Last entry for summer tour, 2005. Very long day today as most of you expected. Overnight bus ride to Stockholm started a bit scary as the bus driver pulled into Gothenburg airport. What a shock when he told me to have a good flight. You should have seen his face when I told him to recheck his instructions and drive us to Stockholm. Priceless.
Well about 5 hours later, we pulled in at 5:30 am to the correct airport. 4 hours early and too early for the ticket counter to open. So the kids and I just relaxed outside in the warm sunshine, repacking our bags, putting our blue polos on, and getting ready for the rest of our transfer.
After we checked in we gave them some free time to eat breakfast and shop and guess where they had breakfast, you are correct, Mcdonalds. Actually, I did too, not by choice but it was the only place open to eat. It was pretty good actually, greasy but good.
Internet cafe was open and we had planned to meet again at 8:30am to go to our gate. 8:30am came and went and when I was ready to depart at 8:30, you will never guess what was missing, about 15 kids. What a way to end our tour, as it started, with sittups, lots of them. For some it was their first mistake of the tour, painful as it was, as sittups were handed out first with 100 and then with 1,000 and then I grounded the entire group. Amazing what that word Grounding can do. It is a powerful word and installs more fear than most other words. From that point on, kids were afraid to ask to use the restroom. I might have to use that word more often.
Flights were great, long and cramped, so not sure how that word great got in there, but no delays and our bags were never lost, so that equals great to me. What a great welcome from our families at DFW as signs and cheers were everywhere and the kids were really taken back by it. I still heard the phrase I wish we had 2 more weeks left, of course not spoken by any staff members, but still not a lot of homesickness.
All in all, it was a fantastic tour and one of my favorites in my 18 years of traveling. Can not wait for the tour BBQ so that we can view the tour video and see the kids photos.
Awards for the tour are listed below. The Koutoupis Award was named after a past player, John Koutoupis, and represents the player who was an ambassador for the sport, our country, and their family as well as the example of sportmanship, and for always being a team player. The highest award that Stars 'N Stripes offers.
So in closing, thanks to all of the kids and staff for a great experience. Seems so long ago that Paige and Emily lost their passports on our flight to Newark but the memories that I will take away from this tour will last me a lifetime. thanks again and see all of you at the tour reunion.