It started just like any other day. Wake up, 7 o’clock, get dressed, eat breakfast, hit the road, start dribbling by 8 o’clock, and wake yourself up as you walk. But today was no ordinary day. Today was the day that Kicking Across Carolina would enter New Bern, the lovely hometown of Dylan and Sasha. I had heard tales of this mystical place before, but this was my first real experience with New Bernians, and I must say, they did not disappoint.
We started the day dribbling down Old Highway 70, walking about 11 miles before our first engagement of the day. With the help of Dylan and Sasha’s old soccer instructor, Coach Reid, we were scheduled to speak at HJ MacDonald Middle School, the institution that brought us such legends as the aforementioned duo. We were surprised to find a member of the New Bern Sun Journal staff waiting for us to get the inside scoop on our feelings thus far into the trip, and Ms. Sue Book did us a great service by writing a wonderful piece on us which can be found here.
Coach Reid was truly amazing, gathering the entire student body, nearly 900 people, in the gymnasium with the sole purpose of hearing us speak about our project. This was by far our largest audience, and with several hundred preteens and teenagers expecting so much of us, it’s safe to say we were nervous. However through a combination of Justin Beiber and shirtless Sasha, we were able to win over the hearts of young New Bernians, and the presentation was an overwhelming success. As if that wasn’t enough, Coach Reid went out of his way to make me an honorary member of the Warcub Nation, giving me a full soccer jersey and bestowing upon me the rank of Warcub, which I will forever wear proudly.
After presenting at HJ, we continued our dribble through downtown New Bern, picking up friends and family along the way. It was great to actually see what Dylan and Sasha (or Dylasha as I’ve come to call this cute couple) had been talking about and hyping for the past two weeks, and it was even more amazing to meet the people they had mentioned and find that they were just as loving and supportive as Dylasha made them out to be.
We finished our trek near the Union Point Park, a scenic location where the Neuse River meets the Trent River, and we stopped for a few minutes to spend some time with a group of supporters who met us there. Eating a snow cone from Coopers, watching my newfound friends interact, I realized that New Bern is truly a beautiful place filled with people that epitomize the generosity and friendliness that I’ve come to associate with North Carolina as a whole. Although I haven’t spent much time here before, it certainly is a place that I look forward to returning to in the future. There isn’t enough room on this page (or the next few) to name all of the wonderful people we would like to thank, but I want all of our supporters to know how much you all mean to us and how much we appreciate everything you have done and continue to do in order to help us. Upon starting this venture, we knew we would have good days and bad days; today was most certainly a good day. And to think, it started just like any other day.
Total Distance Traveled Today: 23.4 miles
Time Spent Traveling Today: 12 hours
Total Distance Traveled: 413.73 miles