Friday, February 10, 2012

No Time For Travel, Yet

A tiny village called Mijas (Spain) where my aunt and uncle lived.

  When someone first finds out that I play basketball in Europe, more often than not, their first assumption is all I do is travel and sight-see. That, I must spend every free moment traveling to each corner of whichever country I happen to be in at the time.

  My answer? 'I've seen nearly every gym and airport in Europe, if you consider that sight-seeing.'

  What else is there to do in Europe besides sight-see, after all? 

  They forget that I'm here for work. It's my job to be prepared, both physically and mentally, for each and every game and practice my team has. In a normal season, my team has one game each and every weekend (Saturdays this season). Sundays are off. And every day during the week, we have one or two practices a day.

  That's how it's been every season I've played in Europe. One day off to recover from the game, and then you're back at it. One day doesn't allow much time for travel, does it?  

  That is not a complaint. It's just reality. 

  On those rare occasions where your team has a bye over the weekend, you MIGHT get the entire weekend off. But there are no guarantees. Or once in a blue moon, your coach MIGHT give you a surprise extra day off.

  Even in that situation, you can't really plan anything. I did that on one occasion in Germany, and ended up having to cancel plans because our game just prior didn't exactly go how it was supposed to go (and our extra day off was taken back).

  Since I've been in Europe for almost nine full seasons, I have friends scattered all over the place. I do always look for an opportunity to visit friends if they happen to live close. On that day off, if you can take the train or drive a couple hours to go see a familiar face, it does wonders for recharging the batteries. Those opportunities just don't arise very often!
Cross-country skiing in Sweden. My pants weren't covered in snow yet!
  For example, this season, I live about three hours north of Paris (by car. Faster, by train). In the five-and-a-half months I have been in Dunkerque thus far, I have been to the City of Lights exactly zero times. The same can be said about London (which is close as well, just on the other side of the North Sea).

  HOWEVER, in a couple weeks, my team has a free weekend. So, I'm planning quick trip to London with a friend. I've never been to London, and I'm thrilled! We're still in the planning phase, which is exciting, but I can't wait to get there and see Big Ben and the rest of the sights. Even though we'll only be there two days, it'll be a great time! You can bet I'll have a blog about it the week after we get back.

The Spanish Steps in Rome.
  Don't get me wrong, I have done my fair share of traveling and sight-seeing while in Europe. But I would say 97% (how's that for a number?) of it happens after my season has expired.

  In fact, that has turned into one of the things I look forward to the most as my season winds down. Rough drafts for this year's post-season R&R have already been made, and I can't wait!

  Hope you all have a great weekend!

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  1. I figured playing professionally is like you describe. It is your job, so it would be difficult to play tourist. Hope you have fun in Londontown--how could you not. Aside from Boulder, it's my favorite city in the world. Enjoy!

    1. I'm really looking forward to London. It will be fun being in an English-speaking country abroad...but still being an outsider!

  2. When will you be it London? I will be there in mid-march. It will be my first time too!

    1. V and I will be there the end of Feb. I also have a couple free weekends in March too. What are the dates you'll be there??? You should come down to France!! ;)