It’s a beautiful clear and crisp fall day here in Poland and has been this way for about 4 or 5 days now. The leaves are turning colors and the days and especially the nights are starting to get a little chilly. We have today off and will be spending it by resting and recovering from a long week and going to watch a couple of basketball games including one of the professional men’s teams from Gdynia.
The area we live in is referred to as the Tri-Cities. This includes Gdansk- the largest of the three, Sopot- which is where we live, and Gdynia- where our team is based and where we play our games. The Tri-Cities is known to be the host of great sports teams including professional volleyball, hockey, soccer (or football as they refer to it here), handball, rugby, and of course basketball. We are the only professional women’s basketball team that plays in the first league but there is another team that plays in the second league; which some players from my team also play on. On the men’s side, there are three teams that play in the top league; two are from Gdynia and one is located in Sopot. Additionally, there is a second league men’s team. This creates for busy gyms with tight practice schedules but also a lot of opportunity to watch basketball.
As for our team, we completed a busy week that consisted of a game on Wednesday and one Saturday and are getting ready to repeat that schedule this coming week. On Wednesday we played in Gorzów, a city located about 7 hrs Southwest of Gdynia. We drove in an airport shuttle like bus, about the size of a 15-passenger van there and back- it was a very tight fit.
Despite the lack of leg room, the drive was highlighted by our stop for lunch. We stopped to eat at a restaurant located in a small complex consisting of the restaurant, a gas station, a small store, and a zoo! This was probably the most well-rounded and thought out rest stop I have ever seen. We pulled up to the parking lot and looked out the window to see a small hippo walking around as well as a group of mere cats running around their small caged in area. We ate lunch and then walked around to explore some more of the zoo. This zoo was very random and spaced out; there wasn’t one main entrance or a requirement to pay or even any zookeepers present. It was literally random animals constrained by their fenced in cages scattered about the acre or so of land. I did get to feed a couple of lamas and baby goats some pellets of food and also saw three beautiful lions. Personally, I love zoos and think the idea of a zoo at a rest stop is brilliant! Maybe a business idea? I think it has the potential to be much more exciting than the infamous Wall Drug stop along Interstate 90! Anyone want to invest?!
Anyways, back to the basketball. We lost to KSSSE AZS PWSZ Gorzów 74-58. I know the score doesn’t indicate it, but our team is getting better and starting to play more together as a team. We returned home after the game, unfortunately without making another stop to see the animals, and began our preparation for our first home game.
On Saturday we played the top team in the league, TS Wisla Can Pack Kraków, and played very well. We trailed by only one point at half time and after a sluggish third quarter we entered the final period trailing by 14. We made a big run to cut the lead to four with a couple minutes remaining. We put ourselves in position for a big upset but were unable to close the deal and lost 73-67. Hopefully this game will be a confidence builder for our team, proving to ourselves that we are capable of playing with the best teams in the league. We now move forward to a new week and will have two more home games on Wednesday and Saturday. We are currently in 8th place in the league and a couple of wins this week would definitely be helpful to get us back on the right track.