This is the first of Terrence Woodyard's daily dairy of Western's Canadian basketball trip. The Cats will play five games with the first being August 9 versus the Orion professional team.
August 5th - 6 am
The trip begins and I hadn't slept since the morning of the 4th. I didn't get to sleep until around 9 that morning because I was on the phone with friends that I had stayed up with that night. My mom had also asked me to call her on her way to work that morning. We have a sleeper bus with 18 beds and plenty of sitting room. There are a bunch of beds on the floor and even more going along the ceiling from the front to the back. There is also a middle section with six beds. I've got a top-level bunk and I was surprised when I first got in it because I was able to lay out, FLAT! This is also the first bus that I can stand up on without bending my back or neck.
While I was asleep I heard talk of the spades card tournament about to begin. Rans (Brempong) and I had been picked out of hats to be on a team together, so that gave us a bye and it gave me more time to sleep. When I did awake, it was around 2 pm and we had stopped for food in Virginia. They were all talking about the tournament and the first round standings. Apparently, Willie (Freeman) and Taylor (Yanchar) had a mud-hole stomped into them by Coach (Daniel) Willis and Jared (Outing). Emre (Atsur) and Dave (Berghoefer) had also beaten Coach (Steve) Shurina and Kevin (Martin), who were "randomly selected" to be on the same team. Randomly...right?!? Anyway, we had stopped for food and some of the guys went to Burger King while the rest of us went to Wendy's. Already, the people were asking about out height and the "Let me guess, you guys are jockeys!?" joke had been made. We talked and answered questions while we ate lunch and then got back on the bus.
When we were back on the bus most of the players were in the back watching an basketball highlight tape, but I went to the front to watch "National Security" with most of the coaches and our trainer, Mark (Mancebo). That's one of Kevin's favorites, so he ended up in the front too. After about an hour and a half I saw the Pentagon and knew we were in D.C. My first thought when I saw the big building was of 9/11. It was a lot bigger than it looked on TV. We kept riding and I saw the tall George Washington Monument and the White House with the Capitol building way off in the distance. We were downtown at this point and close to our hotel, and then Chris got lost. Oh yeah, you don't know Chris, our bus driver. Well he looks a lot like Santa so we decided to dub-thee, Chris...Chris Kringle. Once Chris found his way, we arrived and unpacked. I am rooming with Emre during our stay here. As soon as we were settled in and coach informed us of our curfew, we were out into the streets of D.C. We were following Kevin (I think because he looked like he knew where he was going), we being Rans, Willie, Jared, Dave, and myself, Tido who can't afford to lose any weight. We walked from F Street to M Street and that was just until we decided it was time to hang a left and walk close to a mile and a half, UP HILL! There was a nice shopping plaza up there but all I bought was a camera and a pretzel. Even though I wasn't shopping, there was lots to see while we were out.
There was a man walking that Kevin called my attention to. He was yelling across the street with headphones on. I know you're thinking, "what's so special about a guy yelling across the street to someone while he's wearing headphones," right? The thing is, these headphones weren't plugged into anything, and THERE WAS NO ONE ACROSS THE STREET!! He still seemed pretty mad. He was yelling at and taunting whomever it was that he saw, and even this was OK for some of us until he walked into traffic and threw a punch into the air. Then he continued across the street and began yelling back to our side of the street. When that was over, we headed back to the hotel.
When we got there, Dave, Jared, and I got a little hungry, so we went to find some food. It was getting dark and we were just walking and we accidentally walked right up to the White House. This made us want to see more, so we went to the George Washington Monument, the Reflective Pool, the Lincoln Memorial, and to the Vietnam Wall. Don't be fooled by how close they all look together when you see them on TV or how quick I was able to name those few places. We walked more in that short time than we have walked throughout our time in college....and we were still hungry. I took all the pictures I could before it began to rain and we caught a cab back to the hotel.
When the cabbie was done blessing us out with talk of girls and parties, I told him that he had gone too far and he made a u-turn right in the middle of traffic. When we did make it back to F Street, he let us out on the wrong side of the hotel. (We didn't figure this out until we were on the 5th floor with no rooms and still hungry.) We had to run around to the other side of the block in the rain. Now we were wet and hungry. Dave and Jared came up with ordering pizza, so we did. After we waited another hour, we called back and the driver said he had called the room four times. We didn't know that the phone didn't work in our room, so he came back and we ate three of the smallest medium pizzas I had ever seen for $10 a pop. We went to bed with food in our stomachs, but still just a little hungry. That was just day number one.
This morning we got up and had breakfast and had to be ready to go at 9 am. We all went as one big group to the Capitol building. It was a long walk but it was worth it when we got there. There were around two or three security checks before we could get in. We couldn't just walk in the front door either, we had to go to a building across the street and then through an underground tunnel to get in. There was lots of historical art and statues on the inside. There were also several famous and inspirational quotes all over the walls. The thing I liked most was the rotunda ceiling. It was George Washington with 13 angels that signified the 13 colonies, and they were taking him to heaven.
