Beavers In Europe: A Long Travel Day To Start Things Off
Aug. 19, 2012
PARIS, France - Unless you like reading about people sitting on a bus, waiting in an airport or sleeping on a plane, the first blog about the Oregon State men's basketball trip to Europe won't excite you much. But there was an unfortunate snafu and a spirited practice in front of locals that should make it worth the read.
The coaches, student-athletes, support staff and boosters all boarded a bus at Gill Coliseum at 4 a.m. on Saturday for the short jaunt to PDX. After checking bags and getting through security, each person went their own way to find food. The United flight departed right on time at 8:25 a.m. and there wasn't an open eye in the group as everyone quickly fell asleep.
After the plane pulled into Houston and people checked the board to find out the gate number to Paris, disappointment set in as the 3:30 p.m. departure time had been delayed to 7:05 p.m. Food, cell phone games and laptops helped ease the frustration of the long delay and United even offered $10 food vouchers to every passenger for the mechanical issue that forced the delay.
When Daniel Gomis went to the gate to collect his voucher, he was told he would be unable to fly to Europe because his passport from Senegal also required a Visa that he didn't have. After panic, begging and several phone calls, it was decided that Gomis had no choice but wait until Monday to get his Visa. Assistant coach Nate Pomeday stayed in Houston with Gomis and the two are expected to fly to Paris on Monday and join the team later that day or early Tuesday.
Everyone was bummed that Gomis and Pomeday had to stay back for a couple of days, but the frowns turned to smiles when the group boarded the large and luxurious plane that included a television, pillow and blanket at every seat -- all surprisingly for free -- and plenty of leg room for the players used to cramming into small spaces.
The plane finally left Houston at approximately 8 p.m. CT and pulled into Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris at 12:30 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST) on Sunday. In all, the travel time from Corvallis to Paris took 23 hours, 30 minutes, more than four hours than what had been scheduled.
That meant it was time to relax and take a nap, right? Not the case. Coach Robinson gave everyone 20 minutes to put their bags in the rooms, change into practice gear and be back on the bus for a drive to the French Basketball Federation Gym near Orly Airport for practice.
The gym serves as a multi-purpose basketball court and greenhouse with vegetation growing inside and was so hot and humid that it made Gill Coliseum feel like a fridge even when the temperatures hit the high 90's this past week. The Beavers practiced for about 90 minutes, going through their usual drills and some full-court scrimmage work for offensive and defensive sets.
Several local coaches and fans showed up to watch the practice and were excited when the team posed for a picture with them afterwards. The team then returned to the hotel for a quick shower and a walking tour of Notre Dame and the St. Michael area. It should be a short night for a very tired group.
On the docket tomorrow is breakfast at 9 a.m., a "Bike About Paris" Tour at 10:30 a.m., a walking tour of Montmartre and a team dinner in that area.
Team and individual notes:
For updates during the trip, including blogs, photos and videos, check out osubeavers.com and click on the following social media pages:
Coach Robinson recaps the beginning of the European trip, including the long travel day, the snafu with Daniel Gomis and the team's first practice in Europe at the following YouTube link:
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