Keep Calm, It’s Competition Time!

‘Hustings’ or Debates (31/3/14)

I decided to help my Irish friend run for Welfare and Equality Officer here at UCD. As part of the campaign team, I went to ‘hustings’ to support my friend. Apparently, it’s not called a ‘debate’ when applied to student government, but it’s called ‘hustings‘. It lasted from 7pm until 9:45pm at night. It was a terrible choice on a school night, yet it was totally worth it for the experience.

It was definitely interesting to see how the student government worked on this campus. Not only do they have students who run for “part-time” positions while they do their degrees, but they also have “sabbatical positions” where students drop out of school for the year and get paid to be a student government representative full-time. Crazy. For part-time positions, they have “class reps” (for each major and each level of each major) and “convenors” (one for each school on campus). Then, for sabbatical positions, they have undergraduate officer, postgraduate officer, welfare & equality officer, and president.

It was pretty intense listening to all the candidates give their speeches for their position. Although the ‘debate’ was aired on the radio show, who knows how many people actually cared to listen. Most of the students at the actual ‘debate’ were just campaign teams, that’s for sure – especially obvious after half of the room left once the first half was over. It wasn’t much of a debate, it was mainly just people giving their speeches and then getting grilled by a small committee of people – most likely from the people hosting the husting itself (University Observer, LawSoc, L&H).

Still Learning (1/4/14)

It’s been difficult to sleep these days. I’m recording the amount I sleep per night and I found that I average 5-6 hours. Terrible. No wonder I can’t be as creative and as happy as I usually am, I don’t have the energy for that kind of focus. Time to set my schedule straight again!

So, I’m in love with my Brita filter water bottle still, but I’m really upset over the price of the filters. So, I tried to clean one and decided to microwave it to dry it. Bad idea. It decided to SET ON FIRE. Seriously. What?! I guess activated carbon will spontaneously combust when put in a microwave for less than 3 minutes. Thankfully, it was a small enough fire to just….blow out with a big breath. Lesson…learned? Ironically, our stupid apartment fire alarm didn’t go off during this ordeal, but goes off randomly at OTHER times. Seriously…WHAT?!

Tonight was the last trampoline practice before the big competition. I keep scraping my elbows away during the front drop. Terrible. Though, I think I definitely have the routine down for the competition. SO EXCITED!!!!! Oh, and I bought a UCD Trampoline Club shirt. Funnily enough, I got one that says “coach” on it because it was the only small shirt left.

Onward to Belfast! (3/4/14)

Today was REALLY stressful. I had one class after another, after another, then I had a health appointment – which took half an hour of waiting before I could see the doctor, but thankfully I got out in 15 minutes. Then, I had to run back home (thankfully I had packed last night) and get my duffel bag to catch the DublinBus to city centre so my threesome of trampoliners could make our bus to Belfast.

Our 28-bed room at the Linen House Hostel.

It was surprisingly cheap to get a return ticket (round-trip) to and fro Belfast. It was only €22! It was a pretty long two hour ride into Belfast, but thankfully I slept most of the time. When we got there, the hostel was a good walking distance away (less than a mile) from the bus station. It was quite strange to get into, but we got in eventually. The trampoline club had booked us a 28-bed room in the hostel. It was insane how many bunk beds they managed to squeeze into such a tiny room. It was a good first night, considering there weren’t too many people in for the competition just yet.

The lights at The EG were awesome.

Later on that night, there was a meet and greet at The EG bar, a private event for ISTO participants only. It was great craic. At first, I didn’t want to go, but one of the trampoliners I met that night – for the first time – convinced me to go. I didn’t regret it, it was definitely fun. I ran into some random guy that night who was tossing around one of his fellow female teammates. It looked a lot like moves you’d do in ballroom dancing, so I asked him. Instead of answering my questions, I got roped into being tossed around myself. TOTALLY worth it.

The BIG Day (4/4/14)

Today started slowly, as we didn’t have to be at the competition location until afternoon. So, one of my trampoliners and I had woken up early that day, so we took a walk into town, to Tesco to buy some food/breakfast. It was seriously sad to see such a pretty building being used as a Tesco. Then, after getting some food in our system, we took a walk into town to go look around. We stopped by a thrift shop and I tried on some things, but they were all too big for me. The best part of our little walk was stopping by Ann Summers. Since they had one here, I just HAD to go in. Personally, I’d say it’s about as “upscale” as the Victoria’s Secret line back home, but I just like it better – I don’t know why.

