2017/18 USA Tour Blog

deanNews, VJBL


GEELONG SUPERCATS SPONSORSHIP


Our thanks to Npire for organising an action packed tour for our travelling Supercats players and Coaches.

And we are done… Didn’t lose anyone! 😁 #thanksall 👌🏼

Day 19

The very last update!
We met up at midday to check out of the hotel, walked down to pier 39 and had some free time to do any last minute souvenir shopping – we then all met at Bubba Gumps for one last meal together!

From Bubba Gumps we walked back to the hotel to collect our bags and jumped on the bus to the airport.

We are currently sitting in the departure lounge about to board.

Thanks for all following along at home over the last few weeks and hopefully it has helped you know exactly what we have been up too!

Cya soon 😁

Day 18

(A few hrs early as I’m sitting on the train!) today we had an awesome day. Firstly it was nice and sunny and got to about 14-15 degrees 👌🏼 We left the hotel at 8:30am to walk to the bike shop and collect our mountain bikes enroute to the Golden Gate Bridge 🌉 (👈🏼ive waited forever to use this emoji!). Windy, hilly, hilly, windy pretty much sums up the whole ride – but it was great. Spectacular views and lots of opportunities for photos!

Once up and over the bridge we circled around under the bridge to a beautiful little town called Sausalito (reminded us adults of Lorne, Portsea and Williamstown). We walked along the seaside and found a lovely restaurant on the water for lunch. The kids again had burgers 🍔

After lunch we walked back to our bikes with ice creams in hand to take our bikes and board the ferry  we had done enough hills for the day and our round trip was finished with a 35min ferry back to pier 39.

We quickly returned our bikes and headed straight back to the hotel to change and head out to bus/train to the ice hockey in San Jose (1.5hrs away). Another surprise for the kids, Luke had mentioned to me a couple of months ago, that tonight was giveaway jersey night at the hockey – so as we entered all 26 of us got a free white jersey (see pic of Luke below).

San Jose Sharks won in OT 6-5 over Arizona Coyotes, the crowd was fantastic and 17,500 fans made it a night to remember for the kids!

We are currently all sitting on the train on our way back to San Fran 😴

FYI – Parents please note on Tuesday we will land at Melbourne airport at 10:05am – as we will have already gone through customs back into Aus in Sydney, any one coming to the airport can actually meet us at the gate for when we get off the plane! 😁✈️

#onemoreupdateleft

 

Day 17

Alcatraz!!! Our 9:10am ferry had us at the island by 9:30am ready for a morning of exploring. We split up into small groups and had 3hrs until we met up at 12:30pm to depart.

The history at this place was incredible, I started with an hour walking tour of the island and some background to the gardens and prisoners who built them.

Then a 45min audio tour of the prison house /cells – this was incredible – two ex prisoners talked you through every room of the building and gave you time to appreciate what it might have felt like to be there. There was background noise and sounds that actually made u go back in time and recreated moments amazingly. For example it went through the moment in 1962 where three inmates “successfully” escaped the federal penitentiary prison using soap wax dummy heads and spoons to climb out the back of their cells into the unused pipe system and departed Alcatraz island on improvised inflatable rafts – although they “escaped” the island it is highly likely they didn’t make it out of the water, however they were never found!!!

Once this tour was over we walked through the book store and watched a short movie on the island. All in all a great visit to an unbelievable place – highly recommend if u have never been!

We boarded the ferry back to San Fran mainland and walked back via our hotel and then to Chipotle (Mexican) or In’and’out burgers for lunch – (I think some of our boys may turn into burgers soon!!!)

From here we split up – Leigh took all 19 kids on the Cable cars into downtown for, you guessed it, more shopping. Luke went and slept at hotel for few hours. And myself and the supporters also did the cable cars but didn’t stay to shop as long as the kids and returned to the hotel to do laundry, shower and I went and booked us in for dinner at Applebee’s!

By 6:30pm we meet again and walked 5mins down to Applebee’s for a nice dinner, a few then walked down to pier 39 to look around and have hot chocolate.

Everyone in bed by 11ish!

