28 oct. 2010

HUGE WIN!

Our team had our first Euro League game yesterday, and we were in tough. We were playing the 4 time defending champions of the league.. so basically the best team in Europe! Nothing like starting with the best!

Now, I cannot go into full detail about the game, but it was one of the better games I have been involved in. We won by 2 on a buzzer beater layup! We were up the whole game and then they rallied back to tie it, and then we made the layup to win the game... It was a HUGE upset, and nobody expected us to compete.. let alone win! Our team rushed the court like we just won a National Championship!

Mind you there team was missing two of their best players, but they still had 2 WNBA players, and some really good Russian national team players, and our team does not have any WNBA players.. but we played as a team and prevailed! We got rewarded with a day off today, so that was nice. We have a Lithuanian league game tomorrow, so another chance to play! :)

 The Dog Pile that ensued after we won the game!


Me playing in the game, a nice action shot. 



Here is a link to the story about our game, you can scroll to the end of the page and watch the video of the layup!



Well thats all for now,  hope everyone is well back in North America!

Until next time,

Courtnay



26 oct. 2010

Differences

So,

I figured i'd write a little bit about the differences between Lithuania and North America. Although the difference are not big, some of them are quite funny.  One of the ones I have been meaning to write about is the fact that when you walk into a mall or a grocery store here, it is not so easy as you'd think!
Two situations occur... One you either have to enter on the left through automated doors, and then instead of walking straight through the next set of doors, you have to walk to the right and enter where you in North America would be exiting... weird! Of course there are obstacles in your way.. like 5 atm's so it just doesn't make any sense! The second thing that could occur, would be the sliding doors open up as you approach, but only open a bit making it hard for two people to fit through at the same time. Again it just doesn't make any sense.

Another difference is the way that sex appeal is displayed. We were at a team dinner at our trainers house, and we got a gift for her husband who was cooking for us. We gave him a set of shot glasses... normal enough, except they were shaped like nude women. I was shocked that we were giving a married man something like that. I would expect that at a college party, or a bachelor party. He loved the shot glasses, and explained to me that this was totally normal.

Also there are many what I would call racy photos around the city, even in our weight room we have pictures of girls or guys that you would NEVER see in North America unless your reading a magazine from the top shelf! Also I have seen multiple shirts that have naked women on them in clothing stores. I do not think that would be okay in North America.

Another difference, is the fact that when driving you have to stop ANYTIME for pedestrians, whether there is a crosswalk or not. As your driving you have to slam on the breaks as someone comes sauntering across 4 lanes of traffic. Now yielding to pedestrians is not something we don't do in North America, but we also do not take it to this level. We have been warned many times from the girls, that the cops in Kaunas will pull you over and ticket you for not doing it.

That brings me to my next point. With this warning about being pulled over for not stopping for pedestrians, we were also warned about the police. We were told that if we ever got pulled over to call our team manager, because all they want is a bribe. So if we ever get pulled over, I will be sure to pull some money out to give to the cop, so no trouble occurs. Could you imagine handing over money to a police man in North America??!?!!

One difference, which really isn't that big of a deal, but for some reason bothers me every time is the amount of receipts you get after a purchase!! I literally get 3 or 4 receipts every time I go to any type of store... Again not that big of a deal, but has become one of my pet peeves. Also when you get change back from the cashier, they do not hand it to you.. they religiously put it on a plastic table thing for you to take along with your pile of receipts.

19 oct. 2010

5...3...2

 
5 3 2.. Let me tell you..... this drill has been the death of me and Amanda the past couple days. We have had to do this drill at the end of the practice the past couple days, and it has provided some frustrating times, but also a good blog opportunity. The drill itself is not to difficult, two players take alternating shots and you have to hit 5 middle shots, then 3 threes and then 2 fouls shots. You have to hit them all in a row, so 10 shots in a row.  Of course anytime there is partner stuff Amanda and I go together. The first time we had to do this drill it took us 45 mins to finish. (I am not lying….or exaggerating!) Our partnership was the last to leave, and everyone was already in the locker room changed and ready to leave. They all laughed a little at us for taking so long.

