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Alaska Adventures - Days 2-3

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Luke Payne lets you inside the trip West and North.

Luke Payne lets you inside the trip West and North.

Nov. 17, 2007

Alaska Adventure - Days 2-3 Photo Gallery

Senior guard Luke Payne takes his second turn at letting the folks in the Upstate and all over the world get a glimpse of things on the inside of the men's basketball trip to Utah, Oregon and Alaska.

Editor's Note:
You know when people talk about Arizona and the heat saying that 115 degrees doesn't feel that bad because it's a dry heat? Well 115 degrees is hot, I don't care what the humidity is. The same thing for here. All I have heard from locals is that it is a dry cold, so it's not that bad. Well -4 is cold, I don't care if its a dry cold or not. - Bill English

Luke Payne:
I'm writing my second journal entry on our team trip out west. Last time I wrote we were in Portland. Now I feel like I'm in Siberia or the Antarctic. Fortunately for us we are still in the United States and Alaska. It is cold though, very cold. I believe I saw a digital thermometer that said it was four below. That's the coldest that it's been (at least that we actually experienced outside), and I don't think it's gotten above 15 degrees. I think everybody brought enough clothes so the cold hasn't been a problem so far. The cold isn't the only thing that we have had to become accustomed to in Alaska. During this time of the year there are only about five or six hours of daylight. It's tough to wake up at 8:30 or 9:00 and it is still dark outside. The sun also never seems to get very high in the sky and by 4:00 p.m. it's almost dark again. It just feels like it's always dusk or dawn.

I'm going to go back and touch on an "accident" that happened the other day when we were at Woodriver Elementary School. Five of our players were playing five 4th and 5th graders in a fun game in front of the whole school. When the last basket was scored Byrd decided to display a little bit of his athletic ability, and anybody that is familiar with Byrd has witnessed this athleticism and may have even seen his patented backward somersault. Byrd decided to attempt one of these. It was successful, but he happened to have about three layers of clothes on. This turned out to be a problem. Obviously, Byrd didn't account for this and his sweatpants weren't tied tight enough. As he finished the flip, half of the gym got more than a glimpse of his "backside". Not just a little bit, I mean the whole thing. The moment was so funny that tears could be seen flowing from the eyes of many (mine included as I had the misfortune of having the "perfect view"). It's safe to say that the basketball player from South Carolina who mooned half the gym while doing a somersault will never be forgotten by the high school cheerleaders on the baseline. Hopefully, they'll take it as the comical episode that the rest of us have.

Friday was a pretty uneventful day. No dog sledding, no one losing any clothes, just preparing for the Akron game with two separate, but short practices. I will say that I missed an opportunity to see something that I would consider very rare. At about 1:30 a.m., I got a phone call from the front desk telling me that the Northern Lights were out and visible behind the hotel. Regretfully, I didn't put my clothes on and go out to see it. If I hadn't been so tired maybe I would have actually gotten up and gone outside instead of just looking out the window and vaguely seeing the greenish tint in the sky. At least the bed felt good.

USC Upstate Men's Basketball
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