Day 16

Today was a long day, we got up and departed our Charlotte hotel at 5am for the airport to fly to San Fran. A mainly bumpy 6hr flight got us into San Fran at 10:30am (3hrs behind in time from what we were at in Charlotte).

We had a chartered bus trip straight to our hotel – no more driving for Luke BeauglehallLeigh DawsonDamian Withers and myself!

Once we got to the hotel we dropped our bags and walked down to pier 39 for lunch and a little souvenir shopping 😁

At 2:30pm we departed by bus and train to St Clara to go and watch St Clara vs St Mary’s – ex Geelong player Jock Landale is the starting centre for St Mary’s & Luke coached him in youth league a few years ago! It was a ESPN broadcasted game so the camera men had some fun with our players before, during and after the game. St Mary’s ended up winning the game by 20+ pts so it was good for us to be there for that! A train and bus trip home after and we arrived home at 12:30am all very tired after a massive day!!!

Alcatraz tomorrow (Lots of excitement for this amongst the group!)

Day 15

Sleep in!!! Some had a swim, some just slept the whole time. We meet at 12:15pm to drive to Davidson College – Known because Steph Curry went there 🏀

The campus itself was much smaller the Duke & UNC but felt much more homely and sounded like it was a little more academic focused also.

We toured the basketball training facilities, medical room, video room and locker room. (Pics below). We then walked to the book store and cafes for a lighthouse lunch… & of course coffee – and for once we may have found a good one – very strong but at least taste like coffee 👍🏼😁

From Davidson we went back to our hotel for an hour or so before heading to a restaurant – Olive Garden – Italian so that range kids and parents for that matter could get a decent feed. With all our games of late we have had a lot of quick meals of late.

Then we split I drove the spectators back to the hotel and Luke and Leigh took both boys and girls teams to watch Rhys brother play for his div2 college about 50mins away.

Another day done as the kids returned just before midnight!

#sanfrantomorrowwoohoo

I’ll get Luke Beauglehall, to post pics from the game!

 

Day 14

The shopping day most had been waiting for – Concord Mills Outlets!!!

We left the hotel at 9:30am – we detoured to Dick’s Sporting Goods on the way to Concord Mills Outlet Shops. Lots and lots of bargains were found, from shoes, to perfume, to watches, to clothes, to presents – to more suitcases to fit it all in 😜

Lunch and goodbyes to Poppy & Marty were had in the food court – as they head back to Aus for Poppy to go to the Country Cup in Albury on Sunday – good luck from all of us Poppy!!! 🏀👌🏼

We all stayed at concord until 2:30pm before driving back to the hotel to prepare for the last basketball game at Fort Mill high school. A teacher at Fort Mill is an Aussie, so we had Flags and maps and Anzac biscuits as we arrived!

Girls played first and had a solid win 42-18 with solid contributions by all, but the highlight went to Centre Ashlea Withers who drained a 3 with I’d say her only shot outside the key for the whole trip! Fair to say the girls went crazy and gave Ash a nice “bath” with water after the game!!!

The boys game was a little frustrating as they couldn’t buy a basket and eventually went down 53-35. None the less it was a great atmosphere at the game and brilliant that guys at home could listen to the live commentary. We also had Rhys Lemkes older brother (Nathan) join us in the stands to watch and catch-up. Nathan plays college over here and has a game tomorrow night about 50mins from our hotel – so all players are going with the coaches to attend!!!

Pizza was provided for all players from our visitors and we departed for the hotel around 9pm.

 

SPECIAL REPORT – by Jaimee Crombie

Waking up nice and early for us kids was not a problem on the 27th of December as we knew what we had ahead. The first set back was in Sydney and being unable to get onto the plane as it was a lovely 37 degrees. Finally we were able to fly from Sydney to Dallas which involved sleeping, and plenty of movies. The First day in America we drove 5 hours to play our first games in the Caprock Lubbock tournament. Watching these teams warm up was very intimidating but we knew nothing could stop our Aussie speed and aggression! Us girls winning 3 out of 4 games put more hope into our hearts heading into the other games.