When we left there we went to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (the U.S. Mint). That's where they make all of the money that goes into circulation in the U.S. We saw one million dollars in $10 notes in a glass case. While we were on the tour we saw one dollar bills being made and 5's and 10's and the new look that will be our 20 dollar bill. I think it was kind of weird knowing that everyone around me was thinking the same thing, and that was how they could get some money out of the building. I know because I randomly asked Dave and Rans and they both thought they had it figured out.
Afterwards, we toured Holocaust Museum and you could sense the quick mood change for all of us. We had been so lively up until the point that we walked into the dim-lit museum. There was old footage and pictures all over the place and it was full of saddened faces looking and reading about the concentration camps and other cruel things that went on during the Holocaust. Kevin, Jared and I couldn't stay long, I don't think we were ready or prepared for that type of mood. We made our way through all four stories of the museum and headed back to the hotel.
We chilled for a while until some of the other guys got back and later on in the night, Jared, Kevin, Rans, Emre, Dave, Corey (Muirhead) and I went to T.G.I.Friday's for dinner. It was a little more expensive than we were used to but the food was just as good. We ate and walked back to the hotel to get an early start on tomorrow, when we would have to get up and load the bus to head up to London, Ontario in Canada.
We got up today and had to be on the bus by 9 am. As soon as we were on, the spades tournament continued. Rans and I had to take on Coach Willis and Jared. One thing led to another and we won. Then we took a little break and watched "Road Trip." We had James (Johnson) and Coach (Duggar) Baucom next and that would turn out to be an ugly game. We lost by a lot. I had to go to sleep on that note. When I woke up, Coach Shurina and Kevin had been knocked out, as had Coach Willis and Jared. Rans and I had Dave and Emre next. It was a close game until we got to 303. (The games went to 500.) Rans and I bid 10 and we got them all. GAMEOVER!! That would be our last game of the day and we have to face James and Coach Baucom in the championship. We stopped for food somewhere in Massachusetts and, before I knew it, we were at the Canadian border. After only an hour more, we were at Fanshawe College where we would be staying for the next three nights. We arrived around 8:15 pm and had to be at practice at 9 pm. We had gone two days without practice so we were a little winded at first. But, we picked up the pace soon after and made practice a nice little competition. Dave and Corey got into it and that turned the heat up on both teams.
After practice, we showered and all went out to eat. Some of the guys I was with found a burger spot called Harveys and we ate there. Corey ran into Dave again while we were there, but they squashed what had happened on the court earlier. We paid in American currency and I got a lot of change back. I haven't figured out the money here yet, but I have plenty of time.
Today we got up and had breakfast on the second floor of our hotel and we had to be on the bus by 9:30 am. We went to downtown London where we got on a double-decker bus and went on a tour of the city of London. It was warmer than we thought on the top deck but we toughed it out up there. The tour lasted for maybe an hour total. We stopped at a garden camp ground for kids half way through the trip and some people grabbed a bite to eat. London is the 10th largest city in Canada and also the birthplace of insulin. Coach Shurina showed his age by announcing that it was the birthplace of Guy Lombardo and no one else knew who that was. Once the tour was over we went to exchange our American dollars to Canadian ones. My 20 dollars turned into 27.17 Canadian. Then we went to a pizza shop on the corner to eat lunch. Now we have practice in about one half hour, so until next time.
The following is the second installment of Terrence Woodyard's journal as the Western Carolina men's basketball team tours Canada.
August 9, 2003
Yesterday's practice went pretty well to be the day before the game. I think we needed to have a good one, just as we usually do before any games. Once it was over, we went to the rooms, which are right across the street from the gym that we practiced and would be playing in. The buildings are all connected so it's really just right across the street. That's really convenient for us. We had dinner after practice in the hotel. While we were in there, everyone started talking about their funniest memories of Western up until this point. Coach (Mike) Craft, Baucom and Shurina all had really funny stories. It was a nice time just hanging out, eating and chatting. That was pretty much the end of the night other than Kevin, Dave and I walking to a few stores to get phone cards. That reminds me; while we were walking, the air smelled so bad, but the people here didn't think much about it so we learned to deal with it. We got back to the rooms and Willie decided he wanted to wrestle with Jared and me. So we did. I had him for a second and then he released the force. (I held my own though.) I had to go to sleep after that.
That led us into today, the 9th of August. I was reminded about the irony of Western Ontario being the same colors as us, and when we were walking with our Western shirts on everyone would ask if we attended Western and we had to tell them that we did, but it was Western Carolina. Today was a lot different from the past few days. There was no waking up early because breakfast didn't come until 10. We didn't have any tours to go on because we had a game against the London Orion at 2 pm. We ate breakfast and got ready for the game. When we went into the gym I didn't expect many people to be there but we had a really nice crowd. Rans' and Corey's family and friends showed up to support us, and we needed them at the beginning of the game. We had to take some pictures before the game started. Once we were done with the team pictures we started warming up and Rans noticed that Kevin was missing. That's when we all looked at the bench and saw the coaches snapping pictures with good ol' Kevin Dallas Martin Jr. We laughed a little, until everyone started asking who else had been asked to take pictures with the coaches. No one else was missing from warm-ups. That's all I have to say about that.
It began pretty slow for us, Orion got out to a 10-4 lead. They had a few good shooters and some big bodies down low in the post. We caught up eventually and the score was tied at 21. Anyone watching could tell that there was a flash of the first game jitters in everyone, but we had to shake it off and keep the game close. By half time we were down by 3 points, thanks to Kevin's long three pointer at the buzzer.
