Women's Basketball

    Hoosiers in Italy

    Go Hoosiers! Lake Como, Italy
    Go Hoosiers!
    Lake Como, Italy
    Go Hoosiers!

    May 16, 2009

    ROME, Italy - The Indiana women's basketball team opened a 10-day tour of Italy in Rome on Saturday, May 16. The Hoosiers will visit Florence, Pisa, Venice, Lake Como and Milan before returning to Bloomington on Monday, May 25.

    Day One

    Journal Entry No. 1
    Kim Roberson - The Journey
    11:49 a.m. ET - We leave the North side of Assembly to begin our journey to another land!

    2:21 p.m. - We are sitting at the gate of our flight. All are in anticipation of what is ahead. Whitney Thomas and Amber Jackson are looking at the essentials of Italy, planning out the sights to see and making sure each minute away is maximized.

    2:50 p.m. - We are on the plane to Philly, and there we will take the flight to Rome. Everyone is rather tired from the early morning practice and rush of packing.

    6 p.m. - We have boarded the flight to Rome. The atmosphere is different than out previous flight. Everyone is full of energy! Even though the flight will take eight hours, I believe the feeling of excitement is like a kid on Christmas Eve anticipating the vast array of gifts that await them. We are all ready to unravel the gifts Italy has for us!

    2:24 a.m. - The window is full of light and blue sky. Breakfast was served. Now everyone is coming to life. The energy that once started this flight has return. Everyone is washing up, fixing their appearance to greet Italy with a bright fresh look.

    2:40 a.m. - We have finally arrived to our destination: Rome, Italy. Yay!

    Day Two

    After nearly nine and half hours in the air, the Hoosiers landed at Leonardo DaVinci Airport at around 9 a.m. in Rome and took on their first tours of the trip. The team headed straight into a bus tour of Ancient Rome, and then walked around the Colosseum and the Forum, before enjoying some authentic Italian cuisine for lunch in Venice Square.



    Journal Entry No. 2
    Andrea McGuirt - First Experience
    Drea signing in ... What's up? Ok so Jori and my ankles and legs are so swollen! We're going to need the blood to start flowing here in the next few minutes ... but hey! Siamo a Romaaaa!!!

    Fabio is our tour guide and we are on the bus from the airport to the city of Rome. Feeling good, feeling great ... No jetlag, well, not yet! P.S. I love Fabio's accent and the landscape is so peaceful and picturesque. It's interesting because the United States are so young and new compared to the many years of rich history of Italy, as portrayed through the age of buildings. We have just crossed through the city walls into the city officially and are on our way to see the colosseum. Our tour guide said not to take pictures of the Roman soldiers because they charge $5 euros and will chase you down to get their money. They take their job very seriously! I thought the colosseum was really neat. I think its so interesting that the Roman government has torn down many of the ancient buildings to recycle the metal and scrap from them. The remains have been reassembled to look like they were many years ago. Another interesting fact was that Romans used to sit according to their class in society, so the wealthy people has pretty good seats for the fights and games. Fabio, our tour guide, warned us not to feed the tigers, so I really expected to see some hungry cats. But I guess Fabbio was joking and I kind of on to the joke really late!

    After a long informative tour, it was finally time to get some Italian grub! We exchanged our money for euros and Fabbio took us to a local ristorante, a Roman bar where we got some spaghetti.

    Days One and Two Photo Gallery

    Day Three
    Sunday, May 17 was a free day for the Hoosiers to explore Rome on their own. Many players had a unique experience at the Vatican that included a blessing by Pope Benedict XVI, bike tours around the city, shopping and visits to the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and the Pantheon, among many other treasures around Rome.

    Journal Entry No. 3
    Lydia Serfling - Finding Our Way
    Well, at this point we can be saying 'Ciao' because we're starting to get pretty familiar with the area and some of the people. The day started with one of those familiar faces, Fabio, our tour guide, letting us know what would be good to visit after out Italian breakfast of fruit, croissants, eggs, ham and expressos.
    We were free to go where we wanted, but of course we ended up sticking together as a team the whole day. It really was a team effort to get to our first stop, the Vatican, to see the Pope five a blessing in a handful of different languages. We got tickets for the metro and then had to fight the crowd to get on the right route and off at the right stop. Once we were there though, it was more than worth it. The outside center of the Vatican is beautiful with its many statues looking down upon its guests just as the Pope did when he delivered his blessing from a high above window.

