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Courtesy: Toledo Athletics

Rockets Recap Their Trip to Hawaii

Courtesy: Toledo Athletics
Release: 11/09/2012
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            The hardest part of traveling to Hawaii is the travel. Getting there is bearable but coming home is pretty tough. One way you will be on a plane for 12 hours with total travel time of 20 hours with layovers, getting through security etc.   This year, in my 16th year as a Head Coach at a Division I program, I was lucky to be able to take a great team to Hawaii. It was so much fun to show them a place they all had never been before.

            Throughout our trip I said many times that this trip was a once in a lifetime experience. What I meant was traveling to Hawaii with your teammates for eight days while playing outstanding golf and enjoying Hawaii afterwards will be something they will remember forever.

            I asked my golfers to each write blogs to tell what this trip meant to them so I'm sure you will hear about our adventures and that is exactly what this trip was. I have always believed that writing your thoughts about things like this trip will truly show you how special this trip was. Looking around the plane and seeing them finishing up in their own words is very refreshing.

            They get it. They get how special this trip was. They get it was a lot of hard work to raise money. They get the significance of December 7, 1941 and what that day means to our country when Pearl Harbor was attacked. They get how lucky they are. Yes my job is be a Division I golf coach, but in the end, golf is a game and what we do at this level is teach and influence 18-21 year olds at a very important point in their lives every day. At the University of Toledo, our philosophy is to see important things if you have the chance. We had the chance in Hawaii and we took full advantage of it.

            I decided to show them two sides of Hawaii-the north shore and Waikiki Beach. For five nights we stayed at Turtle Bay Resort. This villa that we rented was the nicest piece of property I have ever rented. It was phenomenal. We were only 50 yards from the beach. I absolutely love Turtle Bay and so did my team. Our first part of the trip was all about our golf tourney. Once we finished the tournament my focus changed to doing things you can only do in Hawaii.

            While on the north shore we visited the Dole Plantation where they experienced the best pineapple float in the world, learned more about how they grow pineapples, had shaved ice at the famous Matsumoto's (this was so tasty), and spent the day at the Polynesian Culture Center where we learned things from growing spears, climbing coconut trees, making fire and rowing a canoe. We ate at our first luau and after that went to a fire show. We had six row seats this time and it was absolutely awesome. This was the second time I had seen the show and it was really great this year.

            While on Waikiki we visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial, ate on a dinner cruise, snorkeled at Hanauma Bay where we saw a sea turtle and lots of beautiful fish, we climbed Diamond Head Volcano, spent lots of time on the beach, shopping at the Aloha Bowl Swap Meet and spent half a day at an unbelievable water park.

            In all, probably more than 2,000 pictures were taken. Memories are something they will have a lifetime. We had an absolute awesome time.

            Some of my personal highlights were the following:

  • Pulling into Savage Arena to leave for our trip at 4:15 a.m. to see a group that was so excited and in the end this is the enthusiasm you want to see all of the time as a coach.
  • They really got into the Polynesian Culture Center and adventuring and learning so much about a different culture.
  • Only three people had snorkeled before and after our education session we were all terrified of the danger to say the least. But once we got in the water they could not get enough of it
  • Going to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville and singing our whole time there.
  • Shopping until we dropped at the swap meet (Most of us got the shaking figurines for our dashboards on our cars). If you see a car with one...you probably just spotted a UT golfer
  • I had never been on a dinner cruise before so we had played well and we had to eat anyway so what a nice treat. Everything was going great and then 30 minutes into the trip Manisa and I were not feeling so well. We survived. I was so excited for this. The food was great and the views were so beautiful. I am glad we did it, but it will be the last one for me.
  • Climbing the Diamond Head Volcano. I was not in great shape for this event, but I knew I could accomplish it. It was so worth it in the end.
  • Going to Pearl Harbor and seeing the reactions from my players.

            With the time change it was a six-hour difference from Ohio so it was great to see my players take it all in and not waste time sleeping. A common theme from Coach was, "You can sleep when we get back to Toledo." And for the most part everyone was up early for golf or to adventure. Almost every day we were leaving at 5:30 or 6:30 a.m. and that is what they wanted. We were hearing of the snow and high winds and cold temperatures back home so we weren't going to waste our time sleeping our time away. The night before we got to Hawaii there was a Tsunami warning where they evacuated thousands of people. Lucky for us everything was fine for us when we arrived and everything went on as planned.

            Climbing the volcano is the most challenging physical activity I have ever done. It is my second time, but my goal was to actually climb out of the top which I accomplished. It was fun to accomplish this very hard activity. The last time I did it there was a person at the top selling certificates saying that you accomplished this feat. I couldn't wait to get my certificate....nope not this time, no guy, no certificate this time. What an absolute bummer.  I am not going to worry though because our very own Stephanie St-Jean says she is going to make me my own certificate showing I accomplished the task.   The views from the top were absolutely beautiful. I was there with my team and that is all that mattered. They kept cheering me the whole way and that is the only way I made it, but isn't that what a team is all about? The only way to accomplish something is that everyone must successfully pass the task. You never leave a team member behind. My team loves to dance and along the way they would stop and dance. People loved it. They would stop and watch and clap for them.

            We bought a lot of stuff, ate a lot of pineapple, saw a lot of surfing, continued to work on homework, spent all of our time together because this trip was all about team, team, team!

            I think my moment that proved it all was on our last day at the Wet and Wild water park. I saw the wave park. I told the team let's go over there because it looked fun. I could tell they were not up for it but we got in. Within minutes it was the best water ride in the park. I was doing just fine on my intertube and I had enough of that so I went to water that was below my knees. Just when I thought I was safe a kid runs me over with his intertube and throws me to the ground. No problem I thought I will just get up. Nope, the waves were intense. I was up and then another wave hits me and my glasses go flying. Thank goodness Stephanie St-Jean saved my prescription sunglasses. My players saw that I was in duress and come to the rescue and pull me to safety. We call this episode "Wipeout". The kid did come back to see if I was alright.

            We met a lot of very nice people. Hawaii is such a beautiful place.  I will definitely not miss the traffic but everywhere we went it was worth it. We got asked a lot who we were....volleyball team, soccer team, yep. But our response was always TOLEDO GOLF!  So many times someone would yell out T-O-L and then the rest of the team would follow along E-D-O. 

            As their Coach I am proud of what we were able to provide to these student-athletes and as a University and Athletic Department you should be very proud of what these student-athletes represent and accomplished in Hawaii and this fall.  With a first place, second place, fourth place, and sixth-place finish out of five tournaments it was one of the best falls in school history.  They finished second in Hawaii and beat five teams that were ranked better than us.  They played absolutely wonderful.

