Day 10 – A Day at Byron Bay

We started our morning with a drive from the hotel in Surfer’s Paradise to Byron Bay (which was about an hour and a half from where we were staying).

The day began with lunch at a great Mediterranean eatery followed by a hike up to the Byron Bay Lighthouse. This hike took us to the easternmost point of Australia, and overlooked all of the Byron Bay coast. After several photo ops and some impromptu swimming in the hidden lagoons, we headed back to the central part town.

For the next several hours, everyone wandered about either shopping or tanning on the beach. The beach was scattered with blue jellyfish, called blue bottles, which are technically a type of extremely dangerous portuguese man ’o war. A few members of the team can attest to the pain of their stings firsthand(aka the two of us). The small hippie town provided interesting shopping, like the Rainbow Store, and a variety of different cuisines as well as great Acai bowls.

Everyone enjoyed their free time and a chance to relax on our last day after all that field hockey and traveling! At the end of the day we drove back to Surfer’s Paradise for our last meal in Oz. It was an early night because we needed our rest before we had to get up at the crack of dawn for our journey back to New Haven.

(Written by Carol Middough ’18 and Kiwi Comizio ’18)

Day – 9 Surfin’ AUS

We awoke in Surfer’s Paradise excited to see if the town would live up to its name. Like always, the first indicator of how our day would go was breakfast. While it was no Travelodge Sydney, Vibe got the job done. After breakfast, we drove to the beach, where very stylish blue rash guards were distributed. Katie and Lily ended up in children’s larges and probably looked the best of all of us. We took our boards down to the beach, where we divided into two groups: those who had surfed before and those who hadn’t. In the latter group, we looked to our instructor – face coated in zinc and all – for instructions on how to get on the board and stand up.

We all found ourselves in our element doing different activities on the beach. While Jackie was busy shredding the gnar, most of us were either lying on the beach or falling in the water. The Dawgs spent a good 2 hours working hard in the water catching waves. Almost everyone was able to stand up on the board! (which was quite impressive for a first time surf). Post-surfing, we treated ourselves to ice cream before having what was one of our best meals in Australia (which happened to include more ice cream). We discovered that a thickshake is a milkshake with extra ice cream, making it the obvious beverage choice for those who didn’t get smoothies.

Adequately fueled for our game, we left to play the Gold Coast Hockey Club again. YFH fared better against them on night two, going back and forth with goals for and against. The Dawgs never gave up, and the final score ended up being a hard fought 7-4. With good efforts all around the Dawgs showered up and headed back to the hotel, looking forward to a trip to Byron Bay.

(Written by Alyssa Weiss ’17 and Cat Kurtin ’18)

Day – 8 Living in a Surfers Paradise

Hello from the sunny Gold Coast!

This morning started off with a little bit of free time in Brisbane. Some players went shopping, some got acai bowls, and some went to local museums. At 11 am, we packed up the bus for our final destination of the trip – gorgeous Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold Coast.

We arrived at 12:30 and, of course, went directly to the beach. After soaking up some sun, we had lunch with a beautiful oceanside view. We headed to the hotel, and everyone dropped their luggage to enjoy more free time. The hotel pool, a delicious coffee shop called Paradox, and a return to the beach were the destinations of choice.

After enjoying our Pam-alloted hour in the sun, everyone headed back to get ready for our game against the Queensland Hockey Association. One of the stronger teams we’ve played so far, the players were smart and skilled which made for a very fun and educational game. We are playing the same team again tomorrow, which should be another great game. After a hard-fought 4-1 loss, everyone was exhausted so we headed back and ate as much salad, pizza, and pasta as physically possible before passing out, because by now it is almost 11 pm and everyone wants to rest well for a fun day of surfing tomorrow!

(Written by Chaney Kalinich ’19 and Alex MacKay ’20)

Day 7- We Have A Thing for Ferry Boats

After consecutive days of spectacular Sydney breakfasts, we had high hopes that our Brisbane hotel would treat us just the same. Luckily, we were not let down. It was no Travelodge Sydney, but the Ibis Brisbane had an array of options for a tasty first meal of the day, including cheese-filled sausages (!!!) and delicious watermelon, the team’s favorite source of hydration, besides electro-mix, of course.

