I'd been living in Slovakia just a few days shy of a month when I had my first run in with the police. That's gotta be some kind of record, not that I’m bragging. Unless it turns out to be a record, than I’m bragging, but I’ll wait till we can get that corroborated. The encounter occurred while I was driving (no real surprise there). Bri and I were heading home from practice when the obnoxiously bright lights flashed in my rear view, imploring me to pull over. Historically this would trigger a simultaneous panic- induced paralysis of sorts, but instead, I was almost excited. Forgetting that I had just moved from Australia to Slovakia, my life hasn't been especially thrilling lately, but I suspected this would change that. Sadly, I was wrong. While it was particularly fun laughing awkwardly with the non-english speaking policeman as we attempted to execute gestures, the universal language, it turned out to be nothing more than a simple break lights malfunction. I was so disappointed I briefly considered running, surely provoking a smidge of controversy or, if I got really lucky, propagating a police chase! Needless to say, I did not. Next time.
Okay so it seems there has been some confusion surrounding the details of my Slovakian team and league. Let me break it down for you. We play in two leagues over here, our Slovak league and this new league, the MEL (middle european league). The MEL is comprised of teams from Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia. It's a very competitive league, so it's pretty cool to be apart of it. Simple enough so far, but I am guessing the confusion comes in comprehending the calculating of points. For each league we accumulate points from wins, but there are some games that count for both leagues. For instance, there are a handful of Slovak teams in the MEL including our team, and when we play those teams we get points for both leagues if we win. Thus, those games become more measurably significant. Hopefully that clears things up a bit.
So let’s play catch up now. Heading into league play two weeks ago, we had one final preseason tournament at home against a couple teams we would face in our Slovak league and a team from Poland. We played pretty well the whole weekend and won the tournament. We opened up league play the following weekend with games on Saturday and Sunday. Despite our best efforts, we won our game Saturday on the road against a team we had just played in our tournament. It was a poor showing for our opener, but we won so we'd take our two points and move on. Sunday we played at home against a much better team, a team, in fact, that also plays Euroleague, and winning again would require marked improvements in everything. We lost by 25 and in my estimation seemed unprepared and intimidated—a guaranteed losing combination.
We had a quick turn around as we played again on Wednesday the following week, also against a solid team, but one we had already faced and defeated in our tourney at home. It's amazing how a team and the players on said team can play so fundamentally differently. We were aggressive this game from the start and disciplined on defense--we controlled the game. We weren't perfect, far from it, but we worked and we competed and ultimately won by double digits. Sunday we faced another Euroleague team and had another great opportunity. Despite coming up short again, we proved this game we are more than capable of competing with and beating Euroleague teams. The game was close throughout, but the final was 62-52.
In other news, Bri and I moved from the hotel into a house recently, and so our time living amongst the privileged has ended. We had a good run, but it really needed to end. I’m 25 years old, no one should be making my bed besides me. And, on occasion, my mom. Relax, it's part of the job description. The house is really adorable. It's small, but cozy and we have our own kitchen again which is crucial. Bri's domain is downstairs and mine is upstairs. Normally I wouldn't have agreed to this so eagerly--every day having to walk up and down stairs, ick--but when I noticed there was a spiral staircase leading to upstairs room, I was sold. I don't know if you know this, but spiral staircases are magical. Seriously... look it up.
Life here has assumed the blueprint of my former european basketball lifestyles. I am back to two-a-days, most notably. My body is protesting. Seems to have aged exponentially in the past year. I am sincerely terrified of life when I am 30. It is certain to involve a cane or some variation of reinforcements for moving. Speaking of being old and decrepit, turns out that Bri and I, at the ripe ages of 26 and 25, are the oldest on the team. I feel burdened with this horrible responsibility of doing old people stuff. Like, being slow, never hearing what people say and going to the bathroom absurd amounts of times. And having opinions...on everything. When you are the oldest, people expect you to know stuff about lots of other stuff. It's brutal. I tell a lot of stories now, too, about the glory days and life before DVR. It isn't easy being old, who knew.
We've got another double header this weekend. I might not move Monday. Except to the bathroom, naturally.