Our home stays, living with American families was such an amazing experience. The Texas families were so loving and homely people, taking us in as one of there own. Flying across to Orlando our jaws dropped as we walked into the Nike clearance store! Shoes, clothes and presents for our families were bought with a lot of excitement.

We started the year with a bang heading to universal studios! The rain did not stop any of us from having the best time all together. Disney world Epcot was next. Walking around the globe, from Mexico to France, we experienced the world in a day.

Ganon Baker, a world famous basketball skill coach didn’t hold back on us. We took a step back on the first day but by the second day we were way more into it! Flying to Raleigh didn’t take long. Seeing snow made us go crazy, some fell over on ice, some threw snowballs and others got goofy (dumb award).

Our second home stay was just as amazing as the Texas families, again treating us as one of there own. Spending just one night and having a home cooked meal was perfect. We departed our families and headed for our games. Both boys and girls teams putting up a fight but knowing that these girls and boys we just played would have to feed us and look after us it was all friendly and fun. Another home cooked meal was provided and then both teams were sent to the gym to play games and to get to know each other.

Watching a women’s Duke college game for me was a massive part of this trip, seeing how they live and how hard they work was very inspiring. Just was the Duke girls, North Carolina was just as impressive with the facilities and opportunities the college provided for both men and women young athletes.

So far this trip, I can say for everyone it has been such a massive highlight in our lives!!!

DAY 13

All at the hotel this morning, a mini sleep in, we checked out at 10:15am to head to UNC. (Otherwise known as Michael Jordan country in my eyes!)

After a visit to the hall of fame and quick look at the main stadium we then drove a little drive to the other side of campus – we thought Duke was big – this place is huge!

We meet up with the women’s basketball operations manager and he gave us a great insight into the UNC women’s basketball life. Which includes 15-20 new pairs of shoes for free a season!!! 😳

We visited Carmichael court (the court Jordan played on and also now home to the women’s team), the weights room, locker room and common room before finishing in the Women’s hall of fame. Then we walked to the book store to buy clothing and also had lunch here at Starbucks and Wendy’s.

We departed UNC a little later than expected but it was definitely worth it!!! We headed straight to the boys 7pm game in well the middle of no where – about 30mins away from our next stop Charlotte. This place was a camp set up for players who hadn’t made college yet and or needed to finish some schooling to get into college. They were all 18yr+ but our boys took it to them and although lost they provided some great highlights!!

Dinner on the way to our hotel and checked in by 10:30pm. A long but enjoyable day had by all!

DAY 12

A casual -16 when I woke up this morning 😳 left me thinking what the hell am I going to wear today to keep warm. Luckily by the time I had got up it was -6 so a slight improvement – God help us when we return home – we may melt!

This morning was another leisurely morning, as the kids had another home stay with the lovely kids they played against last night from new life camp group, all ten boys went to the same house – a very big house – and the girls were split 4/2/2/2 – all had enjoyable nights with lots of food and even visits to church this morning!

We meet them for pick up at 1pm before driving back to Duke university to watch Duke vs NC State in the Women’s NCAA division. We had great seats right behind the home bench and the game was close for the most part with Duke eventually winning by 20pts. Some amazingly talented athletes in the game provided some good highlights throughout.

From the game we drove back to the hotel for swim/spas/dinner and eventually bed!

DAY 11

Our day started today slowly as all the kids were off staying with host families, so we slept in and had late breakfast before heading over to pick them all up at 11am.

We took a cake and celebrated Lucas 18th birthday with everyone, both teams also enjoyed a small snow fight with the remains of snow left from a couple of days ago. Luckily no snow in sight for next few days, but my god it’s freezing our top today was -2 and it was as low as -9 over night!! As Luke Beauglehall said today, It’s weird we are wearing jackets, gloves… and Sunglasses 🤔 u just shouldn’t be doing that!!!

After we picked up the kids, who all throughly enjoyed there home stays, (one family took 8 boys – silly I thought! 😜) we drove to Duke university for a tour of the basketball facilities. Luckily the women’s team were just finishing practice as we arrived so we were able to go on court with them and then hang around and get some shots up etc.

