Aug. 12, 2009
Associate Head Coach Stan Jones, Sophomore Guard Luke Loucks, and Director of Basketball Operations Jacob Ridenhour blog from their foreign tour to Spain courtesy of Nike. Check out their entries and see photos from the trip below.
Entry 1: Luke Loucks
I don’t know the proper way to start a blog, so I’m just going to start writing and hope that Pete Kunze, my ENC 101 professor, isn’t reading this and snarling due to the fact that I forgot an appropriate way to address whoever is going to read this. When Chuck Walsh, our men’s basketball’s Sports Information guy, contacted me to write a blog about our team’s trip to Spain I was reluctant at first, but quickly pounced on the opportunity to save my money on a calling card and inform my family on what is going on in Spain via Seminoles.com. In hindsight it would probably have been much easier to just buy a twenty dollar calling card and spend 7 minutes on the phone. A wise friend once told me that hindsight is usually 20/20, and I’m beginning to believe this as I realize that I will still buy a calling card, still call my family, and I will still write this blog. So, over the next 8-11 days give or take the 1-4 days that I “forget” to send Chuck my blog you will have to put up with my elementary attempt at humoring you and keeping you updated on exactly what your Seminole Men’s basketball team is doing in Spain on a day to day basis. I apologize ahead of time if this isn’t what you’re looking for, but I never kept a journal as a teenager and I don’t know exactly what or how to write other than your usual narrative that is graded on a 100 point system. If you want to grade my writing, please do so in red ink and mail it to Chuck.
This morning I woke up and ate some delicious chocolate chip waffles, sausage, and a cup of milk, which probably wasn’t helpful to the ten pounds I lost but I’m sure I’ll run it off over the next few days. We had to meet at the basketball training center at 10:30 When we got to the training center we were offered a delectable and generous Jimmy Johns meal-in-a-box. If there is one thing I learned my freshman year, it’s that when we leave for road trips we will either have a chicken and rice meal from California Chicken Grill or a meal-in-a-box from Jimmy Johns. These two options are standard at any time of the morning, day, or night. At around 11:25 we departed for Atlanta on the bus. We stopped after a few hours at a Dairy Queen/ gas station/ pizza hop to stretch, refresh, and waste some money. I did eye a nice top hat that was similar to Bobby Bowden’s for a mere $12.99. I almost bought it on impulse but quickly came to my senses and realized there would probably be a sombrero I would rather purchase in Spain. Twenty or so minutes later, after the last Oreo blizzard is purchased by Coach Williams, we hit the road again. We finally rolled into Atlanta International Airport at about 4:15.
Our group of around 20 includes: eight players not counting Solomon who is going to meet us over in Spain (fingers crossed) and not counting any of the incoming freshman, four coaches, our strength coach Mike Bradley, our video coordinator Michael Fly, our GA Stephen Cowherd, our head manager Nate Englehert, our Trainer Sam Lunt, and our Director of Operations Jacob Ridenour. Between all of us there were 439 bags to unload off of the bus and check in. Ok, it wasn’t that many but it seemed like it. Luckily, Xavier and I beat the massive traffic jam and were the first to security. Not so luckily, we were “randomly” selected to be questioned upon further review. I blame myself for this. When the security lady looking over my passport quickly snapped, “WHAT IS YOUR BIRTH DATE?!” I stumbled for a second before collecting my bearings and gave her what I thought was my birth date. I think they just selected Xavier because he is 7 foot tall and wore the same FSU shirt as the person who didn’t know his birth date upon fierce questioning. We were pulled aside and patted down, waved with the baton, and questioned further while everyone stopped and starred at the two abnormally tall guys with matching t-shirts. We both passed the tests with flying colors and managed to escape this fiasco with all of our clothing and a hint of embarrassment slapped on our foreheads. After everyone got through security we killed some time by eating and answering questions from bystanders.
Anytime there is a group of 8 guys ranging from 6’4 to seven feet, all wearing the same t-shirt, you know one of two things is going to happen. Either people will come up and ask questions like “Do you play a sport?” which is usually answered with a “Yes, we play golf,” or some people try to get out words but stumble with what they want to say and come up with an “Ohhh myy, you are tall.” Clearly neither of these remarks needs to be stated as our shirts boldly say Florida State Basketball on them and we already know we are above average height. In any circumstance, most of us like to small talk with fans and other people so we understand if that’s your way of breaking the ice. I’m not good at breaking the ice either!
