This summer, Mid-Major Madness is teaming up with schools across the country as they travel overseas to compete against elite competition and soak up the culture. Student-athletes will blog their experiences for us via written posts, photos, video, and just about anything else they want.
Here’s our first post from Bucknell’s Matt O’Reilly, live from Amsterdam...
AMSTERDAM — What’s up everybody? My name is Matt O’Reilly, I’m a senior on the Bucknell basketball team, and I am going to be writing throughout the week to update all of you about the amazing trip we are on right now to the Netherlands, Belgium and France!
Our trip began yesterday as we took a red eye flight from Newark to Amsterdam, where we have spent the last 2 days. Our day started early on yesterday, getting into the Amsterdam airport around 6 in the morning. In order to fight jet lag, we got right into it, taking a bus straight into the city where we got a walking tour. At the end of the walking tour, we took a canal boat ride through the entire city, which was an amazing experience that most of us never had before. It seemed like we had been walking through endless alleyways for hours and hours, but when we got off the boat, it was only about noon, and jet lag hit most of us hard!
We went back to the hotel right after the boat tour was finished and we all made our best attempt to battle drowsiness. This attempt was largely unsuccessful, and a 20-minute nap turned into a two-hour one for many. It was in the afternoon after we were all well rested that we gained a greater appreciation for Amsterdam and the culture that it holds. As we walked the alleys again it was clear that this city is alive at night. We were surrounded by people at all times and the energy surrounding the city was amazingly positive. Not only did we notice the culture, but the beauty that exists throughout the city. Watching the sun set over one of endless canals was a sight to see.
This morning, we got up bright and early and went to visit Anne Frank’s house and that was an experience most of us will never forget. Throughout your life in America, you learn a lot about Europe and the Holocaust, but it isn’t until you can see some of the facts and historical sites yourself that its lasting impact becomes real. Seeing the area that she lived in and the environment in which her, her family, as well as others had to live in just to survive gave me and my teammates a new perspective on life and how nice we have it.
We finished the day with a game against a local professional team known as Apollo Amsterdam. They were full of young talent and nice, but competitive people too. I am currently out with an injury, but I was able to watch my teammates battle tired legs and jet lag in a close first half only to break it open in the second where we finished the game, winning 94-58. The transition to the European style of play went smoother than we imagined, and we are excited for our next game in a couple days. For now, we are going to enjoy the next 24 hours here in Amsterdam and I’ll catch up with you guys when we get to our next destination!