            I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been a supporter of the University of Toledo women's golf through our 50/50 sales to our golf fundraiser and our booster club. Without the financial support of many people this trip would have never become a reality. Thanks to those of you that have purchased Rocket head covers over the years. This money raised also goes towards this trip.

Until next time,

Mahalo (Thank you in Hawaiian),

Coach Nicole Hollingsworth

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            Unbelievable. Trip of a lifetime. Amazing. Unforgettable. These are all words that we have used to describe this trip, yet I am not sure that any of them truly do justice to our eight-day Hawaiian adventure.  I specifically remember the day at practice last year when Coach told us that she would be taking the team to Hawaii this fall season. A huge fundraising effort ensued following this announcement, including selling many, many 50/50 tickets, hosting a golf outing over the summer, and other help from supporters of the program. It is crazy to think about all of this hard work that we put in before we even left. But, now as I am on my way home from this extraordinary trip, it makes every second worth it.

            The first and foremost purpose of the trip was to compete in the Rainbow Wahine Invitational, which was hosted by the University of Hawaii at Leilehua Golf Course. We have had quite a successful season up to this point, so our goal was to finish our fall season with a top finish, as this was one of the stronger fields we had faced. After our practice round, we all loved the course and were completely ready and eager to shoot low scores. I had a feeling this team was ready to surprise some people, and I think we did.

            When we first arrived at the course and throughout round 1, we heard a lot of "Where's Toledo?" We simply would answer Ohio, and would get comments about the time difference and long travel. But, after shooting 299-296 to share the lead with Florida International after day 1, we put Toledo on more people's maps. That feeling of racing to find all of my teammates after the round and hearing their great scores will never get old. I love team golf and that day was a great example of it. There was not one of us in the top-5 individually (yet) and we shared the team lead. We all played great.

            Fortunately, this team has gotten used to being in this position: having a legitimate chance to win with 18 holes to play. Every time, we put on our face tattoos and know that we can do it. In the end, we fought hard and ended up falling two shots shy of the win, finishing runner-up. Every shot always matters and it held true again, as we held onto second place over a strong Washington State team by one shot.  Even though it is hard to miss the team title by a margin as slight as two shots, we were still happy with how we played. Freshman Sathika Ruenreong led the way for us with a career-best five-over fifth-place showing. We had shot our lowest team total of the fall and beat five teams ranked higher than us, giving us several reasons to be very excited about the upcoming spring season.

            Just think, that was only half of our trip! After finishing the tournament on a high note, we could not wait for what the rest of the week had in store for us. If you were to think of all the things you would want to do while in Hawaii, we probably did most of them. Just to list a few: ate the best pineapple floats imaginable at the Dole Plantation, climbed to the top of Diamond Head volcano, snorkeled in Hanauma Bay, stayed at Turtle Bay resort, visited historic Pearl Harbor, enjoyed Waikiki Beach, and ate Hawaiian shaved ice at the famous Matsumoto's.

            This trip was more than I could have ever imagined. Being my first time to Hawaii, I really had no idea what to expect, other than a beautiful landscape and probably lots of sun. Well, all of that is absolutely true, plus I truly enjoyed experiencing the Hawaiian culture, which is very different than our own. From our first drive through the North Shore of Oahu, we immediately noticed a much more laid back persona of the people that lived there. People waking up early to enjoy a walk on the beach or a morning surf, all the friendly greetings of "Aloha", and people often showing the "hang loose" symbol. We all definitely observed their way of life and loved it.

            This trip was full of trying new things for the Rockets. I would say each one of us either did an activity we were scared to do or ate something we were unsure of. We arrived with open minds and we helped each other face fears. I personally had never gone snorkeling before so that was definitely a new thing for me. But, I certainly do not regret swimming in Hanauma Bay and getting the opportunity to see beautifully colored fish and different coral. Some of us tried food at the luau that we do not see in the Midwest. And we cannot forget about the water slides at Wet 'n Wild that some of us were unsure about. But, we got on that raft and took the plunge (literally!)

            The crucial ingredient that made this trip so memorable was the people that took it with me, my team. Let me tell you, we had a great time. Whether it is stopping for a dance break on the way up Diamond Head providing entertainment for the other hikers, or giving dance lessons to each other at the airport, people never think we are a golf team. But, it is also the moments that remind me that we are all best friends that I will always remember. Here are some of the highlights: Kate and I having to re-enact our "brochure pose" everywhere we went, Megan doing anything she could to soak up every ray of that Hawaiian sun, Jen learning to Hula dance as well as the locals, Steph going all out in beach volleyball and managing the splits a few times (unintentionally), Manisa wanting to "see the birdie take a shower" and being able to eat at any time of the day, and Sathika's nickname "Tiki" has officially stuck. From laying out on the beach, full of small talk and laughing to sitting out under the stars, talking about life, and even seeing a shooting star, I could not imagine going without any of them.

            Coach. Wow, I honestly cannot thank you enough. This was every bit of a "trip of a lifetime" like you said it would be. We would not have been able to do any of it without your hard work, planning, and making every detail perfect. Thank you. Oh, and I also want to give you a shout out for your little wave-pool "incident" or shall we call it "wipeout." Again, another unforgettable memory.

            I would also like to take the time to thank every single person that helped make this trip possible. There is no way that I could mention everyone, but you all know who you are. We are so lucky to have such great support from family and friends at the University of Toledo to allow us to have amazing experiences like this one.

            Well, Rocket Fans, that's it for the women's golf team's trip to Hawaii. It will forever hold a place in my life because of the memories made, friendships strengthened, and the trophy we won didn't hurt either. Thank you again to everyone who made this possible. And be sure to look out for us in the Spring! Exciting things are ahead for the Rockets.

