Monday, 26 December 2011

Jerusalem

Ah, I also forgot we went to Jerusalem 2 weeks ago as well to tour around. After our game vs Netanya we drove straight to my cousins house to spend the night. We got an early start (like 730am blehhh) and took the train from the suburbs, where my family lives, to the last stop up on Mount Herzl. There we went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum. It was the first time I had been there, though I had been to a Holocaust museum in Washington DC, and Mere had never been to a museum like that before. Obviously it's a very powerful place and we both took it all in. Not exactly an uplifting morning but it was good to see. After finishing at the museum we went up the mountain a bit more to see the famous military and political gravesites and memorials. It's kind of a peaceful place with nice views. Also got a peek at Theodore Herzl's grave, the namesake of my current home Herzliya.
(view of the museum from the mountain)

When we were done there we hopped back on the train and headed into town where we got off at whats called the Shuk in Hebrew. It means the market and its a fun and kinda wild place. They have a million stalls selling fruit, baked goods, spices, snacks, everything you could think of. It's a great place to just wander around and see and taste different things. Unlike at home, you can just sample things in the street and often the street vendors will invite you to come eat their products. We bought a couple different things, all food, and had lunch with my uncle, who was in the area, before continuing on.


After leaving the Market we started the walk to the Old City section of Jerusalem. It's the really historic part of the city with all the famous religious monuments. It was a pretty nice walk and we stopped in at Ben Yehuda Street which is basically an outdoor mall. It has lots of cafes and shops but most of the stuff is pretty touristy so we didn't buy anything really worth mentioning. By the time we got to the Old city it was getting close to sunset. We had to walk through another market-like passage way for something like 25 minutes before we saw the sign directing us to the Western Wall. When we got there we saw lots of people and tours, but not a crazy amount as there sometimes are there. It is quite the tourist attraction for people of all religions and we saw tour groups from Italy and China among others. We put our notes in the wall, as is customary, and took some pictures before getting ready to go. 

By this point the sun was down and it was getting cold. We wandered around the Old city making our way back to the gate we entered at and headed back to the train stop. A half hour later we were back at my cousins house and soon after on the road back to Herzliya. It was a really busy day but we had a lot of fun.


The Baha'i Gardens in Haifa

Forgot to say, I think it was the Saturday before our game against Netanya. Me and Mere (the girlfriend if ya don't know) drove to Haifa to see the Baha'i Gardens. Baha'i is the youngest religion in the world and they have two shrines/gardens in Israel, one in Haifa and one further north in Akko. This is the website for the Haifa gardens http://www.ganbahai.org.il/en/. The drive only took about 45 minutes and was really easy. Once we got there we got to look around the shrine area a bit before it closed, which was cool. The shrine itself is obviously something to see but surrounding it are many trees, and well manicured lawns with flowers and designs in with the plants themselves as well as different colour stones.


Then we drove further up the mountain to the top of the actual Gardens to take a tour. You start at the top and work your way down to where the shrine is. Its quite a ways down and has some pretty crazy views. I thought there would be more colourful flowers or something, but maybe its because the weather is getting colder.




Anyways the tour was nice and we got to see some cool stuff. The drive home was quick and our day tirp was complete. Good times

Game 9: @ Ashdod

Next game was at Ashdod, the third team in a tie breaker with us and Netanya... so obviously another big game. We came out alright doing our thing, playing how we planned. But with a couple minutes left in the 2nd quarter we started to collapse and ended up being down 9 points at the half. Not much to say about this one. We came out in the 3rd quarter and played horrendously. The game was effectively over within minutes. It was embarrassing. I played for 1 minute at the end of the third quarter.... so that sucked. We ended up getting completely blown out. Needless to say the locker room was on edge after the game. Hopefully we can pull it together a bit soon

Game 8: vs. Netanya

Continuing our homestand against Netanya, who were 1-6 at the time I believe. Huge game for us because if we win we'd move into 8th place and be back in the thick of things. One of their Americans, Jerome Randle, had just gotten out of his contract because he's trying to make an NBA roster, so they were down a foreigner. Then in the opening minutes their starting centre, an Israeli, went down with a knee injury, so he was out. And a second foreigner had foul trouble and only ended up playing like 10 minutes probably.... But even with all this, we played like shit and lost the game. It was horrible. I only played like 3 minutes in the first half. had 2 points and 2 rebounds. Not sure why I didn't get to play but it was crazy frustrating especially because I had done well the last game, and also for the few minutes during this game. Anyways huge loss that dropped us into a three way tie at the bottom of the league.

Game 7: vs. Ashkelon

First game with our new coach was against Ashkelon, a team that had started the season out incredibly but was on a downswing after one of their foreigners (Raymar Morgan from Michigan State) had a season ending knee injury. We started the game off very slow, and were down 14 points before we knew it. Thankfully we turned it up and came back to even things out. I played maybe 6 minutes in the first half and contributed with some offensive rebounds and a couple points. By halftime it was a close game, I think we were down 2 or something. Anyways second half was more of the same, back and forth. In the third quarter I continued to play well and helped our team get the lead back. Fourth quarter I didn't play but we ended up making a couple huge plays that allowed us to get and hold on to the lead. I think the final score was 101-96 or something like that. Obviously not a great defensive showing but we finally won and got out of the hole we were in. I finished the game with 5 points and 6 rebounds in 13 minutes. First game in a while a really felt good and comfortable and great feeling to win it at the end.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

New Practice

Now that we have a new coach practice has changed up. Warning, basketball philosophy stuff coming. He wants us to put pressure on the ball at every position. For example if I'm guarding the opposing 5 man at the three point line to pressure him and bother him out there. Also wants to fast break more, get the ball out of the basket even when we get scored on and run. But on the other hand he is more of a controlling coach than our last coach, and wants to set up the plays if we don't have a quick basket available.

We stop practice a lot, A LOT, so that he can correct and tell people what he wants them to do and how to run the plays and such. It was a drag at the start because we stopped a crazy amount but its been better.

He also implemented a whole new set of plays. I think he only kept one or two of the plays we previously had. So alot of our time has been spent learning the new ones. I'm pretty good at that kind of thing so not too big a deal for me. I usually help out the other guys with it. Anyways practicing away getting used to the new stuff

Changin it Up

On Monday, after the game, the team management fired our coach. We were 2-5 at the time and had lost 4 in a row. I feel bad for him though because he was a good guy, and we lost a couple heartbreaking games where if we'd have won he would have surely still been with us. Three days later a new coach was hired. He's a friend of my agent named Adi Azoulay. A good guy as well, more serious and hands on than our last coach.

