George Mason Women's Basketball Recaps Tour of Italy
Editor's Note: The George Mason women's basketball team looks back on their 10-day foreign tour of Italy. Each day, a different class will reflect on their experience overseas. Today's blog features the thoughts and experiences of the junior class.
Nicole Cardaño-Hillary | Guard | Madrid, Spain
I personally had an amazing time on this Italy trip! I was able to enjoy quality time with my teammates on and off the court. As we explored Italy and got to learn the history all throughout Italy. This experience was unforgettable, and priceless.
Not only did we get to enjoy the Italian lifestyle, we also got to play basketball together, against stronger and older girls, that taught us what a true physical game is. We will continue to use what we experienced on the court in this following season. I feel that we built chemistry and have learned the good and the bad from the games. Having my family there to be able to watch me play in Italy was something I will cherish.
Being able to have the opportunity to go to a new place and learn about what went on so many years ago, was truly fascinating to me. I not only learned the history of Italy, but also go to understand Italian people a little better. Like they're many superstitions, got to try their delicious food, and got to visit the some of the most traveled places in the world.
Having my family on this trip made this trip even more enjoyable. We not only got to spend time together, but they also got to know the team on a more personal level. My family and I enjoyed the visit to Siena the best and talked about having to go back there and experience the Palio in full effect.
I'm sure I'll be showing my kids the many pictures taken on this trip. I'm thankful for everyone that was able to put this unforgettable adventure together for our team.
Marika Korpinen | Guard | Turku, Finland
Ciao! The Mason Women's basketball team is currently nicely cuddled up in their seats during our 9-hour flight back to Fairfax from our dream come true trip to Italy. The last ten days have been very much the best days of my life, as we got to experience the authenticity of Rome, Siena, Florence, Venice, and Lake Como. Just seeing those places have been on my bucket list, yet I got to do that with my basketball family as well as play three games in August!
Throughout our trip we got to see the most important historical monuments including the Colosseum, Vatican City, and the magical collection of islands of Venice. In each destination, local tour guides taught us the history behind these sights. I don't think I have ever taken as many pictures! In addition to the guided tours, we got time to ourselves to explore the Italian cities and interact with locals. As an European myself, it was amazing to see how well everyone adapted to the new and foreign environment we were in. Language barriers happened, but there was always someone to help out a teammate in need. Spending all the time together we got know each other even better. Even though this team is arguably the closest team I've ever been part of, was this tour able to glue as a little more together - if that is even possible. And I can honestly say that the process we have made as a family will show on the court in November.
I have not even mentioned the best part of this trip yet: we got to play 3 games! Any student-athlete would kill for three games in August, against pro teams from Europe. But guess what? We just got to play them. The games were high tempo and physical, which showed our team the grit, teamwork, and consistency we will need to reach our goal of the A10 championship. However, despite only few weeks of practice behind us, we were able to compete at a high level. And you could tell all of us loved it. I could not be more grateful and happy to get the experience of a lifetime.
Camarie Gatling | Forward | Richmond, Va.
This trip was nothing short of amazing. I got to learn and see so much. I was blessed with the opportunity of seeing my dream city (Venice), and learned to love others too. This experience helped me build bonds with new teammates and it helped me create memories with existing teammates.
The new things that I got to see while in Europe were breathtaking. The Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel, the Basilicas and museums were such beautiful sights to see. While on this trip, I also learned a lot of history about each place that we visited. We had amazing tour guides that gave us great insight on each new thing that we learned about.
This trip helped me and my team grow on and off the court. The games we played were physical and competitive. We learned how we gel as a unit, some of our strengths and weaknesses, and also how important it is to have good relationships with teammates. Off the floor, as said before, we were able to make so many good memories and build and strengthen our relationships as teammates, friends, and sisters.
All in all, this trip was a blessing and I am grateful to all who contributed to making it happen. In the future, I hope to learn more and grow with my teammates on our journey to an A-10 Championship.