The entrance to the Lagan Valley LeisurePlex where we had our competition.

After breakfast, we prepped for our novice competition day. Arriving at the Leisureplex was pretty intense. It wasn’t that fancy of a place, just a sports complex with a water park-type thing in it. I was SOOOO nervous. But, it all came tumbling down pretty fast.

During warm-ups before we even began the competition, I fell funny on my left ankle and everyone heard a big, loud crack. What happened? Just a bad sprain. Sadly enough, it was bad enough for me to not be able to compete. Major sadness. I was pretty depressed for at least an hour, after I accepted the fact that I couldn’t compete in the biggest trampoline competition of Europe. But, I bounced back enough to make it through the day. Despite that, I was definitely not in the mood to go out that night, even though the second half of our trampoline club had finally arrived at the hostel – after the novice competition.

Some of the lovely men competitors from UCD.

A Day of Wonder, A Day of Awe (5/4/14)

So, most people had stayed out late until 2am the night before, disturbing the rest of us who were already in bed – then staying up for another one or two hours after that. Despite that, the group managed to get out of bed and be out the door by 9am for the second portion of competition. Today’s competitors were the Intermediate, Intervanced, Advanced, Elite, and Elite Pro levels. They were quite interesting to watch, especially the Elite and Elite Pro levels. Not to mention, the awards for the whole competition got laid out so our eyes could feast upon the goal.

After a full day of competition, we went to Queen’s University Belfast’s student union bar for a 90’s themed party. I was surprised to find it was rather accommodating for such a party. It was quite literally as big as a small music venue, with a full bar and everything – much bigger than the pub on UCD campus. It was a pretty interesting night that night. Some of our trampoliners decided to get together and pull together a set of Spice Girls outfits. There were other people there in other strange and curious costumes. The odd one I saw was definitely a girl who decided to wear a princess ball gown with gloves and a tiara, as if she was going to prom. Other than that, everyone had pretty nice 90’s themed hairstyles and outfits. My friends and I went back to the hostel early, but we were woken up later on by the majority who came in after 2am, again and stayed up ‘till late.

A pair of synchro trampoliners.

Farewell, Belfast (6/4/14)

I’m still surprised that people manage to get out of bed and ready for competition by 9am this morning – again. Today’s competition was focused on DMT (double mini trampoline), Tumbling, and Synchro. All of it sort of happened all at once; it was insane. The DMT was definitely a new thing for me to watch. Here’s a video of one, sadly, I didn’t get one from our actual competition. Then, tumbling was rather exciting, as my friend (and “personal” coach) got second place in his Level 1 routine. It was also jaw-dropping to watch our parkour/free-running trampoliner dish out his Level 4 routine, despite the fact that he wasn’t awarded a medal. Then, there was my favorite: synchro. It’s amazing to watch people try synchro. Most people weren’t all that great at it, but when it was done well, it was amazing.

After the competition portion was over, the committee had a bounce house set up for us to play on after we did awards. Then, it was time for the journey home once it was all over.

Things I Learned “today”

  • The Irish call it “wool” never “yarn”.
  • Supposedly, middle name are given to people because in the olden days, people called their children by their middle names instead of their given names as the banshee (bean sidhe in Irish, meaning woman fairy, pronounced the same way) called for children by their first names, before they take the child away.
  • Apparently, the Dove chocolate company in the States is the same company as the Galaxy chocolate company in the UK and Ireland.
  • Never noticed this until it was pointed out to me, but Ireland doesn’t really have much of a drug culture. It’s JUST alcohol (as far as I can tell).

Words/Phrases of the Day

  • “in bocca al lupo” (Italian) = literal translation: “go into the wolf’s mouth”, slang for: good luck; their equivalent of “break a leg”. In response, you’re supposed to say, “crepi”/”may the wolf die”

More Pictures from ISTO 2014:

We had a “Sleeping Corner”, it was much needed, but used by only maybe 0.5% of the trampoliners. Most of us just slept in the bleachers.

This was our competition hall on the first day of novice competitions.

Just because I like this picture I took. =D

The Shield (for the best school), the glass awards, and the medals.

The giant bounce houses they set up for us to play on after the competition was over.

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