Every four years, Capital Men's Basketball takes trip to a foreign land, and this cycle the team made its way to Spain! Recent graduate Tyrel Jackson has decided to give everyone a glimpse of what it is like along the way during the team's 10-day trip.
We're here! We got right into the sight seeing, and our first destination was the stadium that the 1992 Olympics were held in Barcelona. One word, huge.
We then went to church, even though it wasn't Sunday. The (Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la) Sagrada Família is said to be one of the biggest and oldest churches in Spain.
Wikipedia says construction began in 1882. Thanks, Wikipedia!
We're exhausted. More tomorrow!
We went to the Cathedral of Barcelona to start our day. The view of the church was incredible! The church has coffins of saints that have passed away. We then walked around Barcelona and visited the Picasso Museum. The paintings in the museum were incredible, too! We had a tour guide that gave us information of every painting Picasso and its significance in that era.
We also played in our first three games (but lost) against Sant' Adria.
We started off the day on a bike tour. this wasn't your normal bike tour. It was pouring down rain, yet we still decided to do it and it was very fun. Some of the guys decided to jump in the sea afterword because they were already soaking wet. Then the boys had a game to play at 3 p.m. (our time) and they won, 83-81. After the game, we went up to the highest point of Barcelona to overlook the city. To finish out the night we walked around FC Barcelona Stadium, which is the biggest stadium in the world.
More photos to come!
We had an early morning travel to Valencia . The bus ride took 4 hours. We got to Valencia at 4 p.m. and took a walking tour around the city. The tour was jam packed full of sights and information! Our tour guide educated us on the history of Valencia; we got to see central market, Church of San Nicolas, and Valencia Cathedral. We learned that Valencia's river that has no water in it now. It's filed with playgrounds and pathways. We finished our night with a team dinner in Valencia. We ate one of Spain's famous food paella, which consisted of rice, chicken, and peppers. Mmmmm!
We started off the day with visiting one of the best aquariums in the world, L'Oceanogràfic. This aquarium was filled with fishes, sharks, whales, dolphins, and even penguins! The structure of these buildings were very futuristic. It was cool to experience the dolphin show, as well. The dolphins were doing multiple flips in the air! After the aquarium we headed to the beach in Valencia, the water was extremely cold, like swimming in a ice bath. The water was very clear, though. The boys started to have a wrestling match in the sea. Gavin Wildermuth dominated Dan Auble in the said match in the Mediterranean Sea, dunking him (like a basketball) multiple times.
After the beach the boys had to get ready for a game played against Maristas Valencia. Capital flashed with a quick start but Maristas battled back and brought it to single digits in the third quarter. A steal and a dunk for the Purple and White turned the game in our favor, and we eventually pulled away in the fourth to win, 65-51. Chalk another win up for the Pride of the Purple!
We started off our day with a noon game (our time) against Valencia Basketball Club. Their arena had similarities to a small Division I arena, which was pretty cool! The Crusaders started off the game hot, forcing turnovers and getting transition buckets. The Valencia team battled back and ended up tying the game going into halftime. VBC came out hot, forcing us to call a timeout. The boys then battled back and retook the lead. There were many lead changes in the game, but eventually VBC pulled away to win by four.
After the game, we decided to go to the beach and relax. No wrestling match today. Everyone was too exhausted from the game.
We went back to the hotel and showered before heading to the FC Villarreal vs. FC Deportivo soccer (well, futbol) match. The league they play is one that houses LA Liga, one of the best soccer leagues in the world. This atmosphere was hostile and electric. The fans were very passionate about their team. Our own Gavin Wildermuth decided to wear their rivals jersey (bad move bro). After he realized how hostile this environment was, he decided to buy a polo of FC Villarreal. Smart move!
During the game, the goalie of the away team pushed a player down and received a yellow card. The fans erupted when it happened and made sure they booed and whistled at him every chance they could. Unfortunately the game ended in a 0-0 draw, but the experience of being there and watching how big soccer is to the city was incredible!
Hello from Valencia! Well, we actually departed from Valencia around 9 a.m. our time, we arrived in Toledo, Spain (yes, there is a Toledo in Spain too!) around 1 p.m. The structure of the city was like the Midievil Times, with castles, HUGE castles surrounding the city. We roamed Toledo for three hours, visiting shops and restaurants. Junior big man, Caleb Cox, was infatuated with this antique midievil store in the city. There was lots of cool stuff, but Caleb wanted a gladiator helmet really bad (he REALLY like being a Crusader apparently) but he forget his money on the bus. Sophomore guard Jaden O'Neal played the hero by coming to his aid in the clutch and paid for the helmet for Caleb. We'll work on getting a photo of this for everyone!
After exploring the city for three hours we got back on the bus and headed to Madrid. Once we got to Madrid, the players got a chance to explore the city on their own. While certain groups had different interests, we all returned and we accounted for, although I think for some it is becoming harder to want to come home. This has been great so far!
Hey Cap Fam! We started off the morning with a bike tour around the city Madrid. We visited many historic places and rode through Buen Retiro Park, which is six times bigger than Central Park in New York City!
The highlight of our bike tour was when Assistant Coach Andy Winters decided to risk his life to cross the street on the bike. He nearly got hit by three cars and a scooter! Guess you can say high-risk, high-reward.
Then the team had a bike race, but not taking the same path Coach Winters did. I came in first during the bike race, edging out Caleb Cox in the last mile. Maybe he should have wore the medievil helmet?
After the bike tour, we headed to our team lunch where we were served a three course meal - pasta, steak and cheesecake! This help launch our nap of the day.
Following our nap, the boys got ready to play Tres Cantos. We started of strong with an 8-0 run to start the game . Tres Cantos then battled back and eventually took the lead. We didn't give up, and eventually took the lead and increased it by double digits! Chalk another win up for the good guys!
We're getting close to the end of our trip ... does it have to end?
DAY NINE - THE FINAL DAY
Our last day in Spain was eventful, to say the least. We began the day with a tour of the Real Madrid soccer stadium. We got a chance to see the field up close and personal, and even see the players' lockeroom. Their facility is unbelievable! It was very spacious and even had a hot tub in the locker room. We also got a chance to look at every single trophy they have won, and spoiler alert: they have "a few".
After our tour we had lunch on our own, which players decided to explore the city and buy family members some gifts. After exploring the city on our own we got ready to go to a bull fight. Bull fighting is a sport that is dying because of its gruesome killing of thousands of bulls. The experience of being at a bull fight was very eye-opening because in America, it could never happen. The bull fight was sold out; thousands of people sat down to watch many matadors show off there gracefulness and skill by invading the pit and with exhibit pin-point accuracy when striking the bull.
Spain, overall, was a trip that has created lifelong memories. To experience three different cities and atmospheres that are completely different than America was eye-opening. The gratitude the locals showed to us was amazing, from basketball teams wanting to swap jerseys with us and waiters giving us free food because we are new to the area. This trip was more than basketball. Everyone can say they learned something new and took something away from what they experienced in Spain.
We are all grateful for this experience, and we would just like to thank the Capital Rebounders Club for its help in funding this trip.