This past week I’ve had a chance to enjoy some more Swiss culture. I guess I should start by talking about karaoke night. We all met at my coach’s house and engaged in a number of games, one of which was karaoke. First of all, I have to protest, the BEST songs we can send to Switzerland to put on their karaoke games are “Roxanne” by the Police and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” by Boy George? I mean, sure, they’re good songs, but they are not something I would typically sing karaoke to…and of course my teammates wanted to give me the courtesy of singing American songs! Maybe I should study up on Police lyrics; it was painful for ALL parties involved. Needless to say I was happy when my coach interrupted me about a quarter of the way through Boy George’s hit to put back on French songs. Now, if they had “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey I would have pulled out my dance moves and really shaken up the place!
We unfortunately lost our game in the Swiss Cup (of the Triwizard Tournament) against Fribourg. I had hoped that because it wasn’t a regular conference game we’d have an extra spark and REALLY surprise ourselves. We didn’t play badly, actually a number of us had pretty good games, but again the other team was just too strong for us to pull out a win. I’ve already talked about how different the rules are over here, but I guess I forgot to mention how TERRIBLE the refs are (and I don’t just mean the lack of calling over the backs). It’s not that I personally don’t like the refs, I just have no clue what is a foul and what isn’t (and I’m very vigilant on the court, I pay attention), they are just SO INCONSISTENT. There were a couple times in the game last night where it was blatantly obvious that the other center was locked up on my left arm, forcing me to pull down a rebound or grab a pass with solely my right – and there would be no call. However, if one of our guards so much as touched someone on the other team, it was a foul. I’ll even confess, one possession I literally just stuck out my leg because I knew I was beat; in America it would have MOST CERTAINLY been a foul, but my knee forced my opponent out of bounds and then we got the ball back! I thought ‘wow, that sucks, that was definitely a foul,’ and even felt guilty about it. I guess I still need to learn a few more tricks about how to play in Europe.
When you’re an athlete you don’t think about pain during a game, it’s pointless. You keep on plugging away and leave your heart and soul on the floor. I left everything on the floor during our game last night, so much in fact that as soon as the game was over and all the adrenaline rushed out of my body, I realized how much pain I was in. It’s weird to think about how much adrenaline can push you through, and then actually recognizing the instant it leaves your body. Really the only things left to do are shower, ice, and pray for a quick recovery period. I’m sure there are other athletes out there who can vouch for me when I say that after two grueling games in a row, your body sometimes has an upchuck reaction to seeing what made it feel that way. I kind of felt that way walking to practice tonight.
When I got to practice however, it seemed like my coach had read my mind. She had out two dodge balls, a soccer ball, and a softball bat. We spent tonight’s practice playing. Now, there is a reason I picked basketball, I’m good at it. I STINK at soccer and my dodgeball skills are not anything to write home about. I never played softball either, and only realized tonight how complicated Americans make games. Trying to explain the rules of softball to my teammates was so incomprehensible for them that we ended up making our own rules; rules that I ended up not understanding, but somehow still made the game more fun! Earlier in the year our coach pulled out an American football and said, “We play American football tonight!” Naturally when I caught the football I started sprinting into the end-zone; I guess she meant American-Swiss football, because all my teammates started laughing when I took off running and got all excited when I thought I scored a touchdown (I guess they play that you can’t run with the ball here – I am still not certain though :P) . Well, tonight I saw how funny it was to see my teammates look around paranoid not knowing whether or not they were ‘out’ after stepping on a base (which happened to be a hula-hoop). Finally I knew the rules of a game and was actually consulted about how to play. I love rules; I’m a stickler for rules. I walk the line when it comes to rules. Of course by the end of the night we changed the rules and I had no idea what was going on again. Even so, I hit a home run! I guess that’s not the point; by the time we were done playing these other games, I was ready to pick up a basketball again. And just like that I’m looking forward to BASKETBALL practice tomorrow!