From Milwaukee to the D.R.

The Milwaukee School of Engineering men’s basketball team is in the Dominican Republic to play some exhibition games in addition to holding a basketball clinic for some impoverished children in the country. Senior Austin Meier is writing a blog during the trip:

Day 1 (August 25):

The team was alive and ready to travel this morning despite the fact that we were up before the crack of dawn. We arrived at O’Hare rather early so the down time was spent eating McDonald’s breakfast and bickering about top 50 NBA players. The flight was rather smooth to Miami and a first experience for some on the team. We grabbed a quick bite at Pizza Hut burning a hole through our pockets. The slight layover in Miami went quick due to the anxiousness of the guys to get to the resort for some all you can eat buffets especially (Eric) Bohrer.

After about an hour and a half flight, we safely arrived in the Dominican Republic, but the traveling wasn’t quite over. We took a short bus ride and arrived at our paradise resort with large beautiful rooms with all the amenities. The rest of the night was spent eating and recovering from the day of travel, given there was some fun injected in those last few hours before bed.

Day 2 (August 26):

Since none of us wanted to waste much time with all the activities to do at the resort, we were up at a staggeringly early time of … 9 a.m. We grabbed some more all you can eat breakfast from one of the four restaurants on the resort then immediately transitioned to the ocean front. The group consensus was to snorkel and that is what we did. Not too much action there but it was still a great experience for everyone. We also took a trial dive in the pools just to see what it was look to scuba since the $100 fee was a bit much for us. Then after a relaxing afternoon on the beach we went for an hour drive to see The Three Eyes which was amazing, a natural cave with small pools and a lot of life.

We headed to the gym afterward to play our first game against Los Padros. The game went right down to the wire but we ended up winning by just a couple of points.

The bus ride back to the resort, for lack of a better word, was chaos. Pretty much no street signs, signals, lanes or any of the organization we love in the U.S. The horn is used about 75% of the time while on the streets and a red light doesn’t mean much here.

They are having a Michael Jackson show tonight at the resort and everyone is going to be at that which should be a lot of fun. The night is young and we have plenty of energy for a fun night.

Case in Brazil: Facing the pros

The Case Western Reserve men’s basketball team is in Brazil, and blogging about the experience as well. Evan Tsudis writes:

I’m writing this blog after one of the hardest and more physical games of my career but I’ll pull a Pulp Fiction and keep you hanging. Last night we enjoyed our last night in Paraty. For a small colonial town it showed a lot of life at night. We enjoyed live music and attempted to converse in Portuguese with the locals. They even let Reid step up to the guitar and give Brazil a taste of his original music. After a nice rest we boarded the bus on the way to our game. Most watched movies or tried to contort their large bodies into small seats to sleep.

We arrived at our game around 6:00 local time. There were fans waiting for us to get off the bus and trying to get autographs. The gym was the nicest we have seen in Brazil and had a lot of life to it. Music was constantly playing and the stands were near capacity. After the playing of the national anthems and handshakes it was time to begin.

Basketball in Brazil and the United States is a bit different. The court and paint have different dimensions and the rules are interpreted differently. Physical play is encouraged and things like palming the ball and lane violations are at the discretion of the referee. The team we were against was a professional team and was extremely physically gifted. The combination of our rust and the other teams athleticism led to a 107 to 57 victory for our opponents. After the game we took pictures and signed autographs for the fans. Every place we’ve played we’ve been treated like rock stars and followed until we drive away.

This whole trip has been an amazing experience. It has been a great time to see new things and spend time with my teammates. Some of my favorite activities were our adventure at sea on the Sir Francis Drake yesterday and taking a picture with my Terrible Towel at Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. I’d also like to point out that my beach soccer team of Rob, Summers, Reid, Brian Curth, Bokan and myself are coming back to Cleveland 2-0 and looking for challengers. One shout out to my father, Peter Tsudis, who celebrated his birthday on Aug. 14.

Go Steelers!

Augie in China: Home again

Augustana senior Kyle Nelson and his teammates took a summer trip to China. He blogged regularly on about the team’s journey.

Augustana players and coaches in Japan

Whoa, what a trip! From Aug. 3-18, our Augie basketball team has traveled over 17,200 miles, visited eight cities, taken seven flights, rode one train, played five games, went through three of the world’s five largest airports (Chicago O’Hare, Beijing Capitol Airport and Tokyo Narita Airport), and toured many sites across East Asia. It was the kind of trip that I will remember for the rest of my life, and I’m certain that everyone else feels the same. From bartering in the markets of Hong Kong to climbing the Great Wall, we experienced so many things and saw plenty of differences between our home in America and East Asia that made us both miss home as well as view Asia in a completely new light.

From a basketball standpoint, this trip showed us how much Chinese people really embrace basketball. We know that basketball is still a growing sport in East Asia, but every person we came across was excited to see that we were a basketball team from the United States. Also, the fans at every game were incredibly great to us and cheered for our play just as much as they did for the home team. We were treated as special guests and the people made us feel very welcome because they saw how happy we were to be in their country.