After that we walked around the hall of fame and took note of just how good Coach K actually is! Then we visited the Nike athletic store and bookstore to get Duke apparel. We head back to Duke tomorrow for a game so we will be all decked out to support!

After this we drove about 30mins to a shopping centre to eat before the girls played at 5pm against the new life camp girls team and the boys played at 6:30pm.

Both teams had great wins, girls by 20 points and boys by 2 points practically on the buzzer – thanks to Jack Dunstan big 3 with 4 seconds remaining!!! All players then stayed with the opposition teams for another home stay tonight whilst the parents ventured back to the hotel for a quiet meal around 9pm.

Another enjoyable day had by all ✔️

DAY 10

Up at 5:45am we drove to Fort Lauderdale airport dropped our vans off and headed for our first flight to Baltimore. After a straight forward 2 hrs of flying our last 30mins before landing in Baltimore was actually horrendous – well I thought so anyway! A plane in front of us caused us to have to circle in high winds for what felt like forever, bumpy turbulence – have I mentioned I don’t like flying? Lol! Anyway we eventually landed safely into a snow dusted Baltimore and headed about 20m to our next gate to depart for Charlotte ✈️

After just feeling the wind on our landing – the next flight take off actually wasn’t too bad and it again wasn’t until the landing that we had some minor turbulence. But again all good and landed safely!!!

Picked up our next vans and headed for surprise surprise… another shopping centre! 🎉 (3pm). A quick bite to eat and we were off again to meet our families to take our kids for another home stay! (Our games tonight were cancelled as the school didn’t have access to courts).

We drove off thinking we were going to a school and landed at a house that accommodated all 31 of us and about 20 of them for early dinner!! Talk about nice👌🏼
After spending some time with the families it was time for the supporters and coaches to leave and get to their hotel (730pm).

All in all a good and busy couple of days… everyone of us is looking forward to staying in bed tomorrow morning and catching up on some sleep 😁😁😁

Oh and think of us over here it’s currently -6 and overnight -12!!! Tomorrow it’ll be a balmy top of -2 😨

Until tomorrow ✌🏼🇺🇸🏀

DAY 9

We started Thursday with our second Gannon Baker on court session – extended this session instead of doing beach session – (too cold!) Session was again good and the kids got right into the swing of it! We thanked and said our good byes to Gannon around 12noon and headed back for our hotel to grab some lunch and have a quick 30mins or so of down time… or some of us got lost going to find petrol for the buses! 😳

We then drove about 15mins, to Deerfield high school to play 2 games each in part of their annual tournament. These games were of some high quality, and although the boys went 0-2 and the girls 1-1 (double overtime for the win), all games were of a much better standard than the last tournament in Lubbock.

We arrived back at our hotel around 10:30pm and headed straight to bed as we had an early start today (Friday) for our trip to Charlotte.

DAY 8

We checked out of Orlando hotel and drove 3hrs to the first Gannon Baker training session – one word that describe his session – intense!!!

It was an amazing session that proved to get to the next level intensity and passion needs to be high. And your mind has to be switched on! 2 hrs of pretty intense dribbling, shooting and passing drills was great for the kids and I would hope they took a lot out of it.

A quick trip to Subway / Maccas and we were then at our next hotel in Deerfield – Comfort Inn Oceanview. Leigh was the only one of us to get up and view the sunrise this morning (pic attached👌).

A ten minute change of clothes and we were back on the bus driving down to Miami for the NBA game. Note: peak hour driving in Miami sucks!!! Lol😜
We ended up missing our 6:30pm meeting point for the kids to do the high five line – they were a little flat about that but knew it was no ones fault just timing with the traffic.

Anyway we picked up our tickets and luckily the Miami Heat GM had put his business card in with the tickets – so I thought I’d just text and ask the question of at least getting the tshirts the kids missed from the high five line. To my surprise “TJ” called me back within 2 minutes and asked if the kids would want to do the high five line at half time instead – there was no hesitation in the answer! 😉

So half time came and went and the kids were buzzing from just being on court. Then TJ came up to our seats and handed us tickets for the shoot a free throw line at the end of the game which allowed us access to the court and all 31 of us ventured down to strut our stuff.

