Aug. 18, 2011

Video Wrap-Up Journal from Team

OXFORD, Ohio - After 10 days, three games, over 10,000 miles flown and countless historical sites visited, the Miami women's basketball team's historic trip to Turkey and Greece has concluded. The RedHawks are safely back in Oxford preparing for the start of classes on Monday. The team had countless adventures on the way, so here to wrap up the trip is one final journal written by junior point guard Courtney Osborn.

Dear Journal,

On our last morning in Greece, I watched as the sun rose through the mountains from my balcony. It was a beautiful sight to behold and I couldn't help but to think about how lucky I was to be sitting at a 5-Star Hotel overlooking the Aegean Sea in Greece. We've done so much, seen so much, and learned so much about not only Greece and Turkey, but also each other in these nine days that to recap everything would turn this into a novel.

The first thing I must say is THANK YOU! Thank you to all the supporters and sponsors for making this trip possible. To say that this was an amazing experience would be an understatement. This trip has been one I will never forget and I speak for my teammates and coaches when I say that we truly appreciate and are so grateful for your support.

We started off in Istanbul, Turkey for three days. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Istanbul, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. The city was beautiful, even with the narrow streets, too-close-for-comfort buildings, and careless drivers. Some of my favorite memories from Istanbul:

                ~ Hagia Sofia Museum was one of the coolest places of worship I've seen.

                ~The Grand Bazaar. We became experts in negotiating prices and got some great deals.

                ~ Being on two continents at once. I don't know how many people can say that they've been in Europe and Asia at one time!

We then jetted off to Athens, Greece and saw ancient ruins, some of the most picturesque islands, great food (I thought so anyways) and even some adventurous activities. A few highlights from Athens included:

                ~ The Three Islands Day Cruise provided some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen. With houses lining the hillside, blue waters, and donkeys as the only transportation, I could've stayed there for quite some time.

                ~ Cliff diving was a first for most of us and was exhilarating. Coach Day even conquered her fear of heights to jump into the crystal clear Aegean Sea.

                ~ The Parthenon, Corinth, and Temple of Zeus exceeded all expectations. It's fun learning about them in school, but seeing them in person was surreal.

                ~ Our scavenger hunt through Athens started out as what the coaches thought were three separate teams competing against each other, but we turned it into a team activity in which we all won the grand prize of tubing on the Aegean at our beach side hotel.

      ~ Personally, I thought the food was great. I had been excited to experience true Greek cuisine and it didn't disappoint. Some of my teammates may disagree and many are happy to be back in America with familiar foods. Some highlights were the lamb, fresh fish, fried squid, and, of course, Greek olive oil!

This entire trip ran smoothly because of the efforts of many people including our awesome tour guide Zach. He was on top of everything, from buses to hotels and everything we did in between. We not only came away with a great experience, but made a friend and gained a fan from Turkey!

But the true reason we came on this trip was for basketball. This trip marked the start of a new season for us and, just like the sunrise, it was a great way to start. We were able to practice for a week prior to leave the States, and won two games in Turkey and one game in Greece. The most beneficial part of this trip, though, was being together as a team for a full two and a half weeks. As I sit on the plane writing this, I feel that this team is more connected and together already than the previous two teams I've been on, and we haven't even started classes yet! Our defense in our three games was the best I've been a part of. From our ball pressure to denial and help side; we have the foundation set. With more time and practice we undoubtedly will keep getting better. On the offensive end, I was most impressed in the way every single player contributed. We looked like a completely different team, and even though it was only a week of practice and three games, I think we are going to surprise a few people this year.

To wrap this up, thank you once more to the countless people who have made this trip possible and to all the supporters of Miami Women's Basketball. This was an unbelievable experience and we are so grateful for the opportunity. We hope you've enjoyed following our journey this past week and a half and can't wait to see you in November as we begin what will be a great year!

Note: Visit MURedHawks.com on Saturday for a bonus photo gallery with never before scene photos from the trip.