Aug. 24, 2008
Editor’s note: During the Notre Dame men’s basketball team’s 12-day, four-city foreign tour of Ireland, senior guard Kyle McAlarney will file a daily diary after talking by phone with the South Bend Tribune’s Tom Noie. Following are McAlarney’s thoughts on day 11 of the trip.
DUBLIN, Ireland – I’ve had fish and chips only once since we’ve been here and I’m dying to get my hands on some. I’ll ask around (tonight) and find the best spot to go for dinner.
(Friday) night after our game, I was really hungry. I went to eat at this Italian cafe and got a little pizza. It was OK, not great. Really, it wasn’t all that good, but I was pretty much starving. After that, I went right back to my room and fell asleep. These games have been pretty exhausting for me.
Now that we’re done playing, I want to get out (today) on our last full day and really explore the city. I’ve seen a lot of it already but I want to experience even more without the pressure of having to rest my legs.
We can now say that we got the most out of this trip. We accomplished what we set out to do and that was to win a championship. We had a lot of game pressure on us the last three days. Everyone did what they were supposed to do, whether they were in the top seven of the rotation or not. We stuck together the whole way. We’re a very mature team and we know who we are as players.
It was very important for us to win this championship. When we were up on the podium getting the trophy after the game, we seniors said that this was the first time we’ve ever won a championship. It’s well-deserved. It’s something we won’t take lightly. It’s good for our morale.
This can be a reference point for Maui when we have to play three games in three days again. Winning a championship is a long process and we want to win as many as we can this season. We can look back on this and remember what it takes to get there.
We were really ready to play against Iceland. We came out right from the start and played well, which is something we haven’t done for some of the games. Tonight, we really attacked. We were focused.
I didn’t get a third golden basketball (for being named the game’s most valuable player). Tory (Jackson) was MVP tonight. They named me the MVP of the tournament, which was really cool. I was awarded a crystal mini-basketball. It will look good in my house back home (in Staten Island, N.Y.).
Zach (Hillesland) didn’t play tonight because he hurt his foot (Friday). It’s not too bad, but he couldn’t play. We get a chance to rest our bodies now. I do need a few days. It’s going to be a long season and I don’t want to break down.
We’ve kind of approached this trip since Aug. 4 (the first day the Irish were allowed to practice for their foreign tour) as if we were in-season mode. We’re ready for a break until October. It’s time to shut it down and get our bodies back to normal.
Everyone’s looking forward to one more day here. We’re going to Croke Park (site of the 1996 Notre Dame-Navy football game) and seeing the semifinal match of Gaelic football. It should be pretty crazy. It will give us a taste of what the culture is like here.
I think everyone is ready to some degree to get home. We’ve got to start thinking about school. The first day of class is Tuesday so it’s hard not to think about that we land Monday afternoon and then, boom, we’re right back in class. We’ve got to get a jump on that.
I have no idea what my first class is Tuesday. I haven’t even looked at my schedule. I try to ease into school the first couple days. I’ll check my schedule Monday.
Love you, Mom.