GREENWICH, CONN. — Greenwich native Andy Park has traded his Husky basketball for a more island version.
Park, a University of Connecticut grad, is coaching the boy’s basketball team at Kosrae High School in Micronesia, where he is a volunteer English teacher. He is raising money to cover his travel costs to a a basketball tournament on another Micronesian island.
According to his GoFundMe page, he is hoping raise enough to support his students’ travel costs as well.
Park, who coached his little brother’s Greenwich Basketball Association team, said he has always enjoyed the game. He was “both excited and nervous” to coach the team at Kosrae High School, and his enthusiasm hasn’t dwindled since he took on the role.
“The first time the students played a scrimmage against a local team, I got very competitive,” he said in an e-mail. “I saw myself screaming like Jim Calhoun for every mistake, and jumping up an down like a crazed fan for each made and missed shot.”
There will be plenty of chances for competition at tournament, which will feature schools from the different islands of Micronesia at a premier venue.
“We will be playing at the National Gym, possibly the greatest facility in the country,” Park said. “They have been putting a lot of work in the last couple of months to show the other islands what Kosraeans are made of.”
Park hopes that his team follows up on the success of previous squads.
“The last time Kosrae High School participated in this tournament, the team won the championship,” he said. “It’s a big achievement to follow, but we’ve been working hard to achieve the same.”
Basketball is popular on the island: One court hosts a pickup game every afternoon.
Students at Park’s school also play softball, baseball, and volleyball. Older students compete with other municipalities on the island, but not many have the chance to travel beyond it, he said.
Although the island has air service, not many students fly because tickets are expensive. His students are looking forward to the opportunity to travel to a new place, Park said.
“Many of them are very excited because it will be their first time being on an airplane and traveling off island,” he said.
Micronesia is an nation consisting of more than 600 islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is nearly 7,000 miles from the United States.
To learn more about Park’s trip, visit his GoFundMe page here .
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.