At this point of the trip (roughly over South Dakota traveling at 696mph) we are all ready to get home. It has been a great trip and we have all learned a lot about ourselves both athletically and culturally, but we are anxiously awaiting seeing family and friends again before school starts on Monday.

I’d like to thanks everyone who read this blog for the duration of the trip, or even just once. I really enjoyed writing them and I hope you enjoyed reading them just as much. Thanks to everyone who made this trip possible and I hope to see everyone at the Carver Center during the season!

– Kyle Nelson

Augie in China: One last stop

Augustana senior Kyle Nelson and his teammates took a summer trip to China. He will be blogging regularly on about the team’s journey.

Augustana players and coaches on the Great Wall

Our last day overseas. The most amazing trip of our lives is finally coming to a close. To close out the trip we had a forced layover in Japan, due to having a connecting flight to Chicago the next day. That allowed us a little bit of time for some sightseeing. We traveled into downtown Tokyo and made our first stop at Tokyo Tower. This is the largest free standing steel structure in the world. It had an observation deck to go up in. Immediately we could see why Tokyo was the most populated city in the world with about 37 million people. It was huge! The city stretched beyond what we could see from the tower and it was truly an impressive sight.
Next stop on the Tokyo-in-a-day tour was the Imperial Palace, located in the center of the city. This Palace is where the Emperor and his family resided. The current Emperor is part of a family that has been in the Imperial Palace for 125 generations. That is an incredible amount of time. Currently, however, the Emperor of Japan serves no purpose other than being a figure-head for the country. All political power has been removed from that position and resides elsewhere within the political system. The Palace was closed on this particular afternoon so we were not able to go inside, but we got a view of part of it from across the moat that surrounded the compound.
We made a brief stop at a Buddhist Temple (Asakusa) before heading to our meal. This meal was easily the best of the trip. Each table had its own little grill on it and there was a buffet of at least fifteen different kinds of raw meats that you could choose yourself and cook yourself. I’m pretty sure that everyone ate way more than they could handle, but it was good none the less.
At dinner, we had a special guest waiting for us. His name was Phil Hoffman and he was the Minister-Counselor of Public Affairs for the United States Embassy in Tokyo. He also happened to be an Augie grad (1974) and an ex-student for Dr. Moline. Phil spent about half an hour talking to the group about what he did overseas and how his Augie education has really helped him in his job that has taken him from Greece to India to Nepal and to Japan among other places. He was really an impressive and well-spoken man and his stories were truly one-of-a-kind because no where else could you experience what he had gone through.
Our flight to Chicago leaves in and hour and a half. One more blog coming when we land back home!
Kyle Nelson

Case in Brazil: Snorkel, hammocks, boat

The Case Western Reserve men’s basketball team is in Brazil, and blogging about the experience as well. Tim Maleski writes:

Day number two in Paraty started out in an unusual way to say the least, as Reid, Ryan, Alex, and I woke up to the fresh smell of rain after spending the night sleeping in the hammocks located outside the rooms. Our group originally started with six members, but Brian slept inside after failing to fall asleep after an hour lying in the hammock and Colin left due to his constant fear that he was definitely going to fall out.

We were set to leave for our boat ride on the Atlantic Ocean at 9:30, but due to inclement weather that we have been getting a great deal of lately, we had to push our ride back to 11:00. So once the time came, we walked to the bay to board our boat. The first place we stopped allowed us to get in the water for the first time. We swam, jumped off the boat, and snorkeled. We tried to catch fish with a three reals bet that we couldn’t. Unfortunately, we had no success with this with endeavor.

Case on a boat in Paraty, Brazil

Our second stop on our boat trip landed us close to a beach. After swimming into shore, we spent the next hour jumping off rocks, playing a game of soccer, and diving into the water in our attempts to catch a soccer ball. The highlight of our trip to this spot was our dancing. With techno music blaring from another boat in the background, the twelve of us did the famous “Party Boy” dance on Coach Gorski. We though it was hilarious, but the same couldn’t be said for Coach Gorski. Not only did he almost drop his prized iPhone, but he also came out of the dancing with a bruised lip.

After we pulled up our anchors there, we sailed a few more minutes and settled down on the boat for lunch. Upon finishing lunch, we headed to our final destination. It was here that we searched for turtles and jumped off the boat to catch soccer balls. From the boat we watched a local man climb a twenty foot high tree and throw coconut after coconut down to a group of girls. Chris even went on a solo adventure to the shore. He said he was looking to grab a coconut, but the rest of us knew he just wanted to talk to the group of girls. Lucky for him, he did manage to come back with a coconut full of juice, but we knew it was just an excuse. Most importantly, our entire team had a really impressive feat catching the soccer ball that can be seen with the videos.

We headed back to the dock to end our boat trip. Feeling both fatigued as well as sunburnt, we were ready to go back to the hotel and relax for the rest of the night. Our time in Paraty was coming to an end, and tomorrow we will head for the mountains.