Day One of the Essington Basketball Trip
Well, our Elite Team has arrived in Kedah, a state in Malaysia to participate in a basketball competition – a first in terms of international basketball experience for most if not all of the young players, all aged under 16 and some as young as 12. Luckily I am not in charge of headcounts but I believe there are 11 boys and 10 girls. Administration, safety and teenage student wrangling handled by Angela and Spencer; both relaxed professionals who have a combined 30 trips this year alone with school groups to a variety of exotic and educationally valuable locations.
I will re-edit this shortly to include photographs… please check back this afternoon for pictures.
It doesn’t get more exotic than departing Darwin at 5am bound for Penang via Kuala Lumpur where the facilities and friendliness made our passage through the early hours of the morning much easier to handle.
I am tagging along as Joe, our son is part of the team. Apart from taking the odd photograph and video I was telling people that I was the hydration manager (water boy), but I think Sarah, April’s mum beat me as owner of that prestigious title.
My subsequent notes may not be so detailed, but I thought at least for the first day I would write something up so parents not on the trip have a sense of what another parent is observing.
Click on the picture for a larger view…
|Checking in at Darwin Airport on the way to Kedah, Malaysia|
|CEO and Principal of Essington David Cannon organises students for a group photograph|
|At Kuala Lumpur International Airport – waiting for the next flight to Penang|
|Francis provided us with a great history lesson about Penang on our bus trip to Kedah>|
|Our coach looked more like spaceship with a travelling caravan feel to it|
|The menu combining east meets west delights|
Some of the students tried a local grape flavoured soft drink in Kuala Lumpur (KL) International Airport which was then followed up by another soft drink called Kickapoo, purchased solely based on its name according to eye witnesses. Reports indicate responses to the flavour as “interesting”.
Upon arrival in Penang after a one hour layover in KL we were greeted by the wet season… something a lot of people in Darwin are looking forward to. The rain was that settled in kind, strong
|Some of the boys checking out their rooms|
|The team were immediately on the court training|
|A few media shots were required|
|…and even more media shots|
|Mitch takes a shot|
|Training complete – debrief|
|Intensity is what will make the difference|
|After all the hard work – Reward! Home baked cake.|
enough to want to keep out of but not so strong you couldn’t wee out the window of the bus.
We were greeted by a smiling Mr Tan, our games and event organiser and without one misplaced piece of baggage, parent or student we assembled near the entrance to the Penang airport and headed to our coach that would take us to the Chinese Christian Sports Centre that was accommodating the boys and hosting the matches.
Right next door, divided by a large canal was the hotel where the girls’ basketball team were staying. The sports facilities are very extensive and within a short period of time, rooms had been allocated, bags deposited and the team gathered in the stadium for a 2 hour training session.
This showed great fortitude on the part of the team who just travelled from Darwin 12 hours earlier without a break. The session certainly cleared any cobwebs out and directly after that session we all gathered in the “Western Style” restaurant which also had some lovely Malaysian, Chinese and Thai dishes covering all tastes.
I think the volume of the discussions in the restaurant reflected the fact that the students, although tired, were still excited by the events of the day and everyone was enthusiastic… especially when told that Sunday was to be a day of sightseeing and shopping in Penang.
We had a couple of items – phone and ipad accidently left on the bus and these were returned meaning the driver, who had finished for the day after dropping us off, came all the way back in to return the items which he found on the bus. I mention that not only because it is a nice story, but for the parents who aren’t here and can have a sense of how nice the environment is.
So despite a little uncertainty at first (natural for a trip of any kind) and need for some slight changes, the overall score card for day one of arriving a foreign country and heading for a destination I personally hadn’t visited was a big smiley face – or actually about thirty of them…
Before heading to bed at a ridiculously early hour I was informed by Joe that the boys were checking out the competition who were currently on the court… ah to have that much energy.
The parents who are accompanying the group are also contributing, whether it be crowd control or formal assistance on the training court through to helping with some creature comforts… home baked cake for the students? That was on offer and certainly taken up even after a full meal of Malaysian delicacies… Fish and chips is a Malaysian delicacy isn’t it?
So – a day off today (Sunday) – opening ceremony and first game on Monday and then games all through the week.