Over fall break, the OU men’s basketball team embarked on a 5-day, 4-night trip to Costa Rica, that included 2 exhibition games, a community service project and a variety of cultural experiences and adventures. Here, Coach Philip Ponder reflects on the team-building trip….
“We had an awesome experience in Costa Rica over fall break! We went 1-1 versus the top professional team in the country, but the basketball was really secondary. For a lot of our guys, this was their first time out of the country. They saw a new part of the world, met some great people, experienced a different culture, and tried some new food. Our trip to the children’s center made those kids’ day, but you should have seen the smiles on our guys faces, too.
Most of the guys had also never whitewater rafted or zip-lined. We took them out of their comfort zones a little bit, and they had a blast. The La Fortuna waterfall hike exceeded expectations, and the pictures don’t do justice to how beautiful it was. Traveling by bus over miles and miles of winding mountain roads, we saw every shade of green imaginable, as it was their rainy season, and yet we lucked out and had two consecutive sunny days, which gave us great views of the Arenal Volcano.
We grew closer as a team, and I think came home a better team. More importantly, the trip hopefully gave the players a different perspective on things, and opened their eyes to the fact that there is a great big world out there, where people have way more similarities than they do differences.
One of my favorite quotes on travel, by Mark Twain, goes like this: ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.’”