  • - Senior Allison Schultz (Ohio)

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            It is hard for me to put into words how truly unforgettable and amazing this Hawaii trip has been.  I can definitely say this was a trip of a lifetime and the memories made will stick with me forever.  Where do I even begin?  The excitement really started building the night before we left as the final items were being packed away for travel.  It was an early morning when the alarm went off at 3:30 a.m., but the anticipation was so thick that I was wide awake and ready for the adventure.  First stop was Phoenix, Arizona.  It was hard to believe that we weren't even halfway to our final destination after the 3 ½ hour flight.  The second flight landed us in Honolulu, Hawaii.  It still hadn't quite hit me that we actually had made it to paradise.  After getting our bags, we had about an hour drive up to Turtle Bay on the North Shore where we would be staying for a little over half of our trip.  After we toured around the property for awhile it was time for bed.  The first morning we woke up and prepared for our practice round at Leilehua Golf Club.  We all felt like we had a great practice round and we were ready for the challenge in the days to come.  On the way back to the resort we stopped at the Dole Plantation.  Coach bought everybody a Pineapple Float, we took a tour of the property on the Pineapple Express, and wrapped up our stop with tattoos (temporary of course)..no worries mom and dad.   That night we had dinner by the pool at Turtle Bay.  The Mahi Mahi was absolutely delicious!  But, it was in bed early again on Monday night so we could be well rested for our 36-hole day.  We played lights out on the first two rounds shooting a 299 and 296 which placed us tied for first with Florida International.  We felt very good about the round and couldn't wait to go low the next day to take the tournament.  We had dinner at the course and got in some pool time once we got back to the hotel before we called it a night.  Wednesday morning came fast and you could feel the excitement within the team.  Today was our day.  After a jam out session in the van on the way to the course we we're ready to go.  We ate breakfast, warmed up and headed out to our starting holes for the last round of the tournament.  It was a battle all day and the Rockets finished two shots out of first to Florida International.  We gave it absolutely everything we had and finished runner up for the Rainbow Wahine Invitational.  We were very pleased with our overall showing.  On the way back from the course we stopped at Matsumoto's, one of the most famous shave ice places.  Soon thereafter we headed back to the resort for some pool time and then grabbed dinner.              

            Thursday morning started the second half of our trip.  The morning consisted of beach time and then it was off to the Polynesian Cultural Center.  I've got to say it was a pretty memorable experience.  We learned how to throw spears, climb coconut trees, start fires along with many other things.  We ended our visit to the Polynesian Culture Center with a Luau and a Fire Show.  Before we knew it we were headed back to the condo.  It was a sad night because we needed to pack everything and have it ready to go bright and early so we could move down to Waikiki Beach.  Friday morning we began our journey heading South on the island towards Waikiki Beach.  We dropped our stuff off at the hotel and went to explore Pearl Harbor.  That was a truly unforgettable experience.  It's one thing to learn about Pearl Harbor in school growing up, but to actually be there where it all happened was quite moving.  Taking a ferry over and stepping onto the USS Arizona memorial gave me chills.  Once back on land we caught our last few pictures of Pearl Harbor and we headed to our dinner cruise.  We had some time to kill once we got there so of course we did some shopping.  Soon after, we started boarding the boat for our cruise.  The sunset was gorgeous and dinner was lovely! We headed back to the hotel unpacked and went to bed fairly early.  The next day brought an early morning that started with climbing Diamond Head Volcano.  We made it all the way up and the view from the top was unbelievable.  We Wobbled, Wop'd, and Cupid Shuffled all the way back to the van.  Next up was the Flea Market.  I did some major damage while shopping around the Aloha Bowl and left wearing a Hawaiian Skirt, Coconuts, and Lei!  After the flea market we headed further South on the island towards Hanauma Bay.  After a brief lesson on snorkeling and marine life we were let loose to explore Hanauma Bay.  This wasn't the first time I've snorkeled but it was definitely one of the most memorable places I've ever been.  After our snorkeling excursion it was back to the hotel to get ready for dinner downtown.  We had dinner at Jimmy Buffet's Margaretville and finished up with some shopping downtown. The next morning it was time for the water park.  I must say the wave pool gave me the most laughs! After the water park we finished up our last few hours at the beach trying to soak up as much sun as we could.  This was truly the trip of a lifetime.  It was a great group of girls to have on the trip and the memories made will last forever.  I am very lucky to be able to experience all that I have in these last nine days.  

Thanks Coach for everything you have done to make this trip possible.  I also want to say thanks to the families and friends who have donated towards this trip.  Thank you for all the support!  See you in the Spring.  Go Rockets!            

  • - Junior, Kate Hoops (Ohio)

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            On October 28, the Rockets were up bright and early, but no one was complaining. Instead of the usual early morning grumbles, everyone was filled with excitement and anticipation, because we were headed to Hawaii!! We had been waiting for this day since Coach told us a year ago that we would be making the trip. After packing up the van, we headed to the Detroit airport.  It was one long day of traveling, but we managed to keep busy by studying, watching movies and playing highly competitive games of UNO. By the time we reached Honolulu, I think I had heard/asked the question "wait....so what time is it?"  More times than I could count. You usually got a few different answers, since our phones, computers  and watches were all on different time zones.

            Even though we were all a little jetlagged, the adrenaline kicked in when we arrived at the Turtle Bay Resort. It was gorgeous! We are so fortunate to have been able to stay there. The views from our ocean front villa were nothing short of breathtaking. After spending the night exploring and unpacking, we went to bed early in preparation for our practice round the next morning. Our Monday round at Leilehua Golf Course went very smoothly and we took some great notes that helped us prepare for the tournament. It was very exciting to see our preparation pay off; we were tied for the lead after 36 holes. We shot 299, followed by a 296 to tie Florida International for 1st. Going into the second day, we were pumped up and ready to win. We put up a great fight, but came up just short of FIU. We finished in 2nd place, but it was still a very solid showing for the Rockets. We came for hardware and we are bringing it home!

            The rest of the week was spent winding down from the tournament. We were so fortunate to have been able to stay a few days extra to take in the sights and explore the island. Thanks to Coach, we had a packed itinerary full of fun sights and attractions. We visited the Dole Plantation, the Polynesian Cultural Center, (where we got to eat at a luau AND see a fire show!) Pearl Harbor, Aloha Stadium, and Waikiki Beach. On top of that, we climbed to the top of Diamond Head Volcano, went snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, took a dinner cruise around downtown Honolulu, went to Hawaii's largest water park, and of course, stopped to go shopping everywhere along the way!

            Overall, it was the trip of a lifetime. I had so much fun spending a week in paradise with my teammates. Yet, I would never have had this experience if it weren't for all of our great fans and supporters who helped make it possible. Lastly, a big, big thank you goes out to Coach for putting this trip together. It was an experience I will never forget and will always be grateful for. Mahalo!!

  • - Sophomore, Megan Carroll (Ohio)

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            There was major excitement last year when Coach told us that in the Fall 2012 season we would be making a trip to Hawaii.  During the summer we held a fundraiser to help us get to Hawaii and the excitement continued to grow from there. I was determined to work my hardest to qualify to go along with six of my teammates. After months of hard work and great finishes at our other tournaments during the fall season the time had finally arrived.

