Barcelona Bandits Welcome Babson Expat!
Post by Jonathan Obadia
Barcelona abroad is an experience with a certain predisposed image: It is no secret the city is a hub of the extended nightlife lifestyle. Awareness of this perception inspired me to seek an opportunity to submerse myself with the native Catalan people; a difficult process considering the rudimentary level of my Spanish speaking ability. (No harm in trying!)
Working with my strength, I contacted the Barcelona Bandits Lacrosse Club when I arrived in Barcelona. The club welcomed me to join the team’s practice at the University of Barcelona. The team dynamic was diverse: Two thirds were Catalan citizens and one third were new immigrants from western counties. I played with two other Americans, a slick Canadian attackman and a great English goalie. After the first practice I was invited to play with the team in the Spanish Cup across the country in Bilbao, Spain. What an experience!
The journey west was 8 hour long. On our way we stopped in Logrono for a cultural lesson in Pinxto’s. The 50+ taperia bars which lined the streets exceeded expectations.
Arriving in the Basque country was unique. Red and green flags were ubiquitous. On Saturday morning the games began. We cruised through our first round of games against Bilbao, Valencia, and Madrid’s B team. On Sunday morning we battled with Seville in the semifinal to a close bout but we were able to prevail. At 2PM we faced Madrid in the championship game. To this day I have never played in a game with more passion and pride on the line. Players were diving for ground balls. The Catalan Castilian rival was vivid. When all was said and done the Barcelona Bandits efforts came up short. No championship for us, but a great experience none the less.