Behrend in Brazil: The ball is tipped

The Penn State-Behrend men’s basketball team is Brazil. Dan Simpson blogs:

Our excellent tour guide, Fernando, rented us surf boards and took us to the nicest beach I have ever seen. He explained to us that the low tide created a path to an island and consequently created another beach. It was neat having ocean in front of us and behind us. So we crossed the path to the island to climb up a hill, which we all expected to be easy. Come to find out, it had steep slippery rocks and wet dirty paths. I thought for sure one of us was going to wipe out, thankfully no one did. A couple courageous individuals (myself not included) kept venturing to the other side of the hill. The hill allowed us to see the city we were staying in and a breathtaking vantage point on the ocean.

To cap off the night we played at a gym in the city of Cubàtoa. Outside of the building there was a banner advertising for the game with Penn State Behrend E.U.A on it. It was neat to see, and we knew we were going to have a fun environment. The second biggest television station filmed our game and conducted interviews with coach and some players. All throughout the game there were kids and even adults lined up behind our bench asking for our names. We didn’t know if we should talk to them or not for fear that coach wouldn’t approve it during a game. Once the game ended, we spent the next thirty minutes being swarmed by kids. Justin has been a crowd favorite (maybe because he handed out silly bands). During that time I approached a player on the other team and he wanted to trade me a futbol jersey for one of my Behrend shirts. I was shocked he wanted to do so, but I made the trade.

We won the game, but the atmosphere made the experience something we will never forget. Fernando (our guide) thanked us and told us how thankful the city is to have us play and impact them in a positive way.

Behrend catches a wave in Brazil

The Penn State-Behrend men’s basketball team is Brazil. Chris Thorsen blogs:

The second day was a very exciting and eventful day. We started our day off with a great breakfast at our hotel here in Guaruja. The breakfast is very similar to our types of breakfasts in the U.S. except down here they also have some desserts for breakfast, so we helped ourselves to some chocolate cake and other pastries.

We then went to the beach and were treated to our first surf lessons ever. It was a great time. The instructors we had were really cool and they all wanted us to succeed at riding a wave. Some of us were surprisingly good at it right away and others it took awhile to get the hang of, but eventually all of us were able to stand up on the board.

Next, we continued with another great lunch at a restaurant down by the beach. After lunch we headed to the city of Santos. To get there we had to take a ferry. However, on this ferry people just drive their cars right onto it and you have the choice of either staying in the car or getting out and standing on the boat. So of course we got out and stood on the ferry and took some nice pictures.

The next part of our day was very exciting. We went to a school where Brazilian children try to learn English and we assisted them in their learning. We split into groups and all of them had some questions prepared for us. Their English was a lot better than we thought it was going to be. They understood a lot of what we said and they spoke it with no problem. It was very nice to interact with them and learn things about how their lives are here, and it seemed like they enjoyed learning about our lives back home also. They were enjoyable to talk to and it was a great experience for all of us.

Brazilian school children

Finally, we ended the night with our first game versus P.R. Grande (a semi-professional team or “club” team here in Brazil). It was a very exciting and intense game. We ended up winning 73-71. Everyone on our team contributed and played well. There were some younger fans there watching and enjoying what they were seeing. After the game, we gave each player on the other team a set of Penn State Behrend playing cards. They were thankful for our gift and a few of them spoke English and were very nice to talk to.

Getting back on the bus many kids surrounded us and were telling us congratulations and some even wanted us to take pictures with them. We embraced all of the attention and tried making all of the kids happy. So all in all, day number two here in Brazil was a very adventurous and exciting day.

Behrend in Brazil: Getting started

The Penn State-Behrend men’s basketball team is Brazil, on an eight-day/seven-night tour of Brazil’s most historic cities including Guaruja, Sao Bento do Sapucai and Paraty. The team will compete in three contests against Brazilian teams and co-host two basketball clinics during their travels. Chris Saltzman blogs:

The plane ride was long roughly 9 hours, but all worth it. We had about an hour and half bus ride from the airport to our hotel in Guaruja, Brazil. Guaruja is right on the beach and you can see the ocean from our hotel. We rode through the city of Sao Paulo, which was extremely eye opening. There was massive amount of poverty, which really makes you think about how good we have it back in the states.

We had practice at a community sports complex and there were little kids in awe when they saw us walk in. Our tour guide said it is not every day they get to see Americans and it is a big deal when they do. They were making our old assistant coach say words in Portuguese which were apparently bad words and they loved it. They were watching us practice as if they have never seen basketball before. They were asking for our autographs which felt pretty abnormal but it made the kids happy.

We went to a place called Hurrascaria Chapao for dinner. They were bringing around all different kinds of meat, slicing it right at the table. When the servers brought it to your table you had to use prongs to catch it as they sliced everything and anything you could have imagined. I must say that if you haven’t tried some chicken heart before you should probably get on it asap.

Brazilian meat

Next up – Surfing lessons at a local beach. Looking forward to seeing who can actually stay on the board.