Four women's basketball student-athletes and head coach Casey Kushiyama are in Italy for a cultural and educational tour. The Loggers are also split between two U.S. squads that will play against local club teams. Elizabeth Prewitt writes about her experience in Italy.
Before I left for Italy, I was so nervous. How many people would speak English? Would I be in shape to play a full basketball game? Would I be good enough to play with these other players? I had so many questions before I traveled across the country with only a couple teammates, my coach, and a bunch of strangers.
Looking back on this trip, it has been the most amazing experience. Touring Italy with incredible people and playing my favorite sport has been the highlight of my summer. My first culture shock was when my team had to run a clinic for teenage Italian girls where only one player and a translator spoke English. We had to learn how to communicate and inspire without speaking the same language.
As my fellow teammates discussed earlier, there are many differences between playing in the U.S. as opposed to playing Italy. There is more physicality in Italy, but the other changes include a farther 3-point line, shorter courts, and only Americans travel. However, at the end of the games, the teams were always very friendly and showed their appreciation by either exchanging jerseys with a U.S. team or giving gifts.
Even though we came for basketball, we had the opportunity to tour the major cities of Italy. My favorite place was Lake Como where we got to see George Clooney's vacation villa. It is also where parts of Star Wars and James Bond were filmed. But I also enjoyed roaming the streets of Milan, shopping for clothes and gelato. We had an overwhelming amount of gelato.
This was an incredible opportunity and I cannot wait to come back to Italy some day!
P.S. Mom if you're reading this, please buy me a Fiat so I can street-race Prew, Jamie, and Megs.