Dec. 22, 2005
We arrived in New York just in time for rush hour traffic, which living in Waco has deprived a lot of us of, but make no mistake, I'm not complaining at all. A 45 minute ride from the airport to our hotel turned into an authentic, two-hour big-city traffic jam. But we were all so excited that I don't think anyone really minded. The lights of the city were amazing and I don't think I blinked once on the drive in. I have been to New York before, but each time is still a big deal to me.
Our hotel was conveniently located in the heart of the city, better known as Times Square. We rolled up to the hotel and then finally unloaded into our rooms. We were a bit behind schedule and so we ate some New York style pizza on the run. Our very first event as tourists of the Big Apple was of course a Broadway play. Our team all decided on the Lion King, which was by far the right choice. It was amazing to see how creative and elaborate the costumes were and how talented and accurate the actors were. I was very impressed with the whole experience and after the play was over, we called it a night before an early practice the next day.
We had our practice at the New York Athletic Club which is a pretty prestigious athletic club I suppose. It was a pretty routine practice; we got up and down the floor a couple times. We took a tour of the facilities and found a picture of our very own Coach Mulkey hanging on the wall (she was presented with the prestigious Winged Foot Award there last April). It was among some other great coaches all honored by the Athletic Club.
After we left there we went to go eat lunch in Harlem at a famous soul food restaurant. It was a very well needed, satisfying meal that everyone enjoyed. There was fried chicken, mac 'n cheese, cornbread, potato salad. It was heaven on a plate; I think Shaun almost had a stroke when he saw us eating it, though. It went against everything he ever tells us to eat, which for most of us made it taste even better. With full stomachs we loaded the bus and moved on to our next event, which was a very relaxing, and educational bus tour of the city. We traveled all along Central Park and made our way to the other side of the island near Ground Zero. We got off the bus and paid our respects to the site of our national disaster. It was a very graphic reminder of how fortunate we are to have the things we do and have the people in our lives we do. It was a good experience to share as a team I think because we all have experienced a small sense of loss, and ground zero is a good example of how losing something or someone can actually help you find yourself closer than before. So I think we bonded a bit out there.
Our next event was one of my favorites; we had about six hours of free time. Everyone had a chance to go their separate ways and see the sights as though they pleased. My uncle actually is a big part of Planet Hollywood, which is a restaurant across from our hotel, very popular among celebrities and tourist. Sophia, Jordan and Nicole came with me to visit him during our free time and ate dessert with him before we went on our shopping spree. I can't remember the last time I walked as much as that night. I can't remember the last time I was run into as many times as I was that night either. People seem to be moving a lot faster in the city, no one really has time to just stroll, so when you do stroll, you get ran into, we learned the hard way.
When our walkathon was finally over, and my feet, or my wallet, couldn't possibly take anymore, we settled down to an authentic Italian dinner. As always, Abi appreciated the meal a lot more than anyone else I think. She had to translate some of the menu for us and explain some of the authentic plates. I, being the very cultured person that I am, had the hamburger Americano, I recommend it. Then of course, dinner leads to bed and that was our next event for the day.
The next morning we all enjoyed breakfast together and then got everything together to make our trip across the wonderful state of New York. I had all intentions of taking in the sights and staying awake but turns out my body had different plans for that bus ride, and sad to say I slept through the whole thing. The whole team did I think but we woke up just in time to tour the West Point campus. It was absolutely amazing, such a historic and prestigious place in American history. After our tour we made our way to the gym and got there for half time of the Army men's game.
On our bus ride we were joking around trying to figure out what school colors Army had. Rachel cracked me up when she said camouflage and then we figure if our girl scored on us, we could tell coach we didn't see her. I think we laughed about that for like thirty minutes straight. Good stuff. Well the game was good for us. We got to work on our game and different combinations. Everyone got minutes and contributed to the win. We had our two signees form New York come watch the game with their families, as well as family members from Abi's, Sophia's, Latoya's, Rachel's and my families. It was fun to see our fans there as well; you know they are like everyone's family. It was a real good time for all.
Fortunately, I was wide awake for the ride home and saw how wonderful the view was. We got back to the hotel and then once again had free time for the rest of the night. We all decided that we hadn't shopped enough yet and wanted to make the trip to the legendary Chinatown. So there we were nine players, Shaun, Nicole, and Meredith all trying to get across town without losing each other. So cabs were out of the question and we had ourselves a bit of a dilemma. Well being the scholarly athletes of Baylor University, we persuaded Shaun that the only logical solution was taking a limo. I guess a mixture of being National Champs, being in the big city and being very persuasive, made that otherwise dream, a reality. So we headed to Chinatown in style, and safely arrived at the corner of Canal Street and Broadway. We were immediately approached by a guy that showed us exactly what we were looking for, purses! So we pretty much did some damage on our first stop and then continued to walk to the streets before everything closed. Some of us were Christmas shopping, some were not, but I think we all left with a bag in our hands.
Shopping, yet again, led to eating but this time we were on our own to find dinner. My cousin took Sophia, Jordan and me out to a Jamaican restaurant on that side of town and we experienced the New York night life a bit. It was a real good time, because he was at the game, we talked basketball over dinner. He also brought his newly wed wife and we all enjoyed ourselves. The rest of the team went their separate ways and enjoyed what was left or our trip to New York. However, we had to keep in mind that our bus was leaving at five the very next morning. By keep in mind, I mean completely disregard the fact and have fun.
The morning came quickly and before we knew it, our flight home was boarding. We were actually officially on our Christmas vacation after the game, so when we hit Dallas a lot of girls went home straight from there. The bus ride back to Waco was a bit slim but once again, I slept the whole way. Now we are on our last mini-vacation before really getting to work on the rest of the season. It was an amazing trip and way to get in the spirit of the holidays. Hopefully, everyone is enjoying their time off and family time because we all need to recharge before the New Year comes. Hopefully, I will see everyone on the 29th but if not then for sure on Jan. 7th.
Take care and keep the Lady Bears on your mind until next time.