Nick Brady Blog #4 - November 2, 2010
The first day of November and there was already an inch of snow on the ground. Last night around 10 pm, it was coming down, and coming down hard. I like snow and love cold weather, but before November? That will take some getting used to.
Amanda and I are starting to really love it here. After a month and some weeks, it finally feels like home. The Icelandic people continue to impress us with their amazing generosity and hospitality. We are being invited over for dinner almost every weekend, and people are offering to take us all over the country for sight seeing. Up first is the national park here in Iceland, which is about an hour away from our home. We are going to see the hot springs, geysers, and waterfalls. We already think this country's landscape is astonishing, but everyone says that we haven't seen anything yet.
Basketball continues to be an experience all in itself. We lost our last game and again the problem continues to be our slow starts. We always climb back into the game, but run out of time. It was our first home game of the season and the support from the fans was awesome. Kids with faces painted lined the front and top rows of the seats. I was even asked for my autograph by several of the kids. I told them they were just wasting paper, but signed with a smile, it felt pretty neat. We had Icelandic warm-up music, and while I didn't understand the lyrics, the beat was pretty catchy. We ended up losing the game 81-68. I played well, but was my lowest scoring output of the season. I registered nine points, five rebounds and two steals. I did not get the amount of looks as I have been, but the ones I did get should have been knocked down. To fix my shooting struggles, I decided to revert back to my York College days. The team has a shooting machine, "The Gun," same color and everything as the one at York since we are green and white as well. Every day before or after practice, I am getting an extra 600-700 shots up thanks to the "Gun". This is a good thing for me for a few reasons. One, being that my shot is back to where it has always been, so I am looking forward to Sunday's game. But most importantly, for those two hours I feel like I am back at the Grum shooting, a place I miss dearly. However, I do enjoy the basketball team and organization here very much. Every week is different with our team. One week we have goal setting meetings. The next, we will have meetings to help our team bonding and morale. This week, we had a nutrition and proper eating habits meeting. They really take their basketball seriously and they want us to achieve the prediction of us becoming League Champs a few weeks ago. They take it so seriously that you get fined for being late to practice, being out of dress code for away games, and getting technical fouls. I think it is great and helps deter us from doing those things even more.
The team I am coaching now stands at 2-3. We have lost three straight, but we still have managed to keep a high morale. We understand the ability and potential that we have. Usually, when a team with high expectations struggles early, dissention sets in. But thankfully it has not to this point. I am hoping the dissention is kept at bay because we remain unified as a team and because the wins will soon begin to roll in. We have lost a few close ones, so we know that eventually we will begin to peak and the ones that were stolen from us, we will take them next time around.
Amanda's basketball has also been going well. Her team stands at 3-0 right now, and last game she played very well. She totaled 16 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and five steals. She continues to be a leader for her team. I enjoy the success she and her team are having. It reminds me of the 25-game win streak she had with her girls at York her senior year...even though she is 22 games short of tying the streak.
The language barrier is finally beginning to be broken through for Amanda and I on the court. My team is now able to call all of our plays in Icelandic: 1 (einn) 2 (tveir) 3 (þrír) 4 up (fjórum upp) 4 down (fjórum niður) 4 side (fjórum megin) low (lágt) high (hár) down (niður) up (upp) and green (grænn). We are able to call out "screen left" (skjár vinstri) and "screen right" (skjár hægri). The best part about this though is that we are not that great at it yet, so our teammates understand fully and still accept our English instead. Thankfully.
We traveled to downtown Reykjavik last week just because we had some free time and wanted to experience the city through the day. We stumbled across a beautiful church and decided to give it a try. Turns out that it is the biggest church in Iceland, and also the most visited tourist site in the entire country. It is huge. I am not going to try and describe it because only pictures do it justice. However, the best part is for only 500 Kroner per person you can take an elevator up to the bell tower and see the view. It was breath taking. You look out and you see the city below, with the ocean behind it, and mountains and glaciers lining everywhere else. We also have experienced the nightlife as well. There nights begin at 7:00 pm, and they do not go downtown until around two in the morning. Downtown is just a completely different world. You then end your night with a world famous hot dog, with everything on it, and a taxi ride home at about 6:30 am. Amanda went out for Halloween this past weekend with her teammates. She was an American girl. Very original huh? HA!
We saw the northern lights last weekend. They are one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the sight of them leaves you in awe. They are lights in the sky colored blue, green and red, with flashes of pink running throughout them. They dance in the sky directly above your head, and then in an instant can disappear. If you want to get an idea of them, go to Google images and type in "northern light in Iceland."
Tomorrow, we are going to the pool down the street, it even has a slide. I know it sounds weird, going to swim when it is 30 degrees outside and snow is on the ground. But the water is heated, so this should be some experience.
We received several packages since our arrival here, and we enjoyed them all and are so grateful for each one. However we think we got our favorite one today. Thank you to Coach Gamber and Mrs. Gamber, and Coach Dean and his family for our box of good stuff. Inside it was a bunch of items, including York College long sleeve shirts and socks. I am wearing them as I sit here. And of course Mrs. G supplied us with her famous Halloween treat bags. I do not know how I would have made it through Halloween without them.
But it is getting late and tomorrow is a busy one for us. When we get up at around 9:00 am it is still semi dark out, so waking up is a task. Within a month or so it will be dark around 20 hours every day. So that will be interesting.
Congratulations to all the fall sports at York College for your good season, and we wish those participating in the playoffs the best of luck. Congratulations to all the seniors on participating in their final season of their beloved sports.
To our hoopsters at YCP, we hope the first two weeks of practice went well, and the next two until games go even better. Keep working hard.
Some photos from Nick (He wears #5)