Thursday, February 24, 2011

Little sleep, Lots of points and the Louvre

       My jet-lagged parents and brother Parker arrived early Saturday morning to the coldest weather we have had since before Christmas. Unfortunately Reid couldn't make it, but knowing him he probably had his nose buried in a book in some nook of the library all weekend anyway. Despite the cold weather and the 9-hour time difference, they made it to the game and inspired the best statistical game of my career (37 pts, 10 rebs, 5 assts, 3 stls) and witnessed my first professional dunk. It was awesome to get to play so well with them there and we won the game with little resistance. We head into our final regular season game against last place Bernau all the way in Berlin this weekend, and will finish either second or third in the North when it is all said and done heading into playoffs.

Thank goodness they got this on camera because it doesn't happen very often!

Believe it or not me and Hack plan these little 'shoe tying' events to get a few extra seconds rest. The photographer must be onto us. I guess we need to start timing them better to maximize our collective break time and avoid future suspicion.

After the game we auctioned off our jerseys. I am not sure what kind of favors the auctioneer had to promise to sell mine, but I was told afterward that is was the top seller!

On Sunday the family and I flew to Paris to get a little culture; what better place to start than the Louvre. Though some of us showed more enthusiasm for the world-renowned art than others...

I think everyone was glad we went.
Parker and I trying to look the part of a Roman Emperor
Basically exact replicas just with modern fashion
I kind of steal the show in this picture, but in the background is the slightly more famous but somewhat disappointing, Mona Lisa.

A few of the other highlights of the trip included a night tour of the Eiffel Tower...

A view from the top of the tower
... and the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Despite the cold weather and Reid's absence, the trip was a blast and it was great to see the family. I am looking forward to reuniting with them in Berlin this weekend and finishing off the regular season.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

100th Point, Valentines Day & Gynecology

We got back on track with a win Saturday in front of a good home crowd. The game started off pretty ugly and we were down by 16 midway through the second quarter but somehow we sparked a 19-0 run, capped by a banked three at the buzzer, to get us up 3 heading into the locker room. There was some back and forth in the second half but we pulled away in the 4th quarter and ended up cruising to a 20 point win. The only thing out of the ordinary was the last possession of the game.

        Up 98:79 with 19 seconds left, the winning team usually just runs the shot clock out, but when our point guard got the rebound, he immediately kicked the ball out to me and yelled at me to go off a ball screen and shoot. Now you don't have to tell me to shoot twice, usually this is music to my ears, but this is the first time he had told me that all year (unfortunately) and I knew that the fat lady had been singing for a few minutes, so yes, I turned down a shot, and pulled the ball out.

        It wasn't until after we had showered when team President came up to me and asked me if I didn't like beer, that I started to figure out what had happened.  I was pondering the variety of ways I could answer his question and the various repercussions my response could have on my contract, when he interrupted and reminded me that whoever scores the 100th point has to buy beer for the team. I gave a sigh of relief that I avoided the question, and then immediately went to confront my point guard, who readily admitted that the only reason he had called a ball screen for me was so I would have to pay for his drinks. At least he is honest and has good game-situation awareness.
Our point guard getting what he deserves for trying to trick me into buying his drinks

      On Monday I took a break from orthopedics at the hospital and went to shadow the gynecology department-it was Valentine's Day after all. The first surgery I saw was the hysterectomy of a legal dwarf, and it didn't get much better after that. Because they can't stop the blood flow to the reproductive organs like they can to a wrist or foot, the surgeries were a lot more bloody than in orthopedics, and because of the nature of the surgeries, they seemed a little more gruesome. Needless to say, it was a slightly less romantic V-day then I am used to, but definitely one I will never forget.

     Back in orthopedics the Chief told me he wanted me to do a surgery before I left... "nothing big-just taking a plate out of an ankle or something like that." I couldn't read the facial expression behind his surgical mask so I am not completely sure that he was joking...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rasta, US Consulate and Super Bowl Monday

On Saturday we traveled to play Rasta Vechta who was part of our three-way tie for second place. The gym was sold out and a surprisingly large contingent of lion fans made the 2 hour trip. Vechta easily has the best mascot in the league...