At half time the coaches came in and reminded us that we were in better shape than the other team and that we could run them and run them a lot. We had also taken a couple of bad/quick shots when we could have made better decisions. We needed to correct that if we were going to win the game. We had a bunch of spurts of energy and lots of defense during the second half and we had a 10-point lead for a while. We let them right back into it when we relaxed and we were only up by two after having a nice lead. Everyone kept playing hard and we pulled out a victory over the London Orion, but not before Rans and Dave would get dunked on.
We took more pictures with the London team after the game and went back to the hotel to eat pizza with them. While we were eating, "the dunk" was brought up and Dave and Rans both denied it. Willie had a camcorder and interviewed them and other people that witnessed "the dunk". The only two people who didn't think that anyone was dunked on were Rans and Dave...that's all I have to say about that. (Sorry guys.)
On other notes, I was told that the bus was going to take us downtown and drop us off around 8 and we would be able to chill downtown for a while. We do still have a curfew, but that's not bad unless we can't find a cab in time. What are the odds of that happening in the city? I guess that's all for today. If anything worth speaking of happens tonight, I'll be sure to let you know. Same Cat time, same Cat place. GO CATS!!!
This is Terrence Woodyard's third journal entry from Western Carolina's 12-day trip through Canada.
August 10, 2003
Today we were all packed up and on the bus by 7 this morning. We were on our way to Ottawa, Ontario. I didn't even get to see everyone get on the bus because I fell asleep as soon as I got to my bed on the bus. Just as always when you're tired, it seemed like I put my head on the pillow and everyone was waking me up to go into a restaurant to go and eat breakfast. They said that we had traveled close to two hours but I still hadn't had enough sleep. We were seated by a Turkish man that managed four or five different hotels and a big time team out of Ontario. He was a cool guy and a fast talker. Emre talked to him in Turkish for a while before we ate and a little while afterwards. When we were done eating we got back on the bus and climbed into the beds. Just as always when you're tired, they decided to play the championship spades game between Rans and myself and Coach Baucom and James. We played the longest spades game that I had ever taken part in. It had to go an hour, minimum. Just like the last time that we played them, we didn't get any good hands. It was like the cards were rigged. I had at least five hands with one spade or none. At one point the score was -380 to 433. We were in bad shape for a long time, and it ended up being long enough for us to lose the game.
We just took the loss right to the back of the bus, and eventually to sleep with us. Right when my head hit the pillow again, we were in Ottawa. This time they said that we had traveled around five hours. When I got off of the bus it looked like we were on one of the main streets of the city. We went up to the 12th floor of the hotel to our rooms. Kevin asked around and found out that we were only 10 minutes away from the mall, so Kevin, Dave and I walked to it a little after 3 o'clock. We had to be back at the hotel at 4 to leave for dinner. The mall was bigger than I thought it would be and there are soooooooo many attractive women in Ottawa, and even London. Anyway, we looked around the mall with the little time that we had and headed back to the hotel. When we got back to the hotel lobby where we were waiting for everyone to come down so that we could leave, two Ottawa natives came out of the bar of the hotel with a bottle of Crystal, and one of them said, "Poppin that Crystal, you know how we do......Ottawa!!" He couldn't have been drunk because it just had a sip or two missing from the bottle. He left no doubt in my mind that he was born and raised in Ottawa.
When everyone came down we left to go to dinner at a place called The Keg Steakhouse. There were some nice looking hostesses at The Keg, but by this time that wasn't much of a shock. We had the choice of sirloin steak or teriyaki steak/chicken for the main course. House or Caesar salad came before all of that did. We were there close to an hour and a half. They had a thick cherry cheesecake or an almond pie with chocolate and caramel for desert. I had the cheesecake and I couldn't finish it all, but the all of the food was good. On the way back, Taylor, Dave, Jared, Kevin and I stopped in a few different tattoo parlors to look around and check prices. We asked some people about places to go and things to see while we would be in town and they gave us some good info. It didn't help that we would be here on a Sunday night for the first night, and we have a game to prepare for tomorrow. I'm not too sure that we will be going anywhere too far tonight, or too late. We have another game to win tomorrow and we have be focused. After all, you know how we do......WESTERN!!
The following is the fourth journal installment of Terrence Woodyard's journal of Western Carolina's Canadian tour.
August 11, 2003
We didn't have to get up too early. We had a shoot around at 11 am at Ottawa University. It was mostly to cover mistakes made in the previous game. We corrected our mistakes and reviewed things on the defensive and offensive end. That only lasted about an hour. We were forced to cut things a little short because we had to wait about 15 minutes at the beginning of practice for a camp to end. When practice was over we walked back to the hotel, which was just a 10-minute walk. We went back to the room to clean up and get some money before going to get something to eat. I think everyone ended up at the mall at one point or another to eat and look around. We sat in the food court for about half an hour before we got up to go back to the hotel and rest before the game.
