August 22, 2011

Today I saw a cat on a leash...

All right. I have to share my first awkward moment since coming here.

Well first things first, I did actually see a cat on a leash today, which I've never seen before. At first I thought it was a guy walking a monkey, but when I got closer I recognized my feline friend. The situation reminded me of my friend's dog who has a tendency to "go boneless" (as they say in Psych), or floppy, when she doesn't want to walk. When she's like that my friend usually ends up dragging her across the grass for a good five minutes. The cat's owner was giving a valiant effort to encourage it to get up and walk, but that cat was having no part of it. It just laid there in a ball on the cobblestone ground outside of the cathedral. I wish I had time to take a picture before he saw me, but I'm not so stealthy these days.

Anyways, on to my awkward moment of the day. Last night was brutally hot. I could NOT fall asleep. I even opened my skylight window and surrendered to the fact that the bugs were just going to get me. At around 3am I was drenched and miserable, so I journeyed downstairs. I opened all the windows to my apartment, again telling myself that if I had to choose between bug bites or heat rash, bug bites were probably the way to go. The problem with opening my windows (other than the bugs) is that the noise from the street carries right up into my apartment. I'm three stories up, but it doesn't seem to matter. Needless to say I feel very involved in the people's lives who pass below my street. At around 4:30am I remembered that the other night I saw a bat flying around outside. I then convinced myself that the cricket noise that I'd been listening to for the last 45 minutes was actually said bat, that the bat was going to fly into my window and get caught in my hair and then I'd have to get rabie shots. I put my curtains over the windows so they were still open but there was something to prevent the bat from attacking me up around 5am. The garbage men came precisely at 5:58am. The construction workers came at 6:30am, and there was no getting back to sleep. Basically, my terrible night lead me to be dead tired this morning, delirious, and miserable. I headed to practice at 9:30am disheveled, sweating, and groggy. We started practice with agility drills. After my first rep of the first drill my teammate said, "Hillary, you dropped..." then proceeded to look down at her hand, and hand me a pair of my hot pink underwear. Really Hill? Really. She gave me a really confused look like, 'how did these fall OFF of you?' They must have been mixed up in my jersey when I was getting ready this morning. Anyways, I snatched them and ran them into the locker room and somehow managed to get back to my place before any of our three male coaches took notice of what happened. Maybe I'm stealthier than I thought ;-).

August 21, 2011

“It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.” – Yogi Berra

I’m having kind of a tough time settling in here…which also means I’m having a hard time articulating what’s going through my mind. I know I haven’t been writing much, and I just keep thinking about the two sayings, “No new is good news,” and “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all;” I think I could argue a case for either right now.

Things are coming along a little better than they were last week at least. I’ll tell you one thing – this league is no joke, and I have a LOT of work ahead of me. The good news is that now that I'm over here I have the time to put in the work I need to in order to succeed at this level. Even though my August 6th departure date seemed really early to me (and it was, since a lot of my American friends who play overseas are just now starting to arrive in Europe)– I’m glad the team brought me out here so soon. It gives me some extra time to focus and work on the things I know I need to improve on personally, and gives the team the opportunity to practice together for a little over a month before our first game. Since a lot of us are new, this time is really important for us to learn how to play with one another and start to become a cohesive unit.

We had our first scrimmage on Friday night, which we ended up losing by about ten points. The game is just as fast as it was in Switzerland (probably a little bit faster), with girls that are stronger, more experienced, and taller. Since it was the first time our team got to play with five people (we’ve been playing 3-on-3 or 4-on-4 during practices while we wait for our final two teammates to arrive from the other teams they play on), I saw some really good things. I really like how our team defense looked (our help rotation was pretty good) and I really liked when I got to lob the ball up to our other five player for an easy bucket on offense. I did pick up a solid seven fouls…oops!, so I am going to need to readjust to that European style of play again.

In other news, it’s been really, REALLY hot here. It’s been a solid 92 degrees the past week, only both the gym and my apartment don’t have any air conditioning. On average, I’d say I’ve been sweating through four t-shirts a day, which is pretty miserable. Needless to say I’ve been spending a lot of time in the tub with ice.

That’s all for right now; we have another scrimmage on Tuesday night against a team that’s in our league, which will be a good indicator of the season up ahead. Wish us luck!

