enforcing Tour Rules as many amongst us fell victim to such heinous crimes as drinking from our right hand and overtly pointing.
On arrival in Mexico, we made our way to “The Compound”. Recent tours have seen Lincoln Park eschew the usual hotels and stay in villa style accomodation, a decision made all the more appropriate following the past clothing order of “budgy-smugglers”. I would not say the all-over body tan was visible as the skin tone of many merely turned white from translucent.
The first night provided us with our first taste of Mexican food as we travelled into the city for a team dinner and to celebrate the birthday of captain Boghani. It was here that we discovered the delights of tequila and Squirt.
Saturday was game day and we made our way to the Estadio De Rugby where we were welcomed by our terrific hosts, the Guadalajara Rhinos. In an exciting and close contest, played in temperatures approaching 90 degrees and at an altitude of over 5000 feet, Lincoln Park eked out a victory 38 – 29.
The after-match festivities proved our opponents to be wonderful hosts in the true traditions of rugby. Beer and conversation flowed and we were served the most delicious tacos. We also learned a couple of new celebrations that we may import back to our own post-match festivities here in Chicago.
Players from both sides swapped stories and t-shirts. A lesson learned the hard way was to accept a tequila pour from the opposing team President.
It is here that we must thank two of our LPRFC family members now residing in Guadalajara, Kyle and Kelsey Toombs for opening their home to 25 smelly ruggers to shower and clean up for a night out.
The players from the Rhinos met us in town and together the two teams continued to foster our new friendship over a couple of quiet drinks (at least I think it was only 2). The people of the city were said to have seen an unusual number of dead ants underfoot.
Sunday gave us the opportunity to experience live Lucha Libre wrestling. With us occupying the first two rows, the good and bad were cheered and booed as they launched themselves off ropes and onto opponents.
As energy levels dropped, we made our way to the town of Tequila on Monday afternoon where we were given a tour of the Gran Orendain distillery to learn how the sweet drink we had been consuming for the past few days was created.
Monday night was a team night at the Compound as crimes and misdemeanours of the stay were judged in Kangaroo court (the details of which must remain under seal).
Tuesday we came home to the snow.
Given that we made new friends and we all made it home, this latest expedition can be considered a tremendous success.
Many thanks to all that made it a success. Kyle and Kelsey Toombs for opening their home and acting as our guides. The Rhinos for their hospitality. Our caterers at the Compound who provided us with a tasty and filling breakfast every day and personalised the water bottle and snacks for us. And finally, to Jordan Ehlert and Ryan Mullen for their planning