September 26, 2011


Saturday we had our second game of the season. I won’t say much about it, other than as good as we (and I) played in our first game, we played just as badly in this one. I have to wash my hands of it or I will drive myself absolutely crazy. So…

Yesterday I went to Oradour-sur-Glane, a small town about half an hour from Limoges that was destroyed by the Nazis on June 10th, 1944. A new town was rebuilt right next to the town that was destroyed on that day, but the ruins remain as a memorial to those families that were massacred as well as to serve as a reminder of the atrocities that occurred during World War II.

When I got to Oradour-sur-Glane, I was immediately humbled. It is amazing to me to see what hatred can develop into. Before going to visit the memorial, I had little knowledge about why the town was attacked, but learned shortly after that the massacre of 642 people was a retaliation of the supposed capture of one German official by the Resistance. I walked along the streets of the town that was left to rubble and climbed the steps of the town’s church where the women and children were locked, gassed, and shot at on that June day. I couldn’t help but think about how any human being could have such coldness inside his/her heart to be able to murder so many defenseless people. Outside the destroyed buildings were signs of the names of families that had lived inside, along with their held occupations. Walking along the deserted street and looking at those signs, it made me think about how each one of those 642 people killed on that day had a life, interests, friends, beliefs, and individual characteristics that a sum number does not justify.
In the rear part of the town was a cemetery filled with graves of the people from the town. The graves were covered with flowers, plaques, and reminders of that day, many of which read “Another Uncle,” “Another Mom,” or “Another Dad.” I don’t think I will ever understand war, but looking at those graves I couldn’t help but pray that all of the soldiers that are off fighting in wars can make it home to their loved ones again safely.

September 18, 2011

First Match

Last night was the first game of our official season. I honestly can't remember the last time I was so excited AND nervous for a season to start. As most of you know, preseason was not easy for me at all...each day I felt like I was trudging uphill in the mud...but with the saying, "nothing will work unless you do" in mind, I fought with myself each day to push through preseason and see what the regular season might hold in store.

It's only the end of week one...of a 30+ game season, but I'm just going to say it, I'm proud of myself. I went into the first game telling myself to just believe. Believe in what I can do and believe in the team. To get to the point, in a hard fought battle, we ended up winning the game 71-68 against Calais.

As a team, we came out really strong. Before I even realized what was happening, we were up 24-12 and were plowing along. We really played well together and executed our offense, with each teammate stepping up when we needed to make something happen. At half-time we were up by 13, and I never had the desire to run away with a score so badly in my life. The third quarter brought a slight comeback from Calais, but we battled back and even extended the lead to 15 heading into the 4th. The last quarter brought with it a full momentum swing, and our team struggled as Calais pulled within 6 points of us. With about 3 minutes left in the game I picked up my fifth foul, took a seat on the bench, and prayed that we would pull out a win.

Exchanging baskets and fouls, those final three minutes seemed like the longest of my life. Calais pulled within two points a number of times, but our defense held up, never giving up the lead. Our point guard hit some clutch free throws down the stretch and with ten seconds left and us up by three, we grabbed a board off a free throw and ended the game.

If you want to read the fun google translate version of the game, you can click here.

After the game we joined the partners of the club for a little champagne and a congratulatory speech from our president, followed by a dinner in town with a number of our fans. It was a really nice start to what I hope will be a very memorable season!

September 15, 2011

Opening Round

There is nothing quite like the beginning of a season. Tons of thoughts always rush through my head before an opening game: Will I play well? Will we win? Will I remember the plays? Will I get the rotation right on defense? Will I remember everything I need to? Will my teammates be ready? Will there be people in the stands? Will the gym have a positive energy? Will the ball bounce in our direction? Will everyone be on the same page? Needless to say I still get butterflies in my stomach before that first jump ball.

It’s amazing what happens as soon as the ball goes up; it’s like a switch flips and I just completely zone in. I think that’s why I love basketball so much…while I have all the aforementioned things to think about, in the moment, there is no thinking, there is solely ‘being.’

I am so looking forward to playing this weekend. I’m ready to just ‘be.’

September 9, 2011

One Month Down…

Me & Kerline @ Dinner
Wow. I can’t believe I’ve been here a month already. Only eight more months to go (yeah, I need to NOT look at it that way)! Anyways, things are getting better on this end. I’ll be honest, the first couple of weeks here were incredibly trying, and I was a little worried that it wasn’t going to get any better and I just wasn’t going to find enough enjoyment in what I was doing to stick it out. I mean I’ve always been (and always will be) the type of person that is 100% devoted to whatever it is I’m doing. If I can’t give 100%, I’ll always question what the point is of doing it. But, during those first weeks, breaking the weeks down into days and the days down into individual tasks really helped me out. I was able to step up to each challenge, conquer it, and move on to the next. I really think those first couple of weeks made me a stronger person.

