Wednesday, January 26, 2011

German Bongo Bands and Paul the Octopus

       We made the four hour drive to Hamburg worth the effort, coming up with a nice road win Sunday night. We jumped out to a 14 point lead at the end of the first quarter, but then started to play down to the competition and ended up only leading by 1 going into the half. After an emotional half-time speech by Coach Borris, we turned things around in the second half and won by 13. I couldn't hit a three to save my life, but I got to the charity stripe 13 times. Unless your name is Shaquille O'Neal, or you shoot your freethrows with your eyes closed (or both), 13 freethrow attempts always helps the stat line. 
       The clear highlight of the game was the 20+ member bongo drum band that played for 23 consecutive minutes from introductions through the ENTIRETY of the 1st quarter-including freethrows and time outs. A loud crowd is one thing, but the methodical, repititious beats of a german bongo band composed primarily of 40+ year-old women is a whole nother monster (if there was one picture I need to complete my blog this is surely it)!
       At the hospital I have been stitching up a few more patients. Dr. Hoffman even went so far as to call me a professional. I thought about asking if that meant I should be getting paid...but didn't want to push my luck.
       I also made it out to the Oberhausen aquarium the supposed home of Paul the Octopus. Paul gained world fame this summer by correctly predicting the outcome of Germany's seven World Cup games. 

    Unfortuntaley it seems all of the fame had taken its toll on Paul and he moved on to Octopus Heaven (where I am guessing they don't serve calamari) a few months ago. Although I was extremely disappointed that I was not able to meet Paul, I was able to pay my respects at his grave site.

I guess if you can predict soccer games in Europe your ashes are forever enshrined in a gold statue of yourself.

I was also able to find Nemo...

And found an intimidating outfit...

So all and all it was a successful day.

We have a quick turnaround this week, playing at home on Friday with the chance to get revenge on Alba Berlin. Hopefully this time we finish the game with more than four players on the court...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Victory, Green Bees and European Haircuts

   After blowing a late lead in our midweek game we lost our second game in a row for the first time all season. Needless to say this led to some frustration...

...but after getting a few more practices under our belt, we were able to right the ship and take an easy victory on Sunday night. We finally started to shoot the ball well-hopefully a sign that our Christmas rust is rubbing off. 

       A less likely, but still plausible root for a regained shooting accuracy could have been the inspiration of our new mascot.

    It is unclear how this gumby-bumblebee hybrid resembles anything close to a lion, but nonetheless, we are undefeated in his presence so no one is complaining.

    During warm-ups before our last game, one of my teammates brought me over to half court and started pointing towards the opposing team. I thought he was going to talk about a particular part of the scouting report or defensive assignments, but instead he bluntly informed me that I barely lost the competition for worst haircut in the gym to this guy:

    Oh the Germans and their sense of humor!  With this, I decided that my new euro look needed to at least be shaped up a little and I built up the courage to brave the German hair salon. I brought in a picture of Tom Brady and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, as I suppose is usually the case with this particular strategy, it didn't work. Once the barber started to cut my flowing locks there was little I could say (literally) or do to stop him. I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

At the hospital I stitched up my first patient! It was just 6 stitches on the wrist but it was still pretty cool. For having learned how to stitch on youtube they were pretty straight and clean...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ejections, Staples and Sutures

