May 22, 2013
Vanderbilt's eight-day tour of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, ended this weekend. But before coming home, the Commodores spent Saturday evening learning some Brazilian dance moves from an exuberant group of locals. The scene that played out was not unlike what one might find during a visit to the Wild Horse Saloon on Second Avenue in Nashville, with dance teachers showing the group a choreographed sequence set to popular local music.
More local flavor was in store for the team on Sunday, After checking out of the Hotel Debret in the early afternoon, Vanderbilt had some time to kill before their 9:35 p.m. flight. Our tour guides took us to the Feira de São Cristõväo, a traditional fair filled with food, music and handmade goods from northeastern Brazil. Housed in an open-air stadium, the tented fair was a raucous place to meander for two hours in a final attempt to procure gifts and souvenirs from the trip.
The group made it to the airport with plenty of time to get checked-in for its overnight flight. After making it through security with no problem, the team ran into grammy-winning artist Chamillionaire while waiting for the flight to Dallas. The rapper, made famous for his hit "Ridin'," was generous with his time while talking to players and taking pictures.
Between the 10 1/2 hour flight to Dallas and the subsequent connection to Nashville, the entire trip took about 16 hours from wheels up in Rio until when the bus arrived back at the McGugin Center. By that time, the group of 32 had already shrunk a great deal. A few Commodores had stayed near their homes in Texas and even more stayed in the Nashville airport to catch flights to their respective homes.
For some of the soccer student-athletes, the trip to Brazil was just one of their overseas adventures this summer. Duggan Hahn actually left the group midway through the trip to fly to Paris for a summer internship. Abby Carr and Kendra Hendrix took flights yesterday to study in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A number of the Commodores will stay in Nashville for the summer, and the entire group will re-convene in early August to prepare for the 2013 fall season.