Our plane left at 6:55 PM on Tuesday for Madrid. We are currently flying somewhere over the mid Atlantic. We arrive at 9:30 AM on Wednesday in Madrid’s time, which I believe is six hours ahead of Tallahassee time. Tomorrow is going to be a long day, no doubt about it. Hopefully Coach Ham will let us have an hour or two to nap and catch up on lost sleep. This will probably be my longest post, as we will have a full schedule once we land in Spain. Be back soon.”
Entry 2: Stan Jones
I always thought cross country red eye flights during the recruiting periods were stressful on the body but our trans-Atlantic flight from Atlanta to Madrid took that to a new level. The flight itself was uneventful and smooth. But leaving the USA at 6:55 pm and landing in Madrid at 9:15 am when your body was set for 3:15 am gets even our young players a bit out of kilter.
We have adjusted well. We had an informative tour of the capitol of Spain. Seeing the Palace that houses 2,800 rooms, the awesome atrium in Madrid’s train station, the soccer stadium where powerhouse Real Madrid plays, the U.S. Embassy, and many other significant political and financial buildings with awesome architectural designs was truly special. The highlight of the day was seeing the Bull Ring and watching our guys take tons of pictures with the numerous statues and designs. The bullfights are only on Sundays at this point in their season. The Seminole hoops guys are anxious to see the action later in the trip.
Tomorrow we intend to see the Museum de Prado. In addition, we will get a short practice in for our first game and then take in a Flamenco dinner show tomorrow evening.
It’s only the first day, but our guys have been treated to great cultural opportunities.
Will fill you in on the details along the way.
Entry 3: Jacob Ridenhour
As the sun rises over the Atlantic and I look out the window to enjoy the view I can’t sleep…nothing new here though. I can’t help but reflect on our first day. After weeks and approaching months we are off on our trip.
We got away from Tallahassee with everything running smoothly. Everyone one was excited and the guys were even early for this trip. On the bus ride to Atlanta, we threw in a video that Michael Fly, our video coordinator put together, chronicling the cities we are visiting including Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona. Fly finished up the video with F.C. Barcelona’s highlight film (Barcelona’s professional soccer team whom is arguably the best in Europe). The guys were stoked to find out we are going to the F.C. Barcelona Soccer match next week. We are all sports junkies and whether it is college basketball or ping pong, we love the competition and excitement.
Four and half hours on the Astro Bus was as good as can be expected with a long bus ride…but we did have our customary stop in Cordele, Georgia, to stretch our legs and grab a Dairy Queen Blizzard. Coach Hamilton passed on the extra calories and picked up his drink of choice, grape juice. Last time we stopped in Cordele on the way to ACC Tournament, we ran into FSU Associate A.D. Brian Battle…no luck this time; but the last time we stopped we had our run to the ACC Championship Game so maybe the “mojo” will carry over the Atlantic to Spain.
Our driver Larry Harris dropped us right on the target at the Delta check-in and we rolled right into checking everyone in and getting their boarding pass…except our travel agency changed one of our tickets today (not sure why) to tomorrow and caused all sorts of drama for one of our passengers. As a result, head student manager Nathan Engelhardt was looking like the “wall flower” at the high school dance with no ticket and no luck with our Delta agent pulling up his record locator (to use airline speak). Everyone else left and headed for the terminal.
After 1:40 of deliberations with the Travel Agency and Delta we were able to get Nate ticketed properly as the computer system was automatically closing check-in…with the time consumption on the ticketing my plans to exchange U.S. Dollars for Euros at the money exchange were totally jacked up. To the positive, Nate was checked-in and he and I were able to head for airport security. Of course our gate would have to be located at the E Terminal, kind of like having to travel on foot from the Civic Center to Doak Campbell and get in your seat for kickoff in 25 minutes or less…needless to say Nate and I looked like O.J. Simpson in the old Hertz television commercial sprinting through the airport.
Obviously we made the flight or I would not be peering out my window. We are on our decent into Madrid and you can see the excitement in the guys faces. But little do they know we are going to keep them awake all day so they will acclimate to the time change.