Saturday, August 17, 2013

The past week has seemed like crunch time. With only a week left on my trip I initially felt like I was at an all or nothing point in terms of finding a professional team to play on. After playing a couple games and talking to my coach and other people I've come to the realization that if God wants me to stay in Europe then it is going to happen. I just need to go out every night and play as well as I can. And I am happy to say that I have been playing quite well over here. We have one more game to play tomorrow and then it will be time to come home. And it is time for a break. Our team doesn't have much left in the tank after putting on a 3 day camp and also playing 6 games in 7 days. I am hoping that a team will talk to me yet before I leave but if it doesn't happen, this trip has been very fulfilling. I've learned a lot about professional European basketball and I've also learned a lot about myself. No regrets. So now for some game updates. While we were in France we played 3 games and went 2-1. The last game we played there was against a 4th league team and we competed with them the entire game but just couldn't get over the hump. Our first game in Germany was against a BBL team. The BBL is Germany's version of the NBA so we're talking about the best of the best. The team we played was a top 10 team and they stomped on us. Hard. We lost by 56 despite trying our best. It was a case of a veteran team with lots of chemistry playing against a team that is still trying to learn how to play together. It was a good experience and I think that with a couple years of experience I could be able to play at that level. The team we played tonight was a Pro B team and we won by 12 or so. We played a solid game tonight despite going through some rough stretches. This was the third Pro B team I have played against and I can definitely play at this level and be a player who would excel. Tonight we are having a barbecue with the host family and getting some much needed R&R. Just one day and one game left. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The showcase tour is off to a good start. We are doing a three day camp in Geubwiller, France as well as playing three games here. We have won our first two games by about 20 each. These have been lower level teams so we could work on running our sets and team chemistry. Tomorrow will be our toughest game of the week. We are playing against a national team that news release has never beaten. We've got a pretty good team and I feel like we have a good a chance as any to win tomorrow night. On Thursday we will trace, back to Hanover, Germany to play three more games. That will make 6 games in 7 days. I'm really hoping and praying that a team will pick me up, but if that doesn't happen I will have no regrets. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The regular tour has come to an end and now it is time to start the showcase tour. We wrapped up the regular tour in Vilsbiburg, Germany. As a team we went 5-0 which felt good. The last three games were against Pro B teams. I haven't mentioned the league system yet so I'll try to explain it. The best teams play in the National league. Next is the Pro A league followed by Pro B. After that comes the Regional leagues where teams play a more local schedule. So being able to compete with Pro B level teams is pretty good. Each team is only allowed to have 1-2 Americans on the floor at a time. Because of this teams obviously don't sign too many. However, if you have any kind of European heritage and can get a passport from you're great great grandparents place of birth you don't count as an American. So mom and dad, if you read this, we need to look into that more. We start the showcase tour in France and will play a mix of teams including first regional, Pro A/B, and national level teams. I had to say goodbye to half of the team at the train station today which was hard. After spending two and a half weeks together, sharing the same passion, and working towards the same goal we have become a very close group. There is no doubt that I have made friends for life. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hello from Munich! It's been a long while since I've been able to post and now is the first time I've had wifi in a week! So I'll write this post sitting at an outside cafe in the city center. We got to Munich on Saturday afternoon after taking a 4 hour bus trip. We got to the YMCA or CVJM in the city. We met up with the camp leaders and talked about what we were going to do. The leader of the camp was Zach Jones, a former NBA player. The camp was only 3 days long but yet it only took 3 days for God to work. We would start each day with doing mass defenseice slides and the like. Then we would break into stations and work on specific skills. After that we had lunch and "power hour" where we would listen to a speaker and then talk about our faith with the kids. This camp certainly seemed much shorter than Lörrach but like I said, it only took 3 days for God to work. In my group I had two young men say that they had felt something working in them since the camp started. They also told me that they wanted to give God a chance. And that too me was so rewarding. The camp went very smoothly and now we are done with camps for our trip. These last 4 days are ours for sightseeing and traveling. One afternoon we went to the English garden in Munich and went swimming in the eis bach (ice river). You should really google it, it was quite the experience. Last night we went walking around the city and heard some loud music from a concert. So we decided to follow the sound and see what was going on. It turns out Robbie Williams was playing a show that night. The best part was that it was held at the Olympic stadium. We ran to the top of a huge hill and right over the edge was the stadium and the other Olympic buildings. There had to be around 100,000 people at the Olympic park. I mean the place was just packed. We eventually made our way down the hill and to the gates of the stadium. It was just one of those nights where you realize you'll probably never get to experience something like this again so we just went for it. Today we are spending our time in downtown Munich doing some shopping and tonight we will travel to play a game against a Pro B team. This will be our last game before I travel back to Basel to start the showcase tour.  