Game 6: vs Galil/Gilboa

This game was a month ago (4 games back) and we played at home against Galil, a team from the north. At the time they had been on a 5 game winning streak including the Israeli league as well as Euro Cup (I believe). The game started off pretty well and was up and down. I got some time in the first half and played ok. Didnt do much of anything good or bad. At halftime we were down 3 points I think. In the second half Galil started playing better and went on a run. I think their lead got up to 10 or 12 points in the fourth quarter before we started making a run. Udoh played incredible for us finishing with something like 22 and 13 rebounds or something like that. Fueled by a couple big plays by him we cut the lead down to 4 or 5. At that point it was time to foul and we went back and forth sending Galil players to the line. In the end we managed to cut the deficit to 2 with Galil on the line. The player missed the free throw but Tweety Carter's desperation heave was short and we lost another game by two. Sad times all around.

I'm Baaaaaaaaack

Sorry for the lack of updates (if anyone cares that much). Was on blogging hiatus for the duration of the gf's visit. Not to worry I'm bout to go on a blogging rampage to catch up. Stay tuned San Diego

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

New addition.... Again

Found out yesterday we signed a new NBA player: Ekpe Udoh from the Golden State Warriors. Think he gets here tonight or tomorrow. He also played at Baylor with our guys Lace and Tweety... pretty sweet for them to be all back together. Anyways we'll see how it goes tomorrow in practice with him

Bye Week

Because there are 11 teams in the league, every week one of the teams gets a bye week... This week was our week. So instead of the usual grind we changed it up. Had a couple days off and instead of the usual game on sunday we had an intersquad scrimmage. Split the team into two groups of six and played a 40 minute running time game. It was kinda fun and much better than practice obviously. We bet a pizza dinner on the game and my side won, so we're all going out for pizza wednesday night.

Another part of the bye week is going to do some community service. The team that has the bye is sent by the league to a different town/city every week. For our week we went up north to a neighbourhood outside of Haifa. We played a game against a youth team up there and signed autographs/took pictures. Each player had a kind of collectors card made for them by the league... we signed them all and gave them out to the kids. It was a pretty good time and afterwards we went out to eat together. Back at it for the rest of the week getting ready for our game sunday

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

@ Habika'a

Sunday we traveled to Givat Shmuel a little East of Tel-Aviv, so not too far away. Habika'a is a good team around the top of the standings in the league. We started out the game very well playing exactly how we wanted to. On our team, Lace Dunn was puttin on a show scoring like a madman, and the team was playing pretty good defense, helped by the fact Habika'a was brickkking threes. At halftime the score was something like 41-32 for us I think. Second half they started hitting some shots and had a couple possessions in a row making three pointers. From that point it was a tight game although we continued to hold onto the lead. In the fourth quarter Habika'a took their first lead since the first quarter but we quickly got it back. Fourth quarter nearing crunch time I made two free throws to put us up four I think. Habika'a then made a three and after one or two empty possessions I came down with a defensive rebound and got fouled. I made 1/2 (sad times) to put us up two. The came down and hit a quick two to tie the game. On our ensuing possession Tweety Carter went to his patented step back but hit back rim, this guy Pinnock grabbed the rebound, raced upcourt, and hit an offbalance shot to put them up two with 0.5 seconds left. We ran an alley oop play to try and win the game but the pass got intercepted and that was it. Tough lough to stomach because we were up the whole game and really needed the win. Coming up is our bye week so we have two days off now then some practices the rest of the week

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Game 4: vs. Rishon Le Zion

Trying to bounce back from the smackdown we took last week, we played at home against Rishon. I think they were 1-1 at the time. I got the start in this game, guess the coaches were just trying to change it up a bit after last game. The game out alright. Up and down, back and forth type of first half. We couldn't stop anybody on defense... it was kinda crazy. I had 2 fouls in the first quarter (the first one literally I have no idea what it was) so ended up sitting out the second quarter. Halftime we were down 46-40. Third quarter we went back to our usual starting five, the four Americans and an Israeli guard. They played for the majority of the quarter but it did not. go. well. We were outscored 27-9 in the third and weren't able to recover. The Americans got benched for the fourth but the game was too far out of reach. We made up a couple of points but we still ended up losing by 22 points. Another disappointing outcome for us. We need a win ASAP or things are going to start getting testy around here. Sunday we play at Habeeka, a tough team that has been playing well. I finished with four points (2/4) and three rebounds. Nothing special but I played alright.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The JJ Hickson Experiment

As you may or may not know, our first NBA player Trevor Booker suffered a leg injury in preseason and had been out for a while... He ended up going back to the States to get it treated so we were down a player. The team ended up signing a player out of Creighton University named Kenny Lawson Jr. on a two month contract to fill in. He's still with us here, but the teams management wanted another NBA player on the team so they ended up signing J.J. Hickson who was recently traded to the Sacramento Kings for Omri Casspi, the legend. Anyways Hickson got here about a week and a half ago and played in our game last week at Holon. This week however, he told the management that he was homesick and wanted to be released from his contract. They worked it out and he was gone Monday morning. He was only here for around two weeks before going back to the U.S. Now we're back to the roster we had for our first two games in which we played well. Hopefully we can pick it up a bit and get back on track. We don't know if the club is going to sign another American so just gotta wait and see

Monday, 31 October 2011

Game 3: @ Holon

Last night we traveled to Holon for week 3 of the season. Was raining in Herzliya when we left... hadn't seen that in a while. Anyways, Holon has notoriously crazy fans, supposedly the best fans in the league. They don't have alot of ingenuity with their heckling... more just a bunch of assholes. The fans are pretty close to the bench and could be heard yelling things like "fuck you _____" to whoever was in ear shot.... or chanting in Hebrew that someone was a son of a bitch. Anyways to the game: we started off slow and they started off great. This one guy Sullivan had a craaazy dunk. Video game athleticism. They were making literally everything and we were shooting pretty badly. Also our transition defense was pretty much nonexistent as we gave up a million fast break points. Long story short by halftime the score was something like 60-36...

Things only got worse from there. Holon continued to make shots and abuse us in the half court. The final score was 119- 80 or something.... ridiculous score. It was shockingly embarrassing. There's almost nothing to say... it couldn't have gone worse.

Today in practice (which is usually just a recovery/shooting practice) we did some defensive drills as punishment/reminder i guess of the game. Didn't even bring the balls onto the court. Tomorrow we have the day off. Gotta just get ready for Sunday and our next game at home against Rishon LeZion

Game 2: vs. Haifa

In our second league game, and home opener, we faced Maccabi Haifa. A talented team with lots of good players... but very bad chemistry and attitude. It was a back and forth game for the most part. They started very strong and had a ten point lead for much of the first half. In the second half we closed the gap and it became a real battle. In the fourth quarter we finally took the lead and Haifa ended up folding, allowing us to pull out our first win. I only played around 9 minutes I think and didn't do a hell of a lot. Got to see a friend of mine Simon Farine from Toronto who's playing for Haifa this year.

