We departed yesterday from NYC.
With a few hour layover in Atlanta, I met up with a few other of the National Team brothers.
We boarded the 10.5 hour flight to Buenos Aires and began the journey.
Within two hours of our arrival our team captain Mark Ortega came to sit next to me and says, “man, I feel great after that 8 hour nap!”
I wanted to punch him in his face since I got an hour at best of rest and had a strained neck and back from the seat. ;)
All was good though as we were about to land and I was eager to see where we were staying and start training.
We met up with a few more teammate who arrived from different cities, and took a bus to our destination.
Our technical director had mentioned in a previous email that we should prepare for “Spartan” like conditions.
I didn’t know it would resemble the hostel I slept in four years ago as I was starting out in the business world on one of my first trips to an industry event. I didn’t mind though because at least this place didn’t have throw up all over the floor and 20 snoring European guys.
We took a tour of the place we were staying, and at first I wasn’t sure what it was… based on the gated community as it felt like we stepped into the training grounds for the Hunter Games.
It ended up being a sports club, but not like the ones you are used to in the U.S. Everything seemed about 40 years out dated, at best.
I can’t really complain as I lived for a year on my sisters couch and my it wasn’t really like I was flying first class during my Arena Football playing days. It was just a funny sight walking into a room of cots built for girls 5 feet tall and under.
All I need is a ball, two nets, a gym floor, and my national team teammates to be happy.
And that’s what we have here.
We ate a team lunch (while missing a few players who are arriving in a day) and then took naps as most of us were jet lagged.
After that Coach Tilton took us on a two mile run of the Hunter Games training grounds. We did some warm up drills and went right into defensive practice.
I was pumped about this as it’s the one thing I feel I can contribute immediately to this team. I know I can also add massive value on the offensive side of the court, but I think the coaches will need to see me prove myself in the friendly matches throughout this entire week to really feel comfortable with my game.
After practice we took showers… and luckily we found some that had hot water. Team dinner after practice, then we watched part of an Argentine team practice on the same court.
(The wifi spot was in the dining room, hence how everyone was on their phones at this time to get online.)
Our sleeping quarters are directly above the gym, so it’s kinda crazy to be able to walk downstairs and jump on the court.
The wifi feels like dial up at best (does anyone even remember how bad dial up connection was???).
They cut off our connection at 9pm while some of the guys were on skype chatting with their kids all over the world. I asked if anyone had cards to play as it’s hard to imagine what we all did 10 years ago when wifi wasn’t an option.
Lights out is at 11pm and half of the guys are asleep next to me already.
These conditions remind me how amazing we have it in the United States. The food, the training equipment, the beds, Whole Foods… and so much more.
There’s something about being in these conditions that brings me back to my Arena Football days. It make me hungry. It makes me connect more with my teammates and coaches. Most of all… It makes me proud to be an American.
Looking forward to day two… as the journey continues.