Hey y'all so I am back on the court and things have been going well. Currently we are 7-1 in the league and are in a three-way tie for first place with Leiden and Zwolle. In addition to playing in the Dutch league my team also participates in a separate league called the "EuroChallenge".
Basically the EuroChallenge is where 32 teams from all around Europe are separated into 8 groups. Each team in the group plays each other twice and then the top two teams from each group advances into another 4 team group and so on until a victor is crowned. In a sense it is just a glorified AAU tournament. The EuroChallenge games are very intense and so far after playing each team once, we are again in a three way tie for first with 2-1 record.
It felt so good to be back on the court after missing a month with my groin injury.
My first three games back I was a little rusty and had to work to get my rhythm back. My first game back was against one of the weaker teams in the league Leeuwarden. We won pretty easily and I played half the game since they wanted to monitor my minutes. My second game was a few days later against a league from the top league in Italy. The name of the team is Enel Brindisi and they are a very talented team. It was a home game for us and the atmosphere was absolutely incredible. We used it to our advantage and got out to quick 20-4 lead and took at double digit lead into half time. We were up 17 going into the final 4 minutes of the fourth quarter but then they came all the way back to tie it up! Luckily our captain Kees Akerboom hit a game winning jumpshot and they missed a three pointer as time expired. It was a huge win for us and even after the game our fans were saying they didn't think we could do it. I've heard about Dutch people being very honest but that was maybe a little too honest!
We would go on to win a very tough game at Leiden, who was undefeated before losing to us. It was a rough game for the team and me personally but we pulled it out again in the last seconds as Chris Denson hit a game winning floater with a second left to play. Despite how ugly the game was that was another fun environment to play in. One of the more hostile crowds I have seen and I've seen my share of them before!
Our next game was a EuroChallenge game against a team from the top league Germany named Ratiopharm Ulm. Like Brindisi, this team was loaded with talent and had one of my old rivals from high school Cj Harris (his team Mt.Tabor gave my high-school team our only loss of the season and knocked us out of the playoffs). They killed us in the first half and we found ourselves down by 20. We fought back and only lost by 9 but it was not a good game for us. Statistically it was my best game as I had a game high 26 but to pretty much get outplayed all game was hard to deal with. We would bounce back to win our next two games including another EuroChallenge win against our Swedish opponents on our home floor. I feel like I have found my rhythm now and I am a lot more comfortable running the team with all the sets we have.
Off the court I have mainly been keeping busy with taking care of my body and trying to do constructive things like learn how to cook, reading books...and taking care of my body. Another great thing about being a part of the Shoeters is that they have the Americans meet with the team chefs to have cooking lessons.
So far we have had three of them and I've learned how to make different types of pasta, chicken, salmon, and many vegetables. The lessons have been extremely helpful and I now cook dinner regularly which is a huge step for me (anyone who knows me understands this).
Looking forward to learning even more recipes as time goes on. If anyone has suggestions don't hesitate to let me know!!!
Until next time folks
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