4 things about the Spanish beach culture!

Woke up at 11am. Today would be a day of relaxation and lots of beach/sun. I’ve realized a few things about the so-called beach culture here in Spain.

 

  1. Yes, females do to go topless here. The only problem is that these females tend to be 50+ years old.
  2. Ever seen a tanga? On a man? Yeah, you don’t want to.
  3. Shaving/waxing the legs is considered unisexual practice here. I’ll keep my opinion to myself on this one.
  4. There is a clear trend of obese children, even in Spain. What are these parents doing?

 

(All I need to be happy on the beach: Ipod, Sangria... oh and sunlotion of course)

(Gorgeous 70degree day in Salou)

Personal contribution in the Canaries game!

Personal stats: 8/8 (100%) from the field, 16points, 1assist, 1steal, 3rebounds (evaluation of 17)

Personally I think that the Canaries game was the best one I've played all year. I was able to lock down their star American, Jakim Donaldson, and hold him to 2points when I was on the court defending him. Unfortunately, he had 20p/12reb, in the game overall. But I felt like I had a big presence defensively. I knew Donaldson had a big firecracker motor, and I felt like I did a good job matching his intensity by staying active, always on my feet and never letting him feel comfortable to drive or shoot. Offensively, I was able to hit 17 footers, as well as a few nice post moves, tipdunks and I was even able to pull out a monster flush on Donaldson in a fast break (yeah, he fell). Stay tuned for highlights.

Overall I've been shooting 13/13 from the field in the last 2 games. I honestly think it's been the pregame ritual of a spanish redbull (called Energetica) right before the game starts. I'm not even trying to make a placement ad, this thing works for me. And it is all probably mental. But hey, do I care?

CBT vs Canaries

The Canaries game started out slow on our end. Guillen Ricardo, their veteran powerforward superstar, was not playing because of an injury, but the Canaries bench had no problem replacing his lack of presence. In the beginning, it seemed like the Canaries woulnd't miss a threepointer. Drive and kick, drive and kick. Incredibly athletic guards on that team. We also had a hard time getting defensive rebounds in the first half. Our defensive presence was slacking to say the least. We allowed the opponents to score an incredibly 65points in the first half (we scored 48). But we picked it up in the second half, winning the the second half by 8points (final score was 111-98). Unfortunately, this was too late. The Canaries team was entirely too good offensively. However, I was proud of our team effort and we really played one our best offensive games of the entire season. In the end, Huesca smacked La Palma by 20points, and so ultimately beating the Canaries had not affected our overall league standing, nor had it prevented us from being in the playout. Still, this was a good game to get a momentum into our playout games against Malaga.



Gametime!

I always prepare before a game with an afternoon nap and a big bowl of pasta for dinner. Two hours before gametime and you'll find me pumping lil weezy through my speakers and taking a shower. Teeth brushed, aired our sneakers, and a redbull for halftime, and I'm out the door with a confident mindset. On our way to the gym I try to visualize different scenarios in the game. Defense will be huge today. Canaries averages almost 90ppg. It will be my job to try to shut down their star american bigman Jakim Donaldson, who is currently averaging almost a double double. He is a real firecracker of a player, always moving and always being active. Gametime! Leggo!



Preperation!

Practice today contained four quartered games of 5 minutes each, going through all of our set plays to prepare us for our final game of the regular season against Canaries. The practice went well overall but it is clear that we all need a break. People are aching and hurting. It has been a learning experience for all of us to say the least. Shoutout to my teammate Ivan Martinez who messed up his knee badly today. Thoughts and prayers. It gets one thinking. All of this can be taken away in an instant. Makes one appreciate it more.


After our morning practice I headed to the Salou beach for a few hours. Perfect weather and perfect temperature. Two guys were building this insane sand castle sculpture, but I unfortunately didn’t have my phone with me to take pictures. I can’t say my body feels rejuvenated, but I am generally happy and hopefully that will be enough to find focus for tomorrow’s game. Hydrate, stretch and rest.


The lack of money is the root of all evil!