            It didn't matter that our alarms were set for 3:30 a.m. because our final destination was paradise. We prepared ourselves for the time change and for the beauty of Hawaii. We left Toledo at 4:30 a.m. and arrived in Honolulu around 3:00 p.m. We found ourselves hungry all the time because our bodies were six hours ahead of schedule, but that didn't matter because we were ready for a trip of a lifetime. We arrived in the Aloha state, packed the van, and headed to Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of the island. After getting acquainted to our new rooms we walked to the beach which was about 10 steps from our back porch and discovered our first Hawaiian rainbow. Our first taste of Hawaii was complete and we were focused and ready for the tournament.

            Monday, October 29 was our practice round at Leilehua Golf Course. We were all ready to see the course and what we'd be facing for the next two days. The course treated us well and we were all excited to tear it up! But first a trip to the Dole Plantation. The popular canned fruit company was our first adventure in Hawaii. We tasted some of the freshest pineapple ever and had one of the best pineapple floats any of us will ever have. We played around with the fun cutouts they had before we jumped on the Pineapple Express! The 20-minute train ride took us out to the fields where they grow the pineapple and we learned about the company's birth and history. We still had time to spare once we got back from the plantation which meant beach time! We all headed for the beach and played some volleyball before walking up to the pool for dinner. We were all ready to go and headed back to the room with a winning mentality.

            Day 1 of the tournament arrived and we sang and danced our way to the course. I was lucky enough to have my dad, cousin, and grandfather travel to watch me play in Hawaii and I knew I was going to perform to the best of my ability. The atmosphere was inspiring and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. After a nice breakfast and solid warm up it was time to go low and show off the hard work we had completed before arriving in Hawaii. We fought through our jet lag and turned in round 1 with a team total of 299. Determined to do better we turned in a round 2 total of 296-the best rounds of the fall season. We were tied for first. Excited about tomorrow we got some putting practice in before we grabbed a quick dinner at the course then headed back to the hotel to get some rest. I couldn't help but think while lying in bed that this team was going to win this tournament. Our men's team had just come off a massive win at Georgetown and we wanted to follow up their success with success of our own. Tomorrow was going to be a battle and we were prepared for the fight.

            Day 2 was an exciting one. We were playing with Florida International University and Washington State University-two top 60 programs. With determination and perseverance we fought for every par and hung tough with some of the toughest teams. We ended with a team total of 302 and a runner up finish behind FIU. Although we did not end the tournament as champions we were thrilled with a runner-up finish because we had beaten several other top teams. Sathika led the way finishing in a tie for 5th place while Kate finished just behind in 6th place and Alli and I finished in 16th place. We had a great fall season and we couldn't help but be proud of our accomplishments! After lunch at the course we headed out to the van to load up. We had some more pool time-which we took full advantage of-before going on another adventure. Unfortunately coach's surprise for us was a shrimp van just down the road that was closed. Subway was the next best option but we didn't mind because food was all we needed. Now that our work was complete the next four days were going to be an adventure!

            We began Thursday morning when we headed over to the Polynesian Culture Center. We began by taking a boat ride to the end of the center. We passed all the islands that the center had sent up-Tonga, Tahiti, Hawaii, and several others. Once we got off the boat, Coach had ideas of what we needed to accomplish and first up: spear throwing. We didn't do too badly and some of us managed to get the spear within the circle, but I think we decided on sticking with golf. We then were able to paddle a four-man canoe around the river a little bit and enjoy the nature that surrounded us. We got to experience the pageant they had floating on the river that showed the traditional outfits of the different islands we visited and we watched as many of them danced their native dances. Our next adventure was tree climbing. Out of me, Kate, and Megan, I was the only one to climb partially up the coconut tree. Once again we decided to stick with golf. Now we were ready for some food and for the luau! We got our leis and headed inside the big theater. It was neat to see all the people they served and to experience the culture. The last show of the evening was the best. Ha: Breath of Life was an extraordinary performance that captured many emotions for me. I found myself tearing up at points and smiling at others. It was a wonderful experience and I'm so glad we were able to see it! Since Thursday night was our last night at Turtle Bay Resort we went outside once we got back from the Polynesian Culture Center. The stars were so bright and the moon was gorgeous. We were even lucky enough to see a shooting star! It was a perfect way to end our stay at Turtle Bay.

            Friday morning came and we loaded the van to move to Hawaii's hot spot-Waikiki Beach! We left straight from the hotel to go see Pearl Harbor. The atmosphere was completely different from what we had been used to during the beginning of the week. It was quiet and serene. No one really talked during the short movie or while on the USS Arizona memorial. It was amazing to witness and be a part of. The surprise attack of the Japanese on the Pacific fleet was a major part of our nation's history and to be able to experience it was an incredible experience. From Pearl Harbor we headed downtown for our dinner cruise! We were excited to set sail until partway through the journey both Coach and Manisa felt ill. Trying to keep the mood uplifted we went to the upper deck and I tried to distract them by dancing. Sathika, Manisa, Stephanie and I attempted our best hula routines for everybody. Needless to say we need some lessons. We were back on land before we knew it and were all whipped from the day's activities. Tomorrow was going to be even busier.

           

We woke up bright and early Saturday morning ready to conquer Diamond Head. We walked together in attempt to reach the volcano's peak and soon enough we reached the top! Sweaty and hot we took some pictures and enjoyed the incredible view of the ocean and downtown. We made our climb back down and stopped a few times to dance. We finally reached the bottom, tired and sweaty, but prepared for our next adventure! We climbed into the van and headed off to the swap meet! This consisted of little shops that venders set up around the Aloha Bowl. Since we are girls we bought a few things here and there. It was fun walking around and bargaining for different items. Still sweaty and hot we climbed back into the van to head to our next cool location: Hanauma Bay. We snorkeled for the rest of the day. We saw lots of different bright and colorful fish, a sea turtle, and some of us saw an octopus! It was a great adventure! After working up an appetite throughout the day we got cleaned up and dressed up and headed out on the streets of downtown! We went to Jimmy Buffet's restaurant and all got delicious cheeseburgers to fill our stomachs! We walked around the shops for a bit then headed back to get some rest.

