August 20, 2009 - by
Women’s Basketball Final Diaries From South Africa

Aug. 20, 2009

Senior Forward Jacinta Monroe

I’m sitting in the Johannesburg airport, and it’s kind of bittersweet to head back to the United States. We had a lot of fun, but I’m anxious to get back home. There’s no place like home. It was a great experience, a once in a lifetime experience, and it’s something I will keep with me until the end of time. We gelled and our chemistry got a lot better on and off the court. It was great to visit a place that I never thought I would get an opportunity to visit.

I think it was a humbling experience. We think we have it bad sometimes when we are low on gas and we don’t have money to fill up our tanks, but coming over here a lot of people don’t have cars and don’t have money to buy food. I think we grew up a lot. It will really help us appreciate the things we have.

It was such an overwhelming trip at times, but I think I’ll remember the orphanage and the Kayamandi kids for a long, long time. Being around them it was a touching experience. It felt great to make a difference in their lives, however small it was. You never know how things affect other people, no matter how minute they might seem to us. We didn’t want to leave them when we had too.

As far as the basketball side goes, the head start should help us. Any team with a head start should have a leg up. It was an extra opportunity to grow as a team, and develop that chemistry on and off the court.

I think this trip will impact the way I think about things when I get back home. You grow up and you’re humbled when you go to different places and you see different cultures.

Redshirt Freshman Point Guard Alexa Deluzio

Today was our last day, and we snuck a trip up to the top of Table Mountain before our flight. It was so pretty. The cable car ride up to the top of the mountain made me dizzy, but once I got up to the top it was well worth it. It was amazing. It overlooks all of Cape Town, and you can see as far as the Cape of Good Hope. The water was my favorite, and I loved how you could see the different colors. The blue and the green, it was all really pretty.

While we were up there John, our videographer, pretended to jump off the side of the mountain, and Coach Johnson thought that he actually did. She yelled and I think all of South Africa could hear her. She thought that John was gone, and burst out into tears. The whole team was laughing and giving her a hard time. It was hilarious.

This trip was so amazing, and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. I’m anxious to get home and see my family though. And I definitely can’t wait to sleep in my own bed.

When I look back on this trip I’ll remember so much. I thought I was going to remember mostly the basketball games, because that’s what I was looking forward to the most, but having fun with the team and experiencing South Africa’s culture and its daily life will stick with me the most. Going to hang out with the kids at the Kayamandi Township and teach them basketball was my favorite part. That’s what I will remember the most.

I just think the way they appreciate stuff is different the than the way we live. For us, we’re all so materialistic, but for them teaching them defense or a jumpshot, it was the best thing in the world for them. I want to carry over the ability to appreciate the things in my life the same way that they do.

We’re in the airport now, and I’ve got the middle seat so I’m dreading the long flight home. I’m just going to try and sleep as much as I can.

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