December 15 - It's ten days away from Christmas and I'm not able to go home because our break is only three days, so my teammates have invited me to their homes to spend Christmas with them and their families. My teammates have become more like great friends to me in the past five months that I've been here. I'm also even better in German, I'm able to not only speak, but I also understand them when they speak to me (some of the time). Even though I'm excited to have my first Christmas in Germany, I really do miss home and can't wait to fly home in April!
December 15 - We are exactly at the halfway point of the Adriatic League season and the team stands at 6th place overall. The games and weeks seem to be flying by - it's crazy to think that the Christmas holiday and New Year are right around the corner. Christmas lights and other decorations have been put up around the city and with the increasingly cold weather, it's definitely beginning to feel like Christmas. Much like Thanksgiving, I don't have much planned and will spend most of the day on FaceTime with family, friends, and loved ones. Before getting to the 25th, we will have two league games in which we will look to improve on our 7-6 record.
December 9, 2016 - It's almost been 3 weeks since I got injured and I'm starting to get my strength back after an AC (shoulder) sprain. I was blindsided by an open court screen against the Newcastle Eagles. The injury is common in football and rugby players, and the physio informed me that it would be best to rest from basketball for 3-4 weeks and supplement physical therapy until I am pain free and strength is restored to my shoulder. Fortunately, it was my left shoulder (my non-shooting shoulder). For my job, I am paid primarily to shoot and score the ball among other things. Therefore, it's a relief to know my shooting will not be affected by the injury.
Nonetheless, I am itching to get back on the court. I hate not being able to practice. I hate not being able to play. Yet, I still have been able to help the team in other ways such as working out teammates in positional-oriented drills and doing in-game notetaking to track flow of the game and look for ways to help us improve. It's a way for me to look at the game through my "coaching" lens. As much as I don't like not being on the court, it's been refreshing to see the game through a different perspective.
With Christmas coming up, it means many teams will be making roster changes in hopes of making a spot in the playoffs. We're currently sitting in ninth place of a 12-team league where the top eight teams make the playoffs. We feel that we have a top-eight team when everyone is healthy, and we have proven we can play with the top teams in the league.
Off the court, I'm looking forward to get a little break for the holidays. I'll be spending time with some friends I've made through the basketball club. We're heading to Portsmouth for a proper Christmas dinner and then we'll get to visit London too. It's not ideal being away from family but it's nice to have friends who so generous as to open up their home to me. Last year when I was in Spain, the most difficult day of the year was Christmas. It was my first Christmas spent away from Zionsville, Indiana. This year, I'm hoping it will not be as difficult but I know it won't be easy. Christmas is a time to be home with loved ones and I plan on being home next Christmas.