Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Catch an oop, Get the Scoop!

On the last day of February we played against BBV Hagen for the second time this season. This time, we were at home and in front of a copious crowd. Of course BBV Hagen is where my fellow 08' teammate Andrew plays for and a team full of familiar faces and friends of mine. Unlike the first meeting with BBV Hagen, this time there was not as much on the line as both of us pretty much know now where we will finish in the final league standings. Of course both teams wanted to win, but it was a less cutthroat than our last game against Leverkusen by a mile. We controlled most of the game until Andrew decided he would be his usual self. He finished with 27 points and I believe he scored at least 15 of them in the last quarter. In the end we escaped with the W but a two time NCAA D3 player of the year performance seemed to present itself just as expected. The two personal highlights of the night were the half court alley-oop that I threw down from Paul's (my American teammate) beautiful pass, and the fast break dunk over Andrew's German roommate who is one of the most promising German players in the area (yes he's only 16 which is why I took it easy on him post dunk by keeping cool and calmly running back to play defense).

I would also like to give a shout out to my Mom who hasn't gotten ample love here on FletchSports. For anybody who knows her, I don't have to explain her vacation planning and tour guiding skills, for those who do not know her, lets just say she is the queen of travel. After the game against BBV Hagen, Andrew and my other friend Goldy had our first Euro trip 09' (AKA Lords of the Mediterranean) meeting. I can't count on my hands how many times our trip changed since the first things were mentioned about traveling after season. I have learned a ton from my Mom about how to travel on a budget but more importantly, how to get into things that you'd never find on your own, and meet people to the point where they want to help you not just because you're from out of town but because they appreciate your enthusiasm and eagerness to explore.

For example, while in Barcelona we were drawn to a huge sailboat sitting in the Barcelona marina. As we approached the sailboat it was clear that this marina is THE marina of Barcelona and home to some of the most expensive boats in all of Europe. There is a security guard on guard 24/7 making sure there's no funny business around the docks. The guard on duty this particular night was a very smart and witty fella who knew boats like the back of his hand. So my Mom of course hits him with her immediate 20 questions that she somehow can throw at anybody, anyplace, anytime and gets the scoop on the whole marina and who owns what boat, yadadya ya... At the end of the 10-15 minute conversation (through a cold February night accompanied with a light Spanish drizzle), we know the best place in the city to eat (only 200 euros a plate) from the best places to visit during the day that nobody but the locals know about. Long story short, this guy lead us to an amazing Paella restaurant that had reasonable prices and a killer location. None of which would have been possible without the Queen of Travel in our travel party.

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish and he eats for a lifetime.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bye week sends Doner back to Turkey

The weekend of February 22nd and 23rd was our teams bye week because of the national holiday, Karneval. I was quite glad to get a rest for my legs as we've been going strong now for 7 months with only Christmas break in between. The weekend of Karneval is pretty much a unique mix between Mardi Gras, Halloween, and Presidents day back in the United States. People are dressed up all weekend and tend to drink heavily. Naturally, Karneval seemed enticing enough for me and so I pretty much enjoyed myself all weekend in Hagen. Then came Monday.

Monday is actually the biggest day of Karneval but I coincidentally got hit by a Doner bomb late Sunday night. After going out chasing pac-man all night (see below), I worked up quite an appetite and decided to go for my usual late night 4th meal; the Doner (pronounced DER-NA). Now this one time delicious treat comes from the great land of Turkey. It is basically a gyro but made with baked bread rather than a pita. They are so well known in Germany that there is even a song about them! (which translates to "Eating Doners make you beautiful!". So Sunday night I decided to call it a night rather early for Germany (2:00 am) and grab a quick Doner before I doze off to sleep. This particular Doner place was very well known and respected by all the locals in Hagen yet somehow I was hit by a Doner bomb that did me in. My body recognized something foreign in my stomach which I'd wager was the undercooked meet from the Doner and so my body got rid of every ounce of food and liquid in my body by all means imaginable. Apparently my body keeps about 20 lbs. of undigested food and liquid at all times so by Monday afternoon I was actually 20 pounds lighter! My body recovered rather quickly but of the 24 hours on Karneval Monday, I was asleep for 20 of them and drinking water profusely the rest of the time.

As a result of a good bye week, I have decided to say goodbye to the infamous Doner.

(We had a scrimmage on Sunday against a regionalliga 2 team who were missing all of their Forwards and Centers and so we won by 40 points and had a lot of fun doing so. 13 points and 4 assists including an off the backboard alley oop pass, oh and about 5 or 6 turnovers of course. Remember, we're talking about a SCRIMMAGE, not a game, not a game... a SCRIMMAGE!)