August 16, 2011


Right now our team is in the beginning of preseason. This means a few things:
  • My days consist of working out, sleeping, and eating. Then working out, eating, and sleeping.
  • Blisters.
  • My big toe nails are splitting - their ends are near.
  • Both my basketball sneakers and running sneakers are wearing thin.
  • My laundry loads have increased due to the number of shirts I sweat through.
  • Ice baths. Lots of ice baths.
  • Buying 1.5 liters of water in bulk.
  • And questioning why I put myself through this.
Every athlete hates preseason. You just take it one day at a time until the fun starts.

August 9, 2011

On to Day 2!!

my living room
When I first walked into my apartment with the president of the club and one of the committee members I was a little floored to be honest. Not that I didn’t love my Swiss apartment, because I did; that place definitely helped me find myself again and I will always love it for that, but THIS place…

I feel like I’m in the movie Stepbrothers and just got approval from mom and dad to bunk the beds; there’s SO MUCH ROOM FOR ACTIVITIES, including (but not limited to) INNNSAAANNNITTTYYYY, yoga, post-workout stretching, paint-by-numbering (pshhh, don’t think I forgot to bring one of those), floor-sitting, couch sitting, table sitting...I think you get the point. I included some pics just so you can see how amazing this is. So amazing, in fact, that when el presidente was taking me around town today to run some errands and asked me, “the apartment – it is okay?” I couldn’t help but give him a huge smile and say, “Yes! It’s great!” He laughed a little at my response…I think I need to calm down.

I went for a run today along the Vienne River, which really is very pretty. There is a footpath right by the water and a couple of bridges crossing over to either side of the river. I already staked out some benches for my down-time reading spots. One thing that happened while I was running which was really awesome was I ran past this guy who was fishing, saw me, and said, “ABC?” For those of you who don’t know, this actually means something other than proving his knowledge of the alphabet (or the first three letters I guess), the club I’m playing for is called ABC Limousin. It’s pretty cool to be pegged as a basketball player for the town. Needless to say, I’m even more excited now.

I guess the only thing that is weighing on me since arriving, well okay, two things, is I’m really nervous to start practice and I miss my family. Firstly, that whole feeling of not knowing what it might be like truly turns my stomach…good news is I’ll find out on Thursday morning just what to expect. Secondly, this summer was incredibly busy, but I got to spend a lot of time with my family, and it’s weird not giving my mom and dad a hug and kiss goodnight. But hey, every morning I rip another page off of my John Wooden quote calendar, signifying my making it through another day and bringing me one day closer to seeing them all again.

August 8, 2011

Year 2: Here We Go!

Me with President Jean-Paul Robert @ Limoges train station

I made it to France! That was quite a journey though, let me tell you. I left my house in New Jersey around 3pm, got to the airport at 3:40pm, to my terminal by 4:10pm, was in my seat on the plane by 7pm, arrived in Lisbon, Portugal at 5:55am (Portugal time), got in line for my Passport Check by 6:15am, got pulled to the front of line because I was about to miss my connecting flight at 6:45am, made it to my gate at 7am, boarded my connecting flight at 7:05am, took off from Lisbon at 7:45am, landed in Paris at 11:30am (Paris time), couldn’t find the person meeting me at the airport until 12:55pm, made it to the train station at 1:45pm (my train left at 1:40pm – causing me to just miss it), waited at the Paris train station until boarding the next train going to Limoges at 5:28pm, got into Limoges at 8:35pm, took a picture with the president of my club at 8:45pm, and finally got to my apartment at 9pm. Wow, even re-typing that makes me want to go lay down.

I actually thought I wouldn’t be jet-lagged since I didn’t go to sleep until almost 11, and had to wake up this morning at 8am for a physical, forcing me to start off here on a normal day’s schedule. That worked until about mid-afternoon when I couldn’t help but doze off for a small three hour nap. Oops.

Today I’m pretty sure I found my favorite spot in Limoges. There is a bridge going over the Vienne River that looks out along the lower part of town which is really, really pretty. I got to see this scene four times this morning, as I drove over the bridge and back while trying to find the supermarket. I can definitely see myself planting on a bench along the river and enjoying a good number of books there this year.

No practice until Thursday; right now the team is undergoing all of our physicals and tests these next couple of days to make sure we’re healthy and good to go.

I am feeling a little more comfortable at this point than I was last year, although I am finding that I’m a little anxious. Mostly I just want to get on the court.

Okay, that’s all for now…I’ll keep you posted!