Monday, March 29, 2010

Diary of a McDonald's All-American Part I: Duke-Bound Haley Peters


It's the end of the March. Another high school basketball season has come to a close, and with that comes the annual McDonald's All-American Game. The 2010 edition takes place in Columbus, Ohio at the Value City Arena this Wednesday.

HHR enlisted a player from both the boys and girls' teams to give us a personal diary of some of their time as a McDonald's All-American.

First up is Haley Peters, a member of the East Squad from The Peddie School in Hightstown, NJ. Haley is headed to Duke, but in the meantime she gets props for being a Garden State native like so many of the HHR staffers. She takes us inside her life for two days as a member of the McDonald's East squad.


Haley Peters Journal
Written March 28, 2010

Saturday, March 27

I arrived in Columbus for the 2010 McDonald’s All American Games yesterday here from Newark at 4:00 p.m. with fellow New Jersey native Laurin Mincy. We were greeted at the airport by a few of the McDonald’s volunteers and staff members, who were friendly and helpful as usual. From there we took a short car ride to the hotel, and since then the activities and events have not stopped. Right away I met up with some former and future teammates, as well as some friends from other teams. Chiney Ogwumike was in the lobby when I walked in. Soon after I saw Maggie Lucas, my Philly Belles teammate, and fellow future Dukie Richa Jackson.

I first went to a meeting room to collect my gear and sign a few basketballs that are going to be auctioned at the banquet Tuesday night to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio (more on that later). I tried on my #33 white uniform, shirts, sneakers, and shorts for sizing and then moved on to the next meeting room for a picture in the jersey.

From there I had a minute to put my stuff into my room and met my roommate Jennifer O’Neill, a PG from the Bronx. She and I have played against each other a few times in some New York events, so I was excited when I saw we were rooming together. Not to mention that we were hooked up with the corner room in the hotel, so it’s a little more spacious and has a couple extra couches.

The rest of Saturday had more fittings, specifically for the banquet dresses. This year, they are red, and every player had the option to go with a long or short one, and everyone who was being fitted at the same time as me looked beautiful in them.

The main event of the day was the welcome dinner. So far the meals have been delicious- the first night included chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, and chocolate cake. I had to break my Lent fast of deserts for the night to try the chocolate chip and macadamia nut cookies.

After dinner we had team meetings. Coach Rogers, Schlabach, and Moser are heading up the East team this year, and the tone from the outset was that our team will not be the stereotypical all-star game team. Coach Rogers brings a lot of intensity, and as a team we established pretty quickly that our main goal was to win. We then hung out for a little while in the players lounge, watched some of the NCAA tourney games, and played EA Sports and Rock Band before heading to bed.

Sunday, March 28

Sunday started pretty early with breakfast, then optional religious services. From there we headed out for a full day. First we headed to the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus. The entire event is truly centered on this charity and one of the most surprising things for me these past two days is how central that organization is to all that we do. We ate an early lunch at the House, then baked cookies, read stories with the kids, played HORSE, and had a tour of the facility. The volunteer work there is incredible.


We headed across the street to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital and I ended up in a group with Ronika Ransford, Jenny from the Bronx, and Samarie Walker.

We visited about four rooms in the hospital and handed out basketballs, teddy bears, and signed pictures for the sick children. For most of us, this has been the highlight of the week thus far. Volunteering there put a smile on my face for the whole day.

From there we headed to practice at Ohio State. We went for just about an hour and a half after a quick warm up. The East team’s intensity from the previous night’s meeting carried over as we worked on some transition and defense.

Since then, we’ve had some time to hang out with some of the boys players during the EA Sports tournament. Tiffany Moore, Afure Jemerigbe, and I entered into the Rock Band tournament, and for a first time band we performed pretty well. Quite frankly, we should have won, but there was a little interference from some opponents... Tomorrow is another busy day with the Jamfest at night and a visit to McDonald’s and the Columbus Zoo!

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Tonight’s Jam Fest begins at 6:30 p.m. ET with the finals will air live on ESPN2 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

As for the games themselves, both will air this Wednesday. The girls game starts at 5:30 p.m. ET and will air live on ESPNU. The boys game will tip off at 8:00 p.m. ET and broadcast live on ESPN.

Game tickets are still available, and you can get them here.

For those in the Cleveland area, you can get POWERADE Jam Fest tickets for tonight here.

(Or you can buy tickets to both by calling (866) 909-GAME)

You can visit www.mcdonaldsallamerican.com for additional info.


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