Ambassador Melissa Galbraith definitely has a nice ring to it...

Published on Thu, Aug 29, 2002
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Ambassador Melissa Galbraith
definitely has a nice ring to it...

Look out Luke Ridnour. Blaine’s got another basketball talent, just back from the People to People Sports Ambassadors trip to New Zealand and Australia with a championship medal around her neck.

Melissa Galbraith, a Blaine 8th grader, got an invitation last December to join the tour group. Her teammates came from all over the country to form two teams, nine apiece. “It was really random,” she said, “they put us in lines and numbered us off.” Hers was the lucky draw.

After a quick three wins in Auckland, New Zealand, the girls hopped a plane to Canberra, Australia for another eight. Galbraith’s team emerged undefeated, their margin of victory less than 20 points in only two games.
Of course, the tour wasn’t confined to the court. Galbraith’s team got to know the girls they were playing at dances and barbeques. “They’re pretty cool people,” she said, “they don’t get riled up about losing.” The New Zealanders introduced the girls from the States to netball, similar to basketball, but disallowing dribbling, moving with the ball, and playing with no backboard.

Sightseeing was on the agenda as well. Galbraith’s team took in the sights in Auckland, Canberra, and at the conclusion of the tournament, Sydney.
While standards like the Hard Rock Café, the Sydney Opera house, the Harbor Bridge, and the Sydney Olympic Stadium were obvious points of interest, the team took in a lot of natural sights as well. They visited hot springs in New Zealand, and wildlife parks in Australia, catching glimpses of what showed up on the menu later; kangaroo: “It was … not bad,” Galbraith said.

In her efforts to pay for the trip, Galbraith’s family held a spaghetti feed in June, which brought in over $600. She said a lot of people also chose to donate directly to a fund for her. “I want to say thank you to everyone who helped me. I appreciated it a lot,” she said.

Galbraith said that while alumni of the tour are invited back, “I don’t know if I’m going to do it again.” She said she might consider touring with the People to People soccer team instead. .
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