It is almost November 15th! For the first time in what feels like an eternity, I am looking forward to this day to watch a game, and not play in it. It just gives me this pit in my stomach to not be taking the floor in front of 1,500 screaming fans in green and white. It is crazy to me that while my boys will be playing in their first game of the year on Monday, I will have already had a handful of games under my belt. I miss Mrs. Gamber yelling behind the bench. I miss my electrolytes and 10-second words of wisdom from Nate halfway through warm-ups. I miss my fist bumps from the whole scoring table before the starting lineups are announced. I even miss Coach Jeff and Coach Dean hounding me constantly to get to help side. I think about it every day, and realize that those are what were most important in my career at York. I have said it 100 times before. If I could go back and have the chance to re-do my decision on where to further my education and career at the college level, the only change would be that I would have chosen York even quicker then I did originally. I made the best friends I ever had and received a great education. I played basketball in front of the greatest fans in D3, played alongside the best teammates a player could ask for, and played for a phenomenal coaching staff that became more like father figures. The memories I have that to some may seem microscopic in importance, but are monumental to me, are what make me wish I still was a Spartan.
However, I cannot complain either about my situation here. My coach and teammates are awesome here as well. They are funny guys who like to have fun, but understand when to flip the switch from goofy mode to serious mode. I thought my competitiveness was unmatched when I was in college. Then I arrived here. My teammates are super competitive, almost over the top competitive. But I love it and it fits me perfectly. Practices continue to be high in intensity. In practice, scrimmages and drills are played like it is fourth quarter in the league championship game. I am surrounded once again by a great group of teammates, a knowledgeable coach, and an impressive and very supportive organization staff. My career is nothing short of blessed so far.
Our hard work is beginning to pay off. We had a game on Friday against a pretty good team and played very well. We won 100-82 in a very fast paced, high-octane game. My work of getting on the shooting machine every night before or after practice seems like it is paying off. I had my best shooting game since arriving here in Iceland, and registered 24 points, three rebounds and two steals. I knocked down four three pointers, but still missed a couple early that should have been hit. My coach tells me I have the green light even if I am missing early, so I thank him and my teammates for having the confidence in me. We stand at 2-3 right now, but are on an upswing. We have a long way to go to live up to our pre-season projection of the number one team in the league. But with every day of practice and lifting that goes by, we are improving. That is why it is not a race, but a marathon. It is not how you begin, but how you finish.
Amanda's team is out of the gates fast. They are first in the league right now at a mark of 4-0. Amanda has really been showing an all-around look to her game. Last game she registered 15 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, and three steals. She is averaging a double double in points and rebounds, with 7.5 assists to go along with that. Her coach has done a great job with this team, as it is only their second year in the league and they already are proving to be a team that can make some noise. He is really a great guy too. I talk basketball with him all the time. And the other day we ran into him at the grocery store...he showed us where the candy was. Of course the candy was for Amanda, not me.
I know I tend to sound a little monotonous when talking about the people in Iceland, but they really just get better and better with the weeks that go by. At least once a week we do not need to cook because someone has us over for dinner. I have to give a shout out to Gudni and his family, who basically have adopted us since our arrival here. With people like Gudni and his family, and everyone on the board at Breidablik, including the general manager, I cannot help but sound like a broken record when talking about the people here.
Gudni even took us this past weekend to the "Golden Circle." It is astonishing to see. There are three stops in the Golden Circle. The first stop is called the "Þingvellir." Þingvellir is a site with a mass of importance to it. Historically the parliament was first established in Iceland here in 930, and lasted there until 1789. Geologically it is important because first off, it is the first national park ever in Iceland. Also, it lies on the site of a rift valley that marks the crest of the "Mid-Atlantic Ridge," which a tectonic plate. Furthermore, the largest natural lake in all of Iceland lies in Þingvellir. The second stop is the geothermicly active valley of Haukadalur, which is home to several active geysers. The main ones are "Strokkur," and "Geysir." It is truly amazing to see how the holes fill up with boiling hot water and shoot skyward at an immense rate. The water can be anywhere from 175-200 degrees. The third stop, and my favorite, is "Gullfoss." Which means "Golden Falls." It is a waterfall that will leave you breathless. We caught the view on a great day, as there was still snow on the ground, and some of the water was frozen over. It was sensational. The crevice in which the water dives into is 105 feet deep and 60 feet wide. And of course, like all Icelanders we had to end the trip with a hot dog with everything. They make your taste buds do the one-minute waltz in 50 seconds.
We enjoyed the hot dogs so much, but quickly were returned back to reality when the following day we were served sheep heart for lunch. We gave it a try, but quickly ordered two ham and cheese sandwiches to go.
Before I end, I want to congratulate first the Men's soccer team on a great season, the NCAA tourney berth, and a back-to-back CAC championship. The seniors had a great career. Secondly, congratulations to all the athletes and coaches who were awarded all conference, all region, or Coach of the Year accolades. Good luck to the winter sports in their upcoming seasons, and good luck to the women's hoops team in their upcoming game on Monday.
Lastly, special good luck to my guys in their opener on Monday. It will be 1:00 am my time when tip off starts, but I am watching every second. I'll be wearing my green and white so rep that 25 hard Mitchell.
Photo courtesy of Nick Brady.