In between, I walked to the post office to buy some stamps and a post card for a friend that I promised that I would send one to. Oh, I just remembered. I was told that if you didn't know who I was, you might think that I don't like my teammate, Kevin Dallas Martin Jr., because I've singled him out sometimes. For those out-of-the-know, that's not the case at all. It's just good-natured fun. We all get along like brothers and I think that's special on a team of people from all across the world. It's not everyday that you can get a random group of guys to click like family. We all have our bonds on the team, but K-Mart's my Ace, so don't get it twisted. (Thanks "anonymous reader" for making me clear up that point.)
Now it's getting closer to game time and we are boarding the bus to go to Carleton University. Tonight we have the National Champion Carleton University Ravens. That's all that I have heard about them but that's all you really need to know. On the bus ride, we went through a part of downtown Ottawa that I hadn't had a chance to see yet. That's when I found out that Ottawa is the capitol of Canada. That's a good bit of information to know, if you are going be in the city. There are lots of streets and buildings downtown that have French names. The word "rue" was at the beginning of all of the street names. I have yet to figure out what that means.
When we arrived, the gym wasn't as big as I had expected but it was perfect for the crowd that showed up. It was a little warmer than we liked too, but nothing that we couldn't handle. We had practiced in Reid Gym on our campus for 10 days before we left to make our tour so we felt right at home.
The game started slowly. We had played two minutes and no one had scored. That's when Dave took it upon himself to put us all on his back and carry us through the first half. He had a break-out game and I think he ended the first half with 15 points and three rebounds. We went into halftime up by nine points. That was mostly due to the burst of energy we gave for the last 4-5 minutes of the first half.
We came out in the second half and gave up the lead, AGAIN! We've got to break that habit soon if we are going to win as many games as we want this year. The second half went by pretty fast until we got the lead back. As soon as we did get the lead, it seemed as if time had stopped and the clock was on pause while we played. When it got down to under a minute left in the game, I think we knew that we had it won, but not before Kevin would get a steal with six seconds left in the game and DUNK on the biggest guy on Carleton's team. What a way to end the game. YOU'RE MY BOY KEV!! I think three people asked me if I was number 32 before I could get out of the gym lobby. All I could tell them was, "nope, he's still in the locker room."
We didn't get back until around 10:30 and we had an hour and a half to get something to eat and be back in the hotel. Taylor and I had begun walking around to find something good to eat, and then Corey and Alex caught up to us. We walked way out of our way compared to where we would end up eating. However, Alex did find something on the on the side of town we had started from. Taylor, Corey and I would go back past our hotel to Pizza Pizza and we ordered pizza and hot wings. I think this is my last pizza for about a month, I have had enough, period.
It's pretty late now, and I'm all done eating, showering, and typing. Until next time...
The following is the fifth journal installment of junior forward Terrence Woodyard as the WCU men's basketball team tours Canada.
August 12, 2003
Today was a good day. This morning we got up and had breakfast down stairs in the bottom of the hotel. It was a big breakfast, and big is always good when you have a team of 10 men, 4 coaches, 1 trainer and a student assistant. There were sausage, eggs, pancakes, French toast, bacon, potato wedges and so on and so fourth. It was washed down with water and orange juice. I think that was the perfect start to a new day. When we left the restaurant, we went to downtown Ottawa to the buildings of Parliament. We stood outside for about a half an hour and waited on a parade to come down the street so that we could see the crossing of the guards. This was a decent show but not as good as the guards of Arlington. Then again, who's better? The show went on and we had to get in line for our tour of the House of Commons that the members of Parliament took seats in. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the end of the crossing.
When we went to the tour, there was another set of security checks, similar to the airport. We all made it through successfully and headed towards the House of Commons. The architecture was a little different to me. The ceilings were flat and you could see light shining through. They had walls that signified all of the provinces of Canada. Queen Elizabeth is the head honcho, but she passed most of her power down to others that lived in the country. There were lots of nice paintings and we heard a story about a part of the House catching fire. It seems like all of the most important buildings have had their bouts with fire at one point or another. Our tour guide, Jennifer, ended the tour by telling us that there was a comment box in the lobby before you left the building. And I quote, "If you think your tour guide should get a raise, my name is Jennifer, and if you didn't like the tour, my name is Bob, have a nice day." That was a good one. Coach Shurina did leave Jennifer/Bob a comment. You'll have to ask him when it stated.
When we were done we went to the mall to collect lunch money from good ol' Coach Willis. I didn't eat then because I was still recovering from breakfast. I did look around the mall again, as if I hadn't seen it all already. Then we made our way back to the hotel. We had to be ready to leave to go to the gym at 6:25 pm and it was only around 1:30 pm when we made it back to the hotel. Kevin and I had decided that we were going to wait until around 3 pm to eat. That way it wouldn't be too close to game time and we wouldn't get full right before the game began. Just like we always do, 3 turned to 4 and 4 turned to 5:15. Then we left. Now I know I said that yesterday was my last day eating pizza for a while, but...that's all that I could think of, plus Kevin wanted it. We did get to eat, and I think I ate too much, but we still had plenty of time before the game would start.
