We should have known the trip back wouldn't go as planned. Maybe it was when our team got on the bus and the first thing the driver told us was that we may have to pull over if he got tired. Or when we attempted to get on the freeway and it was closed due to fog. All of these obstacles should have been red flags, but anxious to travel back home, we ignored these signs and away we went on our journey back to America.
We finished our last game Monday night and arrived back at the hotel around 11:30 p.m. after defeating the China Olympic B Team, 65-55. An hour and a half later, we were loaded up on the bus attempting to get on the freeway before it would have its normal closure at 2 a.m. When we arrived to the freeway at a little after 1 a.m., it was already closed due to fog. Our bus driver would attempt to take us an alternate route in hopes to still make our flight. After seven and a half hours of driving through the night, we arrived at the airport just in time to miss our scheduled flight to Beijing. This would be the first of several dominos to fall in a very long chain of unfortunate events. Without going into much detail about the specific flights, the main point is that after more than 48 hours of travel, not flying on a single scheduled flight, and spending a night unexpectedly in San Francisco, I am finally home in Seattle!
To sum up the basketball portion of the trip, our team did really well. We finished 8-1 and won the championship trophy for all of the games combined. Our final game was definitely the most competitive and exciting of the trip. We knew playing the China Olympic B Team would be a great challenge. We played very well and earned a 10-point win to cap off a great nine game trip. The atmosphere during that game was probably one of the loudest, and craziest I have ever played in. There were around 5-6,000 fans in attendance cheering for their home country. If all of those fans and their clacker noise-makers weren't enough, add in an announcer and constant music playing over the speakers, and the gym was officially "rocking". After the game they had a closing ceremony during which they presented us with the championship trophy.
It is hard to find words to fully sum up and describe the experiences. To have the opportunity to travel for two weeks in a foreign country, in addition to experiencing the international level of basketball, was amazing and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to do so. I'd like to thank the United States Basketball Academy for giving me the chance to be a member of the 2012 China Tour and everyone else who has supported me in this experience.