Nov. 29, 2010
Jackie Wu shares the adventures of the men's and women's tennis teams from South Africa. In their final day of the trip, the teams got a chance to play some tennis against local kids.
Blog Archive: Traveling to South Africa | Johannesburg | Kings Camp Safari | Leopard Sightings | Cape Town
Day 7: Final Day
We had one last hotel breakfast today before we packed everything up, said goodbye to the beautiful views, and went on our merry way. Today's agenda really only consisted of one thing: play tennis in South Africa. We drove through the wine valley and arrived at the University's courts. After a quick jog and stretch, we started hitting; this was the first time any of had hit in about a week. Needless to say, we were a little rusty. Matches got started soon afterwards, with the best two out of three sets being played for both singles and doubles. Due to time concerns, some played singles while others teamed up to face off in doubles. Even the coaches got together at the end to whack a few balls around. We were in Africa, after all.
Post matches, we got to talking to some of the kids. For some, they were still too young to even consider colleges, but for others, they had many questions about how they should go about searching for a school that would fit them. We tried to answer them as best as we could, often directing them to our coaches for more information. Several of the players had a lot of potential, and I'm sure we wouldn't mind seeing them throw on the Commodore uniform and compete for us.
We gathered everyone together at the end to take one last group photo, and then we headed towards the airport. Traveling is never too exciting, and you almost wish that it won't be because chances are, if it is somewhat stimulating, it means that there's something wrong. Our travels were somewhat stimulating. Sure enough, our flight from Capetown to Johannesburg was delayed for a couple of hours. When those wheels touched the ground, all of us had our bags in hand, ready to sprint to our next gate. Since we were switching airlines, we had to claim our bags and then do the whole check-in process again, this time with Delta. Barely making it, we were almost 100% sure that our bags wouldn't make the flight despite the fact that we did. Thankfully, when we arrived in the Atlanta airport at 5:30 this morning, our bags were going round and round on the baggage claim. As if almost missing flights and potentially losing baggage wasn't enough, one of our freshman had to go ahead and leave behind her wallet on the aircraft. After running all the way back to the original gate, she made it back just in time to board our last flight. Drama, drama, drama.
To say that it's been a long trip would be both incorrect and correct at the same time. I was almost hoping that we would miss our flight just so that we could stay in South Africa. However, once we left, I couldn't wait to get back home. I mean, one of the best feelings is going through Customs and having the officer say, "Welcome home." Now, as I sit here reflecting on the end of what was an incredible journey and truly a trip of a lifetime, I'm just waiting for the mega-upload of pictures. To have been a part of this experience is more than some could ever even dream about. I feel blessed to have been given this opportunity, and there are so many people to thank for that. Perhaps one of the most important people that made this happen was Lori Alexander. Lori, I speak for everyone when I say thank you for making the dream of going to South Africa into reality for us. This will surely be one heck of a story to tell the grandchildren, don't you think?
To those that have followed us through this journey, I hope you feel like you were a part of it as well. More pictures will be added as we all get settled back in Nashville. I'd like to thank you for your continued support of Vanderbilt athletics, and I hope to see you all out at our home matches during the spring semester! Go Dores!