As paychecks become even more delayed I have really pondered the balance between financial stability and tranquility. The pure enjoyment of the basketball game becomes somewhat ambiguous when we become conscious of what the game can come to represent as we become professional athletes. It has been said so many times before that basketball can be used as a medium to launch oneself into a different kind of lifestyle. It is, in fact, the tool most of us basketball players use to define our life and existence. It is our guidance in life. It is what motivates us and pushes us forward in everything we do, not only athletics per say. But once we become defined by basketball, everything else tends to become more and more complicated. When basketball becomes the main outlet for our financial needs, we tend to be worried about other things but the game itself. And it is hard not to be. Some players have wives/girlfriends and children to support. The pressure to perform sometimes outweighs the pure pleasure of just playing the game. We still love it more than ever, but it is not the same liberated game we started out playing in the school yard so many years ago. Once you attach money to basketball, and thus everything else, the game transforms into a serious business with incentives that we essentially rely on to remain in peace. Take away those incentives and we lose trust in the foundation of basketball that once gave us consistency in life. 

"The lack of money is the root of all evil."

- Mark Twain


The cars I would by if I had a million to spare!

(Audi S5)
(1967 Chevrolet Camaro)
(Lamborghini Gallardo)

Saint George - yet another holiday!

During my time here in Spain I have realized a few things. For one, Spanish people like to rest - a lot. Except for the famous afternoon "siesta" (which I must say I do appreciate), it seems like there is a different holiday every week. If it's not the celebration of an old Roman holiday, it is a celebration of some guy who did something great and awesome at some arbitrary point in time. Just like the Jews look to justify their eating habits (They tried to kill us, We survived, Let's eat!), the Spanish look to justify yet another day of rest. However, it gets to be annoying at times since every grocery store in all of land tends to be closed during these holidays. But mañana mañana, as they say.

Today was the celebration of Saint George, a Roman military saint that died on April 23rd in 303BC (thank you wiki). According to my Spanish teammate Jorge (George) Santana, the standard in Catalonia is to give your woman a rose, while the man receives a book. I dont know what the suggestion is here. Anyways, our entire team posted up along the Tarragona plaza this morning to hand out free tickets to our final (and most important game) against Canaries on Friday. 

(The team posting up at the tent)

(The plaza)

Need to go home!

33 games played total so far and we have only been able to win TWO on the road. This is unbelievable to me. One can always look for excuses; we are one of the youngest teams in the league; we are physically drained; we seem disconnected from one another; we are inconsistent; we are unmotivated. But despite these excuses the fact remains that we are STILL in a position to compete, and we STILL have the chance to dig ourselves out of this mess. We are STILL able to control our own destiny. Our last game of the season is next week against #1 Canarias who already have the record to secure an automatic spot in the ACB for next year (top division in Spain). They are good. Really good. But we were able to play with them at their own house in January, and only lost by five. Everything has to go our way, and everything needs to be crisp and inspired. But we still have a chance. And I want to go home.

 


Loss at Menorca!

Just got back from our trip to Menorca. Another tough loss (6th in a row) but this time it wasn’t even close, 89-61. We just fell apart mentally and even though we all knew what was at stake, we weren’t able to compete like we did last week against Burgos. We were able to stack up 25 turnovers throughout the game. No team can win with that amount of turnovers; I don’t care how good you think you are. More importantly, we had a 2 TOTAL assists the whole game, versus Menorca’s 22. A 2/25 assist-to-turnover ratio is catastrophic to say the least.


(View from our hotel at Menorca.)


Beach Day?

Another gorgeous day in Salou. But only about 65 in the sun, so I'm not sure if i'll be going to the beach today. It needs to heat up ASAP. Only one practice today in the afternoon. My legs are really beginning to feel the longivity of the season. Ice and stim.

Following a dream!

"All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible."

 

I always have admired those who have set out to follow their dreams. For they are the people who find guidance through their own inspiration, not others. These are the people who ultimately set themselves apart from the mediocrity as they refuse to accept the ordinary. And it is no easy task. Most people settle for the easy path because it requires no work, no sacrifices and little motivation. Perhaps the most bothersome to me is that those who tell you that you can’t are also the same people who never would follow their dream in the first place. Never have I heard someone who has been there, cut down someone who is trying to get there. Our faith keeps us pushing for more and our sacrifices fuel our determination.

