Coach Chronicles the Falcon Varsity Squad’s Australian
The following excerpts are from a journal written by Dan
Barfoot, graduate assistant coach for the Seattle Pacific University
basketball team. Barfoot recorded his thoughts during a recent
12-day, five-game tour through Southern Australia.
SEPT. 8, 2003—OVER THE PACIFIC
The journey to Australia began September 6 in Seattle, as we
checked in for our flight and prepared for one of the most memorable
experiences of our lives: the SPU varsity team playing basketball
against some of the best teams in Australia. Now 30 minutes from
arrival in Sydney, I can feel the nervous excitement building in
my stomach. It is only about 5:30 a.m. now in Australia, so our day
is just beginning.
If someone could please fill me in on what happened on September
7, that would be great, as we lost it crossing the International
We worked out today at the Sydney Kings practice facility, an old
gymnasium with rickety wooden courts that seem to want to bow at
any moment, but are quite bouncy.
Our tour guide dropped us off at a local
”RSL” club, saying it was where folks our age would normally
hang out. It turned out to be the “Retired Serviceman’s
League” club. We kindly departed in search of another place
to eat, with plenty of laughs and stories to tell.
Day two in Australia was a great one, aside from a large majority
of the game against the Sydney Kings. We had some brief glimpses
of brilliance and a desire in our hearts to compete. But they were
much more physical and ended up blowing us out, 119-79. We are not
likely to see a better team all year, and this game taught us what
we need to do to prevail against tough competition.
Following the game, we toured downtown. It was fantastic seeing the
Sydney Bridge and the Opera House lit up at night. Jason Chivers
and I walked around Darling Harbour, home of the Sydney Aquarium
and the inspiration for the movie “Finding Nemo.” They
are very proud of this fact in Darling Harbour.
SEPT. 11—MANLEY BEACH AND NEWCASTLE
Today we headed up to Manley Beach outside Sydney. The sun
was bright in the beautiful Australian sky, and the waves were crashing
onto the shores of the golden beaches. You couldn’t have asked
for a better Kodak moment.
Game two: the Newcastle Hunters, a second-division team made up
of local guys who have a passion for basketball. We made a lot more
shots and physically dominated the Newcastle team on our way to a
blowout vic-tory. Jordan Lee played spectacularly, pouring in 31
points, while Jason pulled down 18 rebounds to complement his 22-point
evening. While we were still a little turnover-prone, we made some
In our first home stay in Newcastle, [Assistant Coach] Ben Scheffler
and I stayed with the general manager of the Newcastle Hunters and
his great family. We walked through a wildlife refuge with some of
the most beautiful birds I have ever seen, plus kangaroos and koalas.
Today we played the Grafton Vikings, a state league team full of
locals about our age. Ben and I had stayed with Jo Morgan, a widow
who absolutely loves basketball and has worked the scorer’s
table for basketball games for 20 years.
The Vikings were fired up for the game. About 300 people packed
into a small gymnasium and cheered loudly for both teams. They
were especially boisterous when the Grafton team took a small lead
early in the game. We ended up blowing them out, but the game was
fun-filled and competitive the whole way through. Most of the little
kids who had come to see the game stuck around and asked for our
autographs. This was a huge thrill for our players, getting
the rock-star treatment. The smiles on everyone’s faces
SEPT. 16—BYRON BAY
Byron Bay, known as a small hippie town, certainly lived up to the
hype. e town was quaint and the beaches pristine with a large
lighthouse. From atop the rocks we could see miles of open ocean,
with a small herd of humpback whales and a school of dolphins swimming
SEPT. 17—GOLD COAST
We have played two games in less than 15 hours. Our first game came
against another second-division squad known as the South-west Pirates.
After we hit our groove, we won the game with relative ease. The
team has shown some steady improvement — we’ve been able
to fix some of our early mistakes.
The second game we played was against the Brisbane Bullets,
one of the top teams in Australia. We played well for the first
40 minutes and hung tough against some good competition. But the
physical and mental fatigue got the best of us.
It was exciting to gauge our progress during the 12 days we traveled
Australia. Basketball may be what got us over to Australia, but what
we brought back was so much more: a close bond and a closer call
to walk with Christ, as well as gratefulness for the people we met
and for what we have back home.
— PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
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