Larry the legend comes to Ireland

Posted By: MakenzieBurud
Posted On: November 12th, 2017
Attending: Letterkenny Institute of Technology

If you know my dad, Larry, at all then you would know he is pretty legendary. His mustache. His famous one liners. His dance moves. His love for Stella. The fact that he never missed one of my college basketball games. It is no surprise that my dad received the nickname, “Larry the legend.”

When I was about 19 years old, I caught the “travel bug” as people like to say, when I decided to get on a plane to Australia by myself and live there for two months. Since then, I have been to 12 countries, with a goal to get to 30. Each time I would travel, my dad would say, “well better you than me, as I don’t have much desire to leave the U.S. at this point in my life.” Well, when I was accepted into the Sport Changes Life program to play basketball, I knew my dad would definitely be leaving the U.S. to come visit me. After some much convincing and planning, my dad and his best friend Gordon- aka Gordo, made plans to come visit me for Halloween Break. I could easily spend a whole separate blog on how much I love Gordo and his unwavering support of me and my family. He is my second dad and I am so blessed to have him in my life. So once I knew my main men were coming, I spent several days perfecting our itinerary, trying to give them the trip of a lifetime.

When I met the boys in Dublin, we got the rental car, and from that moment forward it was a crazy adventure. My dad had to not only get used to driving on the other side of the road, but other side of the car as well. Surprisingly, we only ran into two things! My dad and Gordon were amazed by how narrow the roads in Ireland were. We started our adventure in Dublin, where we did a tour of the Jameson Factory and the Leprechaun Museum. From there we road tripped to the world famous Cliffs of Moher, where the view was absolutely breath taking. We spent the day walking along the literal edge of the cliffs! We then made our way towards Galway, but stopped in a small surf town (which I was crying because I wanted to be out there surfing) Shortly after arriving in Galway, my dad, Gordon, and I immediately knew this was our favorite place. Galway has a charm like no other city I have ever been to with quaint streets, shops, pubs, and colors. When you think of Galway- you think of Ireland. We found the bar Ed Sheeran filmed his “Galway Girl” music video at and walked along the Salthill Promenade. We all had a real hard time saying goodbye to Galway. After Galway, we began the long journey back to my home, Letterkenny! My dad and Gordon stayed with our amazing landlord Ed, and the three of them instantly had a bromance. We went to Derry for the Halloween Parade, which is an absolute must see. We went to Malin Head, the most northernly point in Ireland. We went to the highest sea cliffs in Europe, Slieve League. We went to Grianan of Aileach, an ancient fort on a hillside. We went to the stunning blue flag beaches around Donegal. Larry and Gordon were blown away by how beautiful Letterkenny and the County of Donegal is. It was the best feeling in the world to watch them admire this beautiful place that I get to call my home.

Easy enough to say that we had the best 10 days ever. Each day was filled with something new and exciting. My American family got to meet my Irish family, and it was surreal to watch the two come together. While the trip was amazing, my favorite part is the fact that my dad got to see me play basketball one more time. Something I for sure thought would never happen again. My dad would drive four plus hours twice a week to see me play college basketball, and he never missed a game. I think my dad has missed maybe two games since I started playing basketball at age 5. My dad and I have always bonded over basketball, and all throughout my life we would spend so many hours in the gym together. My dad would play defense on me, time me for sprints, and I can fully credit him for teaching me the jump shot I still have to this day. So you can imagine how happy my heart was to be playing Irish basketball, and look out in the stands and see my dad. It was so soothing to my ears to hear him yelling out encouragement and constructive criticism. You see, when my dad is in the stands, I tune everyone out and solely listen to him. He is the most important voice in the gym, and the voice I respect the most. We lost our game, but all that matters is that my dad got to see me play one more time. A year ago when basketball ended, I was heartbroken not only because I would miss basketball, but because I knew a huge part of my dad and I’s relationship would be different without basketball. However, seeing him in the stands, giving him the biggest hug after the game, and him whispering in my ear, “I’m so proud of you,” reaffirmed that with or without basketball my dad will always be my number one fan. And if that isn’t legendary, then I don’t know what is.

Needless to say it was a trip of lifetime with two of the most important men in my life.

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