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Ryan Flaherty documents his experience playing for Team USA
during the 2007 Pan American games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


SUNDAY, JULY 15TH

Hey Vandy Fans,

Today was our first of five games in the Pan-American Games. The tournament is setup so each team plays three games in pool play before playing two games in the medal rounds.

Today we played against the Dominican Republic and we beat them 6-1. The game could have been considered an upset because their team was filled with former major leaguers.

This was my first time playing outside of the country and it was a great experience. Putting on the USA Baseball jersey really means something when you are outside representing your country.

Life in the Olympic Village has been a great experience except for the fact that you have to eat the same meals everyday. However when you put things in perspective there are other twenty-year olds that are leaving the USA to go fight for our country so dealing with eating the same food for a week can't be that bad.

Tomorrow we are scheduled to play against Nicaragua at 1 p.m. and if we win, we will automatically advance to the medal rounds on Wednesday.

Till next time,
Ryan


FRIDAY, JULY 13TH

Black and Gold Fans,

Day Three of my Pan-American Games experience was the best one so far.

We had a chance to sleep in today and then went to practice to get ready for our first game Saturday night against the Dominican Republic.

They will be a very good test as their team is made up of many former major leaguers such as Raul Mondesi, Enrique Wilson and Jose Offerman to name a few.

The USA Baseball National Team is the youngest team in the Pan-Am games which will give me a great experience playing against older players.

Today also was the Opening Ceremonies for the 2007 Pan-American games and it was held in the same stadium which Pele (the Brazilian soccer player) scored his last goal ever.

Going into the event we were told that we would be "booed" and "cheered" by the local fans. As the bus drove close to the field many of the locals expressed their hate for Americans, however, by the time we entered the stadium filled with over 100,000 people all you could hear were cheers.

The experience was one of the best in my life, and is something that will always stay with me.

Tommorow will be our first game outside of the country and will give us a good idea of how we compare to some of the best competition in the world.

Till next time,
Ryan


THURSDAY, JULY 12TH

Hello Commodore Fans,

My second day in Brazil was a great experience as we got a chance to meet more of the athletes that are here for the Pan Am games.

We had to wake up this morning at 8 o'clock in order to eat breakfast at the cafeteria in the village. The cafeteria is where all the athletes eat and with so many being here you have to wait in line for a half hour sometimes!

After breakfast we went to workout in the fitness center which was filled with athletes from other countries.

This afternoon we had a chance to go visit the baseball field which was covered in water. The field was nice but players from these other countries would dream to play on a field like Hawkins Field.

Police carrying machine guns escorted us to the field and sat along the fence during practice to ensure the safety of the Americans.

After practice we had some down time to eat dinner and got to meet some of the other athletes from different countries. They have many events in the village such as games, live music, shops and other things that can entertain you. Tommorow will be a long day with practice and the opening ceremonies of the 2007 Pan American Games which take place in downtown Rio De Janeiro.

Till next time,
Ryan


WEDNESDAY, JULY 11TH

Hello Commodore Fans,

Over the past month I have been traveling all over the east coast playing with the USA Baseball National team. So far the experience has been something that will last a lifetime. Being able to play against other countries as well as play with the best players in our country has been special.

We just finished off a five-game series against Japan in which we lost three out of five games. Playing against other countries has been very challenging because their style of baseball is much different than what we are used to in the United States. The hitters hit differently and the pitchers approach is unique as well. It takes time to adapt to their style of play.

This tour started on June 18th and will last until August 12th when we finish playing in the Netherlands.

Last night we took a flight from Washington D.C. to Rio de Janeiro and landed at 9 a.m. this morning. The flight took about nine hours, but it seemed even longer. We are in Brazil to compete in the Pan American Games over the next week and a half.

This is my first time out of the country and you don't realize how much you actually have until you see places like Rio. As we took a bus through the city, you could see the run down houses and little kids with bare feet playing soccer. As the United States bus drove through the city, the little kids cheered and it made you want to get out of the bus and help them.

Our team is staying in the Olympic Village and its great because you get to meet all the other athletes from around the world. Each player stays in a room with one other teammate (I am staying with Pedro Alvarez). Tomorrow is our first practice and we will also get a chance to see some other tourist attractions here in Brazil.

I will try to make as many entries as I can so check back soon.

Go Dores!
Ryan







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