Darla goes to the Final Four, plays in the Charm
City Lacrosse Classic and road-trips to NY!
By Darla Burns

Philadelphia is, hands down, one of my favorite cities. We go there every year for the Coaches Convention and the occasional Crease Monkeys Reunion/Wings game. The pubs are second to none. There's an extra large H&M on Market Street and Cheez Whiz Cheese Steaks off of Passyunk. If you've been to Philly, then you are aware that the stadiums are, unfortunately, off the beaten path. Baltimore's M&T Stadium is a short walking distance to B'more's many pubs and that was my only real criticism of the Final Four venue this year. There were very few "host bars" not that I am promoting drinking, but a gathering place to see old friends, have dinner and report on the day are one of the many hiccups we are going to have to overcome. Basically what I am saying is that Philly's got the potential, but until then, there's no place like home.

At 7:30, bright and early on final four Saturday, a busload of us, many new faces, met at Lax World in Towson to board the charter bus organized by owner Jim Darcangelo and A.T. Bailey. Our group, compiled of Jake Rogers, Nick Ruocco, Courtney Stringer (what… do you know her?), A.T., Dan Galvagno and Allison Gunn rode shotgun on a bus with a driver who right away let us know he was a recovering alcoholic (check please!). It was smooth sailing as we arrived in the parking lot of Veteran's Stadium in an hour and a half flat. We set up camp and I ate lunch twice by 10 a.m. Throughout the day, Dan G. worked on his tan on just his toes while I worked on mine on the right side of my face. Throughout the day, we discovered new games to keep us giggling like "who can toss the Styrofoam plate the furthest without going out of bounds." Don't even ask me what the out of bounds consisted of. Unfortunately we were having such a great time with this soon to be "fastest growing sport on the East Coast" that we cashed in our tickets for both games, one being a nail biter, I heard, so that we could all witness Allison win the first ever National Championship of the game I have entitled, fittingly, "Plates".

Quietly seething from my loss at Plates, I decided to head over to the Crease Monkeys Tent with Erin Sturgis and Courtney.

Ed Fay and other cool cats were keeping it real under the Monkey Tent. We drank some fun Lemonade and made merry with the locals. It was a celebratory time until the heavens opened up and poured a large bucket of water over Philly. That's right, a torrential downpour, without warning came in and scooped me from under the tent in tornado fashion and had me gripping for dear life horizontally by a pole. That's when Scotty Joyner got out the bowls. By the way is it just me or am I getting shorter? Speaking of height alterations, doesn't T.R. seem taller without the hair?

Luckily Scotty Joyner had an extra pasta dish (?) to keep my W.O.P. hair at bay. Once I thought the rain had subsided, I tried to make my way back to the Lax World Winnebago when nature's wind played a sick joke on me and smacked me into a neighboring Dukie Winnebago. I hit my head nice and good, and, for a minute or two , I wasn't in Philly anymore. They fed me cookies and beer and it was good. Thanks, Dukies.

I was welcomed back to the Lax World Winnie by the ever so dreamy Nick Ruocco and the Terror Squad backed by A.T. and crew. We were the only party going on in the lot. Apparently everyone else was at some game.

After several hours, we learned that Hopkins won by a hair, and it was time to board. No yelling on the bus was allowed. On a high from the game, the kids in the back were going crazy and poor Dan G. got picked on by all of them. Serious flashbacks of my days at summer camp followed when I got poison oak all over my bum and the kids made fun of me because I kept itching it at roll call. So basically the ride home was a different one as we were all gitty. When we got home we realized we left some minor things, including Courtney. Luckily, I learned later she was put up by Scotty and co., probably with my pasta dish on her head. I am happy to report that she arrived home safely and her car was NOT towed from the Lax World parking lot.

Speaking of cars being towed, I would like to give you a full report on the Charm City Classic but seeing as how my car was towed, I only made it to the game against Wales. However, the game was chockfull of excitement. I overheard one of the onlookers saying he felt like he was watching a Harry Potter movie because of all the accents flying around. I laughed so hard that unfortunately it cost us a goal, due to my lack of concentration on my girl. After, we went to the Gin Mill for a last hoorah before it's new owner took over and the party for the classic took place. Lacy Pica, Court, myself and Stringer Senior hooked up with the loge. It was cold. It was real cold. There was some really great band there that would make my deaf mother dance, and everyone seemed to have a great time.

Thanks Jim H. for a great tournament and holding it all together despite being bumped off the Patterson Park fields at the last minute by the city to accommodate a Latino Festival. Hopefully next year the tournament will be back in the city and the Ukranian Festival won't fall, out of the clear blue sky, on the same weekend.

The Fourth of July weekend needed to be celebrated intensely, so a group of us went to Keuka Lake in upstate NY for a relaxing camping vacation. Havoc was wreaked as always, but it was a good time. I set up our tent while the previously mentioned and dreamy Nick watched. We pontooned it to "The Switz" as the locals called it and did some wine tasting on Bully Hill. Exquisite Pinot Noir I must say. I tried a lot of new things, one of them being an armadillo sandwich. Labor Day weekend I plan on eating Buffalo. Good luck to me. With this in mind, I have to make a point to say thanks to Joe Driscoll and his wonderful mom, Josine for letting us camp out on their front lawn.

Last but not least, I ventured to Mineola on Long Island to celebrate my cousin Christine's 30th, GnR style. My cousin Lisa, Missy and Aunt Pat, or "Doll" as the cousins call her, watched Christine rock it out on stage with Axl. Unfortunately it was not the real GnR, but a tribute band and an overweight Slash. What a summer! And it's only half over. Well I guess the next time I see you it will be in O.C. The Girls in Black look to make their third and possibly final run at the championship ring. Unfortunately, the Green Turtle, MR Ducks and a few others may stand in the way of our dreams. The bars, not the teams.

Sparky Out

July 15, 2005


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