Something Moore -- Back From Africa, Beat Lehigh on Sunday Edition
Jan. 21, 2012
Mambo Leopards fans? I have returned from my excursions in Africa and am happy to see that my team has been holding their own in conference play. My trip was a great success, filled with many escapades and memorable moments. Below I will detail my adventures and show how my experiences could benefit the Leopards.
Throughout our time in Kenya and Tanzania we visited multiple national parks and saw animals in their natural habitat, most notably to Leopards fans, the Leopard. Leopards are difficult to find since they blend in well with the trees they often hang out in, so we were lucky to spot one in Kenya. As I expected and predicted in my blog a few weeks ago, the Leopard did NOT roll in any sense of the word. In fact, the Leopard looked eerily similar to me at basketball games, lounging and only disrupting his comfort to cheer on a teammate. So again, lets end the Roll `Pards craze.
One animal that was not difficult to find was the giraffe. Being on the basketball team I feel like I live with a bunch of giraffes, so these towering figures didn't seem too foreign to me. As you can see in the picture, our coaching staff would have their hands full attempting to teach these long legged creatures to get into a defensive stance. This one looks like a typical big man on our team with his buckled knees; I won't mention any 6'10'' Leopard player specifically.
Perhaps the most thrilling moments of our trip were two near-death experiences we luckily survived. The first came at the hands of a playful-looking baboon. While touring Lake Nakuru National Park, one of the many baboons in the street casually strolled up to our van, giving us a great opportunity to snap some close-up photos. Before we realized what was happening, the baboon jumped through our window, stole someone's sugar cane they had just purchased and escaped out the roof down the open road. The smooth, deceitful play by the baboon actually reminded me of Seth "grandpa" Hinrichs' scoring ability.
This big guy would need a lot of help on his defensive stance.
Fortunately, just the day before I learned that the small, friendly looking monkeys are in fact very strong and aggressive if someone gets in their way, so instead of trying to be a hero I retreated in fear. Baseball player Kevin McCarville will tell you that he wasn't frightened, but an official review would reveal that he was the farthest away from our visitor.
One of my goals during my time in Africa was to help the coaching staff figure out a way to motivate the team when energy was lacking. My solution to this came during our group's second near death experience during a snorkeling trip. As we swam around, enjoying the unique marine life in the clear blue water off the coast of Zanzibar, some of us were on edge, expecting some sort of African death fish to emerge from down under and devour us. But, what ended our fun wasn't anything we expected as we suddenly started to get stung by some mysterious, invisible force. Before you knew it, our whole group of 25 mzungus (white tourists) were screaming and frantically swimming back to the boat, a scene I am sure none of the tour guides will ever forget since they knew we were in no real danger.
As we later learned, the coral reef has a defense mechanism that releases these unknown weapons upon its suspected predators. If our coaches are able to get their hands on some of these goods, I guarantee they will never again have to ask the team to be quick to spots.
Another goal I had while traveling through parts of sub-Saharan Africa was to find a solution for our team's inadequate jumping ability. Now, me calling out the team for playing below the rim is like the pot calling the kettle black, but I doubt anyone will disagree with my statement. However, I may have found a solution. Throughout our journeys we often interacted with Massai people, a semi-nomadic ethnic group native to Kenya and Tanzania. During one of our first nights in Kenya, we were lucky to have our own private performance by a group of Massai during which they demonstrated and explained many of their native traditions.
One of these traditions was a dance they use to find a mate that involves springing up and down repeatedly. As I watched, I was amazed by their jumping abilities and immediately realized that these guys could really help us on the boards and improve our teams dunking abilities significantly. Unfortunately, the Massai people were more interested in hunting lions than coming back to Easton with me, but I am hoping to at least teach the dance to J.D. Pelham for his pre-game dance routine.
While it was tough missing games and being away from my teammates, I had an amazing experience throughout my time in Africa and will never forget the experiences I had there. I strongly suggest this course led by Professor Ahene to anyone who has the opportunity.
The only thing that could make this interim better would be a sold out Kirby Sports Center against Lehigh, so pretend like the invisible coral reef is after you and come out and support the Leopards!
P.S. If you don't recognize me at the game it is because I have obtained a bit of a tan. Throughout our trip the Serengeti sun often sizzled my skin to a crisp as I left Africa looking like a typical mzungu who didn't realize the power of the African ultraviolet rays. However, do not be alarmed, I am fine, just please don't tell my mom.