That is a good question and one that I am asking myself quite a bit lately. There is a saying that goes something like, with great risk comes great reward so let me take a little bit of time to explain my current situation.
For whatever reason I have not been able to find a job for the upcoming season. My ankle might have something to do with it but I can assure you that it is 100%. I spent the whole summer working out and doing rehab on it to get it to the condition it is in now. I was all ready to go in August but had no team to go too. I talked with my assistant coach from last year and he presented an interesting option to me.
Since I lived and worked in France last year for 10 months I am eligible to receive certain benefits from the government. My old coach explained these benefits to me and I was very interested in receiving them. He also called up his friend who is coaching in Nantes, France at the Pro B level and explained my situation to him and asked him if I can come and practice with the team. I also have another connection with the team because my old teammate from Marquette, Dwight Burke, plays for Nantes. With these 2 connections, the coach from Nantes accepted me to practice with the team.
So, on September 7 I packed up my bags and made the flight across the Atlantic to Nantes, France and began practicing with the team full time. Being in Europe does a lot of things for me professionally. Most importantly it proves to interested teams that my ankle is indeed 100%. It also makes me readily available to teams as it is a lot cheaper for a team to check me out when I'm already on the continent than paying for a flight from Milwaukee. Plus since I am already here, I wouldn't have to deal with the jet lag that occurs after the long flight. Practicing with Nantes also keeps me in great shape and I get to compete against good competition day in and day out.
The only negative to the situation is that Liz is not here with me. We decided that it was better for her to stay at home because I might get a call and need to leave at any moment. That is hard enough for 1 person, let alone 2. It is really tough being away from her but we will be together soon again.
The situation has been good so far. It feels really great to be back in France and playing basketball as well. I love this country and Liz and I have made some great friends here in the past year. Nantes is a little bigger than Blois but it is a great city as well. It is more vibrant and lively because it is a university city. It seems like there is always something going on and the streets are packed. There is even some crazy elephant robot machine that roams around the city occasionally. I haven't seen it personally yet but I have seen pictures and signs for it.
I have done a little exploring while I have been here but not too much. The downtown area is pretty cool and there is a castle here too which I love. My favorite part of the city though is the little side streets. There is even one filled with crepe shops. If that doesn't say France, then I don't know what does.
I think this is the crepe street.
Basketball is going really well too. Like I said it feels great to be back out on the court even if this isn't my team. The coach here is great and is really helping me out. The team had a few injuries a couple weeks ago and the coach asked me if I could help them out and play in a friendly game against Limoges. Limoges is a club with a great tradition in France and they recently moved down from Pro A. I of course said yes because it could be a great opportunity for me to get seen.
The game went really well for me. I played 17 minutes and led the game in rebounding with a game evaluation of 13 and most importantly the team won in a thriller with a score of 88-87! It was awesome to be back playing in a real game. Now I just need a job of my own.
An opportunity was presented to me last week that I took. It was one of the weirdest situations of my life but it deserves a blog of its own. I'll save that for next time.