Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"You Sound Like You're From London!"

I can't tell you how many times that phrase was said during our day-trip to London.  I don't even think God knows.  It's a quote said by Paul Rudd from the movie, "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and sounded like the perfect icebreaker when talking to complete strangers actually from London, an act which I did a lot.
One of the more popular topics of conversation with the Londoners was what football(soccer) team they supported(root for).  If you didn't know already, I'm a huge Manchester United fan and an even bigger Wayne Rooney fan so regardless of their answer to the above question and whether they wanted to hear it or not, I gave them by best Martin Tyler impersonation of a Rooney goal.  The Chelsea fans hated it, the Man U fans loved it.
Aside from high-fiving other soccer fans, I have to say London is by far the coolest city I've ever been to.  All in one day, we went to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the buildings of Parliament, the Prime Ministers house, and we traveled up the London Eye, the world's largest Ferris wheel situated in the heart of the city.  We also did some shopping in England, which included a trip to London's Nike Town.  As you might have guessed, this store had a whole floor dedicated to Europe's most prominent football clubs(teams).  On full display were the full authentic kits(jersey + matching shoes) from clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool FC, Chelsea, FC Porto, Inter Milan, AC Milan, FC Barcelona, and Real Madrid.  In my opinion, after studying each kit and balancing all the pros and cons, Inter had the sickest jerseys of them all, which is important information because everyone knows having fashionable outfits plays a huge role in determining which team you choose to use in the FIFA video game.
You might have heard about it already, but I'm keeping a list of every state and country I've scored a basket in.  Basketball has provided me with some amazing opportunities to travel and see new places, so this is my way of keeping track of where I've been because of the game.  Prior to this trip I was at 26 states and 5 different countries.  The trip I just took was my 5th overseas adventure, including previous stops in Ireland, France, and the African nations of Senegal and Mali.  Obviously I added two countries to my list, Belgium and Germany, but I didn't manage to find a hoop while in England.  What I did manage to do is to persuade some kids playing soccer in the park to stop their game so I could shoot an undefended penalty kick.  Characteristically, I buried it in the upper left 90(corner) and walked off the pitch(field) without another word.
Our next stop after London was Dusseldorf, Germany.  From there we played two games, in as many nights, winning them both.  We cruised to victory in the first game but the second one proved to be much tougher.  For one thing, the fans decided it would be appropriate if they brought their Vuvuzelas to the game and blow them at random times, like when I'm shooting a free throw.  I take back what I said about bringing Vuvuzelas to Assembly Hall, that would be a dire mistake.  Furthermore, this team featured former University of Arkansas multi-sport athlete Marcus Monk.  From what I can tell from his Wikipedia page, he spent the last couple of years in the NFL, spending time with the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers, before getting cut ahead of this season.  Can't make it in the NFL, try professional European the division 2 level.  We won this game by a two.
Side note: Before we go any further, I want to take this time to express my distaste for carbonated water.  Two games in Germany, two games we were forced to use bubbly, tasteless, gas water as hydration.  I guess anything to get an advantage on the Americans.
Finally, we did play one last game in Belgium on our last night abroad but there's not much to say about it except that we won by fifty.  Everything about this trip was awesome and I'm grateful for the experience.  We had a great time both on and off the court and you couldn't have asked for a better group of guys.  Even coach Price joined in on the fun and jokes.  I want to say thank you to coach Weber, coach Price, Global Sports Academy, and everyone else involved in  making this trip possible.  It was an experience I will never forget.

The team in front of Buckingham Palace
Brandon and I in front of the buildings of Parliament

The Wayne Rooney display in Nike Town

The London Eye


  1. Nice job representing U of I! Glad to hear you had a good time.

    - a diehard Illini fan

  2. Carbonated water is the worst. Especially when you look at it and think it's going to be Sprite.

    Way to stick it to the Europeans anyway.

    BTW, probably doesn't matter much but I think you meant Big Ben, not Big Bend.

  3. Right on Tyler! I'm glad you enjoyed your trip. Wherever life leads you I would ALWAYS hope that you find the time to travel and experience new things. Whether you're single, in a relationship, or with children, it's all good. From my own personal experience even the 'bad' times are good. Looking forward to this season and wish you the best!

  4. Glad to hear you had a good time. I've been looking forward to hearing about this since it was announced you and Brandon and Coach Price were going.

    On a side note, I'm glad to see you not complaining about the officiating! ;^)

  5. You're blog cracks me up, but as a Mancheester United fan I have to let you know "Man U" is offensive, dating back to the Munich Air disaster of 1958, where 11 "Busby Babes" died, and the resulting "Man U" chant was born to compare them to manure. Man United, United, Manchester United, all good, please no Man U!

    Sincerely, Loyal Illini Alum and Manchester Fan club member (

  6. Love your blog (fellow St. Louisan). Just so you know, I've been told 3 different times by residents of Manchester that nobody from Manchester supports United: 1) from a cabbie in Manchester and 2) from the World Champion Whistler (Manchester resident) when he played in St. Louis and 3) from an airport security guy in Manchester who "wouldn't let my kid board a plane" because he was wearing a United journey. Apparently all "real" residents of Manchester support Man. City. This story blows away my students at SLUH.

    P.S. Thanks for the autograph you gave me for my kid at the HS all-star class in St. Louis before your Frosh year at UI. Go Illini. (

  7. real madrid and liverpool jerseys in the Nike Town??? i highly doubt nike is going to promote adidas jerseys