by Lauren Feeney
Ever seen a group of girls and thought they looked basic? Ever seen 20 girls walk out of an Argentinian market wearing patterned scarves around their necks and ponytails? Well, when they are 12 pesos, it’s a VSCO girl’s dream. For anyone who does follow my VSCO, (@laurenyvonnef) I apologize, as we did something new everyday that required a picture out of respect for that magnificent culture and beauty that was Buenos Aires.
We went to a variety of markets, a ranch (peep the horse photos), a bike tour to get a closer look at national gardens and statues, experienced an authentic Tango performance and of course, WINED and dined. The ranch experience was so amazing that every member of our team was hiked up on a horse for the ranch tour, which was followed by an Argentinian BBQ that even swindled our “vegetarian” Coach T to indulge.
Even though most of the Argentinians we met didn’t speak much English, a combination of elementary Spanish and basic human kindness ensured that every day was amemorable one. For example, we played three competitive matches against Argentine field hockey clubs and afterwards we were invited into their clubhouse for pizza and beer! We were cheering with our former opponents, exchanging Instagrams (and VSCOs) and dancing (BU has never been so inviting…)
And when a nationwide power outage seemingly cancelled a day’s activities, our bus driver, whose daughter thought we were American celebrities, recommended that we see an authentic Tango, which ended up being one of our most fun nights.
This idea of “togetherness” was our biggest takeaway from the trip. The highlight of the trip to Argentina was when our team visited Fundación Baccigalupo, a foundation that encourages disabled individuals in Buenos Aires to engage in sports. The idea of the foundation is to integrate those with and without disabilities to come together to participate in sports. Our day with the foundation started with us doing a few ice breakers, making funny faces and warming up with the group. We then walked through a full stretch, trying our best to mimic the instructor, and gesturing to our new friends to help them also mimic the stretches. We did some passing, shooting, and finished the session with a scrimmage that we all participated in. Despite the language hurdle, communication was still strong; there was laughter, yelling when it got competitive, and a LOT of smiling.
In these moments, I wasn’t thinking about stats or playing time, we were just playing. The group that we started with, shy and quiet at first, ended the night yelling, laughing and giving out hugs. Their energy was infectious, and that feeling left a more permanent mark on us then the stamp on our passports.
No one was thinking about being tired from Rose en Rio the night prior, or the fact we hadn’t eaten in 6 hours, but ignited by the positivity that they were giving us, and the hope we gave them. We had made such an impact on them that they sent us a medal of honor called the “Campeon de Corazon” which translates to “Champion of Heart.” Receiving this medal meant that we would have to carry this impact and this energy from this experience and keep it close to our team. It was so inspiring that starting this preseason, we named a weekly honor of “Champion of Heart” to be awarded to the player who distinguished themselves that week for performance, commitment and unselfishness, the core values to “Our Pack.”
From the Tango to the foundation, we had an unforgettable journey in Argentina, but that was only the beginning for our team. Our incoming freshman class joined us on this trip, which became a huge advantage for us. I can remember being introduced to the new members in the freshman class, skipping over that whole awkward onboarding process, and jumping right into a practice with our new team just a day before getting on a flight to South America. We had one of our most successful seasons in years, and it started in June when we were brought together for a weeklong excursion with our old and new teammates, sharing an experience between us all. There was no awkwardness when we returned to the field together on August 13th, we got right to it. On bus rides now, one person will throw in a hilarious photo or joke in the GroupMe from Argentina, like “does this water have gas in it?” and our entire bus will die laughing. It was amazing, but even better was the lasting impression that the trip had on my senior season with the team. Our team shifted in a direction I hadn’t seen as a fourth year on the team, with the change of scenery creating a new dynamic and purpose, so we knew it was going to be our best year. And even as the program will move on without us seniors, I hope they don’t lose their “Campeon de Corazon.” But if they ever do need to find it again, just know it’s all saved on my VSCO.