Now I know Amanda and I are good shooters, but it was a case of us not being on the same page. I would hit my shots, and she would miss and then she would hit her shots and then I would miss. It was just not working out to our advantage. We have since done this drill about 3 more times.. and yes the same result, us being the last pair to finish. I find it a bit funny now that I look back on it, but needless to say Amanda and I were frustrated while doing it.

Now that I have shared my fond memories of 5 3 2, let me tell you about my weekend. On Saturday I went to my first movie here in Lithuania. Yes the movie was in English, but it had Lithuanian subtitiles. I saw the social network movie, and I quite enjoyed it but the fact that we have movies being made about facebook shows just how much society is reliant on technology. We have a movie making money off how a internet site was made, I wonder what my kids will grow up with, that I will think is ridiculous!

Sunday, Amanda and I went to the center to walk around. The shops were closed because it was Sunday, but it was nice to go see it, and we got to eat at a nice restaurant (even though the service was SOOO slow). We will be adventuring down there when we have a day off during the week, for some serious shopping.

We then spent the day in my apartment, where we started off by baking cookie and brownies. Now we had some difficulties…..like the directions for the cookies being in German… not Lithuanian…and the cookie sheet not fitting in the over, OR having to put cardboard in the oven (? Who knew that was normal for brownies)? The cookies did not turn out so well, but still eatable. The brownies turned out great and we shared them with our team the next day.

While these goodies were cooking, we started carving out pumpkins! Now I don’t remember the last time I actually carved a pumpkin, let alone was able to celebrate Halloween. Amanda was VERY excited to start, so she was in beast mode the whole time we were carving. I on the other hand was not as excited, but still had a lot of fun carving my pumpkin and I am happy with the way it ended up. (note- Halloween in Lithuania is Nov 1st, and is a somber day.. no costumes, but instead go to church and pray).

We also had big daddy playing in the background, so I was happy about watching this movie, as it truly is one of the funnier movies I have seen!


We ended the evening with cooking a nice meal for us, and then we had to end our lovely weekend and get ready for the week ahead of us.  I know this is a long blog, so props to those who have read the entire thing! 

Now here are some pictures of this lovely weekend!
Me on a bridge with the view behind me.

 Me posing with a bench in the center
 Amanda and I drive by this everyday, so we had to take a photo.. I think we will go towards Kaunas.. were we live
 Me being me, and being silly. I do love this photo!
 A random statue, but nice view behind it.
 A statue in the center.
 I was not impressed with taking all the insides out of the pumpkin... Forgot how long it takes!
 Amanda And I with our pumpkins! I think we did a great job.
 A great Saturday evening! A puzzle, and some American beer along with listening to the Texas football game! Doesn't get much better then this!
 A view of the city.
 Waaaaaay to excited to start baking.
 The center.. It reminds me so much of Church St in Burlington, just longer!

 Kitchen full of goodies!!
I saved this picture for last for a reason. This is the BIGGEST bottle of alcohol I have ever seen! I thought we take drinking seriously... apparently in Europe this is OK to sell???? 


Well That is a nice recap of my adventures so far... Here are a couple links to some videos of the photo shoot, so you can see some behind the scenes of that day.

Until next time,
Courtnay

15 oct. 2010

First Lithuanian Game

So, Just a quick update! We played our first game today for our Lithuanian League. We won 112-48. The Lithuanian league is not suppose to be very strong, so this was no surprise to the team. We basically use these games to work on stuff to play in the other league (euroleauge).

One funny moment, was when they brought our uniforms to us before the game, along with some needles and thread. Apparently there was not enough time for one last patch to be sewn (? I have no idea if this is how its spelt.. my English has gotten worse since being over here)!
Anyways, we literally all took our jerseys and got to sewing the patch on. It was quite a funny sight to see us all sitting down sewing away right before a game. My patch didn't last long, as after the game it was falling off. Lets see if it makes it through a wash without completely falling off!

