What’s up, #FlightNation!!!! We’ve made it back safely. It’s to be expected, but the trip home was far more difficult than the trip to China. It probably has a lot to do with the extra leg. We flew Orlando to San Francisco, San Francisco to Shanghai on the way there, but added an additional stop on the way back home. We had a great experience, but it’s so nice to be home.
I was hungry, so I decided to eat something here before going home. Two restaurants I crossed off the list immediately: McDonalds and Panda Express (is throw KFC in there too, but there isn’t one at the Orlando airport). We had enough fried rice and noodles for the rest of the year I think. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but they even served fried rice and noodles for BREAKFAST!!! LOL I settled for Firehouse Subs. Soooo good!
And a big round of applause for 5G internet and no need for a VPN. It was so nice to pull up my Apple Music and search new songs (Only the songs and playlists I had previously downloaded onto my phone would work consistently). And I could also use a picture for this blog. Couldn’t do that in China. It took too long to upload. We sure do take a lot of amazing things for granted in the USA.
Speaking of which, I did want to specifically talk about one major thing in this blog. One if the truly, most amazing experiences was the fabulous fan love and support in China. As a coach, it brought so much joy to see our guys get such admiration from fans. I think they feel pretty average and normal in the USA, and it likely impacts their confidence and play. Seeing them sign so many autographs and take so many pictures with fans was so endearing to watch.
You see, to me, I believe in their exceptional talent and skill level. It’s why I run the Florida Flight and the FBA. These guys are truly worth the price of admission. Unfortunately, I’m afraid we’re going to go from playing in front of thousands of fans back to playing in front of a couple hundred. I think that’s sad, and I hope we can one day change that…one day very soon.
It’s SOOOOOO much better to play in front of large crowds. You feed off the fan energy. It’s better for fans, too. It was so fun interacting with the fans throughout the games. We may have lost more than we wanted, but there was no lack of exceptional plays and highlights (I’ll be uploading various things over the next couple of weeks).
And…For the last two games, I had our players throw some giveaways out to the crowd before the game. The fans went absolutely berserk. It was a double edged sword, because while some were thrilled to get something, you could see the desperation and disappointment on the fans’ faces that didn’t get something. It was super cool though.
I also took away some things regarding game presentation. There was always some sort of kid performance at each game. We need to step up our game in that regard. I’d also like to have more giveaways and have some player autograph time. It’s not as exciting with a smaller fan base though. I remember game 2 in China vs. Serbia. We had lost by a small margin, but the fans wanted pictures with us. Even me…little ole coach…got mobbed by fans after the game. It was crazy. I remember us all screaming to each other at various places within the crowd, making sure we were ok. “Coach…I can’t find you!!!! Are you ok? We have to find a way to get on that podium for the team picture they asked us to do!” LOL I literally had to have one of the guys grab me out of a crowd to get that done.
But this weekend, for our double header…we will go back to the hundred or so regulars. It’ll be bitter sweet. Hey, we love #FlightNation, and we are fortunate to have some of the better support in the nation in terms of minor league basketball fan support, but playing in front of 5,000…that’s something different.
I guess I’d just like to say to everyone that these players playing in the FBA are, in fact, exceptional players. China was fun. Playing abroad is an amazing experience, but…these guys should be able to play at home and make a solid living if they choose to. It just requires more fans, which will spur mire sponsorship dollars, and then higher pay for them. I don’t think I’ve ever just flat out said that, but it does need to be said. If you truly love us, be at every game, but flight gear, invite friends to our games, etc. these guys could really use more support in terms of fans. Besides…I’d think they’d play so much better (and they are already playing pretty darn good).
So if you aren’t busy, join us this weekend for the two home games, and hey…BRING SOME FRIENDS!!! It would be so great to see a nice crowd welcoming us back. Well…let’s head home. Love you all!
Until next time…