When 6:25 came around we all walked that 10-minute walk to the gym. It was nice outside all day, so it wasn't too serious of a travel. The coaches showed us to our locker room and we went out to warm up. At the beginning of the game I think it was decided that Kevin was going to show what he really had. I don't remember Ottawa having a lead the whole game. I do know that at halftime we were up by 18 points. The score was: Kevin 27 - Ottawa 28. That's all I'll say about the first half, you get the picture. As if that wasn't bad enough, we started the second half with James throwing a lob pass to Kevin for a dunk, right off the bat. We let the lead get down to us being up by 10, and it may have gone to 9 at one point but I don't remember it getting lower than that. We pulled out a nice victory over the University of Ottawa and had more pizza with them afterwards.
I'm not sure what we're going to do tonight but we do have breakfast in the morning at 9. This means that we definitely won't be out too late, but only time will tell. I'll let you know what happens.
The following is the sixth journal entry of Terrence Woodyard as the Western Carolina men's basketball team tours Canada.
August 13, 2003
Today was very different, but not right from the beginning. We still had breakfast at 9:30 this morning and got on the bus right afterwards to head out to Montreal, which was only around a two hour drive. I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one sleeping during the short trip, but once we got there is when things changed. For the first time it really felt like we were in a different country. When we got off of the bus, all of the advertisements and street signs were in French. This time there wasn't even an English translation following the French words. It reminded me that Canada is a different country and Montreal is a French-speaking city. We unpacked, just as usual, and headed into the streets to see what we could see.
There is a long street with lots of different stores and shops, and that is where we spent most of our day. We walked so long that we were able to run into two different malls, both plus-size malls, and we explored both of them. I was surprised to find that some people knew who we were and they were looking forward to our game tomorrow against the Montreal All-Stars. Montreal has just as beautiful women as London and Ottawa both did, I just think there's more here.
The French thing was enough to have us in the dark about enough, but then we had to find our way through the mall and back to the hotel. We stuck close to Emre for a good while because he is the only one that was with us that spoke French. We remembered that we were grown and stopped clenching to Emre and went about finding things on our own. We stayed out for close to 4 hours just walking and window shopping.
When we found our way back to the hotel, Lunzaya (Nlandu) was outside with Coach Craft. He and his sister were walking down the street. In case you have forgotten, Lunzaya is a junior college player we signed for next season and is from Montreal. He came up to our rooms and talked to us about what we were going to do tonight. He mentioned the street that we had been on all day would be a nice place to hang out later on. He got on the phone to call around and find out how we were going to get to where we were going. That's when I remembered that he also speaks French. He speaks it so well that I'm pretty sure it's his first language, unless he has another language or two that I don't know about. He called around and got things straight for tonight and we are waiting on him now. We won't be out too late tonight because we do have a game tomorrow that we need to be ready for. Once again, if anything good happens, I'll let you know, but it may be in French...good luck.
The following is the seventh journal entry of Terrence Woodyard as Western Carolina tours Canada.
August 14, 2003
This morning, just like most, we had a 9:30 breakfast. It was another big one, a buffet. We didn't have any touring planned for today. Lunzaya came by for breakfast and left shortly afterwards, but he did let us know to be ready to mingle around 1 pm. No one did much until that time but when he did show up, Corey, Jared, Rans, Willie and I left with him just walking down the main street (St. Catherine). We went to an underground mall that we hadn't seen before and then he took us to his barber shop. I had my line-up fixed up and so did Rans, Willie and Corey. Jared got a hair cut and we all left looking really fresh. We were out until around 5 pm or so and we showered and got ready to go to the game.
The bus ride to the gym was close to 30 minutes. This gym, like most of the others, was HOT! After running up and down the court a few times, it was almost unbearable. Once again, we toughed it out and played a good game. Our defense was the only question left in my mind, because we scored over 100 points. We gave up over 80 at the same time. The Montreal All-Stars never had the lead in the game. We passed the ball well and ran the floor like a track team. They couldn't stop us from running when we decided that we were going. Everyone had a good game and I'm pretty sure you can view the stats online. The ride back was even longer, but I went to the back of the bus so that I could open a window and look at all the lights. Montreal is a nice place during the day, but at night it lights up like every night is Christmas. I enjoyed the ride back, and now we're waiting on Lunzaya. He says he has a nice night set up for us.
Oh yeah, nothing happened last night, I didn't forget about you. I'm not sure if there will be anything to tell after this night is over, but tomorrow's coming fast. We are leaving at 5:30 in the morning.
I couldn't say until now, but Tuesday the 11th after the game against Ottawa University, we found out that Coach Baucom would be taking a head coaching job at Tusculum in Tennessee. After the win, there was a very different atmosphere in the locker room. It almost felt as if we had lost a championship game. It was a big shock for all of us and a few tears were shed. Coach Shurina only told us about Coach Baucom briefly, not a word about the game was important for any of us anymore. When Coach Baucom was speaking, he told us that he didn't think that he would be as composed as he was, but I don't think that any of us thought we would handle it as well as we did. The locker room was silent for a long time. I think it was full of mixed feelings. We were happy and sad at the same time. Happy, because he would have what he had worked so hard for (becoming a head coach) and a chance to provide for his family. Sad, because he has to leave us, especially on such short notice. I don't know about the other guys, but the happiness definitely set in last for me. It was so hard to see past the fact that he was going to be gone. He would be taking a flight out at 6 the following morning. It reminded me of when Coach Palmore had to leave after only getting one season to play with him. Coach Baucom was an important part of all of us. I just wish that he could have had a chance to see what we will accomplish this coming year, because he had such a big hand in putting this team together. He mentioned that we would understand when we reached that stage in life, but I think we all know now that he is chasing his dream and this is what he always wanted to do. We aren't mad at him at all, but it hurt so much. I guess like all other things in life, we learn to live with what life throws at us, and takes away. It's going to be hard to get used to him not being around. Whomever (if anyone) takes his place has very big shoes to fill.
