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.