After a late breakfast, YFH embarked on our first adventure of the day, which took us on a ferry ride down the Brisbane River. The Dawgs filled the top deck, which treated us to an incredible view of the Brisbane skyline and a much needed breeze on this scorching summer day in Australia. Down river, we stepped ashore and set out to explore a market area along the water. A majority of the Dawgs didn’t get very far, though. The chic Coffee Club caught our eyes, and we stopped to fuel with delectable iced coffees and icy fruit frappes.

After half an hour or so, we set out to take the ferry back up river to return to the city center for shopping and lunch on our own. Unfortunately, the first ferry headed back was quite full, and only a few of us were able to jump on. The rest enjoyed conversation and (unknowingly) sunbathing while we waited for the next ferry headed our direction. By the time the next one arrived, a few of us who will not be named (Alex), had caught a few too many rays and were a couple shades rosier.

Nevertheless, we returned to our original dock swiftly to receive per diem for lunch. The Dawgs dispersed, some discovering fresh acai bowls overflowing with fruit and others enjoying trendy sushi spots. With the rest of our free time, many chose to explore the busy Brisbane shopping scene. The open air shopping mall was the largest we’d been to thus far, and we enjoyed having awhile to browse at our leisure.

Soon enough it was time to return to the hotel to prep for our final practice. We traveled back to the remarkable University of Queensland facility for a light practice in the afternoon heat, focusing on offensive skills, the defensive outlet and cleaning up penalty corner units. After a quick post-practice shower, YFH headed to another wonderful Australian meal, with selections of Philadelphia chicken, porterhouse steak, lamb salad, and a vegetarian bowl.
With full tummies, we headed back to our hotel. Some Dawgs went for a quick ice cream run accompanied by Conor, and finally, after a long, enjoyable day, headed to bed.

Signing off for now,

(Annina Zelkin ’20 and Tara Litjens ’20)

Day 6 -Koalas, Kangaroos & Dingos, OH MY

After some late night birthday cake fun, courtesy of Chaney, the 6am start to our final day in Sydney would prove a challenge for some. Naturally, YFH looked to their trusted breakfast comforts to remedy such an early start. After one or two long blacks and several bowls of watermelon later, we were ready for the day.

Minus a couple of lost passport scares (you know who you are), we boarded the plane, led by our inspiring commander, Conor. Compared to ours trans-pacific ventures of the previous week, the flight to Brisbane flew by and upon landing; the hot summer sun of Brisbane, Australia greeted us. We embarked on the journey that would be the highlight of the trip thus far: a visit to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. While the platypus and cockatoo were quite the spectacle, the masses flocked to meet and greet (and have a couple of pictures taken) with the koalas. Pam in particular to a liking to one of them.

Next we hopped over towards the Kangaroo enclosure where we encountered the most energetic, wild kangaroos!! After the majority of the team got their hands on their instagram-worthy picture of themselves holding the koala, we headed to lunch.

Then we officially arrived in the beautiful city of Brisbane with its futuristic skyscrapers and delicious food. We were utterly delighted upon checking into the hotel; the rooms were massive, the beds comfortable, and the company even better.

Finally, it was show time. We headed to the impressive brand new facility of University of Queensland. Gathering our biggest crowd of the season to date, even though we were oceans away from Johnson field. With the sun setting and the crowds gathering the YFH dawgs took to the field. It was a valiant effort by the whole team. We all competed hard against what was our toughest opposition to date. Carol Middough kept the dawgs in it with two spectacular goals. But alas, the dawgs fell to Queensland 3 to 2.

Side note: An example of how expansive the Yale network is was that one of the opponents was a 2008 Yale field hockey alum (Harriet Thayer). A Yale degree can literally take you anywhere!

The post game function, classically composed of sausage, cokes and Australian company, was warmly received and gobbled down by the hungry dawgs. Subsequent to the day’s once in a lifetime series of events, the tired dawgs boarded the bus and headed back to the hotel in pursuit of a good, long night sleep.