Coach B., keep doing what you're doing. It's taking you where you want to go. We'll all miss you "DB".
The following is the eighth journal installment from Terrence Woodyard as the Catamounts tour Canada.
August 15, 2003
This morning we woke up and were all loaded on the bus at 5:30, just as planned. Just as normal, as soon as I made it to my bed on the bus, lights out, Tido was sleeping. Dave woke me up at 9:30 when we stopped to get breakfast at Wendy's and a sub shop of some sort. There was a coffee shop too, but I'm not sure if any of the players went there. I know that Coach Shurina did stop by; he has a cup a day. I don't know where we were exactly, but the next stop was Niagara Falls. Some of the guys started up a spades game or two on the way there, and the rest of us watched Training Day in the back of the bus.
I had fallen asleep again and before I knew it, there was Coach Shurina waking me up. He did a lot better than most of the guys that have had the duty of waking me up. They normally wait until everyone has unloaded the bus and I have to get dressed in a hurry. Coach, however, told me while we still had about 3 minutes to ride until we got to the bus lot.
Normally, things on TV make things seem bigger or smaller; Niagara Falls was just like I had imagined it. It was still huge and hard to believe that it was natural. There were lots of people out against the railing taking pictures of the falls and pictures with family. It was a lot hotter than I would have thought it would be, just like the rest of Canada. There was a while that the sun had stopped shining and the wind blew hard. The wind blew the mist from the waterfalls, up into the streets and onto everyone along the railing. It felt really good after being beat on by the sun for so long. That went on for close to 30 minutes before the sun came back out to wreak more havoc on those with jeans on and no shade to run to. We stayed at the falls for about 3 hours and then we found Chris and loaded back up for a two hour ride to Kitchener, Ontario. That was a very short trip compared to most of the riding that we have done.
We pulled into the hotel that we are in now at 5:30, give or take 10 minutes. I was right with the pack when we unloaded this time. We had a little over an hour before we would have to be ready to practice. That didn't leave us with much chill time, but we had been on the bus so long that we didn't have anymore "chill" in us. Practice went just as planned from what I could see. I think it was a good one to have right before you are going to face Steve Nash. We practiced trapping ball screens and hedging them as well. Coach did mention that he wasn't too sure of how much we would be able to rattle Nash by trapping the ball screen, but it's gotta be worth a try. This is the game that we have all been looking forward to. This should prove to be the toughest one yet. We also worked on all around defense because of all of the points that we had given up in last game.
Afterwards, Kevin, Dave and I went to a Chinese food place and piled up chicken fried rice. While we waited on our food, we all sang Michael Jackson's "Beat It" on karaoke. When that song ended, "Yellow Submarine" by the Beetles came on and a woman behind the counter handed Dave and I microphones, and we took the floor. We had a record-breaking attendance of one, a Mr. Kevin Martin. The employees applauded when the song ended, but I think it was because they were happy to see us go. Anyway, we took our food and left them in peace.
Back at the hotel, Kevin started talking about how he could beat everyone in John Madden 2004, so I sat down to play him first...after we had eaten. The score after the first quarter was 28-0, I was ahead. He did end the game with 24 points, but by that time I had 76, so it didn't matter much. Ask him about it, it's no lie. ATLANTA FALCONS.......(with Michael Vick). Just when I thought this night was coming to an end, Dave just came in and thought that I should add this. And I quote, "I just beat Kevin 4-1 in MLB 2004. Kevin's having a bad night, man. Put that in the journal!" So I did.
The following is the ninth journal installment from Terrence Woodyard as the WCU men's basketball team tours Canada.
August 16, 2003
I don't know why, but I woke up early this morning. It may have been anxiety about the game or I had gotten all the rest that I was going to get. Whatever it was, it had me up at 7:30 and we didn't have to be on the bus to go to breakfast until 10. I just watched some TV until I woke Emre up at 9:30 to get ready to go. We went to a nice breakfast place that reminded me of an upper-class Grandmas Breakfast Barn. Everything was at a reasonable price too. We stayed for about an hour and hopped back on the bus on our way back to the hotel.
We had to be ready to go to the Flight Deck (where the Toronto Raptors play their NBA games) at 12:45. That only gave us an hour to do what we had to do. Kevin was in dire need of a haircut, so we did what we always do. He trims the top and the sides and leaves the back to me. It hasn't failed us yet, thank God. I finished that with about 15 minutes to get myself ready, and I just got dressed and packed up my ankle braces. The ride was an hour into Toronto. Toronto looked a lot bigger than I imagined. It was easy to get to where we were going, unlike some cities that are more confusing.