Scouting

Purely basketball related post. Scouting the opposing team is obviously a big part of basketball... and it becomes even bigger when you're only playing once a week. Every game is so important. In college we would watch video of the other teams players/plays the day before a game and then defend some of their plays on the court in practice. Here it's kind of similar but taken to another level. Because we mostly play on Sundays, this is how the schedule would look. Thursday before practice we'll watch a half of most likely the last game our opponent played. Don't really talk about anything just watch them play. Then during practice we'll go over one or two of their set plays a bit.

Friday we'll watch film on the individual players in the team's rotation. We'll also get a scouting booklet that has all of the team statistics in wins, losses, overall, and in comparison to the rest of the league. The booklet also has a summary of information for each player. Once again, during practice we'll go over some of their plays and defend them.

Finally, on saturday we'll watch film on the set plays of the other team and once again defend their plays in practice. As you can see we spend a sizable amount of time on scouting and watching/learning about the opposing team. Can be boring sometimes but it helps if you really watch.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Season opener @ Hapoel Jerusalem

On Monday we started our season at Hapoel Jerusalem, notoriously crazy fans and supposedly the second best team in the league usually. The fans were pretty crazy... In Europe whistling = booing so when things get heated the crowd starts whistling. A couple times during the game it was pretty deafening. Anyways we started out the game on fire and carried a 10 point lead into the half. The third quarter didnt start out very well and Jerusalem closed the gap on us. In the fourth quarter they went up a couple points but it was a back and forth game with a number of lead changes. With the game nearing its end we were down three with the ball. We ran a sideline inbounds play and our new foreigner, Kenny Lawson Jr, got a shot off with 5 seconds left that tied the game at 85 (i think). On the ensuing Jerusalem possession their Israeli PG drove the lane for a seemingly wide open layup... but botched it so we went to OT. In OT it was more of the same. I had a chance to put us up two but missed a shot in the paint, then they scored and we ended up having to foul. Final score was 98-95 i think. It was a tough game and one we probably should have one. I played 20 minutes and finished with 2 points and 4 rebounds... not a very impressive game and I was disappointed with the way I played. But we have another game this Sunday so time to just get ready for that

Poland.... finally

Yeah I know I've been slacking harrrd on this. We got back from Poland like two weeks ago so here's the story.

So we headed to the airport at 3am Friday morning... Yeah, 3am. Our flight was at 6am. Needless to say it was a tiring day. We flew to Warsaw, had a couple hours lay over and then flew to Gdansk where we got a bus to our hotel. Hotel was nice enough I guess, except the beds were tiiiiiny. My roommate was another Israeli, Roi Buchbinder. Nice guy, quiet though. Here's a view of the hotel:



In the actual tournament we played two Polish teams... I'm blanking on the names right now. In our first game we played badly and lost by like 15. I fouled out in like 6 minutes. It was the most ridiculous thing I ever saw. Crazy. Anyways, in our second game we were winning, but they forced overtime and we ended up losing. I played well and ended up with 16 points and 7 rebounds I think. Booker got hurt before the games and the flight aggravated his injury so he didn't play... so I got to play alot which was sweet. Anyways we went 0-2 but the basketball wasn't such a big deal. The gym was craaaazy by the way. A legit stadium:



The trip was mostly for the team to get to know each other better and become closer... which we did. We all went out Sunday night to a club and had a good time. The nice area of town was actually pretty cool with alot of bars and clubs around.



We flew back monday evening and got back to tel-aviv at like 2am. It was a tiring trip but we all had a good time and were ready to get started with the season.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Yom Kippur

I've been slacking on the blog lately. Poland update to come.

But this past friday night marked the beginning of Yom Kippur (aka the day of atonement)... it's basically the biggest/most sacred Jewish holiday where you're not supposed to eat or drink for 25 hours and pray for forgiveness for all your sins of the last year. In Israel it's a national holiday and the country pretty much shuts down. No one is allowed to drive cars, play loud music, or disturb the general peace and quiet that takes over. It was a really cool and different experience being here for it. Friday night I ate the pre-fast meal at one of my teammates houses. Then, after everyone goes to synagogue, the streets are filled with people just hanging out. No cars in sight, just people walking everywhere. I snagged a picture of the area near the city centre:

Anyways a bunch of guys from the team were in this area hanging out, people watching, and talking to some people. It was a really cool experience. It's crazy how quiet it gets everywhere, you can hear peoples voices carrying from very far away. Saturday night the fast ended at around 6pm and we had a practice later on at 830. Last week before the season starts... Poland pics coming soon

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Rosh Hashanah with the fams

aka Jewish new years for you heathen reading this. We had an afternoon practice on Wednesday shortly after which I headed to Jerusalem to the family's. When I got there we hung out for a bit and then all headed out to my uncle's brother's house near the more southern city of Ashkelon like an hour away. Lucky me I just beat the rush going to Jerusalem because while we were driving away from the city there was approximately half of israel driving in. Dinner in Ashkelon was really good. There were like 15 people there probable, a bunch of kids and babies too so it was pretty fun. Played a bunch of games with them and ate alot of good food.

Thursday we just hung out at my family's place. Some of their family friends came over for lunch and we had a barbeque, which was awesome. I miss having barbeque like 6 times a week at home in the summer haha. Headed back to Herzliya a little bit later to pack and get ready for our team trip to Poland... More on that to come

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Exhibition Game #4

We played our fourth exhibition on Sunday. It was against the same team we played in our first game, Ashkelon. Both of our teams had some different players from the first time we played, and it's been a couple weeks so it was a totally different game. Our team didn't play very well at all... lots of turnovers and gave up alot of transition baskets. We were down 20 at one point. In the second half we started to play a bit better and brought the game to within eight or nine points but in the end we lost by ten or something like that. It was a pretty unimpressive showing by us. Personally, I didn't have a great game. On offense I felt pretty comfortable and was doing pretty well but defensively I didn't do a very good job. The coaches were talking to me about it the next day so I gotta step it up. We have our second practice of the day in a couple hours, then one more practice tomorrow before a day off for Rosh Hashanah (Jewish new years) on Thursday. Friday morning we head out to Poland for the weekend for an exhibition tournament which should be fun

Saturday, 24 September 2011

The LAF

Some kids at Lafayette just wrote an article in the newspaper about grads who are playing professional sports. There was one segment about football, and one about basketball. Here's the basketball one:

http://www.thelaf.com/sports/o-hanlon-leads-lafayette-basketball-stars-abroad-1.2608909

Friday, 23 September 2011

Player Profile

Our team updated their website for the this year so people can see the whole roster. Got a couple different pics from our photo shoot day haha. And I know my black shoes don't match but it's all I had at the time.

