July 18, 2012
Entry #2 | July 18, 2012 | Manchester, England
Shortly after the game, right as Coach Auriemma was giving his post game speech, we got a message that the President wanted to see us. We quickly shuffled out of the locker room into a practice court where we gathered. A few minutes later in struts President Obama in a T-shirt and jeans. He went around casually talking to everyone, congratulating them and wishing everyone luck.
He spent a decent amount of time with us. Then a few minutes later in struts the Vice President Joe Biden. So now in one day we meet the president, the vice president and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. What an experience for the team.
"It's amazing what can happen in Washington, D.C.," head coach Geno Auriemma said. "It was unreal. In one day we met maybe the three most powerful men in the world; the president, the vice president and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Most people don't have that honor in their lives never mind one day. From the players' standpoint, they meet a lot of people in their lives, but it's special when the president comes to talk to you and gives you his undivided attention not as a guy who is campaigning for anything but as a guy in jeans and sneakers who wants to talk a basketball. There are some perks to playing on the US Olympic Team."
After that, we stayed at the Verizon Center to watch the men's game, made a quick stop at McDonald's, and then ended up at the airport around 1:30 a.m. We took a charter to Manchester, made a quick stop at the hotel for a bite to eat, literally threw our stuff in our rooms (luggage to be delivered later), went to the stadium where the world-famous Manchester U soccer team plays to get credentials for the Olympics and then headed straight to practice.
Everyone looked tired but still pushed through and practiced well. Finished practice at 9:30 p.m. England time, which is 4:30 p.m. EDT.
"It was a long day today but you just have to focus when you get on the court," Swin Cash said.
There are A LOT of perks to being a part of USA Basketball but not a lot of people realize just how taxing the travel portion of the schedule can be. This time wasn't quite as bad because we were fortunate enough to take a charter to Manchester but you're still flying in the middle of the night, waiting to get checked in, waiting for luggage, waiting for customs, completely exhausted and not one person said a word.
But the players on this team are professionals in every sense of the word. Complaining is not an option. They just get up early for shoot around the next day, lace up their shoes and go to work. Everyone realizes what the goal is and they take great pride in representing our country.
Thanks for reading!