When we got there I didn't think we would have as much time as we did to prepare, but the game was slightly delayed anyway because of the Canadian National Team having to take pictures and wait on their uniforms. We didn't play in the main arena, but in the "auxiliary gym" where the Raptors practiced. We did get to look down into the main arena before the game, and it was a nice facility even when the floor wasn't down.
By the time that all of the pictures were taken and the uniforms were there, we were playing. The only difference was that we were playing by the FIBA rules. I have no idea what that stands for, but Coach Shurina let us know about all of the changes. The lane was wider, back court violations came in 8 seconds in stead of 10, when throwing the ball in from the side lines you couldn't throw the ball into the back court unless it was the beginning of the quarter, the only 3-point line was the NBA line and the Canadians on the National team get all the calls. Ok, Ok. That last one wasn't a part of the rules but it seemed like it sometimes.
James would have what we all thought would be the toughest job of guarding Steve Nash, but we found out early that it would be hard for everyone if we didn't run back on defense. They scored so many points in the first half from fast break baskets alone. After they caught an alley-oop or two, we changed up defenses and ran back. They had more athletes than just Steve Nash too. They had some flat-out all around players and drivers and shooters and really big bodies down low. They proved to be a lot stronger than us, but I think that's because they were a little older. We didn't want to let the lead get out of hand, but it's hard to keep up when your team shoots 11 total free throws and the other team shoots 48, and makes 40 of them. You can only imagine what kind of foul trouble we were in, and how the game was going. We ended up losing the game, for those that didn't quite get the picture without me saying it. I was trying to beat around the bush a little, but I could already see someone asking me later on.
We all took more pictures with the National Team and wished each other luck in the future. Nash stayed a while longer to sign autographs and take pictures, and then he made his way out. We went back down into one of the many locker rooms that they had, showered and then we left Toronto. The ride back seemed longer, but that could have been because I was asleep. I have a good feeling that they were all talking about me while I slept because of how Coach Craft woke me up. That's ok though, I got the inside scoop on good ol' Mike Craft. Word is, when he sits on one of the couches on the bus, he can swing his feet. Shhhh, I haven't seen if for myself yet, but that's what I heard. It's a good thing that we have a few more days on the bus; I can let you know when I see it with my own eyes.
When we made it off of the bus and back to our rooms, Kevin and Dave came up with going to the movies to see Freddy vs. Jason. I went with them and Alex and Emre went to see S.W.A.T. The movie was great, if you like that kind of thing. For all of those who plan on going to see it, don't. They both get killed by Wesley Snipes in his BLADE character. I'm just kidding. I'll never tell the end!!! BUT, the movie is over and so is this day. No better way to end it than a goodnight/day to you, and a same Cat time, same Cat channel. Go Catamounts!
This is the 10th journal installment from Terrence Woodyard as the Western Carolina men's basketball team closes its summer tour.
August 17, 2003
Today started off really slow. It didn't seem like we were ever going to get to New York. We loaded the bus at 6 am and left. Right around noon, we were approaching customs. We thought it was going to be just like when we were entering Canada, in and out and on our way. We had no idea that two hours later would be our next time actually moving on the bus. Alex left his I-20 on campus. Apparently, that's something he needs to prove that he is in school in the United States. I'm not sure what they did for that long but I think they just had to get the school to fax his transcript or something. I'm sure Alex didn't know that he would need it to get back, but we didn't bother him about it too much.
It was around 6 pm or so before we made it to the hotel. Six o'clock just happens to be the time that we had reservations to have dinner in the sky box at the ESPN Zone. After we unpacked, we were to be down stairs at 7 pm to leave on our way to dinner. We didn't think that we would still be able to get into the sky box, but it turns out that after waiting about 10 minutes once we got there, we were in. There were couches and swivel chairs all over the box, and it looked down onto other people eating below us and a bunch of TV screens with two big ones. The food was really good and we all received game cards with $10 worth of points on them to go to the game room with. I guess you could imagine, lots of us used our points on the basketball shooting contests. It was fun and we could compete against real people, or at least that's why I did it. Coach Shurina was pretty good at an alpine skiing game and Coach Willis was better than I thought he would be at the quarterback challenge.
All of this was in Manhattan and right across the street was Champs and Footlocker, so that's where we went next. We went around looking and talking, and I think Dave and Kevin were the only two that purchased anything today. When we were making our way back to the hotel, I looked around and I had to call my mom and tell her about how bright the lights were. It was just like some spots in Atlanta but I think it looked brighter because the buildings were closer together. It looked like day time in the middle of the night. Anyway, we started walking back, following Kevin again. I admit, I didn't think he knew where he was going and neither did a bunch of the other guys, but he told us to trust him and we did. I'm back in the hotel now, so I guess he was right. He was getting threats from everyone, so I guess it paid off for him to be right this time.
This is my first time in New York and I'm glad that I have things to do, or really just a plan because everything is so big and far apart that I don't know where I would go if I was alone. We have lots of plans for tomorrow and the following days so I think it will be of fun. I would hint you in on what we have going on but I'm sure you'll find out sooner or later, or sooner than later. You'll know when the time comes, and that's it for tonight, I think.
The following is the final installment of Terrence Woodyard's journal, detailing Western Carolina's basketball trip to Canada. Western Carolina would like to thank Terrence for his time and effort and would also like to thank Taylor Yanchar for his technical assistance throughout.