It was a great game the whole way through. We were tied at halftime and then back and forth throughout the second half. We took a 6 point lead towards the end of the 3rd quarter, but unfortunately we just couldn't stay on our feet and seal the win... 

With three regular season games left, we need to pick it up if we want to secure home court advantage for the playoffs. 

While we don't know how the season will end, it is clear that we will be in good shape for the finale. In an effort to get us to concentrate more during the second half of the season, Coach declared that for every euro someone on our team was fined (for being late, forgetting their ball, peeing in the shower, etc.) the team would have to run a suicide. This went well for all of about seven days, but has recently spiraled out of control. Last weekend a player forget their jersey and got a technical foul. Boom, 50 suicides. This weekend another player forgot their jersey and was 30 minutes late. Boom, 70 suicides. Since we only practice 4 days a week and we like to have a somewhat light practice the day before a game, we will have to run these 70 suicides over the course of 3 days. I guess it worked in the movie 'Coach Carter', but I have my doubts how it will work out for us.

Last Friday was Rosa Parks birthday, and because the gym we played at is randomly named Rosa Parks Schule, they had a birthday celebration that I was invited to. Also in attendance was the US Vice-Consulate from Dusseldorf. Being that he was a big basketball fan from Texas, we immidiately hit it off and he asked me to work with the MeetUS program that American Embassies run. I will basically go into local schools, talk about what I am doing in Germany and American culture and society, and then field questions from the kids. Based on my past experiences with kids out here and the perception of the US, and California specifically, I will be fielding a lot of questions about guns, movie stars, fast food and surfing, none of which I know much about.  I was also told part of the job required me to friend the U.S. Consulate-Dusseldorf on Facebook and spread the good word. Consider this my plug.

Thanks to the NFL network I was able to enjoy Super Bowl Monday (the game didn't start until after midnight here) with a few of my American football loving friends. Unfortunately there was no pizza or hot wings, but I was able to scrounge up some BBQ chips and some mediocore cheese dip to help keep me up so I can't complain.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Second Chances and Switzerland

I am not sure if it was the fact that we got to play with 5 players the entire game, or that we didn't have to leave at 5 am to drive across Germany to play, but the second time around with Alba Berlin went much better than the first. I personally had an off shooting night, but the rest of the team definitely picked up the slack.  But for a few acrobatics, the game was not too exciting and we came away with an easy win.  

The victory bumped us up in the standings into a 3 way tie for second place with 4 regular season games left (2 of which are against the teams we are tied with). We need to get a few wins to secure home court advantage for as much of the playoffs as possible.

Because we played on Friday night, I had a long weekend break and headed south to Geneva for a few days. For the first time since I have been out here, I wished it had been a little colder when a planned hike in the Alps was cancelled due to a lack of snow! Besides that minor set back, and the fact that Geneva is the 9th most expensive city in the world, the trip was a blast. 

We started off with a day trip to Lausanne, a city of 100,000 located on Lake Geneva and famous for its Cathedral.

The second day we bused across the border into France and took a gondola up Mont Saleve. The ride only took 5 minutes, but by the time we were dropped off the temperature had dropped at least 20 degrees and we were literally in the clouds. The visibility was about 10 feet and the only saving grace was a little hot dog and hot chocolate stand.

For some reason we decided to keep hiking up the mountain, but this turned out to be the best decision of the day. After about 15 minutes, we got up out of the clouds and had an amazing view of the Alps.

On the last day of the trip I explored the city of Geneva itself, seeing the famous Jet d'eau which shoots 143 gallons of water per second over 400 feet high...

As well as the slightly anti-clamatic, but still cool, Flower Clock of Geneva.

Although my wallet is happy to be back in Germany, the trip was a lot of fun and I am excited for my parents to get out here in a couple weeks to do some more traveling!