By Corey Wheeler, '18
The Albion College men's basketball team traveled to France in May to continue the longstanding sister cities relationship between Noisy le-Roi and Bailly and the city of Albion. Students and basketball teams from Noisy Le-Roi and Bailly have come to Albion before but the Britons were the first Albion College team to go to France in the sister city relationship.
The players were excited for the exchange but nervous at the same time. Many of the players were nervous because of the cultural differences between France and the United States. The team met with Dianne Guenin-Lelle, a professor of French at the college, to help ease their transition upon arrival. Head Coach Jody May required each player to create a PowerPoint presentation on a place they would be visiting in France.
While in France, the Britons did a lot of sightseeing. They went to the Louvre, where the Mona Lisa is located, and the Palace of Versailles, home to King Louis XIV. They also toured the Seine River and countless other museums. The attraction that every player loved most was, of course, the Eiffel Tower. According to guard Arshawn Parker, '19, the Eiffel Tower is "one of the most beautiful structures you could ever see." Each player rode to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower and got a great aerial view of Paris.
Basketball also played an important role in the tour. The players participated in several clinics where they taught children the fundamentals of basketball. The students adored the men's basketball team and took countless pictures.
Actual games were played as well. The Britons went 3-1 in those games played in an atmosphere similar to what the Britons would experience at their home Kresge Gymnasium.
"I really enjoyed myself in France. I learned their way of playing basketball which offensively is centered around passing. In the U.S. we like to play based on talents of individuals. As far as the clinic goes I really enjoyed being around those kids and enjoying myself while giving back to their community. Hopefully, we can carry our France trip into our next season," said Jaylin Fordham, '19, a guard from Flint.
Immersion into the French culture was another part of the trip the Britons enjoyed. Each player had a host family they lived with for 10 days.
"The France trip was an amazing experience that I'll remember for the rest of my life," Adam Davis, '18, a forward from Romeo, Mich., said. "To be there and experience the French culture with my teammates was amazing. I learned so many different things about their culture and how they lived their everyday lives. The clinic was also an awesome experience because of how excited the kids were to learn from us even though they couldn't fully understand us. Definitely something I'll never forget."
Corey Wheeler, a rising senior, was Albion's leading scorer and rebounder for the 2016-17 season. He is a history major from Detroit.
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