August 5, 2009

Well I just arrived home from Thailand and I am happy to report — as many of you already may know — we won the Gold medal!  We beat all of the teams we played by a pretty good margin. We met up with Spain in the gold medal round, a team which we lost to in the very first game.  Well, we didn’t lose this time, we beat them by a lot and I think it was the best game we played since we arrived there.  They had a very nice medal ceremony, with confetti and smoke and a lot of fans stayed behind to cheer us on.  We received a teddy bear and a cool gold medal to top off the festivities!!  It was an experience I will never forget.

I met alot of nice people in Thailand and I hope to keep in touch with them through email and texting for a long time.  One of them was our translator Nok, who was with us the whole time while we were in Thailand.  She constantly ordered me pizza or McDonalds, or took me shopping or to 7-11.  She was soooo nice and made my stay there that much better.  Oh, on our day off, we went sight seeing.  We went to these unbelieveable temples that were huge and very colorful.  We saw the largest buddha in the world also. It was this humongous shiny gold buddha that was just awesome.  We ate out that day at an Italian restaurant that was surprisingly very good.  It was a very enjoyable day off. 

Ok, back to the last game. After the festivities we went back to the hotel and packed up our belongings and headed out at 4:30 am to the airport.  We boarded the first plane to Japan — a 6-hour flight.  From there we got on our second plane to San Francisco, which was a 10-hour flight.  Then about half the team got on a third plane to Chicago.  Then i board my last leg of the flight to LaGuardia Airport in New York.  I was up in the air for nearly 24 hours.  I was never so happy to touch down in NY!!  It was a fun time and I miss my teammates already.  I want to thank my coaches and the people of Thailand for a great experience.

Well, as you can expect, I am still a little jet lagged, so I’ll say goodbye for now.  Hope to see as many of you as possible at our first game in November! Go Bucks!  

July 26, 2009

Hi everyone! As I remember I left off going to sleep and it took a long time to catch up and feel normal again.  First we played two friendship games against France and Australia, and won them both.  Then we had our first real game against Spain and unfortanetly, we lost.  I was very dissappointed in the outcome of the game but as a team we learned next time to come out ready to play from the start.  Our next 2 games were against China and Mali.  We won them both easily.  Then on Sunday we had a day off.  We ended up going to Walmart and to the seven-story mall/market.  It was pretty cool but they only gave us an hour and I’m a hardcore shopper, and an hour was not even close to the amount of time I needed to get everything I needed.  The coaches said we’d be able to go back another day, so that made me a little happier. 

Sunday evening we went to a “frienship party” with the teams from the other countries.  They fed us and each team had to perform a 3-minute skit.  Ours was a dance to “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.  Five of my teammates did the performance … I myself did not perform because I am too shy.  It was real funny, though, and it was a good day off all around.  Some of my teammates are feeling under the weather, and I hope they get better soon.  I tried to eat in as many American places as I can … yesterday they had Burger King and Dunkin Donuts (self-serve) in the mall.  They also have Auntie-Annes Pretzles, KFC, Pizza Hut, and McDonalds.  I really never eat fast food when I am home, but here I have been eatting a lot of it.  The McDonalds by our hotel delivers 24 hours a day!  How funny is that?!  They have a lot of stray cats and dogs all over the place here.  Yesterday we saw black pigs eatting out of garbage cans! Haha, too funny.  Well I’m in bed now around midnight, so i’ll say goodnight.  Tommorow we play Canada, wish us luck!

July 21, 2009

Hey everyone, it’s Sammy from Bangkok, Thailand. We left Friday morning from Denver, Colorado to Los Angeles, California. The flight was about 2.5 hours and was uneventful … thank God! From there, we boarded the second leg of the flight to Thailand. The plane was the largest I had ever flown on … I mean it was huge! It had a first-class section that was upstairs.  I had a window seat next to my friend, Necka (Nnemkadi Ogwumike), from Stanford.  I was so nervous flying for so many hours in such a large plane.  It seemed like it took forever just to get this humongous plane off the ground.  Once up in the air the flight was smooth.  We we’re served food and beverages several times, and I slept as much as possible.  A “mere” 12 hours later, we arrived in Japan where we had a two-hour layover.  The airport in Japan was extremely modern and nice.  The only other Americans we saw were military personnel.  We then boarded another very large airplane and headed off to our destination, Thailand.  This flight was only seven hours, but it seemed like it was longer than that.  We arrived in Thailand at midnight, got our bags, went through customs and boarded a bus to our hotel.  I went to the wrong side of the bus and tried to enter, not knowing that everything was opposite here and the entrance for passengers was on the other side … haha.  So we stopped at 7/11 to get drinks and snacks before arriving at our hotel, Maxx Hotel, and went up to our rooms at about 3 a.m. 

So, we left on Friday morning at 7 a.m. and didn’t arrive in Bangkok till 3 a.m. Sunday morning — talk about a long trip! Necka, who is a good friend of mine, is my roommate, so I am very happy about that.  I showered after getting into my room, ate my snack and tried to sleep, but it was very hard because I felt very wired from all the travelling.  I slept a couple of hours and had to be at breakfast at 8:30 a.m.  I basically ate rice for breakfast, then we we’re off to practice.  We boarded the bus to drive to practice and on the way I saw a motorcyclist riding with his wife on the back and an infant daughter in between them with no helmets on or anything-WOW!  We would get arrested for that in the states.  It is very hot and humid here and the gym for practice is not air-conditioned.  So needless to say we we’re all very hot, jet-lagged and cranky!  After the practice we headed back to the hotel, the parking lot was very crowded with cars parked every which way blocking the bus in.  To move the cars, the bus driver got out and just pushed the cars out of the way with his bare hands, like bumper cars!  It was too funny.  When we arrived at the hotel we ate lunch, took a shower and took a short nap.  Well, as you can imagine, I’m really tired now, but I’ll be sure to write more later!

Goodnight from Thailand!