This is a copy of my text originally posted here: http://blogs.thehumanjourney.net/shapefile/entry/1
The purpose of this legendary journey was to participate in the Winckelmann Cup 2008 as part of the (rather international) team
The Winckelmann Cup is the Archaeology Football Worldcup and takes place every year in a different location.
The OA crew left Oxford at ca 9:45am on Thursday, July 3rd after piling into our beautiful grey hired minibus and collecting everybody one by one from a variety of locations within the city.
Once complete we started making our way towards Dover with Markus at the wheel, getting us to the ferry well in time.
The OA delegation!
Top row from left: Markus Dylewski (Graphics), Mike Donnelly (Fieldwork), Joseph Reeves (IT), Gary Jones (Geomatics); Bottom row from left: Anna Hodgkinson (Geomatics), Sergio Carvalho (Fieldwork), Rafael Martinez-Jausoro (Buildings).
Naturally, people wanted to ensure no weakness of stomach would take place on the boat and therefore the port's very own Burger King was destination number one.
After a "good" meal and some excitement from Joseph's side about all the VW vans in line for the boat which were all very nice and colourful, we were ready for some serious sea action.
As soon as we got aboard and the compulsory Dover-White-Cliffs shots had been taken, the first bottles of "Juice" were to be consumed by those lucky enough not to drive on that day. Juice, to be quite precise refers to beer and was one of the vital ingredients for a day's worth of fun, especially appreciated by the Scottish side of the team. The boardshop proved to be less exciting than expected, but time and fears from setting one's foot onto French soil had to be used up, before the journey off the ferry could be risked.
Off the boat, our journey took us through four different countries - that's five in one day ;-) - quite impressive, really: France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany, where we finally stopped and spent the night. Markus' parents were so kind as to let a horde of archaeologists step through their gates and drink their beer... We got pizza from a shop nearby and had some fun chatting to Markus' friends and brother.
The next morning was a bit headachy and getting out of bed was not so happy... but we made it and yet again boarded the minibus which was to carry us to the Czech Republic. This leg of the journey was longer than expected due to Markus' clever GPS which had the tendency to request U-turns rather than re-calculating the route. After a long stop in Chemnitz (East-German city still awaiting some serious development) and a tour through the centre of Prague which ensured the compulsory sight-seeing to be covered ;-)
We arrived in Podoli just after 8pm, after following random instructions and finally finding a way to the sportsgrounds via a field of sunflowers.
(this is not Podoli, by the way, but similar.)
Tent City was almost completely erected by the time of our arrival, awaiting just the addition of OA's Cardiff Dragons' tents.
The team was complete with the actual Cardiff delegation, and so the first night was simply spent celebrating everyone's arrival. We missed the opening ceremony, and therefore needed to catch up on getting to know everybody over Czeck Juice, the price of which is very different from that available in the UK.
For me it was surprising and fun to meet up with some of the guys I went to university with in Berlin (HU) "back in the day" and who had come to play as well. Gladly, as we found out, we were not in the same group as them! There was a hog roast, the remains of which were plundered by the team from Würzburg and the heads placed onto stakes just outside their tents.
Saturday morning, getting up was painful and with the sun beating down onto the tents, turning each of them into a roasting tin, heads were sore, and not just from that. Breakfast consisted out of *proper* bread, cheese and meat and coffee, good for some, not so great for others, but everyone seemed grateful for some food. After breakfast the team gathered:
Nick, Ian, Martin, Nao and David from Cardiff joined us, and we ended up having a good selection of substitute players. The unfortunate thing was that Nao has been playing football practically all her life and I haven't. It is compulsory for every team to have at least one girl on the pitch at all times and due to the fact that I had to substitute for Nao, the chances for scoring went down by quite a percentage...
Our first match on Saturday was against a German team in green t-shirts and was won by us - well, I was in the field for a grand total of 3 minutes, at the end of the second half. It must be mentioned at this point, though that each half consisted of ten minutes.
