Food, folks, and fun in France. And a football game as well.
Baker University participated in an American football festival last weekend in Besancom, France, toppling McGill University of Montreal, Canada, 34-14 Sunday.
The trip was a memorable experience for the Wildcats.
"It was a big opportunity for us," Baker wide receiver Jimmie Rose said. "The trip gave us a whole different aspect of people and the world."
Wildcat head coach Charlie Richard enjoyed the trip as well.
"If you could write a script for the ideal trip and have everything be perfect, this was it," Richard said. "Everything went as planned and we had no problems. The way people treated us was unrealistic, because they were so receptive to us."
The team left Baldwin on Thursday and arrived in Paris on Friday.
"It was crowded in Paris," Rose said. "People were crazy. They would drive up on the curbs and everything you could imagine."
THE WILDCATS participated in numerous activities with players from McGill, a school with an enrollment of 31,000.
"We toured the wineries and salt mines and other places," Rose said. "Everything we did was with McGill. They made us mad because they were bragging about how they were going to beat us. I'm glad we beat them because of that, and, plus, I was tired of looking at them."
The game itself was an experience for Richard.
"In my 30 years of coaching, this is one of the highlights of my coaching career," Richard said. "From the standpoint of the fans and the atmosphere of the game, it was exciting. There were nearly 6,000 fans in the stadium. The crowd would have chants throughout the game while play was going on.
"Eventually the chants developed into 'USA' versus 'Canada', so it made us feel that we were not only representing Baker University, but the United States in a way also."
"Afterwards, we spent another two and a half hours signing autographs and exchanging T-shirts and hats with the people."
ROSE TURNED in a fine performance after a stellar junior year. The wideout caught touchdown passes of 34 and 51 yards from Tim Sheldon and also delivered a 30-yard touchdown pass.
"I really looked forward to impressing the Europeans," Rose said. "I couldn't wait to play. We had a lot of fun afterwards until LeRoy (Brown) and I threw up. We were out until 6 in the morning at the victory parties."
"It was an experience of a lifetime," Richard said. "It was fun to play the game and win, but the trip won't be remembered so much from the standpoint of the game as much as the educational standpoint. McGill had curfews and watched films, whereas we let the kids get as much from the trip and enjoy the opportunity."
Even eating turned out to be an experience.
"The food was great," Richard said. "They would serve four to five courses every meal."
However, Rose wasn't satisfied with the food.
"It was terrible, at least to me," he said. "I just ate bread and water. The croissants and rolls were all I ate."