The morning started off with an hour of frustration as the 10 a.m. bus to transport us to the venue did not show up on time. Despite the best efforts of our leadership here, and with the help of Mariusz and Julio back in the U.S., it didn't happen until the driver decided it would happen. Interestingly, the first thing out of his mouth was, "They told me to be here at 11!" We arrived 30 minutes later and went to work quickly as we didn't want to waste precious moment of the remaining 60 minutes of court time. This was a very productive practice in which the team ran through some of the offensive sets and then worked on attacking different defenses. We returned to our hotel and showered, ate, rest, and thought about facing Canada in our first real game as a team.
We scheduled a 4 p.m. pick time for our afternoon bus, fifteen minutes before Canada's scheduled departure. We wanted to be on time for our neighbors from the north as they were actually sharing their practice time with us. We hoped the game would benefit both squads. Yet, in spite of serious calls and texts, we were again frustrated with no bus arriving to transport us. An hour after the scheduled pick-up time, the transportation unit advised advised us we were not going to be given a second bus for the trip as we used a bus in the morning. A wild scramble ensured with our fearless leader, Dave Gascon, shelling out money we don't have to rent a local bus to get us to the venue to play a game we felt we had to play to improve.
The game was great fun and finally we got to experience that coaches had been instructing us sine day one. Although the game was a friendly match, it served multiple purposes as the two head coaches worked out a plan to try various defenses for the other to practice against in true game conditions. It felt great, with lots of fast breaks, set offenses, and great goalie saves. The score was meaningless, but kept just so we'd know, (USA-18). It was a great game and hopefully a sign of some good fortune to come as the team prepares for the first match against the fifth best team in the world, Brazil on Saturday. Friday is a half-day off. We will be off our feet, but we will have lots of video review and discussions. The games will be streamed through the PATHF web Team Handball web page, located here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/panamhandball