    Day Four
    Monday, May 18 was an early day for the Hoosiers as they had an appointment at the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel to see some of the most priceless works of art in the world. After a little break in the middle of the day, the team got set for their first game of the trip where they defeated Santa Marinella, an Italian B professional league team, 87-39.

    Journal Entry No. 4
    Danilsa 'City' Andujar - Priceless
    This is your girl City, aka Danilsa Andujar! Being in Italy, knowing Spanish has benefited me greatly! I am having so much fun here, and I have already learned so many things.

    Today, we visited the Vatican. Our tour began with a short walk across a very famous courtyard. There, we all gathered around Flavia, our guide for the morning, and a display. She explained to us the different paintings we would come upon in the museum. There was the Sistine Chapel (La Capella Sistina), the ceiling (La Volta), and the Last Judgement (Il Giudizio Universal). We also learned about Michelangelo and other famous artists that contributed to the Sistine Chapel.
    We entered a huge room filled with all sorts of different people from all over the world. The room was very dark, as to the only light there was a little bit of sunlight that entered through medium-sized windows above us. There were several large, beautiful murals depicting different stories of the Bible. Then I looked up at the ceiling and I was amazed by the detailed work of Michelangelo. It was truly a Kodak moment (too bad we were not allowed to take pictures). There was a powerful feeling that overcame me as I stood there looking up at the beautiful art. Knowing that Michelangelo was once standing where I was felt magnificent. I stood there wishing I could share this moment with my family which I truly miss (Hi Mom and Dad!).

    Day Four Photo Gallery

    Day Five
    The Hoosiers made their way from Rome to the countryside of Tuscany and the home of the Renaissance in Florence, Italy. The team went on a tour of the Academy Gallery and saw priceless works of art from the Renaissance period, including Michelangelo's Statue of David. The Hoosiers then went on a walking tour of Florence's City Center to see Saint Mary of the Flowers Cathedral, as well as many other notable sites in the city.

    Journal Entry No. 5
    Amber Jackson - Amazement
    Breathtaking doesn't even describe how wonderfully beautiful Rome is, especially the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. I know have an insatiable appetite for glorious art work, which may never be quenched again! I took well over 300 pictures in the two and a half days that we were in Roma. Not one single picture does the architecture, scenery and art pieces justice.

    It is a general consensus that this tour is one of the best, if not the best time of our young lives. I feel incredibly lucky! Italy, so far, is everything I expected and so much more. Everything, well almost everything, is different about the culture here from style of dress, food portions, public interactions and etiquette. It's great. Surprisingly, most people know some English so we haven't had a problem to much with the language barrier ... I could really see myself coming back one day. However, it wouldn't be quite the same because I wouldn't be with the Hoosier program.

    Last night (Monday), we played our first basketball game here in Italy. I wasn't sure what to expect. The rules are slightly different and the Euro style of play is noticeably contrasting. I was a little nervous before the game, normal pre-game jitters. After the first quarter, my nerves settled. I felt very free and I had fun!

    Well that's all for now folks! We are on the bus on our way to Florence!

    Day Five Photo Gallery

    Day Six
    On Wednesday, May 20, the team took a little morning trip to Pisa, Italy, to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. After the quick trip through the Tuscan countryside, the Hoosiers played their second game of the trip and defeated Fireze Basket, an Italy professional league A2 squad, 88-41.

    Journal Entry No. 6
    Jamie Braun - Discoveries
    This is Jamie Braun speaking to you. I'm sure you have read some of my other teammates journals so far, with that I'm sure you are seeing just how much fun we are having here in Italy. We have managed to make out way to `Firenze' AKA Florence and hit the ground running. We checked into our hotel and dropped the bags off at the room and then headed for the museum with Michelangelo's famous statue. We got to see some fantastic art and the most famous of them all - the sculpted piece of David. I think some of us were a bit tired after that, but no worries. Our guide Fabio made reservations for us at a restaurant we liked. We sat around and told stories, and even managed to make out waitress mad (oops!). For me personally, this was the best I have eaten so far (penne and meat sauce). It was a bit late so we headed back to the hotel and this was when, for some of us, some experiences happened. If you ask some of us about our hotel, they would tell you it was haunted. Jori and Coach T (Tom Morris) in particular, are positive it is. Jori was sneaking around like she likes to do and managed to find these doors with no handles. She decided she wanted to try and open them, so she started to pull on the doors. To make a long story short, the doors flung open and then a minute later, kind of slammed shut. What Jori doesn't know is that the doors are on hinges (Amber and I tested them out).

