VARESE, Italy – Every day during the Islanders men's basketball team's overseas tour in Italy, GoIslanders.com will bring you Postcards from Italy – a combination of photos from the day's activities and a brief recap on the events from members of the men's basketball team.
In today's installment, we check in with junior James King to get his thoughts on the team's first game and a day in Varese.
Yesterday after practice we got to hang out in downtown Varese at their square - like a marketplace. It was full of clothing stores, restaurants, and cafés. It was a different experience because the roads we walked on were actually streets and cars would just roll down the road without warning. It was just a different experience than what I was used to.
After lunch downtown, we had a considerable amount of time to rest before our game. I spent much of my time reading and relishing the view I had out of my bedroom balcony, which overlooks the town of Varese and a range of the Alps, a beautiful sight.
The game's atmosphere was very optimistic even though we were a visiting team, the crowded packed the stadium and there wasn't even standing room left in the gym! I expected that we wouldn't have any fans when we played, but to my surprise many Italians were cheering for us after our good plays.
After the game, fans wanted pictures, autographs, handshakes, etc. It was really comforting knowing they enjoyed our presence on the court just as much as we enjoyed being in their country. I came into the country two days ago with no preconceptions of how I would be treated, but now, other than the occasional "Look, It's an American!" stare, I believe I am in the country of great people.