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  • Jamie Smith

MSFC Away Day in Kaohsiung

The weekend of March 12th saw the Mighty Shane lads converge on Taiwan’s second largest city, Kaohsiung, for Shane veteran Dom Wells’ stag party. Soon to be leaving us for a new life in Canada via a wedding in Hawaii, Dom’s absence leaves this year’s DRA race wide open (I hear the smart money is on a certain Northern Irish lad though). The stag party took on a Hawaiian flavour, with the lads colorfully decked out in the finest Hawaiian mens (and ladies!) wear. Longtime 'keeper Chris 'Mad Dog' Pohlman finally found a place where his favorite clothes would be accepted, and brought three hawaiian shirts for the day trip! Rumours have spread of grass skirts, coconut bikinis, and hula hoops, but I can’t possibly confirm them.

The day started just as any train journey does with Shane FC, with Mad Dog missing his stop. Upon arrival in Kaohsiung, we headed straight over to Lotus Lake, where the day's main activity was taking place: wakeboarding. Now some of the lads had done this before, and it was plain to see in the first 5 minutes just who they were. Tommy and Brian set the standard, while the rest of us looked on in amazement. To me it was very reminiscent of snowboarding back home, where there aren’t many ski lifts, only tows. It was a matter of clinging on for dear life, and forgetting about looking graceful or cool. A few of the lads had some spectacular falls, with Andy Smith taking home the “Biggest Slam” award for some impressive Superman-style dives. He had all the grace of a Rory Foye throw-in. Mad Dog actually decided he didn’t even need a board at one point and proceeded to leave his behind while he was dragged head first, halfway around the obstacle course. I think he called it “body surfing”, and it was definitely popular with the hysterical spectating locals, and ourselves. Less so with the workers and wakeboarding experts, who wanted to wring his neck.

Another highlight for me was Brian Mcguinness' unique wakeboarding poise. He reminded me of my late gran, who when driving would grip the wheel tightly with two hands at the top, with just spectacled eyes peering over the wheel like she was driving 100 mph, but in reality probably closer to 10 mph. Brian, who was a master of the wakeboard, did so with all the style of a short-sighted octogenarian.

My memory of the rest of the evening’s events is very patchy. But, I’m sure this is down to tiredness from the afternoon’s wakeboarding, as we definitely didn’t drink any beer or any shots. However, Tommy definitely did “fall” into the swimming pool in his finest African dress, and an ex-player (whose name eludes me) was definitely shirtless. Perhaps the most shocking thing of the trip though was Dom staying awake past dinner time, without a Red Bull in sight.

On behalf of all the Shane boys, we wish you and Sandra all the best on your adventures Dom. Roll on the next away day, and don't forget to dry your eyes.

Jamie Smith

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