Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Halfway Through Term and Soccer Season Concludes

By Allen Page
Page, far right, with classmates in his backyard in Oxford.

Hi guys! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer! I know I mentioned this last time, but it is so strange to think that it is summer back home, not only because I am still in school, but also because the weather has remained essentially the same since I’ve been here – between about 55 and 65 most every day. I’ve heard reports that temperatures are beginning to creep up into the 90s back home.

Anyways, we are well into the term here, just past the midway point. It’s fifth week according to Oxford students, who describe each of the eight weeks of term likewise. It actually makes planning much easier – you don’t have to worry about dates when you know you have an engagement Tuesday of sixth week, or Saturday of eighth week, etc. It reminds me a bit of how, at Davidson, we refer to the highway exits not by the name of the road or town, but by the number. Mooresville isn’t Mooresville; it’s 36. Each place has its own idiosyncrasies, I guess.

School here has been moving along as usual – two classes a week, two papers a week. However, I must mention I had an off week this go-around and only had one paper. One would expect that the extra time would enable me to get ahead on work; in reality, of course, I actually procrastinated more than usual for my one paper and condemned myself to doing all the reading and writing in about six hours. I generally do not recommend this approach.

I still haven’t travelled too much, although I am planning to go with a few friends to Paris and the northern coast of France this weekend. We will actually get to see the beaches of Normandy and the American soldier cemetery on D-Day, which I anticipate will be really special and cool. I have been to London a few times in the last month, though. On one of the trips, we went to see a play performed at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (notice my nifty British spelling), which was very cool. It is an outdoor theatre with a big standing area, where we stood for 3 hours, much of which was in pouring rain, and watched. It was a really unique experience, and nothing like I had ever witnessed before.

Page at Stamford Bridge
The other trip, a few weeks back, was to see Chelsea play their last home game of the season. They were playing Newcastle, and true to Chelsea form (remember I am a United fan), the blues totally underachieved. The game ended in a 2-2 draw, with Newcastle snatching a late goal to pick up the point. I must say though, of the few stadiums I have now been to on this trip and a previous one (Old Trafford, Wembley, The Emirates, Stamford Bridge, Craven Cottage, Loftus Road, and Kassam Stadium), Stamford Bridge might be my favorite. We were crammed underneath an overhang in the end-zone section, but it was still very cool.

As most of you know, the soccer season is now unfortunately over. The Champions League final in London showed that Barcelona is still without comparison. I had hoped to get tickets to the game, but it was nearly impossible, and incredibly expensive too, so I had to content myself to watch in the Dew Drop Inn, a pub near our house where I have watched most of the games so far. All this watching has me itching to play again, and though I am thoroughly enjoying my time here, I’m also looking very much forward to getting back on the field with the boys!

Cheers for now,

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tutorials Commence, the Royal Wedding and Old Trafford

By Allen Page

Hi everyone! It’s been a little while since I last posted. Since then, a lot has happened! The main change is that term has finally started, meaning that all the students have returned to Oxford and that tutorials have commenced. In fact, I had my first one yesterday – and I have the rest of the week off, which is great. Of course, I still have to do a ton of reading (maybe even more reading than…. Davidson? – am I allowed to say that?). It’s so strange for me that my teammates are finishing school so soon, and the seniors are preparing to graduate while I still have half of a semester left!

This past weekend, Britain has been abuzz with the Royal Wedding, the marriage between Price William and Kate Middleton. The wedding took place last Friday, and thousands of spectators flocked to Buckingham Palace, St. James’ Park, and Westminster Abbey in London to try and catch a glimpse of royalty. I tagged along with a number of people in our group and made the early morning trek to London to get a good spot to witness the festivities. It involved a lot of sitting around, but it was pretty cool to see the Queen of England and the other members of the Royal Family, even if for a brief moment. Fortunately, despite the overwhelming presence of the Union Jack, I never forgot my dedication to good ol’ America.

Though I’ve got to visit a number of cool places around Oxford and London, one of the highlights of my trip so far was my recent trip to the Theatre of Dreams, Old Trafford, home of the self-proclaimed world’s greatest club, Manchester United. There, I got to see the Red Devils go up against Tim Howard and Everton. Indeed it was a glorious occasion, especially since I am a United fan! As the game played out, it seemed that they were destined not to score, but just when the fans were beginning to lose hope, the young and energetic Javier Hernandez, called “Chicharito”, scored in the 88th minute to go ahead! And my, my, did the stadium erupt. It was unlike anything I had ever witnessed firsthand! By the time the crowd had settled down, my throat and arms were sore from cheering for so long. The goal had huge implications for the rest of the season, as Manchester United is only leading the title race by three points. Getting to see a game at Old Trafford had been something I’d always wanted to do, and the experience did not disappoint!

Besides that game, I got to see Oxford’s local club, Oxford United, play twice. Both games were a lot of fun; both were full of goals. The first one saw Oxford drop a 2-0 lead to one of the top teams in League Two, Wycombe Wanderers, to end in a 2-2 draw. In the second game, which was their last home game, Oxford went down 1-0 to Lincoln but rallied in the second half to win 2-1. The team draws pretty good support from the city – not quite the 75 or so thousand that Manchester United gets, but still a good 7-9 thousand, depending on the game.

To my teammates, good luck on finals. To the seniors, congratulations for a diploma well earned. To the rest, enjoy the summer.


P.S. It can’t possibly be better weather at home than it has been here – if anyone tells you that England is cold, wet, and dark, don’t believe them! It’s only rained once for the month I’ve been in Oxford, and the temperature has hovered right around 60 for most of the time!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Live Blog: Davidson vs. Presbyterian (Baseball)

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The Wildcats' Roar live blog continues with baseball tonight. Mark Brumbaugh of the sports information office is at the keyboard, so follow along below and feel free to send in your comments and questions!

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