Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in The Eagle on Aug. 20, 1966.
MENDOZA, Argentina – Several of the games we have played in Argentina have been under conditions strange to us. For instance, here in Mendoza the floor was tile and very slippery. In addition, the temperature was 40 degrees on the outdoor court.
The wooden backboards were new and unusual to the team members.
The ball was rubber and was American size (which is larger than international size); however, the rims were international size or smaller than ours at home.
The ball was hard for us to handle because of the chill in the air, and we had to stay out on the court from beginning to end because the locker room was too far removed, even for halftime.
A wine advertisement was played at the half. We were later to find out that in this part of Argentina wine was the main industry.
On a guided tour we visited a winery which produces more wine than any other in the world. It also has the world’s largest wine vat. This vat holds one million quarts. Our guide said that an average of two workers a year drown in the vats of the winery.
Naturally, with the big winery close by, vineyards line the countryside and growing the grapes is the second most important industry.
We found the people of the country to be very friendly. Officials of the trip had some worries beforehand because the United States has broken off diplomatic relations with Argentina due to a recent military coup.
Two players, Jamie Thompson and Ron Washington, lost their baggage. They have been forced to wear the same clothes that they started out with.
Conditions have been unusual so far, to say the least.