Signing off,

Your faithful freshmen,

(Holly Jackson ’20 and Bridget Condie ’20)

Day 5 – Game 2

We woke up and had a lovely breakfast at the hotel again, enjoying our sleep-in before leaving with Conor to tour the Sydney opera house. We had the opportunity to spend an hour there, learning about the incredible detail and thought behind the architecture of the building, which just about ten years ago became a UNESCO World Heritage site. Danish architect Jørn Utzon designed the building for an international design competition in 1955, and it was formally opened in October of 1973. Our guide took us through a few different, smaller theaters: some for musicals, some for plays and smaller productions. There were even two children’s performances going on at the Opera House while we were there, illustrating the wide variety of shows put on in the theatres. We explored the architecture of the Opera House and learned about its construction: the Sydney Opera House was constructed out of hollow cement pieces and steel beams to give it a modern feel. We also learned that the famous white sails of the Opera House actually form a circle, which made its construction easier. Furthermore, the Opera House is actually two complete buildings: the interior section which includes the actual performance rooms and the actual shell and framework of the Opera House that allowed the sails to be built.

After our tour, we headed over to the Pitt Street Mall, a nice open air shopping center. We had free time to peruse the Australian stores here. We ended up at a store called Witchery, an Aussie store with women’s clothing and accessories. For lunch we walked to The Canopy, the same place we had dinner our first night in Sydney, where they served us sandwiches with, naturally, a side of “chips.” Per usual, there was a rush to the coffee cart for some iced long blacks before we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our game versus University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

We ended up arriving at the venue early, so we went on an impromptu tour of the Olympic Park where the 2000 Sydney Olympics took place. We saw the main track and field stadium, now used for soccer and rugby matches, and also where the torch was held during the opening ceremony. Feeling inspired by the world’s greatest athletes, we headed to the Hockey Centre, a pair of two astro turf fields. On the Olympic Pitch, we scored 4 goals in the first half, and we ended up winning the game 7-2 against UTS. Assistant coach Jess even said from the sideline “this is the best hockey I’ve ever seen this team play” referring to our clean, quick passing sequences. Let’s just say our tour guide Conor wasn’t too happy to see his alma mater lose to us! We had a lovely BBQ with the UTS team after the game and got to chat with all the girls.

We headed back to the hotel after the BBQ, and rushed inside to put our equipment away because we wanted to surprise Chaney for her birthday! The Coaches acquired some delicious gluten free chocolate coconut mini-cakes called Lamingtons, an Australian delicacy and we lit a big 2-0 candle. It was a great way to end our last day in Sydney!

Signing off from Day 5,

(Brooke Reese ’19 and Camille Scheyer ’20)

Day 4 – A Cliff Walk to Remember

Today we got an early start, with a 7am breakfast. Australian breakfast fare has proven a highlight of the trip (our team loves food). In addition to the expected eggs and toast, our morning repast includes the ever-controversial Vegemite, roasted tomatoes, baked beans, and an amazing coffee machine (we REALLY love coffee).

After breakfast, we departed for the hockey pitch, where we blazed through an hour and a half practice. We say blazed because it was a true Aussie summer day – boiling hot.

After a short but productive practice, we grabbed a quick shower and boarded the bus. Following a two hour drive, we arrived in the Blue Mountains. Already hungry again, we stopped for lunch at the “world renowned” Paragon Café, famous for their coffee and artisanal chocolates. We enjoyed a streak frites, and a chocolate (or two).

After our hearty lunch, we had the opportunity to wander around the local town of Katoomba. We engaged with a few of the locals, and, more importantly, their dogs, while also browsing the shops.

Soon, it was time for the main attraction of the day: a “hike” through the Blue Mountains. Though the breathtaking views inspired a fear of heights in a select few who will not be named, we soldiered on, eventually arriving at a cascade, or a small waterfall. It was a rewarding end to the strenuous journey. It was made all the more rewarding when Pam, who can’t resist a good ice cream cone, purchased a “choc dip soft serve” (Australian lingo) for the entire team.