    Next day here in Florence, we made our way to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This was a cool thing to see and the people that wanted to climb up it could. I climbed 300 stairs and six stories up, and it was tad scary because you are walking at a slant. It was also scary because I was six stories up and there were little railings for me (Yes people! I'm afraid of heights!) to hold onto. Overall though, I had fun and am glad I went up. After a few of my teammates worked on finding the angle for the famous pose of holding up Pisa, which was a struggle at first until a man I would have never have guessed directed us to where we needed to go and how to stand. Way to go Coach T! It was time to go after that so we loaded the bus and headed back. Have to have to have a little energy for our game tonight! Hope you're enjoying our journals!

    P.S. The bus and our bus driver Mimo are becoming our new best friends, we take them everywhere!

    P.S.S. The weather is beautiful here!

    Journal Entry No. 7
    Ashlee Mells - Having Fun
    Hey, what's up y'all! This is Ashlee `Mixtape' Mells reporting from Italy!! I've had a great time here so far. Just today, my teammates and I went to Pisa. It was a blast seeing the tower and also being able to climb to the very top! It was so beautiful at the top. You can see everything! After we left and got back to the hotel, we all got ready for our game at 7:30 p.m. against Firenze Basket team. We started a little slow but we ended with a strong win. See ya guys soon!!

    Day Six Photo Gallery

    Day Seven
    The Indiana women's basketball team spent its sixth day in Italy taking easy, well compared to other days full of tours. Today the Hoosiers took a four hour bus ride north from Florence to Treviso, Italy for their third game of the tour. IU struggled through the first half and slowly fought back in the third quarter to take the lead in the fourth and hold on for the 79-69 win over Sernavimar Marghera.

    Journal Entry No. 8

    Whitney Thomas - Finding the Differences

    Buongiorno from Italy! We have met three Fabio's since we have been in Italy, it seems to be a very common name here. I think we have gotten the best Fabbio of them all. He is our tour guide for the whole trip. He has a great sense of humor and he seems to have a liking for Sasha, but for that matter so does every other Italian here. They are so amazed by how tall she is and they also love basketball players. They think it is a big deal to be a player over here, so lucky us!

    After our game last night, we loaded up the bus, very, very sweaty from the game (because there is no air conditioning) and out bus drive Mimo took us back to the hotel so that we could shower and eat before everything closes. In Florence, unlike Rome, is it a quiet area and things don't stay open late. All of the players got ready quickly and we walked down the street to a piazza ristorante. In Italy, going out to eat is much different than in the States. Here everything comes in a smaller portion. The cans of pop are smaller too and you don't get refills. A can of pop here is typically around 3 euros, which is a little over $4 in U.S. money. So we have learned very quickly to either wait to drink your pop until you get your food or either bring your own bottle of water because in the end it will save you some euros. They also don't do tips like we do in the U.S., but they charge a service charge almost everywhere you go.

    I don't know how we did it, but we woke up early this morning after a festive night so that we could get some shopping in before we were off to the next stop. Florence is known for their leather and gold, it was everywhere. Whitney (Lindsay), Lindsay and Coach Jack all managed to buy leather purses. Lucky them! Today we have a four hour bus ride to our next stop, Treviso, where we will play a game tonight! We are all falling asleep on the bus, so until next time. Ciao!

    P.S. Be thankful for public restrooms in the States, because here at many places you have to pay to use the restroom.

    Day Seven Photo Gallery

    Day Eight
    The Hoosiers departed from Treviso, Italy, this morning and headed to Venice for the day. The team and their travel party took water taxis from the parking lots as their are no cars in Venice and immediately separated for gondola rides through the canals. After the tour by water, the Hoosiers took a small tour by land of San Marco Square and the Murano glass blowing factory.

    The group departed Venice and took a 4 hour drive north to Lake Como, where they will stay until Monday, March 25. Tomorrow, Saturday, March 23, the Hoosiers will hold a clinic for handicapped children in the Como area.

