Windsor Lancers

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Former Hawk Talks about International Experience

Africa was a life changing and eye opening experience for me! Going into this trip, Tanika (former Hartford player and Assistant Coach) didn't give me too much information because she wanted me to have my own experience. Though all of her stories from having gone three times to various countries were quite hysterical; she had me nervous but also anxious to get on the flight as soon as possible to see what it was she was talking about!

Sierra Leon was beautiful in ways that I couldn't have ever imagined. But the one thing I wasn't prepared for was immediately being put up against challenges of running camp that I never thought would be an issue. For instance, going to a different country in which basketball isn't their main sport, finding an indoor court was impossible. This was because one simply didn't exist! So improvising became my greatest skill and teaching the girls basketball without a hoop became something that was quite normal for me.

Despite teaching the girls everything there was to learn without having them shoot at a basket until Thursday of camp, it was such a fun experience simply because of their desire to learn and master the game of basketball. They constantly wanted me showing them new moves, how to dribble properly, what a defensive stance really looked like and what it meant to really push themselves to the next level. These girls quickly learned what the word hustle meant and really tried their best to meet the standard in which we held them to!

Being that these girls had never touched a basketball prior to this experience, what they knew at the end of the week and could physically do compared to the first day of camp, it was evident that we were against all odds and managed to come out on top! They went away with a love for the game of basketball!

A few things in between camp that were amazing and unforgettable were the side trips that I got to take while there. These consisted of being able to meet the president of Sierra Leon, his wife and also the Vice President and his wife. On one occasion we received an invitation to the First Ladies home. She wanted to formally thank us for coming to the country and empowering women in such a positive and educational way.

This was a trip and group of young women that I will never forget and who all have had a major impact on my life. F3B has given me an experience and opportunity that was truly amazing and I am so grateful for. This was a trip of a lifetime and I will always look back with fond memories that make me both laugh and cry. Sierra Leon and Senegal are gorgeous places that have taught me so much and I will be forever changed by the experience.