The first official games are in the books! We traveled afar to compete in our first Polish league game. Although parading across European countryside sounds quaint, it was all too similar to the great Midwestern plains of the United States. After driving nearly the length of the entire country, we played KK Row Rybnik and lost a very close game. We jumped out to a great start and led 13-1 until Rybnik went on a run of their own. The rest of the game could be described as a Ping-Pong match; it was back and forth the rest of the way. In the last couple of minutes we trailed by less than 10 and the series of fouls began, hoping they would miss some free throws and we would be able to comeback. We definitely put up a good fight but came up just short and lost 66-59.
After the game we drove about 5 hours to Łódz, where we played the next day. This game was close the entire time. I don't think either team led by more than 10 at any point. We had 3 point lead with about 45 seconds left before scoring to go up 5 and then hanging on to earn our first win of the season, 78-72. While we would like to be 2-0 right now, one win is better than none and we continue to improve every day.
On the trip I learned a few things about Poland and its culture. One of my favorite aspects of the Polish culture is their love for sweets. On the drive to Rybnik our first stop at a gas station became a treat break and the entire team bought an ice cream bar; immediately I knew the trip would be okay. Additionally, our pre-game snack between lunch and when we left for the gym didn’t consist of water and fruit or any other somewhat nutritious snacks that may traditionally be served in the U.S. before games. Rather we were given coffee and tea along with cookies and cake or pastries. I suppose the goal is to create a sugar high and hope it doesn’t end until after the game is over. I’d love to hear what my Sport Nutrition professor would have to say about that one!
Also, on this trip I realized how beautiful the area I live in is compared to the rest of Poland, or at least what I’ve seen so far. The land we traveled across was mostly one flat acre of farmland after another. The cities we played in were not as developed and lacked the beach scenery I’ve learned to enjoy so much here in Gdynia.
After scheduling us for back-to-back games to open the season, I think the league felt bad and is now giving us a two week break before our next game. The good part is we will have time to rest; the bad part is we have two weeks full of practices! Hopefully the time will go quickly and we will improve with each practice and be ready to go in a couple of weeks.