Student-Athlete Update: DU Hoops in Paris

Student – Athlete Author – Ben Bowen Ben is a redshirt freshman. Bowen is a local product and played at Mountain Vista High School. He averaged 20.2 points per game with 5.9 rebounds per game to go along with 4.3 assists per night as a senior. The 6’5″ shooting guard started his collegiate career at Wyoming and matriculated to DU. His father Ryan played over a decade in the NBA and is currently an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets.

We arrived in Paris after a long flight in the middle of the night. Immediately after we arrived, we grabbed a team lunch and headed out for some sightseeing. A guided bus tour took us through Paris, as we learned about its history and saw places like the Opéra de Paris, the Panthéon, Luxembourg, and various other sites. We then stopped at the Arc de Triomphe, everyone had a little bit of jet lag, so it felt hard to believe we were actually in Paris at the Arc de Triomphe. After everyone piled back onto the bus, we drove by one last stop. The Eiffel Tower. Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time is probably something I will never forget in my life. When we drove by the Eiffel Tower everyone sort of had a moment of clarity, we all realized that we were in Paris, France, and just how spectacular this trip was going to be. 

Our next three days in Paris were nothing short of that, Spectacular. We ran around Paris, enjoying the crepes, croissants, and coffee. We checked out all that Paris had to offer, including the shops. Some of us went into Louis Vuitton, some to the 3-story Nike store, there was no shortage of shops to stop into and browse around. We drove about 35 minutes and took a jump back in history as we toured the Palace of Versailles which was amazing from start to finish. We then won our first game abroad in convincing fashion, although we have a long way to go it felt good to get a competitive game under our belt as we head into our next three games abroad.

On our Final day in Paris, we made a nearly 5-hour bus drive to Normandy. Although we complained about the bus ride on the way there, we did not on the way back. Going to Normandy, and learning about D-Day and Omaha Beach was truly life-changing. On that historic day in history, thousands of American men our age, 18-25, essentially sacrificed their lives in order to turn the tide of the war and liberate France. It made me, and all of my teammates feel extremely grateful for the lives we have and the opportunity to be in Europe with our brothers playing basketball. It was really a trip for me that put things into perspective and was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as I question if I will ever have the opportunity to return to Normandy in my life.

On our final night in Paris, we all went out to eat in different groups and did a variety of different things. Some of us went to the Eiffel Tower and watched as it lit up, and others enjoyed what the nightlife in Paris had to offer. This morning we were sad to leave Paris but excited for our next adventure. Next stop Lyon!!

Postscript: We won the first game 73-62 against the Paris All-Stars.

And, thanks to Ben for taking a time out to tell LetsGoDU about the trip.

3 thoughts on “Student-Athlete Update: DU Hoops in Paris”

  1. I have been fortunate enough to go to Normandy and Omaha Beach and walking around the field with nothing but crosses for as far as I could see is a moment I will never forget. So glad they got to see that.

  2. Agreed. For almost any American, your personal perspective on life and living freely is forever altered when you stand overlooking Omaha beach, and see all those headstones, each denoting an American young man lying there for eternity under the lovingly-manicured grass of the American cemetery.

    For the Pio basketball team, the value of traveling to Europe, having your eyes opened to the bigger world, being in France, playing and learning together is priceless. Most kids at DU get to study abroad at some point and get attuned to a larger world view, but most of the athletes don’t get to go abroad very often, so tours like this get to turn some of these guys on to the wonders of foreign travel.

    I’ve bought many things in life that I regret, but I’ve never regretted a nickel spent on travel…

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