August 18, 2003
Today Emre and I woke up around 9 am and went to McDonalds for breakfast. We didn't have breakfast as a team today, but we did collect breakfast money before we left. We had to be in the hotel lobby by 10 am to go to Ground Zero. We rode in VIP status in two police vans, one driven by one of coach's old friends named Eugene and the other by one of Gene's coworkers. There was a big hole left behind, but I could tell that they had made a lot of progress compared to when the towers first fell. There is lots of work to still be done. I thought a lot about all of the people that died and those that were working hard everyday to build it all back up. There were pictures of the towers and a big wall that people had signed and written on to show respect and love for all of those that were involved in 9/11.
Afterwards, we headed to tour the Statue of Liberty. There were times during the ride that they (the Police) would turn on their lights and we would pass through traffic. Once we got to the ferry, we just pulled right up onto the curb and went straight to the front on the line in the police vans. The people in line didn't shout at us or anything so I guess they were cool with it.
When we got on the boat it was very shaky and rocking before we had even moved away from the dock. We pulled away and everyone started taking pictures when we got closer to the Statue of Liberty. The ride went smooth, no one blew chunks or even showed signs of getting seasick, but I guess the ride wasn't long enough. This time I was surprised to see that it looks a bit bigger on TV, but it was still big enough to be hard to fit into a picture with. We took lots of group pictures with the statue and I remember a few that we took with the skyline in the background. It was hard for me to try not to picture where the World Trade towers would be in the skyline.
When we got back onto the ferry it took us to Ellis Island. I was told that's where all of the immigrants had to report to when they sailed in from other countries. There was a big museum on this Ellis Island that told of the troubles and voyages that some of them encountered. The museum wasn't as big as the Holocaust museum in D.C. It didn't take as much time to see everything. We were in and out of there a lot faster and back onto the ferry to take us back to the police vans. Gene was running a little late, but still right on time. The vans pulled up and we were headed to the Empire State Building.
VIP was in effect one more time when we arrived at the Empire State building. Gene got us in there faster than the doorman was letting air through. We went straight to the 86th floor and right outside on the roof of the building. This was like nothing I had ever seen before. We were up higher than I had ever been, without being in an airplane. We walked all the way around the roof. You could see the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, Madison Square Garden, Queensboro Bridge and LaGuardia Airport, all from the same place. It put a lot of things into perspective for me; it kind of gives you another outlook on life. I just felt a little insignificant after seeing all the little specs that were people and cars moving around, all living their separate lives. It made me think about how people kill people for material things that are so small when you look at the big picture. Everyone wants a nice car and/or house, but it just didn't seem like one nice car or house made a difference from up there. But, on a brighter note, the view was beautiful. I didn't know New York was that big. I can remember when we got back into the van, I felt like I was right back to being a spec.
When I came out of spec-mode, we were at the police station that Gene worked at. We watched some of the police academy students in their training. They had to run a lot of laps, but I can't say that it was harder than anything that we had done before. We left there and went to meet more people that Gene worked with. One of them just happened to be the police Chief. He had lots of pictures of 9/11 and ground zero after the buildings had fallen. He talked like he loved his job and said that he had been on the force for 29 years. He said that he would serve another 29 if he could, but he knew that wasn't possible.
Gene then showed us to the reality simulator that newer officers used to simulate real-life situations. They had real guns that had been changed to laser pointer and pepper spray that was the same. We all went, two at a time, through different scenarios. Kevin and I went first. Kevin got off eight rounds and had two hits. My gun jammed. Just my luck. There was a man controlling the situations that made my gun jam, he wanted to see how we would react to different environments. There were nine or 10 different situations. We had to talk to the screen and use verbal communication and know what level of force to use. I think Taylor and Coach Willis were neck and neck for the best verbal communication. Dave had the best shots-to-hits ratio. Corey and James are most definitely the worst shots on the team. I think they let off around 23 rounds apiece and had one hit between the two of them, and that hit wasn't lethal. That was a great experience for us all and lots of fun too. We all had plenty of turns, and that means chances to mess up, but I'm sure Willie had the worst luck. The first time he froze and got stabbed, and the next two times his gun jammed and he got shot. Coach Shurina has a funny little method; it turns out, he holds his gun in his right hand and pepper spray in the left, all at the same time. Gene told him how to handle himself and he got it right. Thanks for everything Gene.
We left there and went straight to shopping. Time Square is where we were headed, and we were coming fast. We shopped and shopped and shopped and then famous rapper, Lil Bow Wow came into Champs and drew everyone's attention. He is a lot shorter than people think, and he's grown since last year. We went into Dr. Jay's and were told that Jay-Z was coming. They were closing early and cleaning up before his arrival. We still had a chance to make a few purchases before they put us out. I guess that is what real VIP status is like. Some of us went to McDonalds for dinner and others went to TGIFridays before coming back to the hotel. We have a little more to do tomorrow and then we are on our way back to Cullowhee. I think I'm all traveled out anyway.
That's it for now. Hope you have enjoyed following us and, if our Canadian tour is an indication, we will look forward to seeing you in what promises to be an exciting season.