The Muskies are home. It was another marathon travel day – Prague to London to Chicago to Lakeland – some 16 hours in all. There was a lot more sleeping on the return flight home. A combination of the early wake-up call on Saturday, plus the hectic, but rewarding schedule that filled the week caught up with everyone.
Part of the value of a trip like this is certainly the experiences. All 11 student-athletes were enjoying their first time on foreign soil, and Prague was a good selection. A lot of people in the city speak English, but you’re surrounded by enough discussions, signs, etc., in Czech to remind you that you’re far from home. That made navigating the subway and tram and ordering off a menu a bit tricky sometimes, but all the more fun. To their credit, the players embraced the opportunity and ran with it, seeing and doing as much as they could stuff into a week, learning plenty and having fun in the process.
What made this trip even more special, and it’s something the players talked about all week, is the people. You could see the bond between this team, already pretty tight, growing stronger. It was an especially fitting way for graduated seniors Trevor McKown and Sam Schroeder to end their time at Lakeland together. Despite coming to Lakeland from towns nearly 900 miles apart (Sam from Shawano, Wis., and Trevor from Hot Springs, S.D.), the two have become best friends. Their mothers also made the trip, and they talked about seeing one another again some day when each of their sons gets married, because Sam and Trevor are certain to be in each other’s wedding. When the group parted ways in the parking lot outside Lakeland’s Wehr Center, there were plenty of hugs and best wishes for a great summer. The memories will last each time they glance at the hundreds of pictures taken this week, and during stories sure to be told over and over when the players return to campus in August, and when the parents re-connect at games this season. The two games the Muskies played were neat experiences, but when the student-athletes recall the trip years from now, no doubt the memories and stories will focus on what happened both on and off the court.
For our final two videos, we turn to freshman Michael Koeppen and junior Jake Schwarz to wrap up the trip.