It’s easy sometimes to forget that playing basketball is my job. It’s easy to overlook that I am being paid to do exactly what I want to be doing—until it’s not. Until my check comes late, or not at all, or worse—until someone or something tries to take your job away. Suddenly you are desperately aware that your livelihood is contingent on playing this game, your survival is fundamentally linked to it. When you are fighting like hell to keep what you have, you become frighteningly cognizant that basketball is your job. This past month has been a frustrating and scary blend of the aforementioned, but fortunately, the dust has settled and things are just fine. I guess God was just reminding me of how fortunate I am and how grateful I should be. Well played, God.
A lot has happened this month: 5 games, Halloween traditions, a painful discovery regarding Dirk and the arrival of undoubtedly the greatest care package to ever travel across the Atlantic Ocean. Yeah, I said it. Bold I know, but if you saw what’s inside this box, you'd get it.
Okay so let’s recap the games, shall we? After season opener, we were back at home against Rotenburg who we had barely beaten a couple weeks prior. This time around, things didn’t go as well for us. I don’t know what it was, but we really struggled offensively, missing easy buckets and forcing bad passes. After being down by 15 we stormed back and I really thought we were going to pull off the comeback, but we simply ran out of time. We lost 68-71 and I had 36 points. Next up was Donau Ries on the road, and sadly, our offensive woes continued. Our defensive efforts kept this game closer and certainly winnable as well, but again, it was too little too late on our part and we lost 52-58. I played as poor as I have all season and finished with 12 points.
As a team we collectively agreed that if we were going to make a change and compete better in games we needed to compete tougher in practices. And so the following week we took out all our frustrations in practice and beat each other up every night. Our game against Bamberg that Saturday was a breeze compared to 5 on 5 in practice, and we won 77-60. I sat with fouls much of this game and finished with 13 points.
We had a short turn around following this game as the Pokal series (series where all the German teams play in a tournament separate from conference play) started for us the following Tuesday. We were on the road against a Div 3 team in Erfurt. We won 114-41 and I think nearly everyone on our team scored double digits. I had 26 points but missed an embarrassing amount of easy shots. Seriously, it was silly. Our next game was again on the road against Oberhausen, a team notorious for physical play, cheap shots and unbelievably biased refs at home. While we were never more than 15 points ahead, we were in control the entire game, even as they attempted a 4th quarter surge. We took punches and asinine no-calls and kept battling to win 60-55 in another game that highlighted our defense. I again missed way too many easy baskets and finished with 13 points, but we got the win and that is the only stat that matters.
So we are 3-2 in conference and 1-0 in Pokal. We play at home this weekend against Halle (Holllllllllla, sorry it’s still funny to me) who despite having a pretty solid roster has struggled thus far.
Since Halloween is in the middle of the week, we opted to celebrate it this weekend with costumes and a party! But, that didn’t stop us Americans from getting into the spirit still before the weekend. Sunday night we carved our unsightly second-hand pumpkins that we resourcefully secured last minute while watching my favorite, Hocus Pocus. We aren’t the most talented carvers, but we did our best and no one lost any phalanges, so I’d say it was a success.
I have bad news people: Dirk is officially off the market. So all my years of pining and planning our pretend life together comes to a sad and necessary end since he married another woman. I know we hadn't even met in real life yet, but I still had hope. I only recently found out about his wedding, but it turns out, in an odd and painfully ironic twist, they actually got married this summer…on July 20…my birthday. How special for them. That day will forever be marred for me—darkened by the loss of what probably never would have been between Dirk and I, but will now certainly never be. All hope is lost.
It’s a good thing my family sent me this care package when they did! If I got stranded on an island with just the contents of the box, I'd totally survive longer than if I was stranded without it, that's how good this box is. Thanks family :)