Oct. 20, 2003
After a long day of travel on Saturday, the Irish arrived to the heat and humidity of Barbados. The team bussed to Chicago on Saturday morning and then flew to Dulles Airport in Washington, DC. Following that flight, Notre Dame boarded a plane for a 4-1/2 hour trip over the Atlantic to Barbados.
Tired and somewhat weary, the Irish checked in at the Accra Beach Hotel (just 15 minutes from the airport) and headed to town to get something to eat. Following dinner, the players walked around the grounds of the hotel and then went to bed.
The hotel is right on the beach and the sound of the waves can be heard at all times. The smell of the salt water is everywhere.
Most everyone went to bed on Saturday night anticipating a full day at the beach and pool. However, we woke up to the sound of thunder and rain. The clouds were grey and heavy throughout the day – the sun just never could sneak through. The red flags were up at the beach which prevented most people from going in the water. The waves were extremely high and the water was rough – it would have made for riding the waves a lot of fun if the lifeguards were not out patrolling the beach.
Most of the players were up early and as usual, hungry. Everyone gathered in the morning for the buffet breakfast and then it was off to practice at the Sir Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, the site of Sunday night’s game. The gym is named after Garfield Sobers, a former Carribean cricket player, who is regarded as the best player of all-time. It was quite warm at practice on Sunday and the players were anxious to get back so that they could swim in the pool.
Tom Timmermans, Jordan Cornette, Colin Falls and Greg Bosl (a walk-on who is going to join the team) headed to the pool for a very competitive game of volleyball. Tish Brey, a former volleyball player joined in on the fun as did the Erin and Shannon Kearney. Tom was seen lifting Shannon into the air so that she could spike the ball over Jordan.
The Barbados Sports Federation hosted a reception for dignitaries in town as well as those traveling with the Notre Dame party. It was interesting talking with some of the native people. The population of Barbados is around 255,000 and cricket is the country’s most popular sports, followed by futbol (soccer) and basketball. Everyone seems very excited to have us here and think our nickname Fighting Irish is really cool.
For the first exhibition game of the season, the Irish played really well and Coach Brey was definitely pleased with the effort. Chris Quinn and Colin Falls played extremely well, as did Chris Thomas. Jordan Cornette showed a lot of maturity on the court, as did Tom Timmermans. Torin Francis had a hard time getting on track in the game, but will probably come back with a strong effort on Tuesday night. Rick Cornett played tough around the basket – its great to see how much he has improved. The coaching staff is really looking forward to getting him increased playing time this year. Torrian Jones was extremely active around the basket, and while his play has been great, it’s his leadership that really stands out. Before the game, he kept everyone focused and emphasized the importance of playing well in these three games.
After the game, the team headed out to town to get something to eat. Everyone is looking forward to tomorrow. Let’s hope there is some sun!