    Journal Entry No. 9
    Sasha Chaplin - What's Going On

    Well, Good Morning ... from Treviso, Italy. For as long as we have been here, I still have not caught on how to say Good Morning in Italian, so I will stick to good ol'English. As I am writing this, we are getting ready to leave Treviso and head to Venice. This is going to be a not too long trip to Venice. In Venice, I guess they do not use cars so once we get there, we will take a water taxi. After Venice, we are heading to Lake Como, which everyone is looking forward to. Since we have been here, it has been sooo hot. All of have received some pretty nice tans. Last night, we played our third game. Happy to say that we won ... it was a comeback victory. We were down at halftime, but we kept on working hard and slowly chipped away at their lead. Oh I wish I could play, but being a teammate on the bench and screaming in Fabio's ear is as close as I can get to the action until later on this summer. After the game, we headed back to the hotel for dinner. Can I just say that this bus has to have something on it that puts us all to sleep because no matter how hard we all try to stay awake, WE ALL FALL ASLEEP!! So hopefully, today will be the first time we are not knocked out .. I highly doubt that. Well when we got back to the hotel, we all went to dinner ... some went to take showers from the game. I went downstairs to do my cardio workout. I guess I was in the zone so much that I did not see Whitney (Thomas) come down to get me to eat. Dinner this time around was okay. It was pasta (nothing surprising), chicken, potatoes and water. I am pretty sure that when we return home everyone is going to have a greater appreciation for water because water here is very limited I guess and we have to pay for it everywhere we go out to eat. After dinner, most of the team headed out to get some gelato. We all took a good 20 minute walk to a place Whitney (Thomas) found on the bus on the way back to the hotel. It was very good! It was also good bonding and chill time with each other. When we returned, we all pretty much went to our rooms to go to sleep or other teammates' rooms to talk and chill. Sad to say that this trip is almost coming to an end, but I know that we will enjoy the rest of our once in a lifetime trip. I could not be happier to be here with my teammates, more like my second family.

    I am pretty sure when I leave, Fabbio and Mimo are going to be sad without 'SASHAAA'.

    This has been an Indiana Women's Basketball Takeover update. Until next time, this is Sasha Chaplin saying Ciao from the bus to Venice!

    P.S. I just looked to the back of the bus and everyone is knocked out! Like I thought they would be ...

    Day Eight Photo Gallery

    Day Nine
    Indiana spent its first day in Lake Como by traveling to a park just outside of the city for a clinic with a Special Olympics basketball team. Once they returned to the hotel, the players had a free day to enjoy the shops and lakeside in Como. Lake Como is located in a valley in the Italian Alps.

    Journal Entry No. 10
    Whitney Lindsay - Giving Back

    We arrived in Lake Como last night! The view from my room with Amber (Jackson) is incredible! Waking up this morning to the beautiful colors of the mountain tops, buildings, and of course, the lake was amazing. But more amazing than the looks of Lake Como was the community service we did this morning. We went to play el basket (basketball) with some underprivileged teens ... some of them our age. We went to an event held right outside of Como that was a sports activity day for children. There were sports like soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, and even marital arts! At the basketball court we took a group of young men through some ball handling and shooting drills. They then showed off their basketball skills in a game where they played each other. Jamie (Braun) and I coached one team and Jori (Davis) and City (Danilsa Andujar) coached the other. The rest of the girls cheered for a side. Our team won! Thanks to Coach Mori's leadership out on the court of course his offensive and defensive boards!

    I really enjoyed spending time with those kids today! We had a blast cheering for them! We could tell that they had fun too! One of the guys on my team was very good. His name is Max, but we kept calling him Lebron because he carried the team all the way to victory with his finishes and no look passes to his teammates. We all had a great time and it was definitely a highlight of the trip!

    As I lay out beside the lake, I can't help by to reflect on my meeting with a cousin of mine who resides in the northeast of Italy ... a small country town called Fanna. (Which is in the region of Italy called Fruiliz-Venezia) My cousin's name is Celso (pronounced Chel-so). He drove about 80 miles to visit me in Treviso for lunch (on Thursday) right before our game. All I could keep feeling was excitement to be able to see family in my grandfather's homeland. I have always wanted to come to Italy ... I had no clue that being a student-athlete at Indiana would make one of my biggest dreams come true! This trip truly means so much to me! As I was chatting with my cousin, we got on the subject of differences between the lifestyle of an American and how living in Italy is so different. I got the best advice from my cousin Celso that day. He told me ... `in America, everyone is always so busy, busy, busy ... always in a rush, on the go, and there is not enough time to enjoy life. So is that even life? In Italy, the biggest difference is that we cherish life everyday ... no worry, no stress ... life lasts longer that way.'