http://bneihasharon.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4991%3AEshet-Tours-Bnei-Hasharon-mintz&catid=43&Itemid=149&lang=en

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Humosiot

Today Kyle, Jason, and I went to lunch at a well known humusiah in Ra'anana, the neighbour town to Herzliya. It was my first time eating at a humusiah which is basically a restaurant that serves hummus filled dishes. For example at the one we went to some of the dishes are hummus with eggplant, hummus with mushrooms, hummus with shakshuka (which is like an egg dish). I ordered the hummus and mushrooms. So when you order it this is what they do: take a pretty big bowl and fill it three quarters with their homemade hummus, put in a big scoop of the cooked mushrooms, and then some tahini, and top it off with some oils and parsley. Then you can get put in what you want like onions, harif (israeli hot sauce basically), pickles. Then they give you some tomatoes and olives in a dish and a bunch of pita's to eat it with. Pretty delicious but I feel like I could only eat it every once in a while

Preseason Game #3 vs. Ulm

Last night we had an exhibition game against German club Ulm. It was the first game that was open to the public and a couple hundred people came, many of them kids from the city/neighbourhood. Got to wear our real jerseys... they look alright but are kinda cheap. whatever. It was great to play in front of a crowd again, the seats are really close to the court so it's pretty cool. Anyways to the game. We started out the first quarter pretty terribly, it was 28-14 i think at the end of it. Coincidentally I didn't play in the first quarter. I got my first action at the start of the second quarter and played a good amount the rest of the game. From the second quarter on we played pretty well. outscoring our opponents for the final three quarters 54-49 but it wasn't enough to come back from our crappy 1st. In the end we lost 77-68. Our two top scorers, Dunn and Booker, didn't have very good games but we still had a lead for some of the fourth. So basically we didn't play great but we still had a chance to win the game. I only took one shot in the game and had 2 pts, but i did have many rebounds and some assists and steals. Often times I don't get alot of shots because of the other guys on the floor with me, but I've been playing well and the coaches have been liking what I've done, so that's great. We have a bunch of practices coming up before our team goes on a exhibition game trip to Poland for a couple of days starting next Friday. Should be a fun time

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Robbery

Filled up my car for the first time today... Costed me 350 shekels aka like $100. Not impressed.

Monday, 19 September 2011

The squad

Here's a pic of the team

Healthy Livin

Today after practice the team all went to the nicer consumer area in Herzliya (called Herzliya Pituach) to eat at our new sponsors restaurant, a place called Fresh Kitchen. They hooked us up with a variety of healthy salads and other dishes. It was a fun time with the whole team just hanging out. We also each get a voucher card from the restaurant that gives us 50% off every time we go there... Cha Ching. Some of the other guys, mostly the Americans, weren't feeling the food too much but I liked it. Got some interesting stuff on the menu
http://www.mishlohim.co.il/Menu.aspx?businessID=4794&n=%D7%A4%D7%A8%D7%A9%20%D7%A7%D7%99%D7%98%D7%A9%D7%9F%20%D7%94%D7%A8%D7%A6%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%94

Exhibition Game #2

Last night we traveled to Givat Shmuel to play the new team in the Ligat Lotto, Habeeka. Last year they won the second division so they got to be bumped up into the 1st. Unlike last game I didn't get the start, due to the arrival of our NBA-er Trevor Booker. But I still got to play a bunch. They started out the game on a 7-0 run, but our team quickly bounced back and got up by 15. I was 3/3 in the first half including a buzzer beating tip in before the halftime buzzer. In the second half the lead hovered around 9-13 for the most part and we ended up winning 76-60 I believe. Our team has been looking really good. Booker is an animal and had some incredible moves, but is also a good passer. Everyone on our team has been playing really unselfishly and it's been really fun to play with them. Another scrimmage coming up on Wednesday against a team from Germany, I think called Hollon or something like that... it's written in Hebrew so I don't know how it translates exactly

Thursday, 15 September 2011

NBA in the House

Yesterday our NBA-er Trevor Booker c/o the Washington Wizards landed in Israel and today he joined the rest of the team for practice (if you don't know the name here: http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/4270/trevor-booker). He's only like 6'7, but built like a truck... and is a shockkkinggg athlete. It's unbelievable. He wasn't really dunking alot for the most part... I guess it gets boring after a while haha (not that I would know). But a couple dunks he had were just ridiculous. Anyways he seems like a nice guy, was talking with everyone in the locker room pretty normally. Was a pretty tough challenge playing against him in practice, but I'm sure it's going to help me out alot. Sidenote, he was rockin a Gucci gym bag... swag for days.

On an unrelated sad note, my boy Ben tore his ACL in our exhibition the other day and is out for the season. Really sad news seeing as 1. he's my main man and 2. he was poised to have a big year for sure. He's a hard working guy tho so I'm sure he'll get back to where he was quick.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Gameday!!

Tonight we had our first preseason game against the team from Ashkelon (also in the ligat lotto). It was a back and forth game but we ended up making a run in the fourth quarter and winning by four i think. I played probably 30 minutes I would say, and am pretty damn tired. I haven't played in a real game in a long time (except my aberration game vs the US in China). It was great to be out playing again and our team worked pretty well together. It seems we have a very unselfish team and everyone works hard. We played some pretty serious defense for most of the game. I think the final score was 76-72. Our coach said he likes to keep teams to 70 and under so it was a good effort on our part. I didn't see the box score so I'm not sure what my line was, i think i was 3/6 for 6 points. I'm sure I had alot of rebounds though... was doin a jobbb. Their team was missing one or two players still, and we were missing our nba-er so obviously we'll be different teams by the start of the season, but its always good to win. Tomorrow we get the day off so get to relax and run some errands. 1-0 baby

Monday, 12 September 2011

Media Day

Today we had a normal practice in the morning, but something a little different at night. We all got to the gym and got ready to play, but instead of full practice we had our 'media practice'. A bunch of different reporters were in the gym, as well as a number of fans. A bunch of pictures were taken and some people gave interviews (sadly not me. I know, shocking). Then we did a couple drills, practiced our plays, and had some shooting contests. At the end all the kids were there cheering for us got to come on the court and mess around. It was fun meeting some people, and playing around on the court with some of the kids. They were pretty funny and were loud. They had some cheers and also brought drums to beat during practice. It was pretty much our version of midnight madness (in college hoops). Anyways here's the link to the news story with a video. The interviews are in hebrew but check it out if you want.
http://www.one.co.il/Article/11-12/2,620,1347,0/186854.html

Tomorrow is our first scrimmage against Askelon (also in the first league). Should be fun

P.S. yes we signed autographs

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Bit of basketball

For many of you this will probably be meaningless, because its actual basketball talk. So if you don't care about that kind of thing don't even bother with this.