            Our last day in paradise came all too quickly. However, the fun didn't end. We went to the Wet 'n Wild water park to enjoy our last day in Hawaii! The wave pool had to have been the funniest and best part of the day! We rode the waves and some of us crashed and burned but we all enjoyed ourselves! After a float around the lazy river we decided to head out and enjoy some beach time before we left paradise altogether. The beach was insanely crowded but we enjoyed catching some rays together! We left the hotel quite early and arrived at the airport and got some studying in. A few of us also caught a dance lesson from Alli. Finally we boarded our 11:15 p.m. scheduled plane and took off for Arizona. The trip back wasn't terrible but wasn't enjoyable. Leaving Hawaii was the least favorite thing we had to do all week. We arrived back in Toledo around 6:30 p.m. Monday night preparing for a full week ahead.

            Everyone wasn't kidding when they said Hawaii is a trip of a lifetime. My experience there will help me grow as a person because of all the adventures we took as a team. Pearl Harbor had to have been my favorite adventure. I enjoyed learning about America's history and seeing it in person was truly a blessing. Coach outdid herself with all the amazing things we were able to do and I could not have asked for a better trip with any other people! This trip just makes me realize that throughout my four years of being a Rocket I will experience so many great golf courses and have so many amazing opportunities that lie ahead of me. Mahalo to Coach Hollingsworth and all the Rocket fans for making this trip a trip of a lifetime! See you in the spring!

-Sophomore, Jennifer Elsholz (Michigan)

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            The night before we left for Hawaii it was very hard for me to go to bed because of all of the excitement. We had a 3:30 a.m. wake-up call so we could leave for the Detroit Airport at 4:30 from the parking lot behind Savage Arena. As we piled up into Rocket Reba you could tell that everyone was so excited to leave cold Toledo. Once we arrived at the airport we sat there anxiously waiting for our flight to Phoenix. Our flight to Phoenix was a quick one. Then the next flight was a long one but the flight was exciting because we were going to Honolulu.

            After the long six-hour flight we finally arrived at our beautiful destination in Honolulu. We were not even out of the airport yet and there were beautiful plants and trees everywhere with the sun shining down on them. We walked down where we needed to go to find our luggage and we found a few people we knew. It was Jen's cousin and her husband. She greeted us with a big Aloha and made us even more excited about Hawaii with all her fun-filled stories. Finally Coach arrived with the van and it was time for us to travel to Turtle Bay Resort where we were going to stay at for the next couple of days. It took about a 40-minute drive from Honolulu to Turtle Bay. You may think 40 minutes was a long drive but it went quick because of the beautiful views outside.

            Once we arrived at the beautiful Turtle Bay Resort we quickly jumped out of the van and started to explore as soon as possible. The first night at Turtle Bay we all were extremely tired but very happy. It was a long day of traveling but worth it. After a quick exploration of the resort, within minutes of exploring a big rainbow appeared over the ocean. It was so pretty. After some intense exploring all nine of us were whooped and went to bed because we had an early practice round in the morning.

            We woke up the next morning all ready to go and wanted to make the practice round a great one. The golf course we played at was called Leilehua and was a military base golf course. It was a really neat course and very pretty with many different trees and plants. There was an interesting looking tree that looks like a palm tree mixed with a pine tree. We decided to call it a "calm" tree.  After we played our practice round my team and I felt very confident about this course and how we were going to end up doing overall. We stayed after and practiced a lot of short game and then Coach was going to take us to the Dole Plantation. I was really looking forward to be able to experience this place. Coach was nice and treated us to some pineapple ice cream. It was really cool because it came in a plastic pineapple, so we could have it for a souvenir. As we were all sucking down our pineapple shakes and browsing throughout the store Coach had bought pineapple express tickets. The pineapple express was a train that took us throughout the Dole Plantation and showed us all the items they were growing. I was very intrigued by seeing how the plantation operates. When we finished up with the train ride and as we were walking out we saw a henna stand (fake tattoo's). My whole team including Coach had picked out a tattoo that we all liked. We decided to get it on our right leg above our ankle. We went with a blue and yellow turtle. Of course we had to be school spirited and choose our school colors. After such a busy day at the course and the plantation we piled up in the van and headed back to Turtle Bay.

            Tuesday morning came and it was the first day of the golf tournament. We had our game faces on and were ready to go. The Rockets did not just come to Hawaii to have a vacation; we came to Hawaii to win a golf tournament. We warmed up and did our team cheer together and were ready to play some great golf. It was a beautiful sunny day with the high of 85 degrees. It was a great day to be playing golf and nothing could have much better than that.  After 36 holes flew by the Toledo Rockets were tied for first place with Florida International, a top ranked team. This was very exciting for us because we shot two of our lowest rounds of the season. The first 18 we shot a 299 and the second 18 we shot a 296. That made us so pumped and excited going into the last round. After we were finished we putted and then it was time to head out.

            The Toledo Rockets were all rested up and ready for the final day of the golf tournament. We were ready and it was not like we have not been in this position before so we were ready to go. After the 18 holes were finished we shot a 302 as a team and ended up coming in second place and missing it by two strokes. It was a bummer that we were so close but overall we were very pleased how we played and we were bringing home some hardware. So with our well-preformed tournament, Coach took us to the famous shaved ice place called Matsumoto. I got the rainbow-shaved ice with ice cream at the bottom. It was delicious! After that we went back to Turtle Bay and everyone went to the pool and enjoyed a relaxing evening swimming and watching the Halloween surf competition.

            On Thursday after our successful tournament, we were so thankful that we were able to stay a few extra days to kick back and relax while other teams had to catch their next flight back home after the golf tournament. We went to the beach in the morning, played volleyball and boogie boarded. Today's big event was the Polynesian Culture Center. Everyone was super excited to check out this educational center. We had arrived there and the first thing we did was we took a tour canoe ride through the center. Then after that we were going through all of the island sections learning about different cultures. Then we found the station where you are taught how to throw a spear. This was to determine who would win the argument in the Tonga culture. We were given three chances. Out of the three chances I was only able to get the spear in the circle once. Coach and Jen also did as well. Then after learning about spear throwing we came along more tattoos; of course this team was up for it. Manisa was the first one up there and got the biggest tattoo they had. After we were all finished we look like a pack of warriors. Then up next was the beauty pageant along the riverside. It was filled with a lot of dancing and fun outfits from the different cultures. After this we headed over to where we canoed ourselves. We went down and back the river and saw more pretty trees and flowers. Then next we had a show to catch. This was a show where a native Samoan showed us how to make fire, a bowl, and coconut milk. It was really neat because he did use resources we would use. While we were all watching the show, a man ran and climbed up a palm tree like it was no big deal. He was barefoot and it was very impressive. After the show was finished of course there was a how to make a fire station and tree climbing station. My team was up for trying both before we had to go to the luau. We discovered that fire making and tree climbing was not our thing and we should probably stick with playing golf. Now it was time for my first luau ever. It was fun filled with great food, music, and dancing. You would think we were done with this eventful day but no we had one more treat and it was the breath of life show. It was probably one of the coolest shows I have witnessed and I enjoyed every minute of it. The show consisted of dancers playing with fire and telling a story about a young boy growing up. I was very entertained and there was never one dull moment during the show. After this eventful day it was time for the Rockets to get some rest because we had another big day ahead of us.