 

I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.” -MJ

 


A week of family time

My family (Marina and my parents) arrived to Tarragona/Salou on Wednesday night. I had already arranged an apartment for them to stay in weeks before. We ate dinner on the boardwalk and caught up on some of the events happening back home. Dad wanted to watch one of our morning practices, as he always did when I was playing back in Sweden. I guess he likes to feel involved.

Friday was a sunny day and so we decided to have pizza on the beach before heading to my home game against #2 Burgos. It would come to be the first game my little sister Marina had ever seen me play. She has grown a lot, as she stands 4ft10, beautiful as ever, always smiling and full of energy. It will be quite a handful to keep boys off of her later in life, but I am undoubtly confident that her two above-six-foot-seven brothers will scare off at least a some of them, haha. She also plays basketball, as she wears my numer 13 on the back of her jersey. We ended up losing the Burgos game by 5points, leaving a sour taste in my mouth, as we furthermore most likely have to endure a playout, since Huesca won (the team below us). However, it was an intense game to watch and we played above expectations, and although the referees made some questionable calls, it only fueled the energy of our great fans. It was so loud that my mother had to shove pieces of napkins into my sisters ears to prevent her from getting a headache. It was hard being sad after that game as my sister ran up to me with a huge smile and gave me a big hug and told me how well I played. Despite the loss, what was most important to me at that moment was that I had made my family proud and that I could feel the love and support from them. I am really fortunate.

Saturday was the day we had planned to see Barcelona. Although we got lost for a few hours thanks to the terrible google map we had printed out (and the awful one-way streets that make no sense), we were able to see the most important things: gaudi's "la sagrada familia" and "park guell". Facinating architechture and ideas. After a lot of walking and a nice meal downtown, we went to bed early as my family was leaving at 4am that next day.







Embrace diversity and stay positive!

I have learned a lot my rookie season as a professional basketball player. First, embrace diversity. Because it is bound to happen sometime. Call it culture shock or a flash of reality, but every day is a grind out here. Everything is part of a budget and since you get paid (sometimes) you are expected to abide, whatever the conditions might entail. I've come to appreciate how fortunate I had it in college. Bus snacks, free sneakers and socks, towels provided, functioning showers, and individual lockers. All gone. Get use to cleaning your own practice gear, late paychecks and getting acquainted with the local diet. Also, forget about flying and get use to riding the bus. Often and long. We are talking about ten to sixteen hour busrides at ludacris hours of the day. I thought our annual busrides to Dartmouth was bad back in college. That was a cakewalk compared to this. We usually won't get home until ten in the morning. And guess what? Two-a-day practice manana. Gracias amigo.


Secondly, try to be positive whatever the situation may be. It is easy to believe that one's problems is specific and unique, but the reality is that most people are most likely in the same situation you are in. Everyone has bills to pay, and his or her own problems. Complaining about it is not going to get anything done, neither is protesting. If things get problematic I will usually head to the beach. Things just seem to work out after that. Making the best out of every experience is key to not becoming homesick or depressed, especially since there is a lot of free time and a lot less people around. One tends to feel like an outcast and perhaps lost in translation. Unfortunately, I learned this at a very late stage but I do realize that this is all a crucial learning experience.

The struggle!

We have been struggling all season long, winning only two games on the road, good for an overall record of 11-19. It is frustrating because we have lost several really close games, losing big leads only to choke in the end. Whether it's mental or physical, I still feel like we could have done better this season. However, we have four games left and we need to make the best of the situation we are in.

We are currently tied for 15th place out of 18 teams, which leaves us exactly one win away from what is called a "playout". The bottom team in the league automatically drops into the bottom division, while the next two bottom teams play a playoff round (best of 5 games) to see who furthermore will drop into the bottom division. Needless to say, NOBODY wants to be in the playout. It entails three extra weeks away from home, as well as an all-out round of to the death basketball games.

Back with a purpose!

I am back to writing a blog after a couple of months of cooling off for various reasons. I will carry on and talk about my life as a professional basketball player, as well what those terms entail both on and off the court. For those who don't know me, I graduated University of Pennsylvania in '11 and just this season signed with a spanish team located in Tarragona, about one hour from Barcelona. Please let me know if you have questions or any requests. You can also email me at andreas_schreiber@hotmail.com

Välkommen till min nya blogg!


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