     Given the circumstances, the game on Saturday went about as well as expected.  Our first real practice of the week was a 'secret' practice on Friday in a gym of a team our Coach had worked for a few years ago.  The team had apparently not changed their locks, so we snuck into the closed gym and got some shots up, attempting to get our wind.
       Thankfully the roof didn't collapse, but the extra shots weren't enough to get our game back. We ended the first half going 1-12 from the three point line, but were still only down 5 at halftime. Marcus also entered the locker room with a technical foul for arguing a charge call. In the second half, he received another call he disagreed with, yelled something, and then shot the ball in a high arc towards the ref. Unfortunately the ref was recording the foul call with the scorers table and didn't see the ball coming his way until it had already hit him on the head and bounced off. He promptly gave Marcus a second technical, and against better judgement Marcus went over to give him a peace of his mind.  Somewhere between the third and tenth, "YOU SUCK REF," the referee lost his patience and gave Marcus his third technical and ejected him from the game.
      As a result of this little incident they got 6 freethrows (2 for the initial foul and 2 for each of the technicals) and the ball back. They converted all the freethrows and scored on the inbounds, completing the unheard-of-but-i-guess-possible 8 point possession. After going to a 2-3 zone (against a very hot three-point shooting team, I am not sure of the logic of this) we were quickly down by 15. To make up for this deficit, our Coach put us in a 3/4 court trapping zone and told us to push the pace on offense. This normally would have been a smart plan, but having not really practiced for 3 weeks, and having only 6 guys left in our rotation, no one was prepared for this kind of running. With tired legs, we somehow bested our first half shooting, going 0-10 from behind the arc, and got blown out of the gym.
     Coach Borris said that after "crawling in the league administrator's butt," he was able to get Marcus's suspension reduced from 3 games to 1. I am not sure what this action entailed, and I am not sure I want to know, but I am happy that I will only be left out there alone for one game.
    Back in the hospital things have been going great. The other day we were operating on an obese ladies leg when the Doctor handed me a stapler. I thought he just wanted me to hold it until he was ready. Then I heard him impatiently exclaim "Haallooo," and motion towards the skin he was holding together with the end of his tweezers. I gathered that he wanted me finish the job, so without further instruction, I began to staple this poor woman's knee back together. All the staples stayed in and they were in a relatively straight line, so I guess it was successful. I am starting to realize more and more that surgery is just an advanced hybrid of arts and crafts and woodshop. I never took woodshop, so I guess it is good that I did kindergarten twice to gain more expertise in the various skills needed to properly operate scissors and staplers. I guess everything you need to know in life you really do learn in kindergarten.

     After the stapler incident, the Doctor asked me what I knew about suturing. I told him I had no experience but that I wanted to learn. He wisely suggested I start practicing on inanimate objects first, and gave me a glove filled with gauze and my first set of medical scissors to take home with me.  After a few youtube tutorials, here are my first few attempts:
The one on the right is the second one, that is what I call progress!

We have a game tonight to make up for the one that was cancelled before Christmas, and while the sutures were OK, hopefully my jump shot is a little more accurate!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Return to the Motherland

After 24 hours of traveling over 9 time zones I returned to Germany and was welcomed back with loads and loads and of snow.  Being back in the States was awesome; I ate all the Mexican food I could find, spent some quality time with friends and family, and enjoyed the extra leg room that American SUV's afford. This made it all the more depressing to return to my mini me car was sandwiched between two huge piles of ice that I had to thaw out with hot buckets of water (from my 3rd floor apartment) and some serious shovel work. 

The Germans must read U.S. sporting news because apparently the accumulation of snow was so bad that the gyms in my town were closed down for fear a Minnesota Superdome repeat. So instead of getting back into shape and sync on the court to play the second place team in our league, we drove thirty minutes to an indoor sand pit and played beach basketball on 9 foot rims...

Despite the fact that it hasn't snowed since I have been back, our gym isn't scheduled to open until next week. We managed to get a short practice in Tuesday night in a small gym and scrimmaged a team 30 minutes away last night, but have today off because there is no place to play. Supposedly we have a gym Friday for our first real practice in three weeks before our game Saturday night. Should be interesting especially since we have 3 games next week to make up for the one that was cancelled before break. Also, the manager told us that if we win on Saturday the drinks for us and our girlfriends will be free at the team fan party on Sunday at noon. I'm not sure if warm German beer at noon on Sunday is an incentive or a deterrent, but I guess if I don't want it I can always get gassy water...

Good luck to the Ephs this weekend as they bring the noise to the Lord Jeffs, (Everyone out here still thinks it is hilarious that my mascot was a purple cow, thus validating the rumor that Germans have an off-based sense of humor) I am hoping for snow at our opponents gym so that I can pay $15 (approximately 12 euros) to catch the webcast of the game Saturday night!

Also I have heard reports that the email subscription box on the blog doesn't work very well so just check back in on Wednesdays or Thursdays for a weekly update.