After coming back from this Brazil tour, I feel it exceeded every one of my expectations. We played a total of four games in three different cities: Sao Paulo, Santos, and Rio de Janeiro. In the past, this USA team played against only 22U teams. This time, the first three teams we played were Brazilian professional teams, and the last team was against an All Star team of players ranging from 18-23 years old that play in Rio de Janeiro. Our first game was against Soracaba. We came out not knowing what style of play it was going to be and were stunned from the tip. By the end of the first quarter, we were already losing by twenty. We ended up fighting back and ended up losing by eight points. The second game was very competitive throughout the entire game and was played against a team called Piracicaba. It was a game of runs and they were able to pull ahead of us at the very end to win by three.
The third game was against a team called Santos. This was a well fought game as well, but we lost by eleven. Our last game went way better than all the rest against the Rio Soul All Stars. We had a great performance in our last game and ended up winning by twenty eight points. Overall, we didn’t have the record I was hoping for, but I feel like I gained valuable experience that will only benefit me at Bethel. This was a great trip not only for the basketball, but for the experiences I had with all my teammates on the days we didn’t have a game. We toured the famous Christ the Redeemer statue and went to the Sugarloaf Mountain. From both of these spots, one can overlook Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana Beach, and Guanabara Bay.
A good part of the highlights I had on this trip were with the locals and people I met off of the court. Our hotel was right on Copacabana Beach, so we spent a lot of time playing various games against the locals. Some included football, soccer volleyball, and a lot of beach soccer. Overall, this trip did a great job combining the value of sports and culture together to make a lifetime full of relationships and memories.