Today in practice our coach said something interesting about the plays we were running (we have like 7 or 8 of them i guess so far). He said that some of the plays we run just so we can get a good feel for how they work, because many of the other teams in the league do them. So if we know how they work we'll be able to defend them better. Like one play we were practicing today he said probably around 8 of the 11 opposing teams run it. Anyways I thought that was a pretty interesting idea. And it's not as annoying as it would sound because the plays are all really simple. I guess at this level it's more just who has better players on offense so most of the plays revolve around a few things: 1. getting someone a post touch. 2. getting someone (a shooter) coming off a screen on the wing, and then a wing isolation if they want. or 3. getting into a ball screen action somewhere. Well number 3 is the most likely, although there is a play which is basically to get me the ball in the post, which is awesome. Literally every play revolves around these things... and at it's most basic, every play boils down to a ball screen at the end. Israeli basketball is very ball screen oriented... Which is fine with me, since I'm great at it (woooooo). It also means that we have to guard alot of ball screens... which I'm not great at, but getting better. Anyways practice has been going well. The first team of the 3 americans, me, and my boy ben have been beating up on the other guys abit. Tuesday we have a scrimmage against one of the other teams in the league, and wednesday our nba-er Trevor Booker is arriving so we'll see what that'll be like

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Photoshoot Day

Oh yea, today before practice we had a photo shoot thing haha. Everyone got photographed individually wearing white and then blue uniforms, and then we took some team pictures. Pretty jokes stuff. Jared Mintz rookie cards coming soon

Gettin into the thick of things

Thankfully some of my preseason soreness has abated in the last couple of days. We've been learning the offensive sets and started feeling each other out a little bit basketball wise. For me learning the plays always helps so I've been steadily improving in practice. The coaches have a pretty high opinion of me and keep telling me to be aggressive, make moves, and take shots so it makes it alot easier to play freely. One practice tomorrow, one friday, and saturday off. Then we have some exhibition games coming up next week which should be fun.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Squad Up

First real practice was today with the whole team. Well actually one guy was missing. Trevor Booker, from the Washington Wizards, wasn't there because I guess he's too big time and is coming a little late. But the three other  American import players were there and we had 12 guys at practice. Did some usual stuff but then played 3 on 3 with everyone. The Americans can hoop something serious, and with Booker our team could be pretty sick. They seem like cool guys too, talked to them a little bit. Anyways should be a good year. Tomorrow is our first two-aday so we'll see how that works out.

Drive to Jeru

Since I got my car this week I decided to drive to Jerusalem to spend Friday night with my family. I've haven't seen them in a while since I was out of the country for a while, and then they went on a little vacation too. It was my first serious drive (well semi serious.... around an hour+ drive) and my aunt was very worried. The drive up to Jerusalem is actually really nice. It's up in the mountains so you have to go through some really hilly/curvy areas but there are really nice views all around. All the way up to the city my ears kept popping every couple minutes. I also felt like my engine was going to explode from over exertion but it held up. My uncle met me on the road when I got to Jerusalem and guided me out to the suburb they live in (Pizgat Ze'ev). Had some good food, hung out, and shot some hoops with my cousin. Headed out after lunch today and door to door it only took me an hour to get back, which is pretty sweet. It's awesomely convenient having the car

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Whip game

Here are the pics of the car. Straight fast and the furious in this piece



Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Day 2

Today we had a couple more guys. Two really young kids practiced with us, i guess from the Bnei Hasharon junior team, and a third guy who is kind of trying out. Anyways did the same kind of stuff but played 4 on 4. Guess we're slowly going to get into full practice. Crazy how short practices are here. Today we lifted weights from like 5-545, then practiced from 6-745. I was so used to preseason at school with 3+ hours every day. I guess we'll see when the whole team gets here how it'll be but I doubt they'll be longer. We will have 2 a days though so that'll be something. Watching Israel play Germany right now in the European Championships... it's not going well for them

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

First Day of Work

Had my first 'practice' today... was very anticlimactic. Because of Hurricane Irene the American players haven't gotten to Israel yet... so we only had six guys. Just did some warm up drills, then shooting drills, then played 3 on 3. The whole thing only lasted like an hour and a half. Whatever though it was good to be playing again and getting used to some of the other guys on the team. Also I just like getting into a schedule where you know what your day is going to be like, but that's just me. Pretty weird that instead of going back to school this Aug/Sept I'm just playing basketball instead. Aweeesomeeee

Monday, 29 August 2011

Rollin on Dubs

Big News, got my car today. Mitsubishi Lancer. The team rented it from a company until June. It's not new and has some nicks and scratches on it, but it's nice. I'll put some pics up tomorrow or something. Weird thing about cars in Israel, they all have this electronic code machine that 'unlocks' the car and lets you turn on the ignition. Makes it impossible to steal the car if you don't know the code. Also everyone here puts the parking break on every time they park, even when its on level ground. Weird for us because we neverrrr do it at home. Anyways first time I've ever had a car all to myself, pretty cool. Bout to be cruiiiiiisin

Friday, 26 August 2011

2011 Summer Universiade in Shenzhen, China

There are probably a bunch of typo's but there's no chance I'm looking it over, so f off. If I remember other stuff I'll add it in. Enjoy

The Flight:
Flight over wasn’t too bad. We flew El Al coach direct to Hong Kong, about 10 hours I think. Plane was packed with Chinese people... No idea what they were all doing in Israel. I had a middle seat but the guy in the aisle switched with me so that was legit. It was a huge plan so everyone got their own personal tv that had different movies playing... most of them were crap though. Our team was spread throughout the plane so we’d just wander around a bunch to shoot the shit with different people. Our coach had an exit row seat, bastard. When we landed we had to bus from Hong Kong to Shenzhen and go through a number of customs/visa things. So it took more than two hours before we got to the village.


The Opening Ceremonies:
Opening ceremonies were pretty sweet, even though it was a crazy long day and really tiring. I think we got together at like 4pm and headed to our bus. Buses were divided by country and eventually we left and drove like 45 minutes away to this crazy arena/stadium thing where it was being held. There was alot of waiting around while the countries got organized in the ride order and made our way through the maze of the inside of the stadium. Eventually we made it to the 'entrance ramp' as it were and slowly waited for the announcer to get to the 'I' countries. Walking into the packed stadium was a pretty crazy feeling. They had volunteers dancing everywhere as you walked in and cheering you on. After everyone was in the stadium the different aspects of the show started. They had to light the Universiade torch, some speeches were made by the FISU president (the international federation of university sports, i think), and some other people. They also had to raise the FISU flag up. In between all the official stuff there were a number of dancing/musical acts performed by mostly Chinese, but with volunteers of different races as well. It was a pretty tiring day but a very interesting experience. Some people didn't go to it even... They didn't want to have to sit around as much as we did. Some athletes had been to a real Olympic games already so I guess they figured this opening ceremony couldn't top that. Anyways it was an interesting experience and we had fun.





