Ever since I was a kid, I had dreamed of going on a “sports trip” around the country. Finally, this summer I got the chance to go on one.
My trip began on June 26, where I flew toRaleigh,North Carolina. A few months before this, I had gotten accepted into theUniversityofNorth Carolina Sports Journalismcamp. The first day my family and I got there, we immediately headed over toDukeUniversity, which is about 15 minutes away inDurham. Right away, I noticed the fascinating architecture of the buildings on campus, it reminded me of towers in the mid-evil times. As we made our way around the campus, we finally made it to the mecca of college basketball, which is Cameron Indoor Stadium. There were two funny things about Cameron, the first one is being how that Cameron just looks like a regular building from the outside, and you wouldn’t be able to tell that it was an arena. The next thing is that how Cameron is open to the public, which is rare. Walking around Cameron, I was in awe the entire time. It amazed me how small the arena is, which holds only 8,000 people. It was definitely a weird arena, as I just looked around Cameron, imagining the Cameron Crayzies going crazy during a game. After spending some time admiring this great landmark of college sports, my family and I walked on over to the football stadium, which was also open to the public. It was probably the smallest college stadium I’ve ever seen, as it wasn’t very impressive, but still cool to see.
After Duke, my family drove about ten miles the other direction and found our next destination, theUniversityofNorth Carolina. We drove up to theDeanSmithCenter, and I was shocked of how big the outside of the arena was. Just like Cameron, theSmithCenterwas open to the public as we walked inside. TheSmithCenteris the complete opposite of Cameron, as it was a giant arena. Seating about 23,000 people, theSmithCenteris bigger than any NBA venue and its one of the biggest in college basketball. I was very impressed by the Dean dome, which is what many UNC people call the arena. It was a great ending to a great day, as I prepared for my camp the following day.
The next day, my family was going to drop me off on the UNC campus for my sports journalism camp. Before they dropped me off, we decided to go shopping for some UNC paraphernalia. Once I bought myself a niceCarolinabasketball shirt, my family said goodbye and left. The first day was a very long and continues battle, as it was the longest day of my life. However, the next day we toured both the football and basketball stadium. Jonathan Cooper, a UNC football offensive lineman, was our tour guide for the football stadium. We got to see the weight room, and the locker room. We also got to walk out the tunnel onto the field, which was a cool feeling. After that, we made the long walk to the Dean dome, in theCarolinaheat, which reached 100 degrees. Once we got there, we had the opportunity to interview Dexter Strickland, a UNC basketball player. Once that came to an end, the Tar Heels media relations guy gave us a full access tour of the arena. The tour included going into the Carolina Basketball museum. The museum was a celebration of past Tar Heels, like Michael Jordan and Tyler Hansbrough, and all the national championships they had won. We also got to see the team lounge, however, we were not allowed inside the locker room. Being on the floor of the Dean dome was an awesome experience, as I looked up at this mammoth of an arena. The following day, we got to interview Indi Cowie, who is a Tar Heels women soccer player. Cowie is also considered the best soccer freestyler in the world (look her up on YouTube). I also got the chance to learn more about theCarolinawomens soccer program, which has won 21 of a possible 30 national championships.
After four long days, the camp ended on Saturday. After camp, I was to fly fromRaleightoNew York, where I was going to meet my family. Flying by myself for the first time was a little intimidating at first, but I eventually made it to La Guardia. New Yorkis probably my favorite place on the earth, so I was ecstatic before the plane even landed. However, my excitement died out when my parents informed me that they wouldn’t be able to pick me up for another two hours. So I waited in La Guardia for those two lonely hours, as I anxiously awaited making my way intoManhattan. My family eventually did pick me up, and we made our way to our hotel. The next day, on Sunday, my family and I made our way to theBronx, as the Yankees were preparing to take on the White Sox. The game started at 2, but today was Old Timers day at Yankee Stadium, so we got there about 90 minutes early to see all the old players. Seeing all those great players like Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra, Paul O’Neil and Whitey Ford was an awesome experience. The day got even better as the Yankees picked up a 4-2 victory. For anyone who hasn’t been to the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009, I highly recommend making a trip there someday. These fans are very passionate about their Yankees, and they will let the players hear it if they make a bad play.
Two days later, we leftNew Yorkin the morning and made our way toBristol,Connecticut, home of the ESPN studios. Being a lifelong sports fan, it was a great experience to walk around the studios and see where they film all those shows that I grew up watching. After ESPN, my family and I had expected to drive on over to the airport to catch a flight to Ft.Lauderdale,Florida. However, due to weather, the flight was cancelled, and we were forced to leave the next day. Thank goodness we were only 45 minutes away fromSpringfield,Massachusetts, which is home to the Basketball Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was a very cool place and had some awesome things and memorabilia, stuff that a typical sports fan would be impressed by. We only got to spend an hour there, but I’m still very glad I got the chance to go there, since I’ve never visited a sports hall of fame before. The next day, we finally made our way to southFlorida, and my sports trip came to an end. However, it was the best week of my life, and I advise any sports fan like me to take a trip like this and visit these sport monuments.