Friday, October 22, 2010

Cars and Driving

How do you get around? That's a question that I get asked a lot. I also get asked if I drive on the left side of the road. Both questions have easy answers. Europeans only drive on the left in the United Kingdom. As it pertains to the other question, all of the contracts I have signed have had the use of a car included. In my 5 professional seasons I have had many different kinds of cars.

My first year playing for BC Lugano Tigers, the team gave me a new Volkswagon Passat station wagon. This was my first experience living in Europe and I was very nervous about the driving situation. European roads are smaller than American roads and European drivers are a little different than American drivers. They aren't bad but just a little different. I was worried that I would scrape my car against other cars parked on a narrow street or go the wrong way down a one way and wreck the car. None of these things happened and I really enjoyed driving the Passat. The station wagon wasn't a big deal either because hatch backs are far more common in Europe than back at home.

During my second season playing in Sion, Switzerland I had 2 different cars. My agent had a clause in my contract stating that I could not receive a car older than 5 years. The first car I had was an Opel Corsa. It was new and pretty nice but not my final car. I only had this car for about a month. My club was sponsored by a Volvo dealership and all the players were going to get brand new Volvos. My car was a Volvo V70. We had to drive 30 minutes to practice 2 times a day so it was a good thing that I had a nice car to do it in. Apparently I didn't wash it a whole lot though.

My 3rd year playing for Massagno was the first time that I ever had a problem with a car. Massagno was sponsored by Bemauto Citroen car dealership and the American players got to drive new Citroens. These cars though were stick shift and I didn't know how to drive a stick.Thankfully my teammate Brody Angley taught me to drive. It was difficult learning to drive in the mountains but he was a great teacher and had a lot of patience with me. I actually really enjoy driving a stick shift now. My Citroen C3 felt kind of like a go kart and I had a lot of fun in it.

The cars in Massagno had the decals of the club on them as well as the sponsor name and our names on the side. I thought that this was really cool but some players didn't like it. They felt that it was a way for the club to track their every move.

This year I don't have the pleasure of driving a brand new car. The club gave me a 1996 Renault Safrane. They wanted to make sure I had a big car and enough room for my legs. Apparently, back in the day, this was a very nice car. It has definitely seen better days but I don't do a lot of driving. I live right by the gym so I walk to practice every day.

One day they told me that I was going to get an advertisement put on the side of my Safrane. I was pretty excited about this because I thought that it could spice it up a little. The advertisement is for Landes Karting so I was expecting a race track around the car with karts racing around it. I was getting excited about the possibilities. Unfortunately the advertisement on the side just says Landes Karting. My disappointment was immeasurable.

All of this car talk really makes me miss my car back at home. I took advantage of the Cash for Clunkers deal and traded in my Ford Explorer and bought a Ford Fusion last summer. I have owned it for 14 months and have only driven it for 3. I guess it is just the sacrifice I make for getting to live out my dream.

Monday, October 11, 2010

All Access

ADA-TV provides an all access look into our team and into our organization. They are always busy putting together different highlights and videos. In the pre-season they put together a video of our track workouts as well as individual player highlights from our friendly games. Now that the season is under way, they create highlights from all of our games. This is extremely useful to my father who can critique my game 5,000 miles away and in the comfort of his own home.

This is action from the first game of the year against Saint Ettienne. It was a very good game and back and forth throughout. Our crazy fans can be heard in the background with their horns, drums and whatever else they use to make noise.

In addition to basketball action, ADA-TV puts together all access looks into game preparation and the locker room. This is probably the coolest part of what they do because it provides behind the scenes action and a look into my life.

ADA-TV was able to record a timeout during the game against GET Vosges. This is a typical timeout. Our coach speaks in french and then our assistant coach translates for me and Kai. I have to position myself on the sides so the assistant coach can kneel next to me and translate. It is a little different but I never leave a timeout wondering what I am supposed to do. Our assistant coach speaks perfect english and is a great translator.

This clip is in the locker room after the victory against GET Vosges. I can only be seen near the end of the clip because I was busy doing an interview for the radio. This video is pretty good because I don't think the guys knew they were being filmed at the beginning. Everyone is happy because we got the win but the happiness faded when we realized someone forgot to bring beer for after the game. Our coach doesn't give a speech after the game so he isn't in there. This is a pretty typical thing in Europe. I haven't had a coach yet who gives post game speeches. As you can see, our locker room isn't the greatest but it gets the job done.