The Village:
The athletes village was pretty cool... A ‘gated community’ on the outskirts of Shenzhen. I think there were 6 or 7 dorm/hotel buildings, 17 floors I think, like 24ish rooms on a floor, and 3 athletes to a room. I think there were around 7,500 athletes in all at the games from like 150 countries, as well as all the coaches, managers, and other delegation heads and people like that. Lots of different stuff going on around.  They had a conditioning/weight room as well as a swimming pool. Also had a small supermarket, official universiade gift shop, bank, and an electronics store. A little bit into the village there was also a stage where they had organized shows every night at 8pm. Sometimes there was music, sometimes dance acts, etc.

One sweet perk of the village was the laundry service. Everyone had two laundry bags in their rooms and could just take their clothes down anytime to get them cleaned. Because I didn’t know they would have this I brought approximately 18 times too much clothing, but whatever.

They also had a shuttle system of these golf cart type vehicles but with more seats. They were constantly driving around the whole village, stopping at every stop along the way and picking up/dropping people off. The village was pretty big so it was convenient sometimes... and also very funny.




Roomies: 
My two roommates were a guard, Gal Eytan, and a big guy, Samer Jassar. Gal plays at Hapo'el Tel-Aviv in Israel's second division, and Samer plays at Baker University in the states. He was able to get out of army service and go to college in the states because he's an Arab. For security reasons, the Israeli army doesn't allow Arabs to serve to try and prevent security/information leaks. Anyways they're both good guys and we had a lot of laughs throughout the trip.

Food:
Food wasn’t bad in the village... Although I was missing hummus pretty bad (as were all the israeli’s). They had two cafeteria/food court places. One of them was open 24/7, I think mostly because it was Ramadan so all the Muslim athletes and coaches could only eat late at night and early in the morning. They even had a McDonalds in the food court.  Felt like being back in college. Teams eating together at long tables and bussing their trays after. They also had fridges with bottles of water, OJ, coke, and sprite. They had these fridges all over the village too, but those only had water. There must have been hundreds of thousands of water bottles drunken (drank) at the games. Some of the guys on the team had a fieeeeeeld day on the desserts haha. Guys were loving the cookies/little cakes. All in all the food was pretty good but I’m glad to be back in Israel... went grocery shopping the morning after I got home.

Didn’t eat any authentic Chinese food when we left the village. The only thing we ate on our trips into town were Pizza Hut once and KFC once haha.

Basketball:
When we got there we had 2 days of practices before the games started, and we also had shootarounds during the morning of a couple game days.  Most of the gym’s were pretty far away from the village, like 30-45 min so that sucked. The gym’s we practiced in were really nice, but the gym’s we played games in were beautiful. Great feeling getting ready for a game in a really nice arena... just feels right. The best gym was this one stadium near the athletes village where the top seeds got to play always. So in our group the U.S. got to play there all the time. It seated around 19,000 and when we played the States it must have had around 14,000 people or something. Nothing like playing in front of a crowd like that.



Long story short we went 3-5 and came 14th out of 24 teams. We beat Hungary, South Korea, and Australia. Lost to Finland, Mexico, USA, Ukraine, and Brazil. For the most part I didn’t play... for unknown reasons. The only game I really got to play in was against the U.S. and I had a pretty good game. So it was pretty frustrating. Whatever, moving on and looking forward to the season.

In other basketball news, USA got beat by Lithuania (shoutout roony) in the quarterfinals and ended up in 5th place I think.  Canada beat Lithuania in the semi’s (suck it roony) and eventually lost to Serbia in the gold medal game. Everyone was pretty surprised Canada made it that far (me included). They had all CIS players on the team which is pretty cool, but also seemed pretty weird considering there are a bunch of guys playing NCAA basketball that were eligible for the team. And yes, I’m perpetually bitter at Canada Basketball for not loving me.

Celebrity Status:
Apparently the Chinese people we encountered hadn’t seen the box scores from our games, because they were treating me like a superstar. Honestly wherever we went Chinese people wanted to take pictures with me. And once I took one then everyone around saw their opportunity and started to try and get a picture. I must have taken over a hundred pictures with people at games, practices, but mostly when we had free time to walk around in Shenzhen. One man picked up his young daughter and made me hold her for a picture... she just started bawling. I kept trying to put her down but her dad was like “no no, up” and trying to get her to smile. It was very awkward.  Anyway VIP statuzzzz.

Shopping:
Our only real trips outside of the village (aside from games and practices) was to go into the city to the different malls and shopping areas. We went to one upscale mall early on in the trip, but it was like a mall from back home with all expensive stores so it wasn’t very popular (although it did have a skating rink inside, for real). The real goods were at the outdoor market type ‘malls’. These places had a couple different types of stores: electronics, watches, sunglasses, purses/bags, clothes. Then there were approximately six trillion copies of these stores in each mall area. Everyone selling the exact same stuff just at different prices depending on how big a sucker the person shopping was. We weren’t sure if the stuff is fake, stolen, or just coming straight from the source (see: made in china), but they had some crazy good prices once you bargained a bit. Some guys bought a tonnn of stuff. I wanted to buy some clothes but sadly China isn’t accustomed to abnormally large people. I did manage to buy some RayBan sunglasses and some Beats by Dre headphones for, shall we say, less than retail price.



Learning Chinese:
One of the ongoing aspects of our interactions with Chinese people was using the (very) few Chinese terms we knew to exhaustion. Learned some keepers, among them “Ni Hao” = Hello, “Woh Ai Ni” = I love you, “Xie Xie” = Thank you. Those were the most used. We also found out how to say baby (“Powpey”), so a much used line was “Woh Ai Ni Powpey” or I love you baby. Classy I know.  Probably could have easily learned some more but I can’t say I was very dedicated to it. Oh well.

Trading Black Market:
During the last two nights of the games the open area outside the food courts turned into a crazy marketplace for trading jersey, shirts, and basically any other type of gear. People just had their jerseys and stuff laid out like street vendors where people could come by and propose trades. Some people were going absolutely crazy about this. Sadly we didn’t have much to trade since we had to give back our jerseys. We kept our 2 pairs of practice jerseys though. One of them I wanted to keep because I don’t really have any Israel basketball stuff, but the other one I traded. For the shorts I got some team USA basketball shorts, and for the top I got a Mexican volleyball player’s game jersey. Then randomly my roommate came back with these Lithuania basketball jerseys... granted they were womens, but whatever.

