Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Season Nine's a Wrap...Number 10 on Tap!

Out seeing some sights in Strasbourg.

  We can finally tie a big bow on the 2011-2012 basketball season -- cause it's a wrap! I feel like I've been talking about the approaching end of the season for weeks, but Saturday night versus Strasbourg (a game that we won!) finally was the last game of my ninth season in Europe.

  While this has been one of the longest seasons I've taken part in in those nine seasons (actually, at eight months, I think it was THE longest season), my time in Dunkerque has gone extremely fast. I think this blog has a lot to do with that, but that's another topic for discussion.

  I re-signed in late-March to come back to Dunkerque next year, so I'll be back with DMBC for my 10th season come September! It's nice to have that decision behind me. And I'm looking forward to a stress-free, enjoyable summer (not having to wait around for the phone to ring with offers from teams, etc...).

  DMBC Dunkerque finished the '11-'12 campaign 8th out of 14 teams in LF2. We were two wins out of contention for a berth to the Final Four weekend. For me, that's encouraging. Even though it was a difficult year record-wise, we definitely left two (or more!) win-able games on the table. So I'm looking forward to possibly taking one of those Final Four spots next season. Definitely should be something we strive for.

  LF2 is a difficult, competitive league. Each and every game you have to come focused and ready to play. ANY team, from top to bottom, can beat anyone else on any given night. That makes for a great championship, and close games most of the time. That differed for me from years past.

Strasbourg is like little-Germany.
  In other leagues I've played in, there were always two to four teams you could count on for an easy W. Making the league a little less-draining mentally and physically. Many times, leagues will have three or four really strong teams, and the rest are less-than-stellar.

  For example, last season in Sweden, my team had several 40-plus point victories. Playing in a 40 point blowout is smooth-sailing in comparison to games that go down to the wire. Here in France, there are no weekends you can take off, per se. Having 13 fairly strong teams, from top to bottom, to compete against week-in-and-week-out makes the season that much more demanding.

  But now the off-season is upon us. It's important to give your body time to heal up, and recover from the every day pounding it took throughout the season. Thankfully I didn't have any injuries that kept me off the court for a prolonged period of time. But there are definite aches and pains: sore feet, achy knees, tired legs. That's normal!

Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg
  I always have a hard time taking too much time off. Mostly because working out and training is the habit I've developed over time. And it physically makes me feel better. So I have a hard time sitting still for too long (not to mention I get bored!!).

  I do like to change things up, and give my body a break from pounding on the basketball court. I'm thinking about starting up yoga again (I did yoga fairly regularly after my senior year at Colorado). But starting something new, and little bit unusual makes me nervous. With my back history, I don't want to do anything that might mess things up. So we'll see what I come up with to challenge my body this off-season.

  Since I'm going home soon, the packing can begin. Time to jam everything in those two bags, and make the trip back across the Atlantic! The fine science of not wasting any food, but not running out too soon begins as well. You have to think ahead, to how many days remain and go from there. I usually over, or under estimate by a bit, but nothing too bad.

Fun summertime things on tap!
  I think it's also important to leave your apartment in the same state you found it. I tend to keep my place pretty clean over the course of the year, so it's fairly easy to give it one last cleaning before you leave.

  Since I know I'll be back in Dunkerque in September, I don't have to bring EVERYTHING back home with me. For just the second time in my career (my rookie season in Italy was the first), I'll be headed back to the same place. It's nice not to have to pack up clothes and shoes I won't be needing while I'm in the US during the summer. Makes my journey home a bit easier (I just need to remember what I leave here, so I don't pack even more next time around!).

Breckenridge with the Buffs!
  The end of the season, and the start of the summer is always an exciting time. I know I get to be back home for the summer, and spend quality time with my family, and visit friends that I don't get to see very often. It's always my favorite time of year!

  But sure as can be, before I know it, September will come back around and I'll be getting on that plane to return to France. When that time does come, I'll be excited as well -- and looking forward to building a stronger team, and having a better season than this one. But not until AFTER I've enjoyed my summer with my family and friends!

  I still have a few things to wrap up here in Dunkerque, and a little traveling to do before I go back to Oregon! I'll be sure to let you know when I'm headed back across the pond! 


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