Aug 31, 2011

Krepšinis: I love this game - Basketball in Europe (PtII: Lietuva)


My original basketball post was written in España so its only fitting that my second be written in similarly basketball-mad Lietuva. Lithuania plays host to this year's European Basketball Championships. As you may know I've been trying to have a basketball experience in each country I visit. I've stayed a month in each country so I've had a generous window to achieve my brief. Its been like shooting layups, it will get interesting once I get a shortened shotclock.

My original basketball post is constantly being updated, so kindly check back
- Baloncesto: I love this game - Basketball in Europe

Here are my basketball stories up until today, Day 215.
  • Played full court pickup games at Olympiapark in München
  • Hung with kids playing streetball in San Lorenzo, Roma
  • Shot hoops for hours with a local in Barcelona
  • 2 on 2 with locals and attended a 3 on 3 tournament by the beach in Porto, Portugal
  • Caught a regional bus to play ball with Amsterdam Noord locals in the pouring rain. Hookup courtesy of a Dutch guy I befriended after asking about his "STAT NY" shirt. This HipHop bar became my regular Amsterdam hang with a Dutch BBall crew
  • Shot around with a Greek Jake Shuttlesworth. I found a court whilst biking from Rotterdam to Scheveningen (near Den Haag). Incorporating his knowledge of basketball and musicmaking, he imparted some great life advice. We talked about life, family, passion and dreams.
  • Memorable first day in Brighton, England. After spending a good deal of the night hanging with street performers. I longboarded and had a competitive game of 2-on-2 with a [painfully] charming lesbian trio at 2 in the morning.
  • Befriended the manager of the English Basketball team on my flight to Lithuania from London and learnt a lot about the game in the UK. We hung out in Vilnius, traveled to Panevėžys where we shared a tent until my snoring inevitably separated us
  • Played some solid 3 on 3 pick up games at Vilnius, Lithuania. It was by the site of the EuroBasket 2011 Opening night party which I attended the evening previous.
brighton, basketball court, nightBallin' in Brighton, England
photo: Todd Geasland

I must say that my game has developed the more I've played in each Country. I was always hesitant to play ball at home despite my love for it, conscious of my game (or lack of it). It was only at an advanced age that I realised life was too short avoiding something I enjoy. Only through the experience of court time would I develop my game and overcome my shyness. I feel like OG Bruce Wayne traveling the world skilling-up to become the 'Dark Knight'.

Just as in my other love of comedy, Basketball can teach many lessons about life. I think this quote by the GOAT Michael Jordan best sums where I'm at now - "I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying".

By the way, I'm tipping France and Lithuania in a close Finals game.

>> Check out my Basketball & Travel blog - 30HomeGames.blogspot.com

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