Thunder of Lafayette Attack Heads Down Under
Nov. 28, 2006
EASTON, Pa. (www.lafayette.edu) - It's both amazing and fitting that junior Maddy Booth has managed to avoid "tall poppy syndrome," an Australian expression that refers to a person who is trying to better his or her peers in any way. It was thought that if a poppy plant tried to grow taller and take valuable sun, the roots of its neighboring poppies would strangle the growth and return it to an equal level.
When Booth is on the lacrosse field as the heart of Lafayette's attack, she is a clear standout, but maintains a killer instinct for finding an open teammate. Booth led the nation in assists a year ago, while shattering a 15-year-old Patriot League record with 47 assists in just 16 games. She has been Lafayette's leading scorer over the past two seasons and amassed 62 career goals to compliment 59 career assists.
Last July, Booth traded her lacrosse stick for extreme outdoor adventures all over Australia and has just over a week still remaining on her itinerary. Her family will be joining her this week for a tour of Australia and New Zealand to punctuate what has been the trip of a lifetime.
"Not only am I able to share this beautiful place with my family, but they will also help ease the sadness I'm sure will happen when I have to leave," Booth said.
Booth has spent the better part of this summer and fall studying arts at the University of Sydney through the Institute for Study Abroad. Lafayette is lauded as the fifth-ranked study abroad institution among the nation's best 30 liberal arts colleges and Booth has become yet another example of this growing trend.
Following a July 4th celebration with friends and family at the Jersey shore, Booth hopped a 14-hour flight from Philadelphia to Brisbane, Australia. Two days of orientation were spent in Noosa, a popular vacation spot, before heading to her "new home" in the heart of Sydney.
The American Studies major found her niche elsewhere in the realm of academia, delving into an array of disciplines throughout her class time.
"Clearly American Studies is not a common concentration in other countries," Booth explained. "I took sociology, anthropology, gender studies and an Australian history class. It was great being exposed to different points of view. The lecturers were all extremely good and a testament to the University of Sydney's high rankings internationally."
A native of Wallingford, Pa., Booth has spent time vacationing in Europe twice as well as interim study abroad trips to Greece and Italy, but it was Australia that initially captured Booth's interest and eventually her heart. She literally immersed herself into the culture and has fully experienced all that the vast country has to offer.
"Where to do I start? Australia has really brought out my `outdoorsy' side," Booth said. "I have gone skydiving, bungee jumping, white water rafting, cliff jumping, scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, bushwalking (Aussie for hiking), rock climbing, sand boarding (sledding/boarding down massive sand dunes), and whale watching."
Booth said that Americans often mistake Australia's terrain as being flat, but in fact it is anything but, giving way for such aforementioned adventures.
"On a coast walk from Coogee to Bondi, some of the most beautiful views were to be had from high above sea level, and yet we were still so close to the city," she said. "Also, there were amazing views from above the Whitsunday Islands with white sand and the clearest water below. The same goes for Byron Bay, Australia's most easterly point and one of my favorite places! Of course, the Great Barrier Reef was so incredible."
Booth's laid-back, infectious personality has fit the Australian way like a glove.
"I will miss living in such a great city, but most of all I will miss the lifestyle, the relaxed atmosphere and the playful ribbings that I receive daily from my Aussie friends," Booth said. "It will be incredible to be back in the states. It definitely doesn't seem like November since it's so warm here, so I look forward to cozying up and sharing stories with family and friends upon my return."
Booth said she's done her best to stay in shape for the impending season, but admits that it is hard being away from the team for such a large chunk of time.
While going for daily runs around campus, Booth said lacrosse has not caught fire on the eastern coast of Australia yet, so she had to rely on alternatives to keep in shape. She said some Aussies have never even heard of the sport, which originated among Native American tribes as a form of military training.
Instead, Booth was persuaded to join both the soccer and basketball teams for inter-collegiate competition through her residential college, IFSA-Butler, which helped her stay competitive.
"Australians are typically very active and love sport so it was interesting playing in front of rowdy college crowds," Booth said. "We ended up winning the soccer competition and at a later sports dinner, I was (probably unduly) awarded the women's soccer player of the year. Unfortunately, basketball was a whole other story!"
"The goal for this team should always be to stay focused on playing our own game," Booth said. "Winning the Patriot League is an achievable goal if we remain composed, focused and dedicated to the concept of `team'."
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