Senior Basketball Players Blog on their Italy Trip

Rome

Back in the States!

The guys had a great last night in Rome but it was time to head home. We departed Rome early in the morning. The plane ride from Rome to Detroit was 10 hours. It would be a long one.

On the plane the guys were lucky because the plane offered many new movies that had just come out not too long ago. We all watched 4-5 movies on the plane.

Once we landed it was really starting to hit everyone that we were actually done living the life in a foreign country. It was time to get back on the normal grind at school. Some of the guys got rides home from the airport, but some had to ride back to Albion on the Brit Bus.

We were to Ann Arbor when everyone on the bus heard a loud popping noise. Everyone had talked about stopping at a gas station and getting some normal food but we were joking. At this point we just wanted to get home. Well, we got what we had jokingly wished for. We pulled over and called for help. It would be 45 minutes before another Brit Bus could come rescue us from the gas station parking lot. We decided to go search for some American food!

Fortunately, there was an Applebee’s right across the street. We all went there and had a great first American meal back. No glass bottles of water for 4 or more people, no gas water, free refills, one large plate full of food and best of all it was paid for by Coach Turner!

We ate and by the time we were done Coach Thomas was there for our rescue with another Brit Bus. We finally got on the road back to Albion.

It was an amazing trip and we want to thank everyone who made it possible!!!! It is cliche to say but it really was a life changing experience and we will never forget it. Thank you for reading and for the last time, ciao for now!


Last Full Day

It was a scolding hot day at the Vatican.

It was a scolding hot day at the Vatican.

It had been an amazing trip up to this point. Everyone says it and it sounds cliche but it truly had been a life changing experience. We still had a tour of the Vatican. We were all looking forward to seeing the great history that was there.

The tour started early again and in order to get into the Vatican we were told that we had to wear a polo t-shirt, khaki pants, dress shoes and no water bottles. We weren’t looking forward to that part of it just because of how hot Rome was. The temperature was in the 100’s!

Once inside we realized that not everyone followed these rules and the security letting people in didn’t enforce the rules so strictly. As soon as we walked in and started our tour we saw someone who was wearing a shirt with an advertising on it with no collar, short shorts, flip flops and was carrying a water bottle that he brought in. It was not cool! But after thinking about it we were representing Albion College the best way possible. Everyone turned their heads at us because we were dressed up and there are very few tall people in Italy so we stuck out.

Exploring the Vatican and Sistine Chapel was something that we will all remember forever.  The paintings were so good they were closer to life like than some things you see today in print and television. We learned that Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the chapel. It took him four years and he worked on it some everyday. As Lawrence put it, “he had a ton of free time.”

After a long hot day seeing the Vatican the guys were ready to get some lunch and ice cold water. But of course we ate at the one restaurant that only served carbonated water or as the Italians call it “gas water.” None of the guys like gas water except Brennon who lived in Germany for a year when he was younger and got used to it there. So the guys really sipped on their one can of Coke to make it last. Once lunch came the guys chowed down on their food and we were on our own until dinner.

Dinner was very delicious, we had more of a selection this time. Most of the guys ordered a steak which was such a nice treat from pasta and pizza for most of the trip. After eating, each of the guys told something they learned on the trip and their favorite experience. Coach Turner and Coach May each had some nice words for the group as well. Then the seniors thanked Marta and Rebecca, who lead us around Italy for the ten days, for all they had done. They did everything from choosing restaurants, planning our tours and translating for us. They had their hands full and did a great job! It was a great way to send us off back to the states in the morning. Be on the look out for the last blog coming soon. Ciao for now!


Rome at Last

The guys checking out the Colosseum.

Everyone really enjoyed the Colosseum.

Once business was taken care of on the court it was time to enjoy the rest of our time in Rome. We were scheduled for a tour of the Colosseum and the surrounding area. Everyone was looking forward to seeing it.

Coach May planned our tour for 8am. Yes 8am! We had just arrived in Rome at 2am earlier that morning. It was not fun getting up that early but it was the best bet seeing as how Rome was the hottest city we had been to. We could have taken the tour at 8am with temperatures as high as mid 90’s or as high as mid 100’s in the early afternoon. So everyone agreed the earlier, the better.

Our hotel was only about a block or so from the Colosseum so it was a short walk. It was unreal walking down the street and seeing one of the 7 wonders of the world. When we got inside we were able to see where all the slaves, animals and gladiators were kept before the fights would have taken place. In fact, if you’ve ever seen the movie, “Gladiator” our tour guide said it was very accurate according to the history of how the fights actually went.

Our tour guide was also explaining to us that the gladiators actually were fat because then if their skin was pierced while in battle it would help protect their internal organs. So if you see a movie with a gladiator in it and he has a six pack, that part isn’t so accurate. Going to the Colosseum was a life changing experience and the knowledge we gained there will always be with us.

As well as the inside of the Colosseum we explored the surrounding area which was amazing. There were ruins from many different time periods. We learned that the ruins from different time periods were actually from one generation literally burying the previous in an attempt to erase them.

After the tour we had lunch and then were on our own for the rest of the day. Some of the guys checked out the shops in order to do some last minute shopping for loved ones back home. It was a great first day in Rome. Look out for our next blog coming soon! Ciao for now!


Game Day

The guys with the Italian team we played.

The guys with the Italian team we played.

Exploring Siena was a great time and now it was time for us to move on to the next city in Italy, Rome. However, we had a few things to take care of before we could go enjoy Rome. It was game day.

We woke up and took a bus to a lake that we learned was the second largest volcanic lake in the world and some of our student assistant’s family owned a restaurant right on the lake. We stopped at Jayson’s uncle’s restaurant for a team lunch before heading off to our game. It was as usual delicious. His uncle even surprised us with a little taste of home; some french fries and fried seafood!

Everyone was almost done eating when Jayson’s uncle finally came out to see him. It was exactly what everyone expected to see when he came to say hello. “This is my nephew, Jayson!” In the deepest Italian accent, said uncle Mocini. Everyone was excited for Jayson and his family. It was only the second time Jayson had been able to see his family overseas in his lifetime.

After dinner we knew it was time to take care of business. We had come to Italy to enjoy it, but we also came to play a game and win that game. Everyone knew it was time to focus on our mission.

It was a long bus ride to a small village in the mountains. When we rolled up everyone thought we were stopping to take a bathroom break. It did not look like a place where a basketball game would be played. But we unloaded the bus and went to the gym confused.

Everyone was psyched to play a game for the first time since a tough loss to Adrian that ended our season. It was a close game until the 3rd quarter when we started to take control. Kolin’s dunk on a fast break really got us going and pumped us up on the other end of the floor. We ended up winning handily by 20 but there was a loss. Mike (Mooney) went down when driving to the basket for a layup and injured his ankle. He was in a wheel chair for the remainder of the trip. After the game, we took a picture which was pretty awkward to say the least with the other team.

It was a very cool experience to be able to compete with kids about our age but that we couldn’t really speak with due to the language barrier. It was also very special to send Luke and Bob out on a good note with a win. It would be their official final game as Albion College Britons.

After cleaning up we headed to dinner just down the street. Everyone just wanted to get to Rome. We wanted this the be a quick dinner and get on the road again. We looked forward to enjoying our time in Rome. The next blog is coming soon. Ciao for now!