After our practice and a LATE lunch at Quizno's, it was time to go to the hotel and get ready for the banquet. The hotel was awesome! It was the Homewood Suites in Kennesaw. When we walked into our rooms, it was like walking into an apartment. There was a full kitchen. There was a sitting area with nice furniture and a flat screen HDTV. And there was a huge bedroom with another flat screen HDTV. I don't have high def at home (yet), so I asked the team to keep winning, because I was addicted to my hotel TV's. Now you know my motivational secrets.
Outside, we had a courtyard with a small basketball court, putting green, heated pool, gazebo, grill, and fire pit. In the lobby, there was a billiards room. I highly recommend using a pool table for chalk talks. You can use the appropriately numbered balls for each player. When you move a ball forward, you don't have to go back and erase the old player, like you do on a board. It's great! We did have a meeting room where we used the old fashioned white board.
Justin made a highlight/inspirational video for the team. We watched it in the meeting room the night before our first game. It was so good, we had to watch it again before every game. I admit it was a little more motivational than my TV speech.
Erica with some help from Annie and some input from Bublis styled my hair for the banquet. Erica straightened it and gave it a little flip. All the girls and Justin looked nice, and many pictures were taken in the hotel lobby. Many of the pictures were taken in front of a fireplace, which had a TV mounted over it. The television was on CNN reporting the results of the presidential election. You can see the TV reporting the historical night in many of the pictures.
When we got to the banquet, I learned that the team was very excited about being the #3 seed in the tournament, because that meant they would be the 3rd team in line to get their food. There was much disappointment when the servers hand picked the order of the tables, and we ended up being the last people to go through the food line. The buffet was out of spaghetti by the time we got up there. The plastic cups, plates, and utensils were nothing to write home about.
Then, the banquet turned into a Mercer pep rally. Most of these things do turn into a celebration for the regular season champions. All-Conference players are recognized and the trophy is given to the first place team. Mercer racked up the awards including freshman of the year, defensive player of the year, and coach of the year. I can't say that they acted any differently than any other teams do or than we would if we were in the same situation, but it definitely struck a nerve with our team that night.
I had a meeting after the banquet, but when I got back to the hotel, the girls were still talking about too much Mercer and not enough noodles. It was a pleasant time with the team - sitting by the pool, putting on the green, playing pool, and holding my breath hoping no one got hurt during the pick up basketball game. I thought certainly no one would play basketball while I was gone. I saw people out there, so I thought they were at least playing horse. No, they were playing 3 on 3. Oh well.
Finally, the banquet held true to form when most of the team was searching for food before bed.