Webster’s defines hump day as- “The middle of a work week (Wednesday); used in the context of climbing a proverbial hill to get through a tough week”
Well this time of year for most Americans playing in Europe is like “Hump Day”. If you’re team isn’t still playing in the Uleb Cup, or Euroleague, you’re playing once a week, either every Saturday or Sunday. And that makes for long days and even longer nights. For most countries the regular season is about to end and the playoffs are around the corner, which means one thing… ALMOST TIME TO GO HOME!! That’s why I said this time of year is Hump Day, because if you can make it through March, you can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or it could be the lights from the train that’s comin through the tunnel. Either way your time is almost up!
I find myself waking up each morning and crossing off the day on the calendar, and like my most of my friends playing in Europe, I’ve started the countdown… actually my countdown started August 12th, the day I arrived in Switzerland this year, but who’s counting. “The Countdown” is the number of days you have left until the season is over and you get to go back home. You start to play mind games with yourself and do other little quirky things to take your mind off it, but nothing works. Now before you go and start to think that I’m a typical ungrateful professional athlete, and how I should be so lucky to get to travel abroad in Europe and play a game for a living, here’s my disclaimer… I thank God everyday for giving me the opportunity to play basketball for money, the opportunity to travel and live abroad in Europe, and for giving me CNN as my only English channel on most days! But this point of the season seems like its dragging along at a snails pace. Also the playing one game a week doesn’t help either.
Here’s how your day usually goes leading up to game day here in Europe. You wake up and eat some sort of off brand cereal that has a similar name to your favorite cereal back home, but lacks in the taste department. I.e., Flake Frosties, and my favorite, Cocoa Roos, then there’s Shooting Practice, Regular Practice, Myspace, Facebook, Youtube Clips, Madden games on PS3 or Xbox, NBA.com, Eurobasket.com, Practice, and did I mention practice…
Another side affect of this part of the season is my current battle with insomnia! I can’t remember the last time I got a good night’s sleep. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve, last week I even left out some milk and cookies! Which made me wonder which one of my parents ate the milk and cookies all those years? Anyway… There are many factors that have led to my insomnialsm; yeah it’s a word… Ok, I just made it up, get over it… The first factor is the 7 hour time difference between Fribourg, Switzerland, and Houston. It’s really tough to stay connected to my family and friends while playing in Europe without talking to them on the phone. Sure emails, and instant messages help, but nothing beats my hearing my mom ask, “Marc, are you eating healthy up there?” or “ Do you have a big coat, you know it’s cold out there?” I couldn’t imagine not talking to my girlfriend about her day at work, no matter what time it is. And usually it’s around 3 or 4 in the morning, but it’s just another sacrifice I have to make to feel like I’m not losing touch of what’s happening back home. The other thing that keeps me up at night is the value of the DAMN DOLLAR!!! Wow, what in the George W. Bush is goin on?? The dollar has struck new record lows against the euro, as of yesterday it was 1:1.53! Basically that’s saying if a jacket in Europe costs 100 Euro, I’m paying $153 for it. So all the guys in Europe who are getting paid in dollars, are getting killed on the conversion. I’m sure next year a lot more guys will be asking their agent to make sure teams pay them in Euro! I know if I come back, I’m sure as hell gonna ask. While laying in bed I try to figure out ways to battle my insomnia, I try counting all types of things, sheep, the # of breaths I take, Kobe’s shot attempts, AI’s tattoos… needless to say none of those work. But I guess the good thing about not being able to sleep is it gives me time to think.Some of my thoughts include;
- How great my mom’s catfish tastes.
- how playing around the world may cause me to miss out on my youth while my friends get to go out and have normal lives back in the States.
- How much I miss my family.
- How hard it is to play in Europe, and have a real relationship with a woman.
- How Barack Obama is gonna beat me to becoming the first black President. Dammit!
I guess things aren’t so bad, I have my health, my family is doing Ok back in Houston, and I do get to play my favorite game for a living… Hey, it could be worse I could have been Client #10!!