A Real Israeli:
Like one day into our stay in Shenzhen one of my roommates, Gal, decided my name wasn’t Israeli enough so he decided to rename me. He decided on Gadi. So soon enough everyone on the team was calling me Gadi instead of Jared. I don’t know if the humor translates in text but it was a funny name to get called. Good stuff. We also listened to alot of Shlomo Artzi, the Israeli Bruce Springsteen.

Coming Home:
Finally we got back to Israel a little after midnight Tuesday night. Was happy to be back and start playing basketball again. I've been  the gym a bunch in the last two days just getting ready for this season, looking forward to it. All in all it was a really fun trip, even though the basketball part sucked

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Home Sweet Home

Landed in Tel-Aviv last night around midnight. Finally back home in Herzliya. Long update to come on all things china

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Off to China

The team heads out to China tonight at 10pm. We fly to Hong Kong and then I think take a bus to nearby Shenzhen. The tournament begins with the opening ceremonies on the 11th and we fly back home on the 23rd. Many updates, stories, and pics to come when I get back. We play Hungary, Finland, Korea, Mexico, and the U.S... Should be fun and a great experience. Here's the site again fyi: http://www.sz2011.org/Universiade/. Laaaterrrrr

Monday, 8 August 2011

Such Israel

Today when I woke up I headed out to 'downtown' to do some errands. Got a haircut, took some money out of the bank and then was looking for some breakfast. Grabbed some fruit and hummus from this market-store and then stopped in the bakery to get some bread. While I'm in there looking around, I see a woman in her car stuck in traffic stick her head out the window and yell to the guy working in the bakery. She throws out an order and adds a "hurry up I'm about to leave". So the guy grabs some bread for her, runs out to the street and delivers it to her... all while she was waiting for the light to change. Hilarious interaction to watch.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Revolutionizing the Laundry Game

Got some freshly washed clothes and need a dryer? Too bad bitches, dryers don't exist out here. Just hang them clothes up outside and they'll be nice and crispy in no time.

A Taste of Israel('s gyms)

Although I haven't really traveled anywhere since being here in Israel (other than a weekend with my family in Jerusalem) I have been to a couple places solely for the purpose of basketball. The Universiade team has been practicing all over for the 3 weeks I've been here. We've played at Tel-Aviv University, the Yovel (my team's, Bnei Hasharon, gym), Hapoel Holon and Maccabi Rishon LeZiyyon (two other teams in the Ligat Lotto), as well as Ramat Gan. I think that's it... Rishon LeZiyyon definitely had the nicest facility we went too, and it makes sense because the building is only like two or three years old I think. I really like our gym at the Yovel though. Doesn't hold very many people but a nice court.

Today the last two guys were cut from the team so we're down to 12 and getting ready to head out. Last practice in Israel tomorrow before we fly out on Tuesday. Going to be an exciting trip.

Friday, 5 August 2011

This too

Oh yeah forgot, this is the practice jersey's they gave me

The Ship & some swag

We are the champions!!!!!!! of summer league. Not a big deal considering we were the only real team and the others were just kind of thrown together. Wasn't really worth it because one of our guys sprained his ankle in the second half... hopefully he'll be fine by next week. This was the only real game we've had out of all our exhibitions... we won by 8 i think. The other team had some good players, one guy plays in Euroleague i think and some other good ones as well. I had foul trouble and didn't do very much. Sad times. We did bring home some hardware though


We also got to keep our summer league jerseys, so that's cool. The single is huuuuge, but the shorts are legit. As you can see And 1 is still cool out here... sweeet


                    


Anyways we have today off then a couple days of practice before we head out on Tuesday. Looking forward to it.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Summer league

So the national team started playing in the Ligat Loto (the first division) Summer league this week. We played sunday and monday night. Sunday we won by like 45 and had over a 100 points, last night we won by 39 and put up over a 100 again... The other teams are just random guys, mostly from the first division, drafted by the respective coaches... so they aren't very good. Our last game is on Thursday and I think that's the next best team in the league so we'll see how that game goes. Sunday I did ok, but Monday's game was the first time I really felt comfortable playing since I got here... playing how I played at school. So I'm confident I'll keep playing better and be ready to go by the time the tournament is here.


Cariot Nougat Cream Filled Cereals

Best. Cereal. Ever. Guess it's only an Israeli cereal. They're like chocolate puffs with this other chocolate stuff inside, actually I just bit into one and I think it's nutella inside. Brilliant. Anyways been snacking on these things nonstop. Not very healthy but f it. We need these back home and we need them there yesterday


Saturday, 30 July 2011

Jean Shorts

I have come to find that they're still cool in Israel. Sadly I left my pair back home. Tough break, I tell ya

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Israeli motorcyclists

Craziest people on Earth . These guys ride around on their scooter/moped/vespa type things (some people have real motorcycles but majority not) like there's no tomorrow and they have to make every second count. They literally ONLY weave in and out of traffic, never stay in a lane... unless that 'lane' is the shoulder of a highway in which case they will gun it up the shoulder to pass by any amount of car/truck traffic that builds up. Also all the pizza delivery guys have vespa's with pizza boxed-sized containers on the back. What's more, the vast majority of them ride around in normal clothes, i.e. t-shirt, shorts/jeans, flip flops, whatever... so when they crash, which they eventually will because they're psychos, it's not going to be a good look. My boy on the team was just telling me he hit a guy a couple weeks ago... was changing lanes and the guy came out of nowhere and knocked him down. Thankfully the dude was ok but scary stuff. In conclusion, never ride a motorcycle in Israel.

Stray Cats

There's a million

Holon

Today (Tues) we had practice in Holon in a sweatshop of a gym.... I needed a shower after tying my shoes. FYI

(Gameday (The 25th



Monday night we had a scrimmage against a random group of guys... most of them from the 1st division I think. Four quarters of ten minutes with real refs and everything. First half I played an ok amount, then I think I played the entire second half. I’m sure the coach wanted to see me play some in person, and also give me a chance to get the feel for how they play and all the guys on the team. Was pretty tired by the end... haven’t played in a real competitive game since the college season ended. I did pretty well though. The team plays a crazy uptempo style... 2-2-1 press the whole game, lots of steals, quick shots, and fast breaking. It’s pretty fun but tiring. Anyways we ended up winning something like 85-64.

Got home and showered quick before heading out to meet up with Kyle. It was another one of our high school friends’ birthday, Josh Gross, so we took a cab out to the Herzliya marina/beach for a barbeque/drinking/hangout session. Was pretty cool and met a couple people including Kyle’s girlfriend (for the boys back home I know you’ll find that hilarious)..

Hallelujah

Got my internet hooked up this morning finally. Awweeesooomeee. so here's a couple things I wrote down since last weekend.