    Getting ready to go to dinner with the girls out on Lake Como! Buonosera! Ciao!

    Day 10
    The Hoosiers took a three-hour boat ride on Lake Como and spent some time in Bellagio, Italy, on Sunday, May 24. After a short break following the boat trip, the team played their final game of the tour and defeated ASD Geas Basket in Milan, 77-62, to end their trip to Italy, 4-0.

    Journal Entry No. 11
    Jori Davis - Fun in the Sun

    Good Morning from Como!! Last night, the girls put on their beautiful dresses, and had a wonderful dinner as we overlooked the lake. Now we are all boarding the boat for a tour led by Paolo, the tour guide. His name is very popular in Italy. I've already met five people with that name.

    The view of the mountains is amazing. House, hotels and restaurants site high within the mountains overlooking the lake. Thus far, we have seen various parts of Italy, but I must say Como is truly breath taking. The area is just elegant, and a perfect vacation area. Better yet, a place to live; we just passed the house of the famous actor George Clooney. Wow! All the girls are freaking out. Haha!

    We just arrived to Bellagio, a place the Italian people call the most charming place in Italy. It is surrounded by mountains and extravagant botanical gardens. The shopping is among some of the best in Italy with Gucci, Prada and more. The stop in Bellagio was short, but we all seemed to find something special to buy our loved ones.

    I was able to buy some hand made jewelry for my mother, and Italian silk for my father. The shops were full of quality gifts and the best Italy has to offer. The boat ride back was so relaxing, yet I could not close my eyes for one minute because the view was something I had never seen before.

    Back in Como!! Everyone is still excited about the trip to Bellagio and happy we all had the chance to experience something so wonderful. Off to grab lunch and prepare for the game in a few hours.

    Day 10 Photo Gallery

    Day 11
    The Hoosiers made their way back to States after an early wake up call in Como. The team and the rest of their travel group boarded the bus to the airport in Milan. After goodbyes to our bus driver Mimo and our tour guide Fabio, the team boarded a nine-hour flight to Philadelphia. Following nearly a four hour layover, the team made it back to Indianapolis and eventually Bloomington.

    Journal Entry No. 12
    Lindsay Enterline

    Buongiorno! Well this is the last day in Italy and we're now on the plane heading back to the United States. The last 10 days have been no short of a dream come true! For all of our wonderful followers, I'll do a quick recap ...

    Day 1-3 Roma!
    We visited the Colisseum, the Vatican, Spanish Steps, all the expensive shops, and listened to the Pope speak. Rome was a beautiful city filled with many tourists, yet still had the Ancient Rome style.

    Day 4-5 - Firenze!
    Visited the Galleria dell'Accademic, which had many of Michelangelo's works of art in it, including David. Saw and walked up the Leaning Tower of Pisa (it really does lean!)

    Day 5 - Treviso
    Player our third game and won by a comeback late in the game.

    Day 6 - Venice
    Went on gondolas through the city and to the glass blowing factory. Such an incredible city!

    Day 7-10 - Milan/Lake Como
    Toured by boat and went to Bellagio to shop. We saw George Clooney's house on the lake. We worked with special needs students on their basketball skills. Some of them were really good! Coach Crean may want to take a trip to Italy and recruit a few of them! That was a really special time for all of us, and those few hours meant more to those kids than we'll ever know.

    We've had so many funny moments, but they will have to remain disclosed information until our book is published, entitled `The Italian Takeover' by the Indiana Women's Basketball Team. It is expected to be a New York Times best seller and on Oprah's book club list ... Ha ha!

    On a more serious note ... We have seen so many beautiful buildings, famous works of art, and landmarks know by everyone but only seen by some. We have experienced an entirely different culture over the last 10 days. It is much more relaxed in Italy compared to the States. People living in Italy get the most out of every day. In America, we often rush so much that we don't take time to stop and truly enjoy life. I have learned that things are so much sweeter in life if you take a moment to appreciate what you have, where you are in life, what got you there and everything in between that God blessed us with. We have learned so much about each other and our coaches, which has allowed us to create a bond that will never be broken. This trip was a dream come true!! I want to thank those people who made it possible to go on this trip. Thanks to Coach Jack and the staff, and Mr. Glass and our administration for dreaming big for our team and making this a reality. You have no idea what this meant to us! We'll remember this trip forever!


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