USA Sports Tour 2016
NSB Student: Jed Jenkins
Y8 Football Team
The tour started with us arriving at school at 8.00am on Thursday 24th March 2016 – sixteen boys from the football and twelve boys from the basketball teams. We were all wearing the tour kit so we looked really smart! We then travelled down to Heathrow by coach and got ready for the flight. For some boys, it was the first trip on a plane! The flight took 10 hours before we arrived in Phoenix Sky Harbor airport. The local time on arrival was about 6.00pm. We took a coach to a place called Barro's Pizza where we met our host families we would be staying with for the coming week. Everyone was so kind and really happy to see us! Once we said hello to everyone we all went off with our host families for what we knew was going to be a week of fun and great experiences!
All the boys spent the first three days just in the company of the host families and their children. The houses were all pretty big. Most had swimming pools, some had half-pipes, home cinemas and basketball courts. Many of the host families were close friends and therefore some of the NSB boys were able to get together with others from our school. My family spent some time with one of the other families and went hiking and trampolining. Other families did other exciting activities like paintballing. It was great to spend time with real-life American families and to experience their everyday lives; going to the grocery store and to fast food places. It was also great to be around some of the players from the opposing teams.
During our time with the families, we did some great team activities too. On the third evening, the teams went to watch the Phoenix Suns against the Boston Celtics in the NBA. It was a very close match and we got to see some superstars in live action. The teams also went on a trip to Pinnacle Peak and hiked up a mountain. It was a fantastic view, you could just see desert for miles around with a few settlements. We then went on to Crackerjacks, which is a place with lots of amusements like go-karts, mini golf and bumper boats.
Both the football and basketball teams played three competitive matches. The football team finished the week having won all their games. The basketball team always knew it was going to be hard. They lost their three games but played really well!
Another cool activity we did was visiting Arizona State University, where we went to the Hall of Fame room and watched the girls’ volleyball team train. We then went to Jump Street - a trampoline park.
On the last day in Arizona, we visited Sedona. This is place where you can see Arizona’s typical terrain. Some of the landscape looks like it is out of a Western film.
After a busy schedule in Phoenix, we said goodbye to the families and headed off on an eight-hour coach journey to Los Angeles. Once we arrived, we dropped our stuff off at the hostel, a block away from the huge beach, and went straight on to the famous Santa Monica pier.
The next day was pretty memorable for most of us. We set off for a tour of the LA Galaxy stadium. While we were there, we happened to meet Steven Gerrard who was recovering from an injury. We did a team picture with Gerrard and got to go on to the LA Galaxy pitch. Later that day we went to Hermosa Beach, which was a little further down the coast. The beach in the area is very long and wide with a lot of space. We all played volleyball on some of the many courts on the beach. In the evening we watched the LA Dodgers lose to the Anaheim Angels in the MLB. The game was great and the stadium was really packed.
On our last full day in California, the group split and some of us went to Six Flags theme park and others went to Universal Studios. The boys that went to Universal had a great time. I went to Six Flags and went on some huge roller coasters. (Mr Burton and Mr Pietropaoli also rode a few roller coasters too.)
On the last day, we went down to Venice Beach before heading off to the airport for our return.
There were lots of opportunities to shop at various malls and outlet parks both in Arizona and California. It was a great place to go for high-end clothing at a much cheaper price. A lot of us brought back quite a few items in our luggage.
The trip was busy from start to finish with real-life family experiences as well as loads of scheduled days out with the teams. It was a fantastic experience and something I will never forget.
For a web gallery of images from the trip please - Click Here
NSB Student: Lochlan Brown
Y8 Basketball Team
Off to the USA:
Friday 27 March 2016, after fifteen months of counting down to the big day and getting all excited the day had finally come and we all met at NSB in our tour kit ready to go. We said goodbye to our parents and set off to Heathrow airport. When we landed Phoenix, Arizona we jumped on a bus to Barro’s pizza to meet our host families. We all sat and enjoyed the food then set off to our host home to start our experiences of a lifetime.
Today Jody Parfit and I woke up to the smell of chocolate chip pancakes, which were amazing. We then spent time in the outstanding pool that they had. We also played basketball outside with our American host, Kaleb who kept beating me but it was an amazing experience I will never forget.
Family Experience/NBA Game:
This time we woke up to Oreo pancakes which were also amazing. Then we went to a place to learn about the history of Arizona which I found really cool. It was then time to meet up for the journey to the NBA game, where the Phoenix Suns were playing Boston Celtics; it was a great game with the Boston Celtics winning by 3 points.
Hiking Pinnacle Peak/Crackerjacks/ and first game for both teams:
This was an early start, waking up at 6.30am to hike up a mountain called Pinnacle Peak. We all put on sun cream and got our water, but at the top viewpoint I went to get my water and it wasn't there anymore and everyone said there was a water bottle rolling down the hill! Thankfully Olly Mann gave me some of his water.
After the hike we went to a theme park called Crackerjacks which was amazing, particularly the go-karting.
We then split up into basketball and football teams and headed off to our games. We played the Year 7 team first, and it was an extremely close game, but we lost by 1 point.
I will never forget slide rock. A two-hour journey to Sedona, and the water we jumped into at slide rock was freezing cold. Only Mason, Max and I went in. I went first and it shocked me how cold it was, but it was great fun.
We headed back to Phoenix for our game and although we lost, Jody Parfitt definitely enjoyed it as he hit the first ever 3 pointer in our team which he banked in.
Jump City/final game:
Jump City is a place that is full of trampolines, and you can play dodgeball, dunk basketballs and do somersaults into foam pits.
We then went to play another game against a Year 9 team. We lost heavily so Mr Burton and their coach mixed up the teams so Henri Berry/Jacob Reid/Ally Solazzo and I went on their team. We were losing by 2 points in the last 10 seconds and their coach called time out and he said to me “Do you want to shoot a 3 pointer to win the game?” I said yes, so we ran a play, I got the ball and shot a 3 pointer to win the game. I just heard the sound of swish and everyone went crazy and crowded around me calling “MVP, MVP”.
After the game we went to a pizza and pool party and everyone was congratulating me as I was doing belly flop after belly flop into the pool.
Travelling to LA:
On our last day, we woke up to see a coyote. It was a sad day saying goodbye to our host families we said goodbye and thank you many, many times. Then we set off on the six-hour journey to LA where we stopped at an outlet store and all went shopping and had lunch. We finally got to the hostel then went to Santa Monica pier which had an outstanding view.
Originally we were meant to watch the LA Galaxy train but when we got there everything had changed as the team had an away game and were flying out. However we had the privilege to meet Steven Gerrard and we had a photo taken with him on the pitch, then we got to go into the changing rooms and have a look around.
Half of the team went to Six Flags theme park and the other half went Universal Studios, I went to Universal Studios and it was outstanding, the rides were amazing and I brought a massive donut!
From the hostel we walked to Venice beach which was great. After playing basketball on Muscle Beach and playing games against each other, we all played a game of killer.
We also went to baseball game which was really fun and we had ‘all you can eat’ seats. Henri and Callum and I had some selfies with cops.
Back to England:
So we got to the airport where we boarded the plane and had a ten-hour journey home. I will miss the American life but it was good to see my family.
On behalf of us all, I would like to thank Mr Wilcock, Mr Armstrong, Mr Pietropaoli and Mr Burton for the opportunity that you have given everyone for a trip of a lifetime and something that we will never forget.