We won this match with a lot of glamour, same as the second one, in which I was allowed onto the pitch a bit longer.
some more action shots:
The last match in the qualification series was lost against the only Polish team. Did I mention that most of the other teams were German, as the Winckelmann Cup originates from there? There was one team from the US and another from Italy and a few other nations were represented as well.
The fact that we lost against Poland did not matter too much, as we had won the first two which qualified us for the eigth-finals which were to be played that very evening.
Every match was a challenge for Joe, as he *insisted* on a different hairdo per match. A shame that there was no best-hair award to be won.
Some floral bits and pieces were added to the ensemble afterwards.
Throughout the day some minor injuries were acquired by several of our players and took them off the pitch temporarily or indefinitely. Tears were not involved, but pain and grief - as in proper football... People either recovered with the intake of juice, painkillers or cigarettes, or promised to sort themselves out once back under the caring grasp of the NHS.
We played our eigth-final match against the notorious BFC Spartacus Berlin. This bunch of tough boys did attempt to tire us out, but the hardiness of the Dragons did not fail and it came to a penalty-shootout which we, quite unfortunately, lost. It was not that nobody accepted Spartacus' victory, but rather the fact that they, over the years, had become quite infamous for their style and there have been rumours that their team might not be represented by the number of archaeologists required for a "legal" team... The fact that they made it to the final did not make it any better...
The longest match of that day was our friendly against the above-mentioned "Würzburgers" who bet us something like 30:2. Good job nobody was watching!
That night everybody gathered for some late-night football and drinking action which lasted rather long and produced new friendships and some headaches on Sunday morning.
Sunday, the final day proved to be just as exciting as the others, as it was the day for a) friendly matches for those teams who did not qualify or lost in the eigth-finals and b) the quarter-, semi- and *finals. We won one of these matches and lost against a team consisting almost in its entirety from girls.
Here's Nao in her element. She and Martin were later off-hired to Spartacus Berlin to play for them in the final due to their goal-scoring abilities.
Even I was allowed to wear a colour other than yellow, as the Würzburg team lacked a girl and thus I supported their numbers in a couple of matches. I even happened to kick the ball in the right direction once or twice...
The Würzburg team consisted about half-half from Würzburg Uni-students and archaeologists from a small archaeological unit associated with the university.
A special team who had arrived with the aim of gaining the so-called "Uschi-Cup", the award for the team who were most fun, were the Latene Lovers, Leipzig. These guys came dressed in pink t-shirts, equipped with drums and all sorts of other noisy equipment, and cheered for their favoured teams during the matches. Their support was greatly appreciated and I do hope they won this award!
We managed to pack most our things before the final, a spectacle which was observed and enjoyed greatly by everyone. The teams involved were the above-mentioned Spartacus Berlin and Maradona Napoli, with Nao and Martin representing the Cardiff Dragons under cover. This arrangement made it quite difficult to cheer, as we really favoured the Italian team, but wanted to support our teammates too... And nobody would have wanted to clash with Berlin's number 8 - I think he managed to gain himself 2 (is that possible - there shows how much I really know about football) yellow cards and fouled a player from the opposite team rather nastily.
Napoli won, so there was a great deal of cheering from the fans who had been sitting and standing around the pitch and then crowded on the same to congratulate the happy winners.
Unfortunately, the Cardiff Dragons could not afford to stay for the award ceremony which took place after the final, as our journey back was going to be a long one.
We made it to place 15 out of 30ish, a result which made us happy. Maybe next time, with a little more training, the Cardiff Dragons could make it to the final?!
The trip proved to take even longer, people requiring stretching breaks to cure their stressed limbs rather often and it was not until 11pm that we made it to a service station near (Kassel) where my brother collected me to take me home for a few days.
My part of the journey ends here, the rest of the OA part of the team, now including Nick and Ian, made their way back to Oberhausen, where they enjoyed a grand total of 3 hours of sleep, left Markus behind, and got back to Oxford the following day.
This trip was an exciting, very enjoyable and sporty adventure, unforgettable and, in short, fantastic! I think I am not the only one to say -
Bring on Winckelmann Cup 2009!!!!!
(in Bamberg, Germany)
Photos by: Anna Hodgkinson, Joseph Reeves, Sergio Carvalho