Preseason is actually almost over now (thank God). We only have one more scrimmage tomorrow before we open up our conference play next Saturday. Our first two games are against the best two teams in the league (why does it seem like this is ALWAYS the case), and we definitely have our work cut out for us.

This past week we had some team bonding time on Monday and Tuesday. Monday night we did a team Zumba class, went out to dinner, and then went bowling. Zumba is actually a lot of fun. The instructor brought his “A” game, was super enthusiastic and motivating, and all of my teammates got really into it, which just made it so much more enjoyable. Monday was also the first time I’d been out to eat since coming here, which was a really nice treat. The biggest surprise of the night for me though was at bowling, when I bowled the best game I’ve probably ever had (which still isn’t anything to write home about), and beat my teammates and my coaches. =)

Me, Joyce, & Lindsay checking out the scores ;-)
One of the things about being the only American on a team is that it is super annoying to have to ask people to translate stuff for you all of the time, so sometimes, and maybe this isn’t such a good thing, I just don’t. I just go with the flow and see what happens. The second day of team bonding was a big mystery (not only to me, but everyone). I was thinking booze cruise (The Office style) maybe? One could only hope. We were only given instructions to bring athletic wear, dinning wear, our swimsuits, and swim shoes. Well, I don’t have ‘swim shoes’ here, so I was really hoping we weren’t going to a pond or a river or lake or anything where there might be slimy gooey rocks under my feet. Anyways, I was thinking the big mystery day would entail maybe a hike, lunch, and then some kind of swimming. After we drove 45 minutes out of Limoges, pulled up to what looked like an abandoned building that had broken windows, I thought, ‘uh oh, this is actually a team massacre.’ Instead of asking what was up, I just waited to see what our next move was. It wasn’t long until we walked past the building and came out to a really beautiful view of this creek surrounded by nature. We proceeded to take pictures as both a team and individually along the creek, although I still don’t know why, and then headed to lunch. After lunch we ended up at an indoor spa where we enjoyed a sauna, jacuzzi, and hammam. I’m not sure why we needed those water shoes, but all in all, our two team bonding days were pretty relaxing and gratifying.  

Ker, me, & Eloo
This week I also started helping coach one of the school teams associated with the club. I helped out a few times in Switzerland with the school teams, but there were a lot of international students in those classes who helped translate what I was saying to their classmates. There really aren’t any of those international students in Limoges, so trying to get across the purpose of my drills, how to do the drills, and the rules of the drills was a lot more difficult this go-‘round. If anything though, coaching these little ones will definitely help me improve my French!

September 2, 2011

Random Limoges

I have to start this blog by saying I thought there was poop everywhere in least Switzerland provided baggies and people sometimes cleaned up after their dogs, which is more than I can say about Limoges. There is poop on every sidewalk - I constantly have to remind myself to be careful where I step. Oh, and it doesn't smell very good.

Today I saw a cat attack a lizard. I'm pretty sure it thought it was a mouse - I mean, I thought it was a mouse, until the cat became distracted by me and the car that was driving by and dropped it. At that moment I saw that it was definitely a lizard, which I didn't know cats liked. I wonder if lizards taste anything like mice or if it's just the hunt that cats like.

While I was sitting on a bench today playing a very serious game of brickbreaker (with my headphones in), this man walked up to me and asked if I had a cigarette. I told him no. He then proceeded to sit down next to me on my bench. The conversation continued something like this:
Him: Êtes-vous marié?
Me: No I'm not married.
Him: Vous-avez des amis?
Me: Yes, I have friends.
Him: <<French French French>> Los Angeles <<indecipherable French>> Visa <<more French>> la carte.
Me: ...
Him: <<lots more French I didn't understand and some words I did (combien, d'avion, etc.)>>
Me: ... 
Him: Je suis 32. Quel âge? 34?
Me: I'm NOT 34.
Him: Amis? Cafe?
Me: Look at the time, I have to go.

Pardon my French writing, but the actual conversation was pretty long, with a lot of awkward silences. At one point I tried to continue my game of brickbreaker, thinking he would get the point, but instead he took interest and cheered for me after I cleared a level. 

I mentioned that I love my apartment. It's huge and right down the street from the cathedral, which is absolutely breathtaking. The main issues with my apartment though are the noise that comes up from the street (there's a lot of cathedral traffic and a trolley goes by every hour ringing it's annoyingly loud bell lots of times) and the construction going on in the building across from me. Not only have I been waking up to what sounds like someone putting a drill through my skull, but the workers are working on the third floor and can see directly into my apartment. They've watched me cook and eat lunch every day after practice this week. I will not miss them when they're done.

I really hope I don't look like I'm 34 years old already...