Friday, August 2, 2013

Today was the last day of basketball camp in Lörrach. You could tell that everybody at the camp was feeling the effects of a long week. But we all pulled together and finished strong. Today in my small group I had 4 kids that asked for a Bible and that was just awesome. It really showed that the work we did here was not wasted. My prayer for the kids is that they take what they have heard and act on it. My favorite camper was a 15 year old boy named Janic. This was his first time at camp and the first time he had really ever played basketball. He spoke enough English and I have learned enough German phrases that we could have good conversations. I could tell he really looked up to me and whenever I wanted to talk to him I usually just had to look around me to find him. He's such a great kid and I hope that God keeps working on his heart. Tonight we had a game against USC Freiburg and won our third game in a row. A lot of the campers and people associated with the camp were there and it was like a little farewell event. The time that we have spent here has been amazing. News Release Basketball had a good foundation here in Lörrach and I hope that it only continues to get stronger. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's been awhile since I've been able to post so let me get you back up to speed. The camp in Lörrach is going great. Each day we start with team devotions and worship at 8:45. The kids arrive at 9:30 and then we do more devotions and here a message from pastor Cristoph. After that we break into small groups and talk about the message and how it applies to our lives. It's really good for me to here what the kids have to say. Some of them do not come from a Christian background and because of that they say things that I would never think of. My small group is a younger one, so I get to have Sebastion and Nicholas translate for me. After small groups we start the basketball drills. We rotate the kids through stations until 1:15 and then break for lunch. After lunch we play 5v5 games from 2:30-4:30. Once that is done we wrap up the day with the kids by praying. This camp is really special. It's not just a basketball camp. The kids are exposed to God in so many ways and he is working here. As far as games go, we played our first one against Lörrach CVJM, which is like the American version of a YMCA team. It is comprised of local members who like to play. This game was more just of a friendly match. The second game we played was on Wednesday night against a professional team from Frieburg. They are in a lower regional league and we were able to beat then fairly easily. Our schedule of opponents will keep getting better. Towards the end of our tour we will be aging against some of the best regional and national teams in France and Germany. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The last two days (Saturday & Sunday) have been quite the experience. Saturday we took the regional train into the town of Basel. Half of the city is in Germany and half is in Switzerland. We split into groups and went on a scavenger hunt through the city, staying in Switzerland the whole time. The hunt took us to some of the land marks of the city like the Münster church and the Rhine river. The river runs right through the middle of the city and is treated like a beach. The banks have steps every few feet so you can get in and out as you please. The weather has been unusually hot here, so we decided to float down the Rhine for awhile and it was very refreshing. Saturday night my host family had a barbecue with some friends. It was a very relaxing way to end the day. Sunday morning we attended a church that News Release is Partnered with. Bobby, who is a local and helps with the camp talked to the congregation about what we are doing and the people were very excited to have us. We sang some English songs, but other than that the entire service was in German. I really had to pay attention to what was being said because I couldn't understand when the pastor told us to rise and sing, or pray. I really loved singing in German. One of the last songs we sand was "Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord." I recognized the tune right away and it was just so cool to know that a local, Marco, who sat right next to me in the front row, was praising the same God that I was. The love of God transcends language. 

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