Oct 23, 2009
Well I have safely arrived in Sweden. We are going on the fifth day here. The trip over the Atlantic seems to be getting quicker. I think that is due to me getting used to the 8 hour flight, but it is nice when you fly straight in and not have any stops anywhere. It is a good flight when you get row of four all to yourself and it is a great flight when you get a row of four and the screens work. Unfortunately mine was just a good flight, but can’t complain about that. I followed everyone’s advice (or three people) that I should hydrate the entire flight. I drink a lot of water and juice anyway, but I upped the level this time. I believe I drank close to half a gallon of water, a couple Gatorades, and a few cups of apple juice. Luckily, I was in that row to myself so I didn’t bother anyone when I made continuous trips to the lavatory. Pork must also be on sale right now because SAS (the airline) loved serving it. We had pork roast for dinner with broccoli, it was a little fatty but it is airplane food. Our breakfast was a cold ham sandwich, can’t say that is exactly what I was craving. We arrived in Sweden around 8:00 in the morning.
One of the helpers on the team picked us up. He didn’t speak much English so it was a pretty quite ride to Sodertalje. The only down fall of the ride was the guy was a smoker so that did not help with the cough that I’m still trying to get over. He didn’t smoke in the car when we were in it, but you could still smell it all over. After about a 45 minute car ride we arrived in our apartments.
I actually am living in the same apartment as last time I played here. They did fix it up a little bit. They replaced the 1970’s couch with two leather pieces, a 3 seater and a 2 seater. They also put a smaller desk table for the computer. The bathroom however is not much better. It still has a distinct smell and it is not a GOOD distinct smell. I have to leave the window open at all times. I basically freeze while brushing my teeth. The dentist would probably not suggest this because I think I’m skipping on the 2-3 minutes. Sorry Brian or should I say DR. Ligon! The main problem with apartment has been the TV, the TV is kind of old and for some reason it does not want to play my playstation 3 in color. The PS3 is like my life line over here. I have tried a number of different options. First I tried will’s cord (the other American on the team) nothing changed, then I brought a TV from the locker room which looked a little newer then the one in my apartment, NO CHANGE. So at this point I thought it might be my system so I had Will bring his PS3 over to see if it was my system. YES, I know I seem like a demanding teammate, but like I said this is my life line and he lives right across the street from me. We plugged his in and NO CHANGE. My only avenue left is to buy a flat screen TV and see if a newer TV will work. I’m not entirely excited about this because TV’s over here are much more expensive. When I looked the other day it was like 4,000 crowns for a 26 inch. That is over $500!!!
It has been nice coming back to a place that you are familiar with. You don’t have those extra couple weeks where you are trying to adjust. I can just focus on playing which has been nice. We get our lunches for free like the last time I was here. The funny thing is the places are all the same. Two Italian, two Greek, and the buffet spot. They did however mix up the days that you go to each spot. We now go to the buffet on Thursday’s instead of Friday. This change was made because they serve all you can eat pancakes on Thursday’s. These aren’t the fluffy pancakes and they are a little sweeter. I would say they are more like crepes. They have the whipped cream and fruit topping which I destroyed! Maybe next blog I will take pictures of all my favorite meals at the lunch spots just so you can get a feel for what I eat over here. I also introduce will to his first European Kebab and of course he loved it!
Okay, so I guess I should talk a little bit about basketball since that is the reason I’m here. The team has a lot of players that were here when I last played here. They also added a point guard that I played against and also some young guys moved up. I did a couple interviews when i was first arrived and the quote I used for all of them was " I did not come here to lose" apparently they loved this according to the paper. Practice went well the first couple days. Of course the focus is mainly on getting the plays down while also trying to get your wind back. I was extremely sore after the first couple. I really didn’t have time to worry about that since we played on Friday only two days of being here.
The game went well. The team was 0-6 before we came in, but it was not like we were the saviors. The core was in place already and the team plays extremely hard. We were able to give a boost and get the first win. I played pretty well especially after coming off the flu and the jet lag. I was 5-6 from 2, 1-3 from 3 and finished with 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals. I played 29 minutes and that was plenty. I did feel it towards the end of the game. The great thing is I get to play myself into shape, which is much better than going through preseason in my opinion. Will also played well for his first game professionally. I would imagine it is much harder for him as he is coming into a completely new situation, not only with the whole new country, but also much faster game. I remember when I first game out I had a rough couple games in France and here in Sodertalje.
On Saturday we had to do a little sponsor event at a store called MAXI. Once again I forgot my camera but I will not forget it again! They set up a basket in the store and had people shoot for candy bars. They also had a little speaker system set up. I couldn’t help the urge to get on it and announce we were HOOTDA (shooting) with the kings. I also felt like I should say MAXI in a very deep voice over and over! The A is hard pronounced more like an O I would say! If you understand what I’m trying to get at you might understand why I felt the urge to say it all deep. If not I’m sorry for my wasting your time with this paragraph.
We play again on Tuesday and Friday. Both games will be good test to see how we continue to come together as a team and people start seeing their role on the team.
These are a couple links to basketball pages here in Sweden. If you have Firfox it should give you the option to translate directly from the page.
http://www.mandarinab.com/webbtv/sbbk (if you click on October 22 there is an interview of me)
www.SBBK.se (the team website)
http://www.svenskabasketligan.se/ (the league website)
Eurobasket.com (site where you can follow AJ-Poland, Mike-Belgium, TJ-Germany, and any other European players you know)
Until Next Time!
This is BC gone for now
Posted by Bcrone at 11:07 PM