By Seth Henry
A weekend in Toronto is a blast, especially if you are surrounded by teammates who are like family. This past weekend, the Carnegie Mellon basketball team took a trip to Canada where we played Humber College in an exhibition match. The memories and experience we made during this trip were some to remember!
We began our six-hour drive to Toronto Friday evening. It was an exhausting ride, but we had Penn Station (food), school work, and plenty of Game of Thrones to get us through. We arrived at the Holiday Inn and got some rest for the day ahead.
The CN Tower was the first stop we made in Toronto. The 1,815-foot tower was equipped with glass floors and sky line views from the 6, as Drake calls it. It was truly beautiful. After taking pictures for the Snap and the Gram, we decided to get something to eat and roam around. To our surprise, the streets were filled with superheroes, Mortal Kombat characters, and other people in costumes who were all heading to the convention center for Fan Expo Canada. So far, Canada was proving itself to be a very interesting, peaceful place.
A few of my teammates and I went to Chipotle for lunch while the rest went to a restaurant called the "Loose Moose." After our meal, we ventured out into the city once again. The Market Place was first on my agenda. You could smell the aroma of the baked pastries from 10 blocks away! The coaching staff must have smelled it too because they were leaving when we arrived. Coach Fleegle and Coach VanGorder told us to go downstairs if we wanted desserts and that is exactly what we did. The pastries were to die for and I am very upset I didn't buy more. All in all, the Market Place was the place to be!
It was still early in the day and there was a good portion of Toronto that was left unexplored. Some of the team went to Wayne Gretzsky's Toronto restaurant to watch some football while the rest went to the Toronto Music Gardens. On the way, we saw the Hockey Hall of Fame and Union Station. The Music Gardens was some ways away, but it was definitely worth it. The area was right next to the water and was bustling with activity. People were taking rides on water taxis, getting food, and just hanging around. As the evening began to wrap up, some of the team took a train and bus back to the hotel while the rest waited for the team bus to take them back. A day in Toronto well spent!
The next day was game day. We all had to focus and get our minds right for what would prove to be good competition. We ate some breakfast and headed over to Humber College for some game-day practice. Right as we walked passed the gym; we saw Thon Maker and his brothers training on the main court. Turns out Humber College's gym is used as a training facility for professional athletes. After we got done with practice, we got some food at a Canadian favorite; Tim Hortons!
At 6 p.m., we played Humber College. It was a great experience putting on the jersey in September against a quality team. They had quite the crowd that gave this game much more of a UAA Friday night game feeling, rather than an exhibition game in September! Some of the guys spotted more professional players in the stands, including former number one NBA draft pick Anthony Bennett! We played relatively well against a pretty good team. It was fun seeing the last week of practice translate into some very good moments on the floor as a team. After the game coach talked to us and told us how beneficial this trip had been. It gave us about 8-10 days of extra practice that we normally wouldn't have had and it gave us an exhibition game that we could use as a reference point for our preseason training. We then showered and got dressed for the bus ride back to Pittsburgh.
Six hours later, around 3 a.m., we arrived on campus. We thanked our bus driver, Dave, for getting us back safely and began heading home. The Toronto trip was one to remember and will be the cornerstone to a great season! GO TARTANS!