McCray Celebrates America's Birthday In Serbia

July 7, 2009

BELGRADE, Serbia –

Friday, July 3

Hello Jayhawk Fans, I am back at it again! First of all, I would like to say I feel like I made it out of a WWF match yesterday. The last time I updated you all I was getting ready for our game versus the home team Serbia. The game went well, but the conflicts during the game did not. We ended up winning by 34 points, however, there were some emotions that got out of hand in Serbia’s loss to the USA. The game started off well, but towards the end when the lead kept growing, the Serbians started to play unfair. All I can say is that I have never been in a game in which I was hit so many times intentionally and took so many cheap shots from an opponent. One of my teammates Jeanette Poehlen was taken down to the ground which caused her head to ache the rest of the day. I was slapped on the arm while trying to take a free throw line jumper. The slap was so loud the fans squealed. But we kept our composure and tried to ignore their behavior. We all couldn’t wait for the horn to go off for the end of the game. We just wanted it to end without anyone getting hurt. While all of this was going on, we were trying to reach our game goal to get a day off. Coach told us at halftime that if we beat this team by 15 points in the second half, then we could get a day off. After that came out of her mouth everyone’s mouth’s turned to smiles and excitement and we all focused even more. So we all were keeping track of our score so that we could get a day off. As the buzzer went off we all jumped up and cheered because we beat them by 17 points in the second half. So that meant day off! After shaking their hands and thanking everyone for coming to the game we ran to our lockerroom chanting “we get the day off, we get the day off, we get the day off!!!” We were so excited because we haven’t had a day off since we arrived in Colorado on June 18. After the game we all showered and walked to the mall, which is about a mile from our village. When we want eat food that we are familiar with we go to the mall’s food court and hit up KFC or Mickey D’s. You just can’t go wrong with these choices in Serbia. Ha Ha!! After the mall, we all mingled with other countries and chatted about our game and eventually went to bed after almost experiencing a WWF match in Serbia!!!

Saturday, July 4

Happy Fourth of July Everyone! Wooooowwww!! This is something to remember. I celebrated my 21st Fourth of July in Belgrade, Serbia. Today we had the choice to eat breakfast or sleep in because it’s our off day. We all woke each other up and exchanged Happy Fourth of Julys. Me being the crazy one–I jumped on everyone in their beds and screamed Happy Fourth of July!!! We all got dressed because we were taking a tour of the Belgrade Fortress, churches and some other historic things. After getting dressed we walked down stairs and remembered that we were the only ones celebrating Fourth of July. With some of the Great Britain athletes outside next to us it was rather interesting considering we got our independence from them.

The tour was pretty long. We left at 11 a.m., and didn’t get back to our village until 5 p.m. We took a shuttle there. The buses in Serbia are always packed, and every where we go people stop and stare. This time on our tour we had about six police officers walking with us so no crazy people would come and bother us as we walked the streets of Belgrade. It was fun. Our tour guide was a very funny guy and he showed us a lot of neat things. First we went to this catholic church and we were able to talk to the priest. The priest didn’t know a lick of English so our translator, Ana Merkovic, translated it for us. He seemed real cool from what the translator was telling us he was saying. Oh yeah–one thing I forgot to mention earlier–our translator who has been with us since we arrived in Serbia is good friends with Ivana Catic, my recently graduated KU teammate. What a small world!!! She also pointed out one of Ivana’s ex-boyfriends, who was a referee at the men’s basketball game we went to one night. But anyway after the church and talking to the priest we walked about five miles until we got to the Belgrade Fortress. It was very nice and absolutely huge. There were trees and remains of buildings from the early 19th Century. We took pictures and listened to our tour guide for a while. After the tour we went to dinner at this place that was near the Fortress. I have never had so many appetizers at one sitting. We all thought that he was just bringing our food out at different times, but come to find out they served us six appetizers, not including bread before your meal comes. I was full about time the meal came out. The wait was really long too, but it ended up being worth it! After everyone finished dinner we hopped in a taxi cab. Our taxi driver was real fun. He let us change the radio and we were blasting The Black Eyed Peas while driving down Serbia Lane!

Well hope everyone back in Kansas and supporting the Jayhawks had a wonderful and Happy Fourth of July! I missed celebrating with my family and friends, but I felt proud to be playing for my wonderful country!

Until next time,

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!