A late night after an hour drive home but one I’m sure the kids will remember forever!!!

Bed Midnight 😴

DAY 7

We started the day with a short drive to Disney Epcot. Epcot is a theme park that consists of an around the world walk, whereby they have set up different cities to replicate Canada, Japan, China, Norway, France, USA, Mexico, England etc etc each has its own attractions and countries food!

The park also has out of space, rainforests and fast car rides. After our massive day yesterday at Universal it was a good wind down day with abit of walking! Can’t forget to mention the Mickey Mouse pretzels & Chirros 😋

We meet up at 2:30pm and drove back into town to hit up the other NIKE outlet (these kids like to shop!) and I think Chloe got the buy of the day with $20 runners.

After that we returned to the hotel, 2 hours free time – where a few of the kids went and played mini golf and the parents went to Walmart to arrange a home cooked BBQ and salad for dinner.

The kids kicked on for some outdoor basketball games before everyone went to bed after another successful day!!!

Up next Miami (and 20+ degrees 😁)

 

DAY 6

Today we ventured to Universal Studios here are some pics! Harry Potter world was our favourite.

The kids are just having a stack of fun 👍🏼

DAY 5 – TRAVEL DAY

Today (New Years Eve for us!) we got up and left the hotel in Dallas by 5am to drive to Dallas Love Airport. Our flight was pretty quick and standard, 2 hrs later we touched down in Orlando, Florida.

After picking up our cars we drove to Homewood Suites by Hilton and checked in to our hotel.

We left at 3pm to shop for the next 4 hrs at the outlet mall… & boy did we shop!!! Bag upon bag upon bag – should probably check our luggage allowance for our next flight 😳😜

After a quick bite to eat we returned to the hotel for the night and just sat around the fire pit until midnight and New Years Eve countdown began 🎉

GAME DAY 4

The last day in Lubbock started with the boys playing at 9am and recording a their first win 60-38 to finish the tournament 1-2, the girls were up next at 10:30am playing off for fifth and after a very lucky wave away on the buzzer won by 2 pts.

After we finished at the tournament we meet the boys and girls Lubbock Christian High School Families at Rosie’s – a Tex Mex restaurant – for our last good byes and appreciation lunch. It was amazing to watch the friendships and connections the kids had developed in such a short period of time. I did tell them home stays was the best 😉

After lunch we took off on our 5 hr journey back to Dallas, arriving at 7:30pm ready for a quick dinner and bed by 9pm. A very early 5am wake up call for today was enough to get everyone into bed!!!

A very Happy New Year everyone back home! 🎉🎉🎉

Boys, 22 point win for our boys in last game of tournament 60-38!

GIRLS WON by 1 point to claim 5th at the Capprock Classic Basketball Tournament in Texas USA… not sure what the trophy is for but we will take it!!! 🏀👌🏼

(message from Coach Leigh Dawson)

You girls are phenomenal! Awesome tournament! We finish the tournament with 3 wins and 1 loss which was by just 4 points to one of the finalist teams. Be very proud of yourselves as not only have you performed on the court your off the court reputation speaks volumes for your attitude and behaviour! Very proud of you girls!!! 🏆👊🏼

GAME DAY 3

Today was all about basketball as both teams continued on in the Caprock Classic Tournament.

Returning to the group after a night of home stays with the Lubbock Christian High school boys and girls teams all players were in high spirits and lots of chatting was going on. We managed to pump up our Aussie rules football and have a kick on the court before the girls first game – gaining some weird looks and many questions from interested bystanders!

The girls won the first game of day defeating Klonoke 41-29 with a great all round performance from the team moving them into he quarter final later in the day. The girls then headed off with host families again and spent a few more hours with them.

After the girls game and before the boys 1:30pm game we ventured to Walmart – a place of high interest amongst the boys team (not exactly sure why 🤔) then a quick coffee and donut stop at Krispy Kremes and it was again back to the basketball courts.

The boys played at one of the best high school courts you have ever seen with a show court to envy and with massive school grounds connected.

