Aug. 9, 2009
Editor's Note: Vanderbilt assistant coach Brad Frederick will be sending reports back to vucommodores.com from the men's basketball team's experiences in Australia. Stay tuned for more updates from Frederick and the team throughout their trip.
By Brad Frederick
Days 1 and 2
24 hrs, 57 minutes. That's was how long it took us from campus until we touched down in Melbourne, Australia. After departing Memorial Gym at 3:40 PM CST on Friday, we landed in Melbourne at 7:37 AM local time Sunday, fifteen hours ahead of Nashville. Quite the travel day.
The toughest portion of that trip is obviously the 15.5 hour Qantas flight from LAX to Melbourne. Fortunately, AJ Ogilvy and Festus Ezeli managed to secure exit row seats and a couple of the guys were even able to get the fortunate call-up to premium economy. In case anyone was wondering, we did not fly business or first class. Those tickets run 16k for business and 19k for first class. While the bed in first class does look nice, it can't be that nice.
Brad Tinsley and Jermaine Beal appeared to be in for a long flight when a man with a 20-month old baby sat between them. Fortunately, he swapped seats with Charles Hinkle and they avoided what could have been a rough situation...as I can attest with an 18-month old son. The flight was pretty uneventful as everyone did their best to sleep. Coach King Rice and Sam Ferry, our senior manager, appeared to be clubhouse leaders in the sleeping department, with 10 and 12 hours slept, respectively. That is what I call a gift. Everyone else seemed to manage between four and eight hours.
When traveling to Australia, you cross the International Date Line mid-flight. So, for Elliott Cole, whose birthday was Saturday, August 8, it was as if his birthday never happened. Poor guy. We will just have to celebrate today.
After leaving the airport, we had time to kill while we waited for our hotel rooms to be ready. We headed to the St. Kilda area, right on the waterfront. As we all scattered to find breakfast, we almost had our first casualty of the trip. Lance Goulbourne and Jeff Taylor were attempting to cross the street and nearly got hit. They were almost done in by their natural instinct to look to the left to check traffic. With cars driving on the opposite side, aka wrong side, of the road you need to look right first. AJ gets offended by the notion that it's the wrong side, but he is easily outnumbered in this group.
Once we finally got settled into our hotel rooms, we walked to the Melbourne Cricket Grounds to see an Australian Rules Football game between the Richmond Tigers and the Sidney Swans. Trying to understand the exact rules of this game was no easy task. With 18 players per team playing at once, 7 referees, and an unknown number of pigeons hovering the field it looked like chaos. Bottom line was the Swans gave the Tigers a beating, both literally and on the scoreboard. When the score was 106-48 in the 3rd quarter, we decided to pull the plug.
The last few hours of Sunday night have been spent with our group desperately trying to stay awake long enough to get our clocks on a decent schedule. Some of us have had more success than others. Tomorrow night we play our first game an hour outside the city. How we handle the difficult travel schedule and the time difference will be interesting to see.
I will do my best to provide updates as we go. Please excuse any editing mistakes as I am working only with my Blackberry. We are extremely excited about being here and looking forward to getting on the court tomorrow night.