Filthy frat house disgusts New Zealanders

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 10:48 AM ET

Recalling hilarious college campus flicks like Old School and Animal House, the New Zealand lacrosse team thought it would be fun to stay at a frat house while in London.

But on arrival, the shocked Kiwis found they had rented a House of Horrors on Ridout Street -- not at all the kind of student accommodation often depicted in Hollywood movies.

Dead mice, paintballs, phlegm, broken glass, broken toilets and strewn cigarette butts were among the atrocities in the 10-room building that greeted the New Zealanders, who had paid $400 apiece in New Zealand dollars (about $279 Cdn) for a contingent of 27, including a couple of coaches and spouses.

The slummy conditions had the team scrambling for alternative digs yesterday, including penning a plea for help to the "finer real estate agents and other accommodation providers" in London.

As of their afternoon scrimmage yesterday, they had a couple of housing options and were trying to find the best place nearest to UWO.

"Before we got on the plane, we heard about an arrangement to rent a frat house and we were excited -- we had all seen the movies," New Zealand lacrosse player Eric Messick said. "But we hadn't seen pictures of the place, and when we got inside, it was well below expectations and general human standards. We were kind of stuck because we're here from the bottom of the world and have nowhere else to go."

Trying to make the best of it, the New Zealanders chipped in to buy cleaning supplies and, in an odd team-building exercise, tried to make the place decent..

"A lot of the guys were pretty upset, but we bucked up, put on a brave face and tried to clean up," Messick said. "We didn't get down and figured, what's a dirty sink when we could be playing the strong Germans (in lacrosse?). It brought everybody together, but with all the cleaning, it still wasn't where it needed to be.

"As we are training every day, the showers are in constant use, but the floor needs to be mopped every time because the drain hole has been cemented over and water trickles through the bathroom floor and into the ceiling."

Fresh mouse droppings on a player's mattress and a used condom under a sink sealed the deal. The Kiwis couldn't stay there.

Messick said Londoners and tournament organizers have been sympathetic and every effort was being made to find new lodgings for the team.

"It's unfortunate because it's a distraction and we're trying to focus on playing our games," said Messick, whose team opens against the Germans today at 4 p.m at the North London Athletic Fields. "One fellow has already said he will lend us a truck to move our stuff. So one big Canadian truck and a place for 27 people to live and we're in good shape."

The New Zealand players aren't overly worried about being refunded their money from the fraternity president, whom they refused to name.

"We're pretty sure we're going to get it back," the 32-year-old Messick said. "You don't get between a Kiwi and his money."


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