The boys started well and enjoyed a quick 10pt lead early in the first quarter against small high school team Post. Post boasted a 7footer and our boys struggled to restrict his impact on the game unfortunately going down by 2 pts in the last 30secs of the game!

Across town to another court and it was the girls semi final against a team called the Tigerettes. This team had been making a bit of a name for themselves at the tournament for their rough style of play and this game did not disappoint. Our girls threw everything at it and with a large majority of the large crowd barracking and cheering for our girls it was great to see our fighting spirit unfortunately though they just couldn’t get over the line going down 44-40 and knocking them out of the finals race.

To one final court for the day and we dropped the girls off to Lubbock Christian High School to watch the last half of their hosts games and return home with them for one last night of home stays.

Supporters and coaches returned to the hotel to freshen up before heading out to a Mexican place called Garcia’s (Anyone that knows me knows I love Mexican so no complaints here! 😁)

Final day of tournament to come today… 🏀

GAME DAY 2

Breaking news…. more to come!

Girls win first game of the day 41-29 great game, good win, then lost in the afternoon, 60-58 great great game! Very tough and physical.

Boys lost by 2 (60-58) Much better game than yesterday and hopefully a win tomorrow!

TOUR HIGHLIGHT

From Leigh Dawson

This is really a high school (just the basketball stadium mind you)😲…An amazing complex

GAME DAY 1

Our day started at 8am when we left Dallas, to drive to Lubbock. Drivers – Luke, Damian and myself have managed to conquer the driving on the other side of the road! An interesting drive with snow remaining from a couple of days prior, ice on parts of the road, and cotton – lots of cotton!!! This area is known for its Cotton fields.

A couple of stops and 5hrs later we arrived in Lubbock. The coach from our last tour had given me the heads up on a nice deli and sandwich bar (semi healthy😜) so we got in there for lunch around 2:15pm.

We quickly dropped all the coaches and supporters gear off to the next hotel and headed to the girls first game. A couple of TV commitments from our coach and injured player Grace Brown and we were hyped and ready to go! They had a great game from start to finish and a solid win to kick off the tournament. A couple of rule differences was probably the highlights for the team with special mention to Charlotte Todd for the drop to the ground army roll wave to the crowd on her last foul!! 😆

The boys left the girls stadium at 1/4 time to drive 10mins to their first game, they started well but the plane legs kicked in and unfortunately couldn’t get over the line.

After both of these games Lubbock Christian High School families took our kids for their first home stays! They are in great hands as all families were so excited to welcome them into their homes.

Coaches & Supporters headed off for a well earned steak house meal a quiet drink, before driving home in the heavy fog!!!

TOURNAMENT #1 WEBSITE  https://www.caprockclassic.com/

Girls won 60-38

Boys lost 65-33

Supercats featured on local news, for the footage click on the link below.

http://www.everythinglubbock.com/news/video/59th-fibermax-caprock-classic_20171229000717/890558377

TRAVEL DAY

written by Sarah Monck

(whatever day it is!) after the slight delay at Sydney our flight to Dallas was actually fairly uneventful – most players and coaches got a little bit of rest at some stage and the 14.5hr flight was spent eating vegetable lasagna and then a nice omelette and hash brown as we flew with very little turbulence the whole way. Arrival was good and easy landing at about 3:30pm, customs however was a little testing and we were split up for a good hour whilst getting through a long line! Fingerprints, eye scans, ESTA checks most of us got the works but all a learning experience for the kids and showed that security is at its highest at airports. Finally we meet up with a few early travelers in Dallas airport and walked out the front door – it was fresh to say the least – to get on the big blue bus to the car rentals. Picked up our rental buses (x3) bus drove to the hotel arrived around 7:15pm which wasn’t really enough time for us to get to our prearranged basketball game. Instead went to a sports bar – Humperdinks – a very traditional American sports bar that accommodated all 31 of us with ease!!! Back to hotel by 10pm and kids were all in bed by 11pm. Everyone has to be up by 7am to have breakfast and leave for Lubbock at 8:15am! All good so far👍🏼

Here’s some pics of the hotel lobby and breakfast area.

Teams out for dinner at Humperdinks