Today we had practice in the morning and a few Argentine classrooms came to watch. Afterwards they all wanted autographs so we had fun handing out and talking with the kids.
Here’s our team captain Mark Ortega signing autographs after practice.
This happens after every scrimmage or practice as a lot of the kids here enjoy practicing their English with us. It’s been a blast getting to know them and attempting to work on my Spanish with them as well. They all love handball and try to trade their shirts with us whenever they get a chance… it’s a blast hanging with them!
After practice we had the afternoon off to do some sightseeing in downtown Buenos Aires.
The hour long drive into city while fitting four giants into mini cooper sized cars was a workout in itself!
We got dropped off at the center of town near the monument and at one of the widest streets in the world. Felt a little like Times Square but not as crazy.
I’d been here before and realized we only had about 5 hours to spare. I made the suggestion that we walk to La Recoleta Cemetery (a famous cemetery in Buenos Aires that has something like 50+ national landmarks in it alone).
A few of the guys made remarks and grumbled at the fact of going to look at a cemetery… but once we got there, they had to stop and marvel at how amazing this place really is, and they couldn’t put there cameras away ;)
We only had a little bit of time until we had to go back so we grabbed some dinner and headed back in our tiny cabs back to the Hunger Games training grounds.
Here’s Jordan eating something OTHER than pasta (which is the only food we have ate since arriving in Argentina).
Another scrimmage tomorrow night and a couple days left til we play in our first game against Argentina.
Player Spotlight- Mark Ortega and Divine “The Answer” Jackson
Divine (aka The Answer)sleeping about 3 feet away from me in the Hunger Games sleeping quarters. He’s always got a smile on his face, listing to music, talking to his kids on skype, and playing games on his iPad.
He’s been playing for the USA Men’s National Team for nearly 10 years and coaches many other sports along with doing personal training in Long Island.
He’s got some sick moves that make you look like a deer in headlights when he puts together his attack.
He plays both right and left back and is a joy to be around.
Mark Ortega is the USA team captain.
He’s played all over Europe in Spain, Germany and Norway and has been playing with the national team for seven years.
He’s one of the first guys I reached out to after starting my handball journey. He lives in Columbus, OH when he isn’t playing pro in another country, so that gives us another great connection being from the same home town.
He also played football in college as a wide receiver at Akron University.
Mark is a guy who helps move our sport forward, keeps the team together, and works his butt off behind the scenes to help all of the athletes get the things they need to help take us to the next level.
I’ve got a lot of respect for both these guys and I’m excited to learn more about them in the future.