It has been two weeks since my last blog, and a great deal of things have happened.
On the coaching front, I coached my first two games as a head
coach. This is a team that I can call "my team" and I am really
starting to fall for these guys. They are the hardest working group
of 17 and 18 year olds I have ever seen. That hard work is evident
in the box scores. We won our first game 108-45 and it was a game
in which everyone played and scored. The second game was a little
tighter, but we won in the last two minutes, 68-61. I am more
pleased with that second win than the first because it showed our
grit and heart. As of now, everyone is saying that we are the team
with the "bulls-eye" on our back in the entire country of Iceland.
We are favored to win the whole thing and the championship is ours
to lose. We have the size, speed, shooting and work ethic that
could lead us to a championship. However, it is very early and we
need to continue to improve every day we step on the floor.
Playing wise, my team is in the same position as the team I am coaching. We are very talented and work very hard. We had our opening game of the season last night. We came out sloppy on our opposing team's (Laugdælir) home court. We ended up pulling off the 95-82 victory. I registered 18 points and nine rebounds, but still left some room for me to keep getting better. I missed some open shots I need to make, and had a few turnovers that were unacceptable. All and all though, it was a great first game experience, and a win is a win. The fans of the opposing team were yelling stuff at me, but the entire first half it was all in Icelandic so I really had no idea it was towards me. Then in the second half they figured out they needed to speak English. Once they did, they let me have it.
Amanda also has been picked up and signed a contract to play for a team over here. They are called Stajrna. They had their first game last Friday and were victorious as well. Amanda led the team in scoring with 13 points and played a great all around game. We both agree that it feels so good to get back on the court and play in organized games once again.
The bus rides are a little different, I am used to driving around and the scenery being buildings and stuff, but it is all gorgeous countryside with mountains other such natural beauties. Also, I probably speak the least out of anyone on the team. Quite a departure from our York College road trips as Coach Gamber couldn't get me to be quiet while on the bus.
Outside of basketball, our time in Iceland still brings surprises for us. The food is growing on us, except for the other day when we were served sheep head, with the tongue, jawbone, and eye socket still intact. Also, we had sheep liver today and that was edible. Amanda is looking to volunteer at a few schools for after school care or teacher's assistant. With every day we are getting around easier and easier. We are learning the roads and directions around our city and the country. My family sent us boxes of food. It was very appetizing to see since the last three weeks have brought no American food at all. We are finally getting some downtime now and have been spending the first days of it just resting. I have lifting and conditioning several times a week, and practice, including coaching, usually equals at least three times a day. In the coming weeks we are going to be traveling a little around Iceland just to see the country. Also in our downtime, we are in the process of planning a trip to Europe over our Christmas break. We want to visit Ireland, France, London, Italy, and Greece.
But before that, we both have our second games coming up next week, and our next wave of games coaching. Hopefully they are as successful as our first games were.