All good things come to an end, as does my time here in Herten after being eliminated from the playoffs. After a tough loss in the first game of the semi-final round, we traveled to Nuremberg and had our hopes dashed in heartbreaking fashion. We lost both games by 2 points, missing threes at the buzzer in both attempts.
Nuremberg is one of the big money teams (i.e. they have some high-paying sponsors who pump a lot of money into their team in hopes of winning the league and moving up divisions), and has some big players (literally).
This guy is 7'3"! That is bigger than Shaq. Hack, the guy guarding him is 6'9" and it looks like he is playing against his older brother who is just bullying him in the post.
His shaggy beard only adds to his oger mystique.
But despite the money and physical size, we definitely should have won both games. We were up in the 4th quarter in both games, by as much as 11 in the second game, but collapsed both times at the end. Our defense was great, keeping them under 70 in both contests, but we couldn't hit a shot from outside and missed way to many free throws for playoff basketball.
Unfortunately I got hurt the night before the first game and couldn't do anything but support the team from the bench. This was literally the first time I had missed a game since before high school. With plans for med school in the future, this is likely the end of my organized basketball career (hello Men's Adult Rec League!).
Knowing this going into the last game made watching from the sidelines all the more painful and frustrating.
While this wasn't how I imagined my career ending, I have few complaints about the where basketball has taken me. While I never really learned German and the NBA isn't knocking on my door, I have literally seen the world, met my best friends and created some memories that will last a lifetime. Thanks to everyone who has helped me over the years: teachers, coaches friends and of course my family. None of this would have been possible without you.
I am leaving Germany on Thursday to fly to Cape Town. There I will be volunteering at the Desmond Tutu HIV clinic for a few months before returning home. I don't think I will continue the blog down there except to post some pictures for the family, so thanks again to everyone who has been keeping up with me these 7 months; I enjoyed writing and talking to you all about my experiences more than I ever thought I would.
Bis bald und nochmals vielen Dank für all eure Unterstützung!