Friday, August 26, 2011

Let the games begin.

I missed basketball. And I never realized how much until I pulled my head through that jersey again; until I warmed up with my team. I never realized how much I missed it until I was stretching at half court, shooting penetrating glares at our opponent's bench (no one was at their bench, but that's neither here nor there). Until I heard my name announced over the speakers with the starters. Until the ref tossed the ball at center court, and for one brief second, my heart swelled and nothing else in the world mattered. It’s just me and that ball and 40 minutes of purpose…fulfillment. Sweaty, ferocious, determined fulfillment. How could I have forgotten? I can’t wait for my next reminder: Sunday we play Halle (pronounced Holla, which I looooove to say in my gangsta voice... every time). I really missed basketball.

I guess I should actually mention the two games we played last weekend. We traveled by bus about 3 hours for our first game—Gottingen, a division 2 team that we handled 91-65. My first game as PG, I was slightly on edge at the beginning. But basketball is basketball and I found myself doing the same things I used to do from the wing. The second game was against a team in division one, our division. Wolfenbuttel is a big team, and very solid. A girl that I played against at ASU is there now too. All the more reason to hate them since I CAN’T STAND HER. After the first game, my coach asked me to facilitate the ball more and worry less about scoring, at least to start. So I did. I had 8 assists. We beat ASU  Wolfenbuttel by 2 in an ugly, lopsided game. Home court advantage takes on a whole new meaning here. All part of basketball, and I missed basketball.
You know what I didn’t miss? Press conferences. Never was there a more precarious environment—an atmosphere designed for humiliation and catastrophe. It’s like a pop quiz on steroids. Now, toss in the added challenge of a foreign language and you’ve got yourself a situation. But before the reporters even get to us, the players, our coach and club president address the media. You thought sitting through English class was hard, while teachers waxed Thoreau and discussed dangling modifiers. I assure you, there are far greater challenges. Attempting to stay awake and feign interest at a press conference in a foreign language is all but impossible; and if not for my own strange and rather offensive imagination, I may have quite literally collapsed of boredom. Have you ever seen Mystery Science Theater 3000? Basically this man is trapped in a theater with these robots and forced to watch a series of dreary ‘B’ movies, and to keep themselves both sane and entertained, they maintain this running dialogue that overshadows the actual movie’s commentary.  My mind became this—my own little peanut gallery for my viewing pleasure. And just as I am patting myself on the back, when I thought I had survived, the media turns to us. Here is where I figure the language barrier will surely work to my advantage—no one will question the poor American, idiot savant amongst the Germans. And yet, somehow I get volunteered to address the media precisely because I am American, though probably not cause I'm an idiot. Par for the course, I suppose. “You must be joking,” I plead. Nope? Fine. I’ll talk. I’ll talk faster than anyone has ever spoken the English language, that’ll teach them. I was pleased.

Living in Chemnitz lately has felt like living with menopause: you just can never predict when a hot flash will strike. One minute it is cool and breezy out, borderline drizzling, you feel confident in your jeans and t-shirt. Then, out of nowhere, you are bathing in your own sweat, as the sun seems to engulf you. Suddenly, now as if you are on a movie set with a staged storm, you are hit just as randomly with rain and hail. No wonder menopausal women are so darn moody—it’s the pits.

It is my roommate’s birthday tomorrow, so tonight we are going out as a team. Going out. Somehow I feel like that carries a different, more elaborate meaning here. I don’t know what to expect. Maybe going out here on a Friday night means, “let’s rob a bank and then grab some ice cream.” Though I seriously doubt that…ice cream stores close at 6pm here. Maybe I’ll suggest ice cream first.

I get paid this weekend…for playing basketball. So it's finally official: I am cooler than you. And boom goes the dynamite. I’m kidding of course. Let's be real, I have been cooler than most of you for some time. On that note, while you guys are sure to be feeling especially affectionate toward me, I will provide my address below. Only family SHOULD feel obligated to send boxes, otherwise I love good ol' snail mail! 

Sami Whitcomb
Theaterstrasse 43
09111 Chemnitz, Germany


  1. Just returned from taking a team through France and a few things jump out to corroborate your story:

    1. Gyms, even at the A-level tend to be small and offer no AC.

    2. "Ice"----what's that?

    3. Home town referees and players sometimes work together in their day jobs...lends a whole new meaning to home court advantage.

    Glad you are having so much fun, and getting paid. Haven't connected with Sara yet, but hope to see her next week.

  2. Brian! So good to hear from you, I hope your trip went well! Thank you for sharing that, especially point #3, I didn't know that! I spoke with Sara (skype) while she was in China. Awesome. Hope you are well!

  3. Sam, I suspect most of us have been feeling especially affectionate towards you for a long time now. So be careful what you ask for, you may find your mail box crammed full of boxes one day.

    You still have your hops I can see by the jump shot photo. I can't wait for your season to start, cuz I am hoping the web site carries some of the games or at least some video. You go girl, living the dream! DA

  4. DA

    Great to hear from you. Glad you figured out the posting thing :) Mail box full would be a wonderful change haha.

    Hops? Did I ever have those at UW? I am told our games will be available online (not sure where yet) so stay tuned, I will post it in a blog!

    Take care,


  5. The first 6 things I could think of mailing wouldn't make it past customs.
    Congrats on the wins. I'm going to ask around and find out what the challenges of switching to a PG are. Only one of my bb consultants hasn't graduated.

    With that check you're a professional player. It's okay to do a little happy dance.