Jaclyn’s EuroTrip Diary
Like all great trips to Europe, Griswold-esque moments are surely expected, so when Alitalia couldn't find Courtney's name in the computer or checked my luggage untagged, we didn't fret. With problems solved and fingers crossed we boarded the plane bound for the UK.
Unlike the Griswold's trip, London is our second stop and learning how to drive on the left side is not necessary -- thank goodness! However, our bus ride from Heathrow to Greenwich unexpectedly took three hours and my sleep deprived teammates stayed awake by speaking in an English dialect.
To top off day one, we attended an evening reception at her Majesty's Government Foreign and Commonwealth Office presided by the Minister for Sport. Catching the flavor of London's high society made a twelve hour travel day a thing of the past.
When in Rome...look great!
There's no excuse not to look great on gamenight even when you're 4,000 miles away from your homecourt amenities. Yes, you've got issues, but we have a solution for each of those obstacles.
"I don't speak Italian." Ten hours of on court rehearsal time solves this challenge. When rehearsing a game night promotion in Italian, ask a translator for cue words. If you follow this advice, a PalaLottomattica audience won't notice that you're clueless to what the announcer is saying. Smiling and clapping helps, too!
"I can't keep my makeup from sweating off?" Use a face primer to prevent foundation and powder from sweating off. Trust us dancing in an eighty degree arena requires you to blot your face and reapply makeup countless times so leave your makeup bag near the operation tunnel for quick touchups.
"I've never shared court space with an opponent's dance team." Seeing as NBA dance teams only perform at home games during the regular season, sharing the court with the Toronto Raptors girls was a first for us. Marina and Courtney collaborated to choreograph sideline routines that the Italian fans loved.
"I don't know how to use pompoms." It's easy, especially if Ali, a former NFL Pro Bowl cheerleader is your teammate. A quick lesson on pom technique requires learning a fist-hold, clap, and shake. Rome '07 marked the debut of our pompom skills!
Rome - Jump Start
As my teammates jump started the preseason opener with espresso shots, I opted for jolt.
Never again will I use a converter to power a 1695W hair dryer. Sparks flew, the motor squealed, and a shock shot through my hand minutes before I switched on to off. In order to save my blow-dryer from burnout and the hotel from a power outage, I had only one choice: use the hotel dryer, but it didn't work. So with wet hair I boarded the bus headed to PalaLottomattica.
A five-hour on-court entertainment rehearsal, one hair blow-out session and a Rome '07 game later, the Celtics beat the Raptors and I realize my jolt was a sign -- a good one! Having a new team means saying "Arrivederci" to the old and "Ciao", new hair dryer. Indeed, nine dancers agree this is going to be a great season!
Tomorrow's game plan is to see as much of Rome as we can in two hours. Wish us luck.
Saturday morning - Travel Tips
Good news: twenty-eight pieces of luggage and twelve people (Italian driver included) successfully squeezed into a sixteen passenger van. Bad news: traveling to Europe poses packing challenges; however, after hours of pulling, pushing, lifting, readjusting, kicking and toting two suitcases from Boston to Rome, I have travel advice to share.
What to bring...Pack yourself a comfy neck pillow (this must-have item is team captain Alexis' favorite flying companion), spicy trail mix, Luna bars, an iPod with beginner Italian lessons, Soduku, US Weekly, Boston Magazine, headphones, oversized sunglasses, deck of cards, alarm clock, Hefty OneZips, brown leather jacket and shorts.
What not to bring...Nix large duffle bags; only take a laptop if you're sure you need it (internet access is costly); don't pack a hair dryer (hotel bathrooms come equipped).
Get a cold cappuccino freddo; Emily insists two shots will give a sleep-deprived body a pick-me-up.