Its hard to believe our time in China has come to a close. As we prepare to depart I would like to bring you up to date on our last couple of days. Yesterday we went to the Pearl Market after having flown to Beijing. I think everyone enjoyed the experience. Laura Richards made a good observation about how many of the salespeople knew English. They were very good at being persistent. I told her, “necessity is the mother of invention.” It was a good experience.
Today we spent time at the Great Wall and The Forbidden City. Both were experiences beyond comprehension. My regret in life is that I wish I could have had this experience before I studied World History. This was one of those experiences where what you see with your eyes goes beyond anything you have read in a book or seen in a picture. Massive attention to detail and perseverance stand in my mind when I think of these two historical places.
In reflecting on the entire trip I can say we have outstanding student-athletes. I enjoyed the balance between academics and athletics on this trip. I love to see the eyes of our players when they see something for the first time. I also learned that when we take away facebook and cell phones, our players really did spend more quality time together. This will cause me to rethink how we travel on team trips and figure out how we can promote this type of dialogue throughout our season.
When we return the players will have about five days to spend at home before we come back to school. Our entire coaching staff is going to take a few days away. Since recruiting occupied most of my days in July, these last 45 days have been spent away from home. The fatigue is worth it though because the memories and experiences will live with us for a lifetime.
Thanks again to President Heckler and Mark LaBarbara for making this trip possible. Also thanks to Professor Lin and Rantao Wang for their help. Finally thanks to our players and staff for being such great ambassadors for Valparaiso University.