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Women's Basketball Canadian Team Blog #1

Shoni Schimmel

Shoni Schimmel

Aug. 8, 2011

Whistler, Canada - Greetings from Canada! It's been a busy few days for us, but it's been amazing! After two planes and a bus ride, we started off our foreign tour in Pendleton, Oregon, Shoni and Jude's hometown. There was no better way to start our time there than with practice. Every day we're trying to get better as a team! More than a hundred people came out to Blue Mountain Community College to watch us practice. It felt great knowing we have so much support all over the country.

We spent time at the Tribal Recreational Gym doing drills and talking with kids on the reservation. Shoni and Jude used to spend hours in this gym as kids playing Rez ball. The coaches and players split into groups to do different activities with the kids who came out to play. We enjoyed meeting all the kids and getting to know some of them. They even made signs for us!

Next the Schimmels' counsin, Billy Q, showed us around the Tribal Government building. At the Tribal Government Building, we learned about how the tribe is run. Our last stop was the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, a museum showcasing Native American culture. During this visit we learned just how much the Native American people have overcome. It helped us understand how monumental it was for Shoni and Jude to leave the rez to play college basketball. We are really grateful they decided to share their experience with us!

To finish off the day, we had a meet and greet back at the hotel. The players and coaches signed autographs for everyone in the community. It was a full but amazing day!

As much fun as it was horseback riding and eating huge amounts of food at the infamous Kwong's Chinese Restaurant (Shoni and Jude love this place, now we know why!), we were off to Canada. As we drove through Vancouver to get to Whistler, we could see the lights highlighting Vancouver's skyline. We can't wait to get there and finally play our three games!

Until then, we are staying in Whistler Village, and we must say it has been incredible! We rode ATVs through the mountains and the view from the top was simply breathtaking. There are a bunch of stores in the Village, so of course we had to do what we do best - shop! The whole team went out to eat and looked around at different shops. It was nice getting time to go on our own and enjoy each other's company. That night, the team and staff got dressed up to eat dinner at Caramba. Talk about a fun filled day!



Today we're back on the court. This morning we hopped in taxis to go to Whistler High School for practice. We're glad the freshmen get an opportunity to play with us during the preseason. The best teams have great chemistry, and we're already developing ours. We know it's important that the upperclassmen pick up the freshmen when they get down on themselves.

College basketball is definitely more demanding so they need to adjust to the pace of the game. The good news is that we have three of the best newbies in the country. They pick up plays and drills really quickly, and they are a lot of fun to be around!

This trip is the first time the whole team has been together since the end of June. We were excited to see each other and do all these awesome activities the coaching staff planned out for us. The time we're spending together has given us a chance to bond in a new environment. It's awesome that we get to experience some of these firsts together as a team. Canada has been great so far, but we know it's all about the basketball and getting better as a team!

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