Coach G's journey to the gold: Aug. 5
Aug. 5, 2008
Ni hao from China,
I hope everyone is doing well. We've been working hard and just won the Diamond Ball Tournament in Haining, China. Haining is considered a small city here and yet there are six million residents. It is also considered the leather capitol of China, so you may see me sporting some new boots when I get back.
We went through processing in San Francisco. Processing is where you get your Olympic gear and your opening ceremonies outfits. You also listen to motivational speakers and have talks on drug testing, etc. It's a long day but you can feel the excitement building and get to see many of the other athletes and coaches.
I got to spend time with some of the other Longhorn participants, and the sense of family that we share is incredible. I wish we could get a team photo of our Longhorn family, both past and present. I'm sure we have more representatives than many countries.
We had three practices in Palo Alto before heading on our 13 hour flight to Shanghai. Then we took a two hour bus ride to get here. Needless to say, the team got to know each other really well, really fast. We had one practice and then beat Latvia, 84-74, in the opening round of the tournament. We didn't play particularly well, but I think jet lag was a factor and we're still getting a feel for one another on the court.
Next up was Russia. We showed a vast improvement in our defensive effort and played really well together. We won the game, 93-58, which set us up for a showdown with Australia. It was an incredibly physical game, and we were able to pull out a four-point win, 71-67. It felt good hearing our National Anthem and seeing the American flag raised during the award ceremony. We feel like it was a great dress rehearsal for the Olympics.
Now it's off to Beijing. Opening ceremonies are on the 8th. The Chinese consider the number eight to be lucky. Therefore the Olympics will begin on 8-8-08 at 8:08 p.m. Speaking of time, there is a 13-hour time difference from Texas. So for my players who are calling me in the middle of the day (Austin time), give your old Coach a break. It's the middle of the night over here.
All for now --