After lots of Pain Au Chocolat, we were off to the gym to get our last run in before the tournament. We took the subway to an undisclosed destination where I started to do my typical, "I'm not sitting here on this corner looking stupid, waiting for a ride. I'm in Paris!" And without saying a word to anyone, I started walking towards a bridge off in the distance. Just as I started to creep up on it, I turned back, and everyone was waiving me back...our ride had arrived.
My instincts were solid though. As we drove across the bridge, my jaw dropped...there was a breathtaking biew of the Eiffel Tower just 20 paces away from where I'd stopped. I gave everyone that look like, "See!"
At the gym we got a nice lil prep for the tourney as 2 monsterous brothas were playing for the other squad. One was about 6'8" the other 6'"5 with hops like none other. We banged with em, sometimes successfully others, not so much. But all in all it created a nice momentum prior to the big day.
Turns out, Jason offered a roster spot to the 6'5" guy. This created a buzz amongst us as a very serious void was on the brink of being filled. We stayed after and talked strategy and such and really generated a good feeling about our mindset and preparation for the game.
Well, an hour later, that move was axed and we were back with our original 6.5, with Jason standing in as an emergency role player. No problem Mon!
From practice we headed off to Champs Elysees, Paris' most famous street. We stepped off the train, looked up the street and all of us reached for our cameras immediately!
This...was to the left----->
<----This was to the right And everything in between was gorgeous too. Holla at me if you'd like the link to all the pix.. I'll gladly pass em on. The fun part of this whole adventure was taking it all in with the fellas. Up til now, everyone had been pretty reserved...(well, except when we got the J's) But this time everyone was bright-eyed and child-like. Snapping pictures, Hootin, Hollerin and making every noise in between!! This with the Japanese versions to match! Once again, the Eiffel Tower managed to sneak up on us. In the matter of just one turn, there she was...in all her splendor. We set up shop and took it all in for a good while. Truly humbled by the moment.
Not long after, I ditched the fellas. I had a date with a hottie. A timeless Love of mine, that dates back centuries. It had been awhile since we'd connected, so I had to lose them in order to give her her due. When our eyes met, my heart dropped. and my adrenaline flowed as she worked her magic on me the same way she'd done to many men before me. Mona...You Sexy Bitch you! I see you watching me no matter where I go. I know what your eyes are saying. I remember. Meet me outside of Ancient Sculptures at 10 o'clock. We've got some lost time to make up for!
She didn't say anything. But she didn't have to. She was feeling me... I could feel it!
From her we strolled through the Louvre (which is an absolutely enormous museum for those who don't know) to find Venus de Milo. Hooker! See that's my I roll with Mona, she knows how to keep a brotha guessing. Venus on the other hand all her chestesses hanging out for the world to see. Beautiful though, I must say. It's a bit overwhelming to take in so much in such a short period of time.
Perhaps that is why Jason's phone rang. And 3 minutes later we were all scurrying out of the Louvre to make it to a last second meeting back at the Quai 54 park.
If there were any feelings of disappointment at having to leave tourism heaven, those were quickly erased as soon as we got our official Quai 54 jerseys. Jordan brand, with headbands and socks to boot. It was so refreshing to receive 1st class treatment. Quai 54 definitely does a great job of taking care of its' participants.
This was also the 1st time we got to size up the competition. Key word in that sentence SIZE. There was some Gorilla Monsoon lookin brotha out there. Chiseled like Vin Deisel, but 6'9' to go with it. No fear up in here, but just a recognition that we've got to come like some real warriors to pull off some victories.
Absolutely starving, we closed out the night at an all you can eat Chinese restaurant. That's when the question was posed. 3 seconds left, down by 1, who's taking the shot? Atsushi got 2 votes, ST 2, my vote was with Mitsui (the boy's got ice in his veins) and that was that. Back to the cozy confines of the Etap hotel.
Oh...it was there, that we had our final team meeting. Settled on our starting 5. And discussed areas of focus for Saturday's game. Everyone seemed to be on the same page and it was nice to sit down and discuss our approach. However, in hindsight, that was a meeting we should've had 3 weeks ago. One of many lessons learned in this, the 1st go round as The "Rising Suns."
Hopefully not our last!