Hawks head to China for friendship tourBrock Boos has never been on an airplane.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Brock Boos has never been on an airplane.
In a few days, he will be half a world away.
After a year’s worth of fundraising efforts, Boos and the Dickinson State men’s basketball team are going to China on a 10-day friendship tour that includes two basketball games at one of the school’s partner universities, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University in Yangling, China. The team leaves Thursday and returns April 8.
“It’s going to be really exciting,” said Boos, a freshman guard from Bowman.
The trip includes two exhibition games at Northwest A&F. The teams will play against each other on April 3. The next day, they will have an intersquad game featuring mixed teams with players from the two schools.
But, DSU officials say basketball is only a minor part of the trip.
The team will spend the two game days touring Northwest A&F, an English-speaking university of more than 28,000 students, while shadowing its men’s basketball team.
DSU President Dr. Richard McCallum said that means attending classes, touring the university, eating in the cafeteria and seeing what a day in the life is like for a Chinese college student.
“It will be a great exchange,” said McCallum, who will be in China for academic meetings and plans to attend the games.
DSU officials say the goal is to help develop the relationship between the two universities.
“Part of the friendship thing is going over there, spending time with them and shadowing them, that’s the number one priority of it,” DSU interim athletic director Tim Daniel said. “The second thing that comes out of it is our kids get the opportunity to engage in a life experience that they may never get a chance to do again. The basketball part of it is probably the third thing.”
Putting the trip together was no easy task for the team.
The Blue Hawks raised nearly $25,000 that went toward their plane tickets, hotels and numerous other expenses.
To raise money, DSU players ran a free-throw shoot and other fundraisers while pooling their paychecks from officiating Optimist basketball tournaments and working the team’s summer camps.
“The kids stepped up,” head coach Ty Orton said.
McCallum said none of the money for the team’s trip has come from DSU, but said the university is still seeking donations from those who willing to help defray the team’s expenses. However, he said the university will help if the team’s fundraising and donations don’t equal the balance of the trip’s cost.
For now though, the fundraising is over and the Blue Hawks are ready for what Orton is calling a trip of a lifetime.
To help prepare, the team has had informative sessions with DSU officials who have been to China, so they know what to expect.
Before they leave, the team will have short meetings about all things Chinese.
Freshman Robbie Morey will give an instruction on how to use chopsticks and sophomore John Hanstad plans to give a presentation on proper Chinese etiquette.
The team will arrive in Beijing on Friday and tour the Olympic Village on Saturday. On Sunday, they fly to Xian and then it is a short drive to Yangling.
After spending two days at Northwest A&F, the Blue Hawks get to do a little sightseeing.
The next four days include trips to see such attractions as the Terracotta Army, the Shanxi Provincial Museum, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and, on their last day, the Great Wall of China.
Though no one on the team speaks Chinese, Orton said they will be traveling with interpreters and staying at westernized hotels.
“It’s going to be an awesome experience,” Morey said. “None of us really know what it’s going to be like over there. It’s going to be fun to get to spend a week with everybody and just see what everything is like over there.”