So games have officially started, and of course every basketball player loves this because it means less practice and more fun! I will keep you updated along the way as much as possible.


This is our team photo, that we had from our photo shoot the other day. Not something you'd see in North America for sure, but I still think it turned out nice.

Until next time,
Courtnay

13 oct. 2010

The First Week!


Now that you have seen my apartment, I figured Id tell you about some of the things that have gone on in my week here!

Practice- we practice twice a day typically.  It is usually easier in the morning including weights, agility, and more shooting. The evening practice is harder, which has lots more of 5 on 5 and going over our plays and our defense.  The language barrier is a little bit difficult when im trying to understand the exact reasoning for things, but im adjusting to it so far.




One of the gyms we practice in.

Photo shoot- So we had a photo shoot for our team photo. First of all it was in a restaurant in the local mall… so that’s a weird place to have it, secondly there were about 4 cameramen, and a video guy. It felt like the paparazzi was all around us.
Once I got there, I spent about 45 mins to an hour getting my makeup and hair done. Now ANYONE who knows me… knows I do not do makeup, let alone do my hair that often. So sitting for almost an hour to be done up, was not high on my list of things to do. Once I was done with that I changes into my uniform, and had some photos taken. Mostly head shots, but the best part was the people in charge clipped my uniform back to make it even tighter on me. Sex appeal in Europe is crazy. So you can imagine how uncomfortable I was with my hair done and my makeup done, in tight clothes…

It was still a funny experience to go through, and I did have some fun with it. Of course Photos were taken to document this, since I don’t plan on it happening again anytime soon.

 After the photo shoot, before we headed to our apartments. You get the Idea.....(we are blowing kisses, because our last team photo, we had to "give kisses". Clearly we are mocking it).

Night Life- We had Sunday off, so Saturday Amanda and me went out with three of the other girls. It was a scary experience, not knowing what to expect and going out in a city not knowing where you really are, or how to speak the language. The evening started with us going to one of the girls house to get “ready” for the evening. Amanda and me taught the girls some North American card games, and how we partied in college. They enjoyed it for sure. Needless to say I survived and it was a memorable first night out! 

 Me and my teammates before we headed out.

Midnight Madness?- Well its not exactly like midnight madness in college, but our team had an afternoon game against “politicians” All I know is that one was the mayor, and Im not quite sure who else was playing. It was fun to just get out and play a friendly game J We also got to have our team introduced, and it was definitely a new way to be introduce. We had to grab a little boy and walk out with him, when our name was called out. We also got gifts and flowers before the game. I could get use to this!!!

 Me playing against the Politicians.. You can see how short my shorts are...:S

Well that is all I have for now! First game is Friday!!!

Until next time,
Courtnay

12 oct. 2010

My apartment

video
So I thought I would update everyone on what my living situation is here in Lithuania. Sorry for the corny video, but mad props to Amanda (my american teammate) for being the video choreographer.

I am having a good time here, and things are going well. Its officially been a week since I got here, and time is definitely flying. One big event of the week was me getting my bags that my parents sent from home. It seriously was like Christmas, as I have been living in the same clothes for a month and a half. All consisting of red, and black. Now I love Canada Basketball clothing, but wearing anything for a month and a half can get a tad boring.

I promise to post more, but I think the video was my first priority.

Until Next time,
Courtnay

7 oct. 2010

First Update from Lithuania


It has been an eventful couple of days in Lithuania, and I will do my best to describe it all. First of all my travel to Lithuania- I got to the Prague airport with my teammate at 4, and we grab a quick drink and then tried to waste time before we could check-in. So after what seemed to be the LONGEST 2 hours of my life, I parted ways with Kaela and checked-in. I went to my gate, and went straight for my computer and checked emails and whatnot to pass time. About an hour before we were boarding the Internet cut out… go figure. So to my ipod I went, finally we were allowed to board! So my flight to Poland was quick, and then I waited a bit in Poland and then got on my last plane to Vilnius, Lithuania which is the capital.

