Aquinas head off for USA Tour 2012

BELFAST – Aquinas Grammar Schools’ basketball teams head off to the USA next week for 10 days to match up against some of Florida’s premier high school and AAU teams. This is the third school tour to the USA following two very successful previous trips.

Twenty-seven players will make their way to the Sunshine state under the auspices of PE teacher and basketball coach Joe McAufield who has established a real basketball culture in the Ravenhill Road school over the last decade. In addition to the twelve competitive games, the boys will participate in a two-day basketball camp, attend an NBA game and spend a day attending classes at a prestigious Floridian High school.

Aquinas’ Boys Basketball – USA Tour 2012

The tour should provide great preparation for the teams for Ulster school leagues, which commence after the midterm break. Last year, the U16 team had a very successful run in the National Cup and also won the Ulster title.  It’s not all about the hoops action – the boys will have some time for shopping and all the theme park attractions Orlando has to offer.

You can follow the tour on Twitter – @AGSbasketball

*The team’s travelling uniform is sponsored by Optilase (UK’s No.1 leading eye surgery clinic) and the Xperience Information Technology group.

My Summer in the USA: the Pros and Cons

Wow. This feels strange. But in a good way.

It’s been a while since I last blogged for TCC and I am happy to finally have a free moment to check-in. Where have I been? Camp! The past eight weeks in the beautiful rural Pennsylvania, coordinating the Athletics programme for 300-something campers, went by in a flash. Was it fun? Of course. Have I missed out on somethings? Unfortunately so.

Here are a few of my pros and cons of spending Summer 2012 in the USA

  • Pro: It’s nice to see the sun after May (you know that one week, during exams, when Ireland thinks it’s going to have a beautiful summer?)
  • Con: Sunburn – despite lathering on SPF 30 regularly (I promise, Mum)
  • Pro: Following the awesome coverage of the US vs Team GB warm-up games on The Courtside Collective (Well-done Marc and Niall – you guys nailed it)
  • ConFollowing the awesome coverage of the US vs Team GB warm-up games on The Courtside Collective (I hate you both, Marc and Niall)
  • Pro: Camp Olympics/Colour War
  • Con: The zillions of people (slight exaggeration) who have been able to watch the actual Olympics on TV all day, everyday (I’m looking at you, Paddy McGaharan)
  • Pro: The pound-to-dollar exchange rate
  • Con: The dollar-to-pound exchange rate (maybe I should spend it all here?)
  • Pro: Eating Chick-Fil-A
  • Con: Eating Chick-Fila-A and feeling like I’m making some sort of statement when really all I wanted was a great chicken sandwich and superior service (it’s my pleasure)
  • Pro: Receiving a phone-call from Joe McAufield (Aquinas Grammar Basketball) to hear about the birth of his new baby boy, Michael Joseph.
  • Con: Missing out on the “party of the year” – an Olympic themed shindig with my closest friends, including three Swedish mates who made the trip (seems like the lads were happy enough entertaining Janna, Eleanor and Camilla)

The list could go on-and-on forever.

Right now, I am happy to report poolside from a beautiful villa in Orlando, Florida. Thanks to Joe McAufield who rented me this ridiculous pad for a few nights. I can’t imagine a better way to get some R’N’R: sipping on a cold Sam Adams, listening to Passion Pit and trying to get some sun (but not too much).

This has been TCC’s first travel post. Where have you been this summer? Have you been holidaying in London for the Olympics?

Thinking of going to Orlando? Why not check out the McAufield Villa! For more details and photos of this wonderful getaway spot, click here!