The Big Apple

November 16th, 2011

The Aggie basketball team is getting close to wrapping up an eventful day in New York City, as A&M prepares to take on Mississippi State Thursday night in the 2K Sports Classic semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

After a full practice on Tuesday afternoon, the team bussed over to Easterwood Airport, went through a security check and took a 2 hour, 45 minute flight to Newark Liberty International Airport. Another bus ride later, and A&M was in Manhattan and getting settled in the team hotel, the squad’s home for the next few days. A nice perk of this visit is the fact that you can see Madison Square Garden from the hotel–it’s literally across the street.

With the hour time difference in tow, Tuesday turned into a very long day–most did not get into their rooms until around midnight local time.

Wednesday began with a 9:15 wake-up call and team breakfast. Shortly thereafter, the Aggies walked a short few blocks to the Hope Lodge, a facility which offers lodging at no cost for cancer patients being treated in Manhattan. The American Cancer Society is one of the big sponsors and benefactors of Coaches vs Cancer, and it set up a tour of their wonderful building. We invite you to check out their website and view 12th Man TV’s video of A&M’s tour to see what the facility is all about–it was a very moving experience for all that got to see the great work the ACS folks do there.

Upon returning to the hotel, the Aggies had time for a brief lunch before hopping back on the bus to head to practice. Now, for those of you who have been to New York, you know it’s hard to get anywhere fast–especially by car or bus. So, the team left at 1:15 to make a 2:00 practice time at the New York Athletic Club–which was less than two miles away. It ended up being about a 30-minute ride up Avenue of the Americas, but a fun one that went past Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall, among other attractions.

The two-hour workout was at the New York Athletic Club, a members-only social and athletic club located on the south side of Central Park. It was founded in the 1860s and the building in which it is housed–and where the Aggies practiced–was erected in the early 20th century. A very old-school, throwback feel to Wednesday’s workout, as you’ll see in the video.

When done at four, A&M headed straight back to the hotel and slowly made its way through the traffic and mass of humanity that is Times Square. Another quick turnaround, and the team was right back on the bus and heading to dinner at Carmine’s, a famous Italian restaurant in the Theater District. With the food served family-style, the team got all it could handle and more–the courses kept coming. Antipasto. Caesar Salad. Calimari. Penne alla Vodka. Rigatoni with sausage, meatballs and veal. Broccoli. Chicken Scaloppine. Shrimp Scampi. and on and on. Of course, the highlight was the dessert tray–tiramisu, chocolate cannoli, bread pudding, chocolate torta and more. Joining the Aggies for dinner was Dan Sparks, A&M Class of ’89 and an Outstanding Alumni Award winner from the Mays Business School. The team enjoyed the chance to meet him and talk to one of their season ticket holders, and it was obvious that he cannot wait to see his beloved Aggies play in his own backyard.

Upon arrival at the hotel, those not passed out from a food coma went back to the hotel and prepared for a 10:00 scouting session and then bed. Everyone can’t wait to get on the floor tomorrow at “The World’s Most Famous Arena”–that is once Katy Perry is done with it tonight–first for shootaround and then for real at 7:00 (Eastern) against the Bulldogs.

Gig ‘em!

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