We’re looking forward to touring the Sydney Opera House tomorrow, as well as our match against UTS. Conor, our good-natured tour guide, attended UTS and has done his fair share of trash-talking, so we intend to beat them soundly.

Stay tuned for more adventures from YFH down undah!

Cheers mate!

(By Emilie ’17 & Steffi Katz ’17)

Day 3 – Game 1

We woke up to yet another sad and raining morning. However, this time was different. Spirits were not low because it was #gameday. Again #blessed with the Aussie continental breakfast, the members of YFH indulged in the vast array of breakfast options to prepare themselves for what was to transpire later that day on the Illawarra South Coast Hockey Association field.

At approximately 10 am, satiated from another joyous breakfast — where team members finally got the hang of their coffee orders — YFH departed for Wollongong. Our new bus driver Walter (Dez was no longer our loyal transporter) drove the Murray bus (whose rank is comparable to that of the trusted Academy back home in the US) down the winding, scenic route to the city of Wollongong, where we took in the lush green mountains and vast blue South Pacific Ocean landscapes. He even stopped at one point to allow the team in its entirety to step off the bus and take in the views and fresh air for a few sweet, sweet minutes. But time was a-ticking! We boarded the bus once again and continued our journey to lunch and hockey.

When we arrived in Wollongong, we stepped off the bus once again and embarked on a short excursion about the bustling metropolis that is Wollongong, until it was time for lunch. As we distanced ourselves from both the bus and the restaurant where we should dine, we crossed street after street, intersection after intersection, strolling past houses and shops and intricate window displays, stopping to talk about Australian rugby, circling back to the train station where we had begun our trip. Thereafter we sauntered over to Station Street Brewers where we would find a delicious buffet awaiting our arrival. We dined on sandwiches and fruit, drank smoothies and long blacks, and finished off our time at the unique venue with a group photo in front of the restaurant taken with several of those employees who had helped us. Afterwards we boarded the bus again to take us to an outdoor mall down the road, where players could peruse different shops while others had the opportunity to exchange that #cashmoney to the local Aussie currency (the dollar). From there, we embarked on the tail end of our journey to the Illawarra South Coast Hockey Association field.

When we arrived at the indoor and outdoor field complex, we were greeted with friendly and open arms. YFH players and coaches were directed to a building located between the two outdoor turf fields, which housed changing rooms on the bottom floor, and an open room upstairs. There we prepped for the game. Players put on their white uniforms, pulled back their hair into tight ponytails, got taped and treated by Jordo, and prepared mentally for the match that was about to ensue.

The “Friendly” was just that — friendly. After running through a shortened version of our usual pregame warmup, we lined up on the sideline closest to the benches, parallel to the players of the opposing team. As we walked the walk, matching up with the opposition as we would normally do in-season, there was however something slightly different. This time each player walking to the center of the field — paired with a stranger, soon to be a friend — carried in their hand a pin representing their own team, which they would soon exchange for a pin of the opposing team. This traditional exchange, new for most of YFH, was recognized as a special moment for us all.

The match began soon after the exchange, and after four 15-minute periods of free and fluid hockey, playing against an assortment Illawarra’s finest, and coach Jess Barnett (#traitor, but #greatgame), YFH finished ahead 2-1. After shaking hands once again with the other team, we cleared the field, headed to the showers, and finished with dinner in the clubhouse. The social with other players and coaches was both fun and friendly as we talked with Aussie natives about school and life down under. We even got to mingle with the New South Wales men’s indoor team, meeting some players who were members of the Australian Olympic team playing in Rio this past summer (2016). As dinner wrapped up, the president of the Illawarra South Coast Hockey Association spoke to us, thanked us for coming, and gifted a jersey — which represented the four hockey associations that had recently joined together to form the new coalition of clubs — to our associate athletic director, and honorary assistant coach, Jess Chrabaszcz. Our team captains, Kiwi, Tess and Carol, were the next ones to speak to the group. They thanked the players and coaches of the opposing team, and all others involved in the process, for helping to coordinate the match and for hosting us. Pam then spoke to thank everybody for their help and reciprocated the gift of jerseys to president and his colleague, as well as to one special player from the other team. Number forty one, Comfort, was named “played of the match” and received a Yale Bulldogs t-shirt.

