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Purdue forward Sam Ostarello's journal: the Boilermakers' send off and arrival in Chicago

The Purdue Boilermakers face the Wisconsin Badgers today at noon EDT in their first 2013 Big Ten Tournament game. Boilermakers forward Sam Ostarello shares the story of their send off from West Lafayette and arrival in Chicago.

Photo by Purdue athletics communications.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thursday started out just the same as most other days in good, old West Lafayette, Ind. I awoke in my own glorious bed and headed to Mackey Arena for a 10 a.m. practice. Some of my teammates and I started to gather in the locker room about 9 a.m. for pre-practice treatment in the training room and to finalize the last bit of packing. I would guess about 5 or 6 of us didn’t have all of our belongings packed for our 1 p.m. departure. (I am guilty of that procrastination as well as my teammates that I’m ratting out!) At practice, the energy was electric! Players entered the gym announcing their arrival with shouts of "IT’S TOURNEY TIME BABY!" and other fun sayings.

Practice went really well and we put in some potential game plans for our B1G match-up Friday afternoon. After practice, the team headed to the training room to get ice-cold whirlpools. Shortly after showering and the frosty whirlpool treatment, we had a pre-departure lunch. Anytime we eat, it’s our favorite time (aside from games of course). With options of chicken Alfredo, spaghetti, pulled pork sandwiches, salad and a variety of fruit, we were fueled up for our big road trip.

There was a sendoff pep rally at 12:40 pm, where some of our devoted fans came to the bus we were taking to Chicago. Along with fans and athletic department staff, our loyal GABS (Gold and Black Sound) band came bearing some very special gifts for each player and coach. The members of GABS had a gift with a band theme and gave them to each of us. Courtney Moses and KK Houser each got a cymbal with a message on it. Taylor Manuel received a head from a bass drum. These are just a few things that were given out.

We then loaded the bus and headed off to the Promise Land! After little discussion, the movie for the road was picked - Pitch Perfect - and off we went. Some players did homework on the ride, while others were checking their eyelids for leaks. But others decided to call their teammates and leave voicemail messages for them when they were literally sitting right next to them. There really is never a dull moment; always someone using her imagination for entertainment!

Photo by Purdue athletics communications.

We arrived in Chicago and settled into our hotel rooms that we hope,are going to be our home for three more days. It was just after halftime of the Illinois-Wisconsin game, so we all headed down to the lobby to watch the second half as a team, along with our coaches. By watching the game as a team, we were able to bounce ideas around about how we are going to defend certain players and how we are going to execute our offenses against the defenses we could face.

After the game, we got ready to go to supper. Now, you have to understand that whenever there is talk about eating at a steakhouse, let’s just say we get REALLY, REALLY, REALLY excited to eat. We went to Morton’s and enjoyed a superb meal and quite a few laughs, as well. At my end of the table, we shared stories from middle school and high school that literally had us in tears by the end of the story. When we got back to the hotel, we went to film right away to dissect Wisconsin and talk about what we were going to cover during shoot around and implement for the game Friday. The atmosphere with the team is just very excited and ready to get a ball in our hands; enough sitting! Let’s get this show on the road! BOILER UP and HAMMER DOWN! Signing off for now…

Sam Ostarello #32