Italy Day 3
BELLAGIO, Italy – After a good night’s sleep for some of the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team, the first time since Saturday night, the Lobos were fortunate enough to have perfect weather for a boat ride on Lake Como into this town that is reachable only by boat.
Along with the stunning views of the houses and structures on both sides of the lake, the Lobos were told that both George Clooney and Madonna own houses in the area – although that fact wasn’t revealed to the team until after it reached Como.
All the announcements on the boat ride were in Italian, so the team was told where the two supposedly lived, they didn’t understand it.
Italian law mandates that its tour guides must be a resident of the town in which they work, and so the Lobos received their information on the town from a local guide. She talked of Bellagio being one of the first places to make silk products and is home to the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, an arm of the Rockefeller Center founded by John D. Rockefeller in 1913 to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world.
What has been interesting to witness is the different members of the players interact with each other. Coach Yvonne Sanchez had said the team-bonding aspect was a key part of the reason for the trip to Italy, and that seems to be happening early on.
The members of the team look extremely comfortable with each other. Each player can join a group of players seamlessly, which is encouraging to see three months before the women’s basketball season even starts.
One of the cultural differences between Italy and the U.S. that has been noticeable the first couple of days has been the length of a meal – at least as far as lunch and dinner are concerned. The meals that the team has eaten have consisted of three courses (appetizer, main course and dessert) and are served at a leisurely pace.
As a result, the meals have taken at least an hour and a half each. That hasn’t stopped several members of the team from seeking out “gelato” – or ice cream.
At dinner, head coach Yvonne Sanchez told the team to get their fill of gelato on Wednesday because on Thursday, the team finally will do what it traveled some 5,700 miles to do – play basketball. She instructed the team to watch what they eat from now until the scheduled 8:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. MT) tip off against AS Vicenza, which means to stay away from the gelato.
The team has yet to participate in any kind of basketball activity since arriving in Italy, so the team is looking to arrive at the arena early enough for the team to have an extended shootaround and just get a feel for playing after a layoff.
The effects of not practicing since Saturday or flying halfway across the world on the Lobos remain to be seen, but they are anxious to play a game.
“It’ll be good to get out on the court, finally,” senior Antiesha Brown said. “I’m ready to roll.”