Very Bad Trip is what the Hangover is called in France. I love this movie and would love to write a blog about it but I just can't do it though with what recently happened in my life. Fortunately, Very Bad Trip describes my trip to Austria and gives me a reason to show the French movie poster from the Hangover.
Last Saturday I received a Facebook message from an agent telling me he had a job for me. This actually isn't a rare occurrence. I have received numerous messages from agents claiming they had jobs for me. I had never heard from this agent before and had no idea who he was. After checking with my real agent, everything seemed to be legit. My agent and I discussed the job at great length and decided to give it a shot. We didn't know anything about the team so we included in the contract that I could opt out if I didn't like the situation.
I started my very bad trip on Tuesday morning at 9:30 am taking the train from Nantes, France to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport for a flight at 3:30 pm. The train ride was 3 hours long and the seats on the train are pretty small but thankfully I had 2 of them to myself so it could have been worse. I passed the time looking at the beautiful French countryside and listening to my iPod. I think I even fell asleep for a little bit, which is crazy because I can never sleep when I'm traveling.
The train trip was just 1/4 of the journey. I had 2 flights to catch still and a car ride. My first flight was at 3:30 pm from Paris to Frankfurt, Germany. I arrived at the airport at 12:30 and had a few hours to kill so I stopped at the airport Starbucks and ordered a Chai Tea Latte. Even though I ordered a Chai Tea Latte, I received something completely different. That should have been a sign of things to come. I didn't care that much because I love Starbucks and was just happy to be drinking something.
I was booked on Lufthansa for my first flight and everything went great. It was my 3rd time flying Lufthansa and I like the airline a lot. The Germans are very efficient. As we were flying in we got a great view of the Frankfurt skyline. I haven't seen many skylines like that in Europe and I really enjoyed it. I guess the people in Franfurt like their skyline too because the basketball team in Frankfurt is called the Skyliners.
My second flight was on Austria Air and was leaving at 6:00 pm out of Frankfurt. The flight was great and I was kind of excited to be in Austria. I have heard how beautiful the country was and I wanted to see a little bit of it but I also knew that this was a business trip and I was there for business.
I was met at the airport by the Coach, a national player and a player who was also there on tryout. I thought that it would be a short car ride to the hotel the team was staying at but I was wrong. I was very tired from my long day of travel but I was told that there was a 3 hour car ride to the middle of the Austrian Alps where the team had set up camp. What made this news even worse was that we were going to be coming back to Vienna in the morning to play a game. I wasn't very happy with the recent news but I wasn't in charge of anything so I just went with the flow.
I finally arrived to the hotel at 11:00 pm and was extremely tired and sore from my 14 hours of travel that day. It isn't easy or comfortable being 6'10" and 270 pounds and travelling in tiny planes, trains and automobiles. I was exhausted and had to get a good night of sleep because we had practice at 8 am the next morning.
I got up the next day at 7 am to a standard Euro breakfast of slices of lunch meat and rolls. I was excited to meet the rest of the team and for practice. It was a pretty easy practice and just consisted of walking through plays and getting a feel for the team. My legs felt very heavy from the previous day of travel. I was looking forward to getting on the touring bus and being able to lay down and sleep on the bus ride back to Vienna. I even had a dream of getting the back seat and being able to lay across all of the seats. That dream was crushed when I saw our means of transportation to Vienna.
Last year in France we took a bus with seats that converted into beds. It was by far the best means of transportation I have had. In Switzerland we took big busses too. The team I was with in Austria didn't even have a bus. They had a van! We fit 15 grown men into this big van for a 4 hour trip to Vienna. I have never been more uncomfortable in my life and would have welcomed an airplane seat. I would have even welcomed airline food because the team didn't feed us on the trip.
We arrived in the middle of Vienna around 2 pm. We got out of the bus and the assistant coach told us to be back there in 3 hours. I had no idea what was going on. Apparently we were there to do a little sight seeing as well as to play a basketball game. This gave me the opportunity to at least eat a little something. Normally I would never ever eat pizza before a game but the only other option was McDonald's and I didn't want that either. We did our walking around Vienna and it is a beautiful city. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures but I hope to take my beautiful wife there one day and do some real sight seeing.
After meeting back at the bus at 4:45 we set our sights on the gym to play BC Vienna. The game started out very well as we built a sizable lead of 20 points. I was playing very well too and then the tired and heavy legs started to kick in with the whole team. Our lead slowly sank away and we eventually lost in overtime. My legs felt like crap at the end of the game and to make matters worse I got hit 2 times in the same spot on my thigh. I knew that the van ride back to the hotel was going to be 2 times worse than it was going to the game.
As we piled back into the van, the teams thoughts turned to food. One of the players asked the coach if we were going to stop for food. The coach said yes but we had to pay for it ourselves. I have played professional basketball for going on 6 years now and have never bought my own meal on the road or after a game. Heck, my other teams even bought Liz meals when she traveled with the team. We stopped at a Burger King in Vienna and I purchased a double whopper value meal and opted for a salad instead of french fries. Since I had a slice of ham for breakfast and pizza for lunch, I skipped the fries and tried for something a little healthier.
On the ride home, as I was trying to get comfortable and listening to a foreign movie in a language I didn't understand, I was thinking hard about this new adventure. We arrived back to the hotel at 1 am and I only hoped that things would get better from here on out.
To be continued..............