November 8, 2016 - Today was a light day with the only team obligation being weight lifting from 10-11:30 this morning. We didn’t have practice this afternoon which meant I got to grab a late lunch and then take care of some errands like doing laundry, buying groceries and opening a bank account here in Leeds. Walking home from lunch with a teammate, I bumped into one of our team's co-owner’s in town. He runs a restaurant chain called PizzaWay, and he showed us around his newest location (it’s similar to Blaze Pizza in America). The new location is ideal for the business and convenient for those of us who live in Headingley. Because PizzaWay is a major sponsor of the team, they provide players free pizza – a perk I’m certainly thankful for!
The overall spirit of the team was down after a close loss to Glasgow moved us to 2-5. We have the pieces and talent that we need, but we aren’t executing in practice or games at a high enough rate. Knowing each other’s strengths and weakness takes some time but once we synchronize, I’m confident we’ll be tough to beat. The league emphasizes scoring in transition and fast break situations, yet we’ve had the lowest transition production at ten percent of our offensive coming in transition. That is partly our lack of creating turnovers and turning them into easy baskets. That is also partly due to our style of play. We are a systematic team that emphasizes a half court orientated game. We want to score using our half-court plays and work our sets in order to gain an advantage, extend an advantage, and maintain an advantage.
Off the court, the weekend included three days of travel and site seeing adventure. I channeled my inner tourist by visiting Liverpool with my teammates on Saturday. We went to the Cavern Club where the Beatles found a home and performed regularly. Liverpool had a museum featuring a history of the port city and another museum on slavery. The night concluded with a fireworks show on the water in honor of the holiday “Bonfire Night” and the legendary tale of Guy Fawkes, who tried to burn down the parliament on November 5, 1605.
I'd found out the day before that my brother Matt would be flying to London to spend three days for work. I was able to catch a ride with a generous team manager/photographer. After about four hours and a stop at the Dr. Martens’ factory, we arrived in North London. Next, we walked to the closest tube station to get to the center of the city where my brother’s hotel was located. We spent an hour catching up in his hotel room before going with him on his drone presentation to 500 Apple employees in the world’s most successful Apple shops…no big deal.
It was cool to see behind the scenes of my brother’s job, and we finished the night with fish and chips! The next day, I said goodbye early because my brother had to travel to Stratford to give more presentations, and I met up with Kieron, our team manager. We grabbed a coffee and walked around the city, which was beautiful. We went to Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Winston Churchill war rooms, Trafalgar Square, and witnessed a procession leading up to the changing of the guard. Around 12:30 p.m. we took the Tube out of the city to get the car and on our way back to Leeds in time for practice that night.