It seems like not too long ago that I was on an early morning flight from Portland to start a journey filled with high hopes as well as many unknowns. Today, I am on my way home, and while it doesn’t seem like it, it was nearly 7 months ago that my professional career began in Poland.
Our season ended a little less than a week ago with our third loss in the playoffs to Artego Bydgoszcz and with the end of a season comes time for reflection. As expected, our season was filled with ups and downs for me personally and our team. Similar to the transition into high school, or to your freshmen year of college, my “rookie” season overseas included many learning opportunities and the need to adjust and adapt to the new challenges.
When I found out I would be playing the season in Poland, I wasn’t really sure what I should expect. I was told good things about the basketball league and the quality of the competition, but the culture and lifestyle seemed like one big mystery. I must say I was very happy with the situation I was in. My temporary stomping grounds, the “tri-city” area of Gdynia, Sopot, and Gdansk was awesome. From the beaches, to the piers, shopping, restaurants, and many other sights there were to see, I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better area in Poland. Maybe I could’ve asked for a bit warmer weather so the beach could have been a little more useful, but I guess an Alaskan shouldn’t complain about being back in the cold.
My time there was very memorable and as I sit here and reflect, there are many things I will miss as well as things that won’t really be missed too much. I will miss my teammates, coaches, and other friends that were my family away from home. While it’s a little strange to think about this chapter coming to an end, I am definitely very excited to be coming home. Not only am I looking forward to some home cooked meals, I can’t wait to wash laundry and put the clothes in the dryer rather than hanging them up, or take a shower without trying to wash my hair while holding the showerhead because it wasn’t mounted on the wall. I’m excited to have normal cable TV; as I discovered, there are only so many shows on Netflix to watch and waiting a day for a TV episode to be available online just isn’t as fun, not too mention I’m coming home just in time to catch all of the March Madness!
I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to accomplish another goal I set. Playing professional basketball was a dream of mine from a young age and when I realized it could actually become a possibility I was very excited. I am not sure exactly what will happen next but I am hoping my playing career is not over quite yet. I’d love to go back overseas next season for a new experience and opportunity. For now though, I am going to enjoy my time with my family and friends. While it is technically the off-season for me, and I will have to make sure I am still working out and improving, I am very excited for some relaxation, a few vacations, and hopefully a warm and sunny summer.
I hope you enjoyed following my experiences through my first season. I know I had a great time and it was seven months that I will never forget.