All of their work can be seen by clicking here. It is definitely worth the time.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Typical Week

I get a lot of questions from back home about what I do during the day or what my week looks like. Our practice times are pretty much set in stone as far as times so my schedule doesn't change a whole lot. I figured my typical week schedule would make for a good blog. So here it goes.

I wake up at around 9 am on Mondays and prepare myself a nice breakfast of eggs and toast. Although we only hit the court once on Monday, it is pretty rough so I want to make sure I start the day off right. We have to go to to the weight room at 10:30 and lift for an hour. Coach didn't give us a specific program to work off of, so we can do what we want. I like this because I get to work on what I want to and what I feel like I need.

After weights, we head over to the gym for an hour and a half practice. This is a tough practice that includes a lot of running. We have Sundays off so I guess coach wants us to run off the rust. Practice always ends with sprints. Last Monday ended with 12 minutes of sprints. It is not very fun.

Mondays are also our shopping days. Liz and I head on over to Leclerc (the French Meijer or Wal Mart) and get what we need for the week ahead. While I love going to Meijer, I hate going to this store. Too many people! It is pretty terrible but the prices and quality are good.

We hit the court twice on Tuesdays. I wake up around 9 am again for breakfast and head on over to the weight room at 10:30. The team lifts on our own for an hour and then we head over to the gym for practice at 12. This practice isn't a team practice but like an individual. Coach breaks us up into guards and big men. We do a half hour of shooting and then play 1 on 1 for a half hour. The shooting isn't just getting shots up. We do drills and they are done with intensity. The games of one on one are intense as well. It is a great workout.

I relax in the afternoon before practice at 7 pm again. This is a team practice and we work on things that we need to get better at. If our fast break was poor in our last game then we would do fast break drills or work on specific plays.

Tuesday night is pizza night for Liz and I. The local Dominos offers every pizza for 8 euros on Tuesdays. It is a great deal and something we had to take advantage of. I love pizza night.

We just have 1 mid day practice on Wednesdays. I get to sleep in and usually wake up around 10 am. This practice is a lot like Tuesdays practice but more up and down. Coach likes to work us because it is the only practice we have that day. We go for around an hour and a half and end with 15 minutes of shooting.

Since I am so tired after practice on Wednesday, I relax for a few hours and head back to the weight room in the afternoon. I don't go there to lift weights though. I go there to relax in the sauna and the jacuzzi. I need to take advantage of the facilities and to take the proper care of myself.

The team meets up at the gym at 11 am to watch film on ourselves and the other team. Our coaches do an excellent job of scouting our opponents. They have a breakdown on everybody on the opposing team as well as all of their plays. We watch these clips and then some game action. Sometimes we watch ourselves too.

After film we head to the court for an hour of partner shooting.

I relax on Thursday afternoons because for practice on Thursday night we play a game to 100. Coach splits the team up evenly and we go at it. The game is broken up into quarters, so we end the quarter when a team reaches 25, 50, 75 and 100. Each quarter is also a different situation. Coach doesn't say a whole lot and lets us play. I love Thursday because I feel like it gets us ready to play and we just play basketball.

Friday is the day before the game so we only have 1 practice at 7 pm. We do have the opportunity to shoot at noon though. I always shoot at noon. I work on post moves and then shoot 100 jumpers. It isn't too heavy but not too light either.

Practice is always the same on Friday. It isn't too light or too heavy. We get loose and work on us as well as the other team. We shoot at the end of practice as well.

Saturday is game day and the day we prepare for all week. The day is usually spent just relaxing around the apartment. I do my pre game ritual of showering and having coffee and then I head to the gym at 6:40 for an 8 pm game.

I always say I get paid to practice and play the games for free. I love game day even though I get extremely nervous before tip off.

Hopefully Saturdays end with a win.

This is our off day and I just take it off. Nothing is open in France on Sundays so Liz and I might go for a walk downtown or just sit around the apartment. Lately we have been watching football on Sunday nights.

So, that is it. That's my week. Nothing very exciting but it's my life at the moment and I love it.