September 23, 2010

Nick Brady Blogs About His Iceland Adventures

The York College Athletic Communications office is proud to announce that former Spartan All-American Basketball player Nick Brady has agreed to compose a blog about his professional basketball experience in Iceland. The blogs will appear regularly on the www.ycpspartans.com and will also be able to be found on the Spartans' Facebook site.

Nick and his girlfriend, former Spartan women's basketball standout Amanda Andrews, left for Iceland on September 16. Nick will be blogging as his schedule allows. We thank Nick for taking the time to keep Spartan Nation up to date on his professional career.

 

Brady's Blog - September 23, 2010

Well it felt like the day would never come, but after all the paper work, packing, and planning, Amanda and I arrived in Iceland last Thursday morning at 6:30 am here, which is 2:30 York time. The general manager of my team picked us up and immediately took us to our apartment where we were allowed some time to catch up on our rest. In the afternoon, we were shown around Reykiyavik, the capital city of Iceland, our new home city. To say that it is gorgeous is an understatement and pictures truly do not do this country justice. You need to really be here, feel the cold wind and smell the fresh air to appreciate its beauty.

It has been a week since we have been here and it really already feels like home. Our apartment is very nice. It is in an area that is very comfortable, and it is right across the street from where we get our free meal every day. Speaking of meals, the food here is definitely not the normal U.S. cheeseburger and french fries. Through the first week, we have dined on salted lamb, fish pudding, sheep heart and kidney, and lamb stew. Definitely different, yet pretty tasty. Still, makes us miss the YCP cafeteria a little bit.

Basketball wise, things are very good. I had my opening pre-season tournament this past weekend. We (Breidablik) took second place in the tournament. We won our first game by two in overtime, blew our opponents out in our second game by 29, and lost the championship by 8. It was a game we should have won. We were up 10 going into the fourth quarter and just ran out of gas. I was definitely nervous for my first games as a professional player, especially in a different culture and league. I managed to average 17 points per game, which ranked first on the team for our opening tournament. However, I still have a great deal to learn about the game over here. I noticed several things on the floor. The game over here is extremely physical. I caught numerous screens that still have me cringing when thinking about them. Also, everyone can shoot. We played a 7-footer in the opening game and even he was stepping out and hitting jump shots. The language barrier is a little bit of a problem for me right now. Though my teammates can speak English, sometimes they forget that I cannot speak Icelandic, and this makes understanding plays, calling out screens, and simple communications as calling for the ball difficult. However, they have been extremely helpful in assisting me in adapting to the rigors of professional ball here in Iceland. Tonight I was put at the point guard position. Learning the plays at the shooting guard position a little nerve racking, but now learning to call them, and how to run them is even more difficult. So it looks like on October 6th, our first game, I could open up as our starting point guard, instead of our starting shooting guard. This will be an experience...but hey, that is small in relationship to the entire experience of the culture change.

Amanda and I both are also coaching several teams while here. I have a younger team, around the age of 10 and 11, and also a team around the age of 18. My age 18-year old team, called "Drengjaflokkur" is extremely talented, and a very driven team. There competitiveness is remarkable. They finished the past two seasons second in the entire Arctic League, and are primed to win it all this year. I am making a lot of strides with this team, and they seem to respond to my enthusiasm at practices with enthusiasm of their own.  My goal is to not only win a championship as a player, but also win one as a coach as well. I believe that the most rewarding thing out of the coaching realm is the fact that while I am coaching a completely different culture, they still respond to me in an extremely positive manner.

I do miss York College. I strained a muscle in my right shoulder on Monday, and do not have Nate, Jen, or Allison here to not only provide me with "stim" or "ultrasound," but the trainers do not connect with me on a personal level like I did with them yet. There is no Coach Gambers, Coach Witmans, and no Scott Guise or Brent Duffy. It is very structured and business like with the team. It's not quite the family feeling we had at York. Everyday I have practice, followed by lifting sessions. We have a strength and conditioning coach, and also a track and field coach. 

Amanda and I went shopping for our first time this past Sunday. We spent 6,700 Krona on our grocery list. It is not as much as you think, only around 56 U.S. dollars. 

There are some different customs here. When you walk inside, everyone takes their shoes off. It is because people get a little disgusted when you wear your "outside" shoes inside. When you walk into our gym, there is a huge shoe rack attached to the wall for everyone to put their shoes. Also, people walk around outside when it rains with blue shower caps on their shoes. The cups here are like glorified shot glasses. They are basically two sips and gone. On our first day of eating here, Amanda and I each had five cups each at our table. People were looking at us like we came right off of the sideshow. So now we just manage our beverages and get up repeatedly to refill. We went to dinner with our coach and we had our first, and only, American meal, steak and potatoes. He also informed us that over here, Icelanders have 13 Santa Clauses at Christmas, and have a three-day long New Years celebration. We are extremely excited for the holiday season.

In a nutshell, the first week has been awesome. It is a different culture, but incredibly beautiful. Everyone here is extremely helpful and the Icelandic people are really admirable. It amazes me how they can speak two different languages fluently. Along with being amazed by it, I am extremely thankful, or we would have been lost a dozen times by now. Keeping my fingers crossed that the rest of our seven and a half months goes as great as this first week has. 

 

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