And so it began… I was greeted by the team helper Justas, and we got in his car and drove the hour and a half to Kaunas- my new home for 7 months. The drive went pretty quick, I basically sat there staring out the window, until Justas would ask another question. There was not much conversation, as his English is not the greatest and I was soo ready for bed so the combination did not make for any stimulating conversation. I was taken to my apartment, and I was finally “home”. It was about 3 in the morning, so I quickly looked around the apartment and then headed to bed.

The apartment: I like the place they put me in, although it seems like I just took over someone’s place, as all the pots and pans, cutlery, furniture, even bedding was in the apartment ready to go for me. Its nice I don’t have to worry about simple things like pots, or towels. I have a tv and a dvd player, which will soon come in handy. The tv has a few English channels, which includes MTV. I have had it on MTV pretty much the whole time. There is no internet yet, which is a priority in my life, but im dealing with it. Im not holding my breath that the internet comes soon. The bathroom is pretty small, so I chuckle every time I walk into it. The washer is in there, and I have NO IDEA what the words mean, so I tried to set it up when I did my first wash….. lets just say it wasen’t the right setting! Oh well, trial and error will have to do.

I met my team, coaches, and trainers on Tuesday, and they all seem nice. Most speak English, but don’t speak it unless you are having a one on one conversation. I finally met my American teammate Amanda, we have chatted a bit before I came over. She has been here for a month already, so she has kinda shown me the way. I couldn’t imagine being here all by myself for a whole month! I have had a couple practices with the team, and although I still am adjusting it has gone alright so far. I have learned most of the plays, and am getting use to how the team plays. It will be fun to get out and play in games, and see how it all unfolds. For now I am going to just work hard, and enjoy the experience.

There is so much more I could share with you, but I will save the rest for another post.

Until next time,

Courtnay

4 oct. 2010

Onto the next step


A new chapter begins today. I am currently sitting in my hotel room in the Czech. My other teammates left earlier this morning, with the majority of them leaving at 2:30am. I am not flying out until 8pm tonight, and my other teammate is not leaving until tonight, so me and Kaela are catching another bus the Prague airport this afternoon. Last night was sad, having to leave the girls that have become your friends and you have basically seen everyday, all day for the entire summer. We are all going our separate ways, and won’t be reunited until next summer. I have shared so many memories with them along with working so hard together to compete at the world championships. I can’t wait to see how they all do on their next teams.

Our team did not get the finish we wanted at the World Championships. 12th place is not the worst thing that could have happened to us, but we as a team felt we are better then that. I came down to us not shooting the ball well, and not putting a full game together. Being is so many close games, and not be able to pull off a win is disheartening for sure. The strength and character of our team came out, as we always battled and never gave up. I am so proud of that fact of our team. For me personally, I learned so much this summer. I had many ups and downs this summer, as I realized what it takes to play internationally, and just how many excellent players there are in the world. I think this year will be a good year for me to work on some new skills, and become better.

With that being said, I am now heading off the Kaunas, Lithuania to play for my new team. I am excited and scared at the same time, which I think is normal for most first year players heading over to play professional basketball. It is crazy to think the time is finally here for me to go. I feel like this moment was always in the distant future, but now its real and in the present. My travel day is not to bad. I leave from Prague and fly to Poland, then Poland to Vilnius, Lithuania (the capital). I get in around 12:40pm and then have an hour and a half drive to Kaunas. I have had much worst travel plans, and Im sure I will sleep most of the time.

The good news is that the team has my apartment, so I can go straight there. I have no idea what it will look like, or what to expect s that will be fun to explore at 3 am. As for my plans once I get up from my short sleep.. I have no idea!!!! I am sure I will have to do my physical, and meet the team. The possibility of me practice right when I get there may be very possible! Again I am very excited to see what the future holds for me.

I will update everyone once I get settled into my new place, and have everything figured out.

Until next time,

Courtnay