           

Friday morning came along and it was time for us to leave Turtle Bay Resort and head to Waikiki Beach for another experience of the Hawaiian life. We got ourselves situated at our new home for the next two days and now it was time to go adventure some more. Our next big event was Pearl Harbor. This was very inspiring and touching. I personally enjoy learning about history. It was very neat to see where the ships use to sit, especially the U.S.S Arizona and to hear the stories about the attack on Pearl Harbor. It really made me think about all the men and women who serve and protect our country and how truly thankful I am. We had a full afternoon filled with history and since we played well Coach added a dinner cruise to the itinerary. We all were very excited for this because the boat was traveling around Diamond Head, the volcano. We arrived for the cruise a bit early and we explored throughout this outlet mall. We of course made a new friend. He was a DJ that was playing through the mall. He stopped and talked to us for a while and then proceeded to tell us he was going to marry coach. It was quite entertaining but it was time for the cruise. The cruise was very fun and entertaining. But unfortunately a few of my teammates got sick but they got through it! It was overall a great time and great experience.

            Saturday morning the Rockets woke up early because today we were climbing Diamond Head volcano, flea market shopping, and snorkeling. It was definitely a workout but a great day. Climbing the volcano was awesome. We wopped and wobbled at the halfway point of the volcano. Once we got towards the top we had to decide if we wanted to take the easy or hard route; of course our team leader Kate Hoops took us the hard way. As we turned the corner there was a steep incline of stairs and of course we decided to run up them. Let me tell you this was a workout but thankfully we did not have a golf bag on our backs. We all made it to the top of the volcano, which was very exciting especially for Coach. I would like to make a special shoutout to Coach for making it to the top! We all knew you could do it! After a bunch of pictures we headed back down the mountain singing some of our favorite songs. Next on our agenda was the flea market that surrounded the Aloha Bowl Stadium. We all did some damage here and got a lot fun souvenirs. After two hours of shopping it was the perfect time to go snorkeling to cool off. I have never been snorkeling so I was anxious to try it out but at the same time kind of nervous. We got our snorkeling gear and headed down to the beach and instantly went out to the ocean to try it out. It was not scary at all. It was beautiful to see all of the coral, fish, and I even got to see a turtle. After this long day we definitely worked up an appetite went back showered and got dressed up for dinner. We went to Jimmy Buffett's restaurant. It was great food and also played awesome music that we all sang along to. After a long day like this we went back to the hotel and went to sleep.

            Sunday morning came along, a day that none of us wanted to come, because it meant this trip of a lifetime was coming to an end. On a positive note Coach had set up another surprise and we went to the Wet and Wild water park for the morning and afternoon. We rode every ride and loved every minute of playing in the water and soaking up the sun on our last day. During this trip to the water park our poor Coach got pushed down in the wave pool and waves kept splashing in her face and even her sunglasses came off. We all were laughing hysterically even. Coach luckily was not hurt and we managed to find her sunglasses. After the water park, it was beach time at the famous Waikiki Beach. We soaked up some more sun and played in the ocean before it was time to shower up and head to the airport.

            It was depressing to leave Hawaii's 85-degree weather to come back to frigid Toledo. Overall this trip was seriously a trip of a lifetime. I am so thankful I was able to experience this trip. It will be an unforgettable one for sure. I am so lucky to have the coaches and teammates I have now. They made my first trip to Hawaii a memorable one. There was never one moment where we were not smiling or laughing.  I would like to give a HUGE thanks to Coach for putting together this trip and making it a great one. Without her I do not know where I would be today. Thanks Coach for an awesome trip. I will never forget how much fun it was. Also thanks to my teammates for making it a fun one and I am so lucky and blessed to have you guys as my teammates. I would like to make another shout out to all the fans following and supporting us this fall season. It was a very successful one and I cannot wait to see what is in store for us this upcoming spring.

  • - Sophomore, Stephanie St-Jean (Ohio)

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            This trip made me so excited because we went to Hawaii. I had started packing my bag two days before and couldn't sleep all night. We arrived in Hawaii on Sunday between three and four o'clock. The name of the resort that we were staying at was Turtle Bay. This resort was really beautiful. We lived together in the same house. My roommate was Sathika. We went to the golf course on Monday morning for our practice round. The course was not too difficult and kind of short, so we had good scores. After that, we went to the Dole Plantation, a pineapple plantation. We had pineapple juice and pineapple ice cream. It was so good. We went around the plantation by train called the Pineapple Express. They provided us with the information as to why this place is good to grow pineapples. We bought some pineapple products then went back to the resort to get ready for the tournament on the next morning. We did pretty well on the first round. It was good that we tied with FIU, the team which has the higher ranking than us. For the final round, we finished in second place. But, that was not bad because we beat many good ranking schools and they were kind of shocked that we could beat them.

            After the tournament, we started the fun part of our trip. We visited the Matsumoto, the most famous shaved ice shop on the island. I ordered the rainbow flavor and that was really good. We ate and took pictures outside the shop. The day after, we went to the Polynesian Culture Center which is a place which shows the Hawaiian culture. We got in a canoe to get to the location. We had a good time on the river. They had a parade along the river with dancing on the boats, followed by groups of cultures. I was trying to dance with the entertainers, but it was really difficult for me. The following activity was canoeing. The members in my group were Kate, Nam, Megan, and the staff. But I felt like the boat was not moving much. I turned around and looked back at Kate and the other girls. They didn't help me paddle at all. The other girls were laughing at me while I was trying to splash the water at a bird. We watched a show about making fire by using wood. This was a good show to entertain all of the audience. The best part of this place was the night show which is like a musical show. I really liked this show because they danced in the Hawaiian styles which I have never seen before.

