Every year thousands of former college basketball players venture overseas to play professional basketball in hopes of competing at the highest level and growing their game to the next level -- former Valparaiso University guard Erik Buggs is one of those guys. After two seasons playing in Switzerland, Buggs will spend the 2015-16 season with U. Catolatica in Santiago, Chile, where he'll take you inside his life on and off of the court in pro basketball...
I have been in Santiago, Chile for over a week now and have practiced with the team since I landed, have met my other teammate from the States, Jordan Clarke, who arrived late last week and now it's just about getting accustomed to the lifestyle and everything because this is way different than my last two seasons in Europe.
Even with my first blog post on the season, let's rewind for a bit before telling you how things are here to the adventure it was getting over here. As many of you know traveling can be a hassle especially when you have connecting flights. Combining a tad bit of ugly weather into the mix could spell for a long and frustrating trip.
As my flight prepared to head to Atlanta from Memphis, we were put on hold right before pulling out of the runway due to thunderstorms in Atlanta. This wouldn't be such a bad issue if it weren't for the fact that they only were holding incoming flights into Atlanta and all outgoing flights were cleared for take off. So yes, you guessed it. There was a very good chance I could be stuck in Atlanta and have to wait a whole day for the next flight to Santiago. As hour after hour passed we finally were given the go ahead to take off to Atlanta after being delayed 2 plus hours on the runway.
Once I landed in Atlanta I sprinted the whole 10 minute stretch to my gate only to find out that the flight had been held due to Delta Airlines mass number of connecting flights to other areas of the world. It must have been my lucky day...
As many of you know and for those who don't, playing basketball overseas is definitely a grind and a sacrifice.
You leave behind many people who care about you in order to come to a whole new world in order to provide for them. This was my case and is in my opinion the hardest part about playing basketball in a different country. My wife and my child are both in Memphis and it was the toughest thing in the world to part with them for this period of time in which I have to work. I am blessed with a family who knows how hard it is to be away and dedicate themselves to being my biggest support system which you need in order to make this profession successful.
Now that I'm here in Santiago it is all about the task of getting ready to do battle with a new team, in a new league, with a different game plan.
The team is pretty dedicated to getting better and making a run at the playoffs. We are a very young squad and this some will say is a disadvantage but I see a team of very hungry individuals looking to prove everyone wrong, and that is the attitude of a winner to me! I look forward to seeing how the team grows in these next couple of weeks before our first game in October. As usual I thoroughly enjoyed sharing with you and look forward to sharing the experience with you again soon.
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