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Tyler Pauley & Steven Hofacker Blog From Italy - Days 1 to 3

From Sports Information Director, May 17, 2012 | Men's Basketball
by Dan Lukes,, (920) 403-4077

Days 1-2 - After much anticipation, our trip to Italy was finally upon us. Everyone arrived at the O'Hare International Airport either by bus or car. Upon arrival we quickly got our boarding passes and went through customs without any problems. We then waited for about two hours at our gate before we were able to board our plane and begin our nine hour plane ride to Rome. We did not have much time to take in Rome, however, right after landing in Rome we almost immediately got off of one flight and connected on to a one hour flight to Milan. After arriving in Milan we got off the plane and met our tour guide Carolina. Carolina led us to our double-decker bus, along with a trailer, that we would be riding in for the next four-and-a-half hours to Montecatini Terme, Italy.

There wasn't much of a dividing line between Day 1 and 2, with the time change of seven hours being added. We didn't have any scheduled tours, but we were able to view some of Italy and some fantastic bus driving by Oscar. He maneuvered an extra-long double decker bus with a trailer through narrow streets until we reached our hotel in Montecatini Terme. The players are all three to a room, which makes for some tight living quarters. We went out and explored the city, and found out the hot spots where the locals hang out. Everyone was pretty tired from the jet lag, which made for an early night. We had our first taste of Italian food with our welcome dinner.

Day 3 - We began Day 3 with delicious breakfast from 8:30-9:30. After breakfast we took 45 minutes to get ready and at 10:15 we began our day and started our tour of the city of Montecatini Terme. We walked down the streets and looked at all the local shops. After looking at all of the shops we went to the spa that Montecatini Terme is famous for. At the spa you drink water that comes from a spring in the spa and the water cleanses your body. After viewing the spa we began another journey to the city of Montecatini Alto, which if you were smart required a trolley ride. However, some of us dared to walk up to Montecatini Alto and found that the walk was not as easy as we thought it would be. If you get the chance ask Coach Brown what he thought about the hike up. After everyone arrived at Montecatini Alto we toured the city and went to the church called St. Peter's Church. After touring the church we finished our tour of Montecatini Alto and everyone went to local restaurants to try some of the Italian food.

The walk down the hill was easier than the one up, but still a challenge. The constant 45-degree angle with loose rocks and gravel challenged the conditioning that those 10 practices gave us. Once down the hill, the town was buzzing with excitement because the Giro d'Italia, an Italian bike race similar to the Tour De France, was finishing a stage of the race in Montecatini Terme. There were pretty large crowds at many street vendors and also lined up behind fences. We were able to see the bikers go through, and after hours of waiting for them, we were able to see them ride for maybe 20 seconds, but it was well worth it. We had to hurry back to the hotel for our pregame dinner at 5:30, with our game scheduled for 8:30.

We ate dinner at the hotel, and the place was buzzing with anticipation over our first game. We finished and had to meet in the lobby at 7:30 to leave for our 8:30 game. It took about 20 minutes to get to the gym, and when we got there a local youth team was practicing. While getting ready, we were informed that gametime got moved back to 9:00, so we went into the locker room to go over the game plan. We were all ready for Italy to put its best foot forward and make us play their best team. After warming up and watching the other team, we knew we were going to be in for a battle. Garrett Thorn, '14, won the tip-off, and we were on our way for 4 quarters of 10 minute basketball. We got out of the gates early, and were hitting shots often. We made some adjustments at halftime, and that really got us rolling. The Italian team fought hard throughout, but with a full-team effort, highlighted by a hat-trick of dunks from Trent Monckton, '13, the Green Knights were able to salvage the win 91-38 on the Italian home-court. We quickly unlaced the shoes and got back on the bus to the hotel. Pizzas were served on the bus, and once back, the showers were quickly occupied, along with the beds.

Until another blog America,
Tyler Pauley '14 and Steven Hofacker '15

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