Jacques van Schalkwijk wrote a journal about the trip of 2016.
Already the 30th edition of the tournament took place in Gillingham, Engeland, from the 25th to the 28th of March. Three teams (including coaches and supporters) left on Friday in two touringcars for Great Britain. After a prosprous journey we arrived, a bit earlier than planned, at our destination, were we received a warm welcome. After exchanging hugs and kisses to and from friends and acquaintances and eating an enormous amount of hambugers, chicken nuggets, chips and other delicacies, our children were centrally appointed to their host families in a nice manner. The supporters en coaches additionally checked in into the hotel that was arranged for them. They were free to go wherever they wanted that evening, bust most of them went to bed early, because the next morning they had to get up early for the paintball event.
On Saturday the children were brought to the hotel by their host parents, from where the touringcars drove to Mayhem, the paintball facility. The parents and supporters who were not participating in the paintball event could spend their day/evening all by themselves. Most of them went to London where they, so we heard, a very good time. And so did the ones that went paintballing!
All day long the boys, devided in four teams (blue, red, black and green) fanatically were shooting at each other. There was no absolutely mercy to anyone and pseudo conflicts were fought out in sublime surroundings. In forests, fortresses, open fields with hay stacks, small wooden houses and car wrecks and unimaginairy amount of paint bullits were fired at each other. Eventually, after six games, a winner had to be determined in a barrage in an open field with hay stacks. In the end it was the red team who, well earned, claimed victory. After a short trip to the hotel the children were picked up by their host parents around four o'clock local time en after a long shower and a short meal the adult paintballers were free to fill in their evening. I can tell you that for some of them it became late that night (or came home early, depending on the way you look at it). In any case, everybody enjoyed themselves enormously.
Sunday started early, because this day the football tournament was scheduled. The under 12 team started very well with a victory and a heavily fought draw, but unfortunately had to meet their better opponent in Thamesview under 12 in the last match, wich counted for the exchange cup competition. They lost their match with 1-0. Not fair, for some of us, because an OSM goal was disapproved, but hey..... that's football too.
Our D1 (under 13), to be titled as our most talented group, met their expectations by winning the first two matches and also their third match for the exchange cup competition with 0-4! With very good cooperative skills and lots of sportivity this team realy made an impression.
The under 14 team also started off well. The first match resulted in a 1-1 draw on a pitch that was transformed into a mudpool after heavy rainfall. After a short but heavy hailstorm, the match was postponed for 15 minutes, 5 minutes after starting. When the game continued the pitch was even worse, which lead to slippery situations and foul gameplay. After a skirmish in the second half, afterwards regretted by all parties, the match resulted in a big loss. The final, decisive match for the exchange cup also was lost due to lack of concentration caused by the high adrenaline level from the pervious match. Although a draw was enough to take back the cup to The Netherlands, the match was lost with 4-0, but Thamesview under 14 played a magnificent game. The exchange cup went, after being in The Netherlands for six years, over to England. Well earned by the way, but it will make the challenge for next year more interesting, especially becuase we will have an extra surprise for next year, but more of that later.
After having played a wonderful tournament, the adults went back to the hotel and the children to the host families for diner (ad a hot shower). The evening was reserved for a giant party, including the presentation. A what a party that was!
All children, tall and tiny, English or Dutch got together to play, dance and sing. Best of all was, that after the presentation, in wich all players received a medal and the winning teams (including our D1) a large cup, that looked like the Dutch cup, the boys sang each other songs. OSM'75 playes sang "Thamesview-Thamesview" and Thamesview players sang "OSM-OSM". The party was closed with community singing "You never walk alone" out loud. After the party everybody went back to the hotel/host family, some went to a spontaneously arranged afterparty here-and-there.
Monday morning, after breakfast, all children were brought to the hotel by their host families, where they said goodbye to eachother, some of them very emotionally. Friendships for life were made this year. After a weekend full of sport, culture and other activities, the journey back to The Netherlands started. With a two hour delay (the port of Dover was closed due to a storm), the party arrived at OSM, exhausted, but satisfied. And after a few handshakes, hugs and kisses everybody came honme safely. We think they slept like babies that night.
Oh. To keep a promise. We already noted that we have an extra surprise and that is this: From the 31st edition of the tournament we will be introducing an extra cup: The veterans cup!
So an extra game will be played between parents/coaches of Thamesview against OSM'75 (7 against 7 on half a pitch) at the end of the tournament. More specific details will follow.
We would like to close with a word of gratitude for all who contributed in making our journey succesfull. All involved, from OSM'75 but especially form the Thamesview side, big efforts were made to make this 30th edition to run as smoothly as it did. Special thanks to all host families, who not only opened their homes, but also their hearts for our children. Everybody has had a wonderful time, no negative sound was heard. It might be hard, even impossible to organize a tournament next year, that is equally succesful as this year, but rest asure: we are certainly going to do our utmost best!
On behalf of the children, parents, coaches and others involved from OSM'75: Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
Erwin Wildschut, Rick Cats en Jacques van Schalkwijk