Following the delicious meal and somber goodbyes from our new friends on the Illawarra team, we packed up the bus and headed over to the indoor facility to watch the New South Wales women’s team compete. A number of us sat and watched in utter amazement, marveling at their skill and speed of the game. Unfortunately, as the first half of their match came to close, so did our time at the Illawarra South Coast Hockey Association field complex. We exited the arena and boarded our Murray bus one last time for the day and began our trip back to the Travelodge hotel in Sydney, with yet another fun and exciting day #downunder in the books!

(By Katie ’18 and Lily Smith ’18)

Day 2 – A Luxurious Day at the Beach

Woke up to a sad and raining morning, spirits were low due to the knowledge that today was our coveted beach day. However, the amazing breakfast served with love brought us back, and we plunged into the Aussie continental. One particular player even had two FULL bowls of watermelon!! #hydrated

After breakfast from the gods we trekked to practice on our tour bus and played a strong 2 hours of Yale Field Hockey via 1v1s and the revival of our defensive/offensive corners. #watchoutaustralia. Spirits are high, the rain stops and we head to the beach.

Thankfully, the rain subsided upon our arrival at Bondi Beach #blessed. Before going out onto the sand, we ate lunch at a cute little beachside cafe, where many of us got deliciously crafted pitaya bowls and salads. Then, we trekked over to the shore and went in the water for a bit. We took some pics with the GoPros both in and out of the water by the amazing filmmaker Jackie Kisa #talented #humble. Many a wave threatened our existence but again, being the Yale FIeld Hockey team, we powered onward.

Then, Conor summoned us for our Coastal Walk to Coogee Beach (a light stroll). We hiked from beach to beach up stairs and over hills, stopping for photo ops too of course, for about 2 hours (unsure if it was 2 hours or 3 days; #littlehazy).After our 100 mile hike we finally arrive at the beautiful and seaweed plentiful Coogee beach for yet another GoPro session of joy in the waves.

At Coogee Beach, we ate dinner at another beachside restaurant. On our ride back to the hotel, we spotted bats that we (a select few) thought were birds. Back in the hotel, we slept well after a long, but fun day.

(By Jackie Kisa ’19 and Marissa Medici ’19)

Day 1 – Taking in the Sights

After finally arriving “down under” and promptly getting some coffee (which is, by the way, AMAZING in Australia) we loaded the bus and headed towards Sydney’s famous Harbor Bridge. Our tour guide Conor led the charge of all 25 YFH affiliates in our matching navy garb across the Harbor Bridge. We looked out over the Sydney Harbor and the view instantly made the 34 hours of travel worth it.

We then ventured down to the pathway along the water where we came upon some interesting street performers and stopped to watch. After that we settled into a restaurant near the water for a delicious lunch and enjoyed watching people and boats buzz by. Next we ventured to the steps of the renown Opera House where we took some great team pictures and marveled at the architecture. Then we took a lovely stroll through the Botanical Gardens and saw lilies that are native to Sydney. (Camille stopped to take pictures of every flower, channeling her mother, she claims).

After regrouping at the hotel, we had the privilege of practicing at the University of New South Wales’ beautiful turf field. Let’s just say that 36 hours of sitting made for a painful warm-up. So we shook out our legs with a game of “Capture the Dinosaur Eggs” (apparently the Canadian version of Capture the Flag, according to Jess). The Blue team won in a landslide victory with heroic performances all around (shoutout to Jess and Lily’s speed).

We finished up the day with dinner at a local restaurant near the hotel. Sydney’s food has yet to disappoint! Everybody collapsed into bed shortly after for our first night’s sleep in a bed in three days. Can’t wait to see what’s in store tomorrow!

(written by Tess Thompson ’18 & Kiwi Comizio ’18)