Greetings from our snowy neighborhood in Sopot! I guess they were just waiting until the New Year to give us some snow, as we are now in the midst of our third consecutive day with snow and the forecast is predicting this to continue for another three days. Also, since I have been back from break, I’ve noticed the amount of darkness during the day. I’m sure it was like this before I left but maybe I just wasn’t aware until I went home and got to experience a more normal amount of sunlight during the day.
We are coming off a long but fun weekend that included a road trip to Kraków, where we faced one of the top teams in our league Wisla CP Kraków. The game could’ve gone better as we lost 83-59. However, keep in mind that this team is not only one of the best teams in Poland, they’re also a top team in the Euroleague and have the WNBA’s MVP Tina Charles on their team among other great players.
In the midst of a large crowd of a wide spread mixture of nationalities, languages, and unique cultural “swags”, I stood in line at the Newark International Airport waiting to pass through security when it finally hit me… The time had finally come to pack up my bags and begin my next journey. Although still in America, the flurry of non-American cultures was overwhelming and sort of gave me that Wizard of Oz “we’re not in Kansas anymore” type feeling.
One week in, and the journey is in full swing. As expected, basketball has been occupying the majority of my time but I have had the opportunity to fully unpack, and briefly explore the immediate surrounding area. With the exception of a couple of days, we have had two practices a day. Weights and/or conditioning in the morning and basketball practice in the afternoon. I feel almost like I’m back in college at summer school- minus the schoolwork. The day-to-day schedule is very similar.
Sometimes the smallest things can provide the most excitement as well as comfort and a feeling of normalcy in unfamiliar surroundings. For myself, I had one of these moments a few days ago when I took advantage of a morning off from workouts and went on a little trip to find Starbucks. This successful voyage definitely brought a smile to my face. For a moment, I felt like I was back in Seattle making a trip down the street to Starbucks just as I so frequently did.
A combination of basketball, community service and sightseeing made this weekend very busy, yet a lot of fun. Saturday morning we drove about 20 minutes to Gdansk to visit the area of the city known as Old Town. It was absolutely beautiful, minus the rain, and I'd love to share more about it but after almost three weeks, I finally have some basketball news to share!
Just when I thought I was finally looking like less of an American tourist as I go about my day-to-day activities, an experience last week turned that all around. I was walking through the mall by myself enjoying a mocha when I noticed this old lady sweeping the floors. I felt her eyes fixed on me as we walked almost side by side. I turned to look at her but it didn’t alter her obvious fixation. Maybe my hair was looking a little crazy or something, I’m not really sure. This was a little weird but turned comical seconds later.
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.
Waiting… and waiting… and waiting for October 17th to come around. It seems like we haven’t played in forever and still have a little less than a week before we head to Gorzow to finally play again. While this break has been nice and allowed some time for relaxing, recovering, and excessive episodes of TV shows online, I think we are all ready to play again.