USA Sports Tour 2015
Off to USA: Friday 27th March 2015
After 15 months of counting down the days to this trip, 27 tired but excited boys arrived at NSB at 7.45am. We said our goodbyes to parents and then began the 90 minute journey down to Heathrow. It seemed like forever! We eventually boarded the plane and started our 10½ hour flight to Phoenix, Arizona. After that long flight we landed at Sky Harbor Airport. The buzz around the group was amazing, everyone was really excited. We went to Barro’s Pizza and met our host families who then took us away to continue our experience of a lifetime!
Family Experience: Saturday 28th March
Today we all spent the day with our respective host families. Adam Caulfield and I (we were staying together) went to watch the youngest son of our family play football for his local team Desert Elite. After which we went for lunch at a restaurant called ‘In and Out Burger’ (the equivalent of McDonalds) which was really nice. Later, some of us went to pool parties whilst others did a variety of activities with their families.
Family Experience/Suns NBA game: Sunday 29th March
Our second full day in Phoenix. With our host family, Adam and I climbed up a very high mountain called Black Mountain which was really, really hard with a lot of steep hills and turns. We saw a couple of snakes and lizards which spooked us a little bit. It was a very difficult climb but the view made us forget the pain we had gone through - it was amazing! Thanks to air-con when we returned to the car, we survived the journey back and after lunch we wandered around a mall before heading off to watch The Phoenix Suns, the local basketball team, playing Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA. When we got there it was fantastic to see the size of the stadium; it was massive! We enjoyed a very good game with Oklahoma City Thunder winning and we even got to go into the players’ tunnels pre-game as they came out for the match.
Hike/Crackerjacks and our first soccer and basketball games: Monday 30th March
After an early wake-up call to be at the meeting point for 7.30am we hopped on the minibuses and went to our morning activity - climbing Pinnacle Peak. It was an enjoyable hike where we had a view over some parts of Phoenix and even saw a rattlesnake! After the hike we went to a mini theme park called Crackerjacks. It was jam-packed with fun activities including baseball batting cages, go-karting, crazy golf and much more. I think that nearly all of the lads enjoyed the go-karting the most. As we had lots of time before we had to be at our first games, we made an unexpected stop at a mall where many pairs of shoes were bought! We then headed off to our first games. The basketball team was playing the ‘Desert Elite’ U12s, which they lost 53-21. The football team also played Desert Elite Under 12s and won the match 9-0.
For a web gallery of images from the trip Click Here
Slide Rock: Tuesday 31st April
On this day we all woke up really early again to begin a two hour journey to Sedona where we would find lots of rapids and freezing cold water. When we arrived at Sedona we went on a 15 minute hike halfway up one of the mountains. We sat there and took in the amazing views looking over the scenery of the mountains. We then headed off to the rapids, walking down to the river with our towels wrapped around us not knowing how cold the water was going to be. No-one expected the water to be THAT cold! We all jumped into the river twice before letting the flow take us through the rapids. Although the rapids were freezing cold they were also really cool! We then went off in separate vans to our second games. The basketball team played the Desert Elite U13s team and lost 46-23. The football team played the Desert Elite U14 team and won 2-1.
Lazy day: Wednesday 1st April
Today we had yet another early start before we went off to a local pool for two hours before moving on to Jump City. We had a great time there. This was a big indoor trampoline centre with basketball rings, dodgeball, bucking broncos and other fun attractions. The trampoline basketball dunks were a popular activity. After this we had a little down-time in a mall before heading off to our final matches. The football team played the Desert Elite U13s and won 6-0. The basketball team lost 60-22 against the Desert Elite U14s. In each of our three football matches we played really well as a team, with every one giving 100% and thoroughly enjoying the occasions. The three basketball matches were similarly enjoyed and there were some outstanding performances. Mr Elder has asked me to specifically mention Oliver Dominique, Jude Carmichael, Ethan Grayson, Joel Grayson and Ben Nailer. The behaviour of both teams was a credit to NSB throughout.
Travelling to L.A: Thursday 2nd April
We were all sad to leave our host families on this day. We said our thanks and goodbyes and set off on the 8 hour drive to Los Angeles. Most people weren’t looking forward to the long drive but it was actually good fun with lots to see along the way. Halfway there we stopped at the outlet stores for lunch. The most popular stores on the continuing NSB Shopping Tour were Nike, Adidas and Ralph Lauren. When we finally got to L.A we all went to our rooms in the hostel we were staying in and got used to our new surroundings. We then walked down to Santa Monica Pier and everyone had a fun time on the beach and pier, followed by a great team meal in a really nice Italian restaurant.
Six Flags/Universal Studios: Friday 3rd April
Today half of the squad would go to Universal Studios and half would go to Six Flags. The roller coasters in Six Flags were incredible and left us hanging on to our stomachs. The group at Universal particularly enjoyed the Transformers ride and the ‘back lot tour.’ Each group had a tremendous time and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. After leaving, we went to 3rd Street Promenade at Santa Monica where we soaked up the atmosphere by watching street shows through the evening.
Beach day and baseball: Saturday 4th April
Today was our last full day in America and what better way to end this experience than going to Venice Beach. We had a great time at the beach playing basketball and going in the sea. When we finished playing at the beach we went back to the hostel where we had an hour to get ready before going to a baseball match. The match was between Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels and was played in such an exciting atmosphere and finished as a draw. We had a wonderful experience as this was the first time that any of us had seen a live baseball game. As a bonus, we all got pictured on television and Ethan Grayson won the flex cam!
Going back to England: Sunday 5th April
Today we went to 3rd street Promenade to buy some presents for our families before we headed off to the airport to go home. We had lunch at a really nice bar where we all played in the arcade and had a burger. We then finished this fantastic journey by boarding the flight back to England. We were all really sad to leave America as we had had such a wonderful time but on the other hand we were also excited to see our family and friends back in the UK.
Arrival UK Monday 6th April
Back to Northampton to meet our families at NSB and to tell them about the trip of a lifetime that none of us will forget.
On behalf of us all, I would like to take this opportunity to thank sincerely Mr Wilcock, Mr Armstrong, Mr Burton, Mr Elder and everyone else involved, for their hard work and commitment in making this trip brilliant, special and memorable.
Y8 NSB Student - Sam Page