            On Friday, we moved to Waikiki Beach, downtown of Hawaii. We went to Pearl Harbor, the place of history when Japan attacked the USA. They lost so many people from this situation. We went out to see ships that were sunk under the sea. One of them is the Arizona. She is really a big ship. I could see the gasoline and oil that came out from the sunken ship. They also told us that the inside of the sunken ship are still the bodies of those lost that day, because they could not get out from the ship. The Arizona was not the only ship that was sunk under the sea but also Oklahoma and Virginia. After the history time, we went to dinner on the cruise. That was an awesome dinner, but I found that I am not good on a boat. I got sea sick and also did our Coach. The next morning I felt good because we climbed the Diamond Head Volcano. The first part of climbing was not hard at all, but the last part we had to walk up high stairs. It made us feel like we were in a workout. At the end, we stood on the top of the volcano, and it felt good because we had made it! In the afternoon, we went shopping at the Flea Market. The products in this place were cheap and the same in every shop. We could negotiate with them for the best price. I bought Tiki's, the masks with scary faces. The tiki is really famous in Hawaii because it's kind of an original product made by the people from Hawaii.

             The next thing that we wanted to do was snorkel at Hanauma Bay.  I wanted to see the turtles so much. This was a goal for me. I walked to the beach and wearing the fins and ready to go snorkeling, I saw the guy carried something back to the beach. That was the turtle! He had gotten a fishing hook somehow. I was so excited at that moment because I saw the turtle!! After that, I started snorkeling and saw so many kinds of fish. I liked them so much. As when I got back to the hotel, I was so tired and felt like I could not move any part of my body. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I slept like a baby. The last day, we went to Wet and Wild Water Park. My favorite machine was the river wave machine, because it created the wave the same as the sea while we were in the boat. Coach Hollingsworth did not seem to like this machine and the wave that much. We wanted to go to the next station, but we needed to go back to the hotel, and get ready to go back to Toledo. We had a little bit of time left. So, we decided to go and hang out at the beach and spend time together. Then, we went back to the hotel took a shower, and packed everything to go home.

 

            At the end, I want to say "Thank you" so much for Coach Hollingsworth and Nam who made this a really good trip for us, and also taking really good care of everybody.

  • - Freshman, Manisa Isavas (Thailand)

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            We arrived here at the airport in the early morning. McDonalds was our first meal for this trip. We all were so excited to go to Hawaii, so we took a lot of pictures and videos at the airport. Our first destination was the Phoenix airport. The first flight to Phoenix took four hours. When we arrived in Phoenix, it was lunch time, so we ate before taking the long flight to Hawaii.

            We arrived at the city called, Honolulu. During our wait for Coach to get the van, we took a lot of videos and pictures again. We were learning that "hello" in Hawaii is "Aloha", and "thank you" is "Mahalo". The first day we went to stay at Turtle Bay. We all screamed when we saw the ocean. When we got to the hotel, we ran out to the ocean and saw the first rainbow for this trip. We played volleyball together before having an awesome dinner with our Coach.

            The golf course that we had played at was called Leilulua. Our practice round started, and we separated into two groups. We had a great practice round together and Megan Carroll found that her hair was the same color as the rock from the lava, which we found on the course. We all knew this course was not too hard for us. After our practice round, we went to the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Coach bought us the signature pineapple ice-cream float. Then we took the train to look around the plantation. After that, we took a lot of pictures again, and we walked past the tattoo shop, and somebody had the idea to get a tattoo. First, we decided to have a flower pattern, but Nam said we are staying at Turtle Bay, so why not  get the turtle pattern. We all agreed with Nam, so we all got the turtle tattoo including Coach. We left from the plantation with turtle tattoos on our ankle. Now we were ready for the tournament (actually, they were only painted, not tattoo).

            The first day of the tournament was in the early morning. We did the same things as other tournaments such as singing in the van. The first day was great; we tied in first place with FIU. We were all excited about this. The second day of the tournament started and, we played with FIU and Washington State. We finished in second place at only two strokes behind FIU.

            Our work was done, we did our best. After work was fun time. In the morning of day four, we spent time together at the beach. Then, we went to the Polynesian Culture Center. We learned about the culture of Hawaiians. We watched a dance show from different colonies of Polynesia. We watched a lot of shows at this place. Making a fire show was very impressive and a funny show for me. After that, we went straight to a coconut tree, where three persons from our group tried to climb it. Megan was the first person who tried to climb the coconut tree, but she did not make it. The next person was Kate Hoops, our athletic girl. She also could not complete her climb, but she went higher than Megan. The last person was Jennifer; she went the highest, but she did not complete the entire climb to the top. After we climbed the coconut tree, it was dinner time. We separated into two groups again; there was awesome food and more shows. It was another great dinner. Our program was not done yet, the last thing was the fire show. They presented a story; it was the greatest show ever. There were many people in this show and they were very talented. I believe all the tourists loved this show.

            The sixth and last day in Turtle Bay, we had to move to Waikiki Beach. In the morning it was our beach time again. Then we left Waikiki Beach and went to Pearl Harbor and we learned about history. I felt sad and amazing at the same time. After Pearl Harbor, we went on a dinner cruise. They served great food and we saw a sunset view, which was an awesome part of the trip for me. We went to hang out on the top deck, and we saw Honolulu at night. We took beautiful pictures from that view. Coach and my teammate Manisa did not feel well on the boat, but we could not do anything since we were on the ocean. We all sat together and took care of our Coach and Manisa. Finally, they both felt better, and we went back to the hotel and got some good sleep.

            In the early morning, we had breakfast next to the pool at the hotel. Our plans were to climb Diamond Head Volcano. We all walked together, stopped to drink some water, and had a fun time. We were even dancing together halfway to the top of volcano. People stopped walking and looked at us. It was very funny. Then, we started to walk again. On the way to the top of volcano, we needed to make a decision between the easy way or the hard way. We went the hard way, and we needed to take a lot of group pictures. Kate and Allison wrote something down at the wall by the rock. The view from this top point was awesome; we saw all of Honolulu. After this workout, it was shopping time, so we went to the flea market. We all bought a lot of stuff at low prices. This market has good prices for tourists, but we needed to check the quality of things before we bought them. Kate and Megan surprised us with new outfits. They wore Hawaiian girl outfits.

            Our next program was snorkeling. There were six of us who never snorkeled before. We were excited to see fish under the water, but we needed to watch the video about important information first. I saw a lot of fish in the water. Manisa wanted to see turtles and she saw them finally. But, one turtle got injured from another tourist. However, that turtle was taken care of by an expert. After snorkeling, we had dinner at the Margaritaville Restaurant. My teammates were in beautiful dresses. At the restaurant, we waited for a table for a while, but it was not a waste of time at all. The food was great; we all really enjoyed our food. When we finished from restaurant, we separated into two groups for shopping. We took about one-and-a-half hours for shopping.

