After an arduous journey the NetScouts Basketball USA Women’s All-Stars have made it to our first destination in China. The trip started with domestic flights in June 13th (USA time) from the players home airports to LAX. Several flights were delayed due to weather conditions on the east coast. All of us (except for Jessica Lawson) met at LAX and watched the Heat-Spurs game prior to our 11PM flight to Guangzhao. Jessica was the only player to miss the flight. She was put on the same flight on Friday night and will be joining us his afternoon.
After we arrived in Guangzhao we had a five-hour layover for our flight to Changshu. From Changshu we took a 1.5 hour bus ride to our first destination at PingXiang, a city of 1.8 million people. For most of us the entire trip took more than 30 hours. China Crosby of Virgina won the contest with a total trip time of 37 hours. The climate here is similar to Florida, very hot and muggy. We are in the southeast portion of China, near the coast. The countryside is hilly with some mountains in the distance and the vegetation is very lush.
We had a practice scheduled for last night at 8PM and were then told that it was cancelled because the floor was wet due to repainting after a badminton tournament. We insisted on at least going to the arena and checking it out. After finding our way to the floor in the dark we determined that the floor was fine. Likely someone just didn’t want to work at night. We got them to turn the lights on and we went through a walk through without a basketball.
Today we practice from 4-6PM, with basketballs, they assure us. Everyone here is very nice, as always. Our interpreters, Olanna and Fiona are helping us interact with the staff and have gotten WiFi installed in our rooms. We are staying at the Number One Garden Hotel. It is pretty nice but was probably very glamorous years ago. Most of us were wakened by about 20 minutes of fireworks from about 6:10am to 6:30. We have no idea what that was about. Prior to take we each received a one-ring telephone call at 4am. Not sure what that story was either. Yesterday I was ready to pass out and take a nap when a women came in my room and started shouting “Nee-how”. She was there to fix my TV. We plan on going downtown and seeing what’s around after lunch today.
The schedule has us playing the last game each night, first against Australia tomorrow night at 9:30PM local time, then on the 18th against Hungary and the 19th against China. We have a Socially Responsible Activity planned for tomorrow afternoon, a visit to a school. We’ll try to get an article posted on that with photos as those events are always fun.
That’s it for now from China!