           

The last day in Hawaii, we went to a water park. We walked around and played on everything, but the most impressive for us was the wave pool. The first round we spread out over the area, but when we went back the second round, we held hands so when the wave came we were still in the same area. It was fun and very impressive for me. After the water park, we went back to hotel to get some beach time and take a shower before boarding the plane. We set up a plan to take showers, freshmen go first, then sophomores and the last group were juniors and seniors. We had good team work for this entire trip. We always helped each other, including golf time. Our second-place finish was not bad for the end of fall season. However, spring season will be more fun and successful. MAHALO!

  • - Freshman, Sathika Ruenreong (Thailand)

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Getting to go to Hawaii was a great trip for the Rockets. Two years ago was the last time I remember being on the beach. I miss seeing the beautiful blue sea and the coral underneath it.  This trip gave me a lot of wonderful memories.  I had a chance to learn about Polynesian culture and history about Pearl Harbor. Our team climbed a volcano, snorkeled, and did lots of water activities. Not only did we just golf, but we learned more about each other.

            On the first day, the van was rolling out at 4:30 a.m. in the morning. This is the first trip that I ever seen all the girls very energetic and happy all together in the morning.  They were singing, dancing, and ready to go to Hawaii. We arrived at the airport and got through the security without any problems. This shows that we paid attention and prepared! Our first flight arrived at Phoenix, Arizona. I am very familiar with this airport as we always are here for spring break and other connecting flights. Phoenix airport is one of my favorite airports in the U.S. because of the surroundings such as the mountains and the pretty blue sky.  I had a chicken quesadilla for lunch. It was great and filled me up for the rest of the next flight.

            We arrived in Hawaii. This is my first time and of course I was very excited! After we landed and started to drive to our hotel, I looked around and I saw all the trees and plants are similar to Thailand. Everything reminds me of Thailand just in an English version. Headed to the hotel our group noticed this place was amazing and beautiful. Driving down the coast every new mile was more beautiful than the last. Watching the blue ocean hit the coastal rocks with huge waves I thought 'Wow this is amazing.'

            We stayed at Turtle Bay Resort which is one of the top five resorts in Hawaii. Turtle Bay Resort is on the north shore of Hawaii. It includes two golf courses, one designed by Jack Nicklaus and another one by Arnold Palmer.  We stayed in a 4,000-square foot suite. There are four bedrooms and three showers. Just outside our backyard was the beach. The place was secluded and the residents were really nice. It is accessible and safe. The most important part was the pool! Turtle Bay has a very nice pool on the reef by the beach. From the pool area, we had a great view of the ocean. We saw surfers in the marvelous sunset.

            Though our attention could have been divided by beauty we only had one priority and that was to win the golf tournament. Monday morning, we woke up and ready to golf! The girls were all excited to see the golf course. We had our tournament at the military base course, the Leilehua Golf Course. The team used a golf cart for practice. However, we still worked hard and took our time to learn the most information about this golf course. After the practice round, we left the golf course to our first adventure, the Dole Plantation, the world of pineapple. Coach told us since before we left Toledo that the Dole Plantation has the best pineapple floats and now the team has the chance to try some! It was extremely sweet and full of flavor. At night, we had dinner by the pool. I had grilled Mahi Mahi it was delicious.

            Tuesday was the first day of the tournament. We left the resort at 5:30 a.m. to eat breakfast at the course. Our tee time was at 8:00 a.m. We were all ready to go and play well. The girls did a wonderful job playing and finished with a score 299 for the first round and 296 for the second round. We tied for first with Florida International University. We had dinner at the course because we finished late and we needed to rest for the next day.

            The final round was on Wednesday. We came two stokes short with the score 897 behind Florida International University.  We fought hard and finished with our best score of the season. We had a trophy ceremony at the course and got our bowl! After we finished golf, Coach treated us with a shaved ice. It was a great treat for the hot and sunny day.

            Thursday, we had a chance to spend our morning on the beach to ready ourselves for the next adventure. Coach took us to the Polynesian Cultural Center. I personally love to learn about new cultures. The Polynesian Cultural Center did a great job presenting the different kind of lifestyles of each tribe. We experienced how to throw spears, canoe, and climb coconut trees. We had a Luau dinner and ended our day with the fire show by the Polynesian Cultural Center.

           

On Friday, we moved to Waikiki Beach for another new experience. We went to Pearl Harbor and learned more about the World War II history. It was very emotional for me. After Pearl Harbor, Coach treated us again with the dinner cruise. It was great. We went on a 1,500-passenger cruise with four decks while watching the sunset on the entertaining cruise ship we had a delicious dinner.

            On day seven, Saturday morning we went up the Diamond Head Volcano to another new adventure. We climbed up the volcano.  We had fun and every time we stopped for water, the girls started dancing while people walked by us. They all clapped and we were glad that we entertained them. When we reached the top, it was worth it. Our view was Honolulu on the sea shore. Our first time feeling the breeze at the top gave us a second wind. It is even better when I turned around and saw that Coach had made to the top as well! She did a great job. After climbing the volcano, we went to the swap meet market to buy gifts and souvenirs of our stay at Hawaii.

            At two o'clock we had a snorkeling lesson at Hanauma Bay. We had to learn how and where to snorkel before heading in the ocean. Hanauma has a coral bay on the shore which was very amazing. I have never done this before so this was the most exciting part of this trip. I had a chance to go in the water and see thousands of fish swim around me. We rested down on the beach until 5:30 p.m. We ate dinner at Jimmy Buffett's. I had a great avocado burger with fries. The girls were singing and having a good time while waiting for their dinner.

            The last day in Hawaii, we went to the wet and wild water park. We went there early to make sure we did not miss a ride. My favorite section was the wave pool. It was just a normal pool with waves like the ocean. It was really fun when they turn on the waves and we were floating on the inner tubes. We all had a really good time. We laughed a lot. It was really wet and wild like the name of the water park. During the last couple hours before departure, we spent time on Waikiki Beach. Coach had to get another gift from the International Market. We left the hotel at six o'clock to the airport to be ready to depart at 11:00p.m.

            It was really sad to leave Hawaii, the place of wonderful weather and beautiful beach. It was the best trip ever as a Rocket. I really had a good time. I learned a lot about many things in this trip both as a new assistant coach and being a friend. I appreciate our Coach Nicole's hard work and how well she treats us. Thank you Coach for a great opportunity to learn and see a new part of the world that I had never seen before, Hawaii.

  • - Student Assistant Coach, Piyathida Chaiyapan (Thailand)
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