Tel-Aviv/Weekend  in Jerusalem

Thursday night we had practice as usual, but being that it’s Israel we, and everyone in general, get Friday and Saturday off instead of Saturday and Sunday. So Thursday night everyone got cleaned up and met back up at this restaurant in Ramat Sharon which is an area right next to Herzliya. We get 50% off at the restaurant and the owner loves basketball players so she hooks it up... she’s also a craaazy cougar. Pretty sick deal tho either way, as a table like 3 people ate dinner, couple sprites, then we must have had 25-30 shots/mixed drinks and it came out to like 270 shekels so liiiike $75 or $80 maybe? Really legit. Anyways we ate/drank for a while there then headed to Tel Aviv. Two guys drove so we got there fast. Went to two clubs in the city, both were bumpin and basically exactly what any club looks like back home. You wouldn’t know you were in Israel if you couldn’t hear the Hebrew being spoken everywhere and the weird money being used to settle bar tabs. Apparently bars/clubs can serve alcohol until all hours... so the nights get pretty late. We got our late night eats at like 3:30 maybe and got home at something like 4:30. Little did I know my landlord would be waking me up 4.5 hours later to ‘talk about stuff’... Thanks guy (he’s nice tho).

For my first weekend in the country I went to Jerusalem to hang out with my family. Have an aunt, uncle, and their two kids there.  Because my landlord woke me up I figured I might as well get going. Usually I would have to take the train from Herzliya to Tel-Aviv to start the trip, but instead I got lucky and hitched a ride with my landlord’s wife/girlfriend/lover who was heading into the city. She dropped me off at one of the main bus stations in town (called Arlozorov, the other one is a station at the University of Tel-Aviv). From there it’s just one bus to Jerusalem. So I bought two trips on a ticket (costs 34 shekels which is like 10 bucks, so good deal) and headed out. The bus takes like an hour and shortly after we got to Jerusalem’s main terminal my aunt and cousin rolled through and picked me up. They actually live in a suburb of Jerusalem called Pizgat Ze’ev, so we drove a couple minutes out there. Spent the weekend hanging out with the fams, and eating (too much) really good real food (as opposed to just falafel and shwarma which, while awesome, are more the stereotypical dishes). On Saturday aka the Sabbath, aka Shabbat, aka the shazbath, my aunt and one cousin drove into Jerusalem to walk around a bit and just hang out. We didn’t go to any touristy places... just a random neighbourhood and an Aroma coffee shop. Jerusalem is pretty eerie on Shabbat because it basically shuts down. Obviously you can still see people walking around and doing normal activities, but it’s reeeeally quiet around. I guess at sundown everything opens back up. Anyways it was nice. I forgot how striking a place Jerusalem is...  I was pretty mesmerized by the drive in. It’s very hilly and new buildings and neighbourhoods are constantly popping up as you round yet another corner on the winding road.



On Sunday my uncle drove me into town and dropped me off at the station. Caught the bust back to Tel-Aviv and then walked the couple hundred feet to the train station.  Bought a ticket to Herzliya and caught the train a couple minutes later. It’s only two stops away so it took like five minutes, really convenient. I was going to go to the mall, which is nearby, to buy some stuff I needed, but it was so effin hot I just felt like going home, so I caught a cab back. Anyways it was a fun weekend and got to adventure a little bit figuring out the bus/train stuff. Also got to Hebrew it up with people on my journey into and out of Jerusalem... plus my uncle refuses to speak English to me haha, so was getting my Hebrew on with the fams too. Next weekend I think they might come out to Herzliya to come see my place and have dinner.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Food. Sweet delicious food

I am in love with the food here.  First day went to a tiny little hole in the wall falafel shopand got my first falafel in the motherland. Probably not even a great place in the grand scheme of things. Maybe it was because it was my first real falafel in like 7 years, or maybe I was just really hungry... but that thing was awesome.  Next day I went  to a take-out /sit down restaurant a little bit past the falafel spot and got lamb shiskabob in a laffa bread. Laffa is like a flatbread that gets rolled up , fyi.  

Wednesday night another  guy on the national team, Dori, was helping me out with driving me around.   After practice we had to race around finding a place to get me some more passport pictures for the university games forms... But after that he took me to the 'best shwarma place in herzliya' called Jameel. I don't know why I put that in quotations because if there's a better place than that I'd be shocked. Ridiculously good. Could eat it every day and twice on sundays. I'm at my aunt's (big Irv's sister) house in Jerusalem with her family for shabbat dinner and the rest of the weekend, and I'm sure dinner is going to be awesome. .. Lovin the eats right now.

Food related note... The man, the myth, the legend, just killin the cereal game.


Day 2/ The apartment


This morning I got picked up by another manager type of guy from the team, Gidon, and he took me to my apartment.  Pretty hilarious cuz his English is awful and I’m still playing kind of dumb with my Hebrew skillzz. Pretty sick place though, here’s the digital tour.

Got this crazy security gate thing that comes with a garage door type-opener, so I have to raise the metal up and then unlock the door. Also have an alarm system inside...  This is a nice area so I guess people are worried they might get robbed.  I think i forgot to take a picture of it but you can kind of see it from the first pic here  at the top right

When you come in there’s a living room/kitchen. They brought in the couch, chairs, tv/cable/dvd player.
Cable got fixed on thursday so I'm in business. Pretty legit actually, have a bunch of english channels... Even have espn. Hilarious I have espn in Israel and not at home. Effin Canada. This pic is from the couch


‘Kitchen’ is small... sink, little fridge, and a microwave and toaster oven they brought in for me. Don’t have any cutlery or plates/bowls and the like yet but my landlord said he's going to bring me some.


Really cool thing the place has is this rooftop ‘balcony’. It’s in between the main room and my bedroom, halfway up the stairs. Not a great view but cool anyways. Thinking about getting a grill and putting it out there for most of my cooking this pic is the view from the 'roof'. Not a great view but it's cool to be out there




Bedroom is straight. They brought in a big bed (queen i think?) and just laid it over the bed that was originally here haha, very bootleg Israel styles. Got a bunch of cupboards and whatever, even have some hangers.


And finally got a little bathroom. Shower, toilet, sink, usual.

Neighbourhood is really nice, reaaally quiet. Got a park next door from my place, a supermarket around the corner. I walked around a bit yesterday. Had my first falafel from a hole in the wall place around the corner from the supermarket... fairly delicious. Here's the park... or some of it, it's pretty big and continues in the other direction across the street

Unrelated to anything, apparently Israel has these hilarious outdoor workout areas for public use. .. They are ridiculously funny.  


Got picked up in the evening for practice again. Getting to know the guys a little better, played better  today too. After practice my guy Ben had to go home so I called Kyle (Giddens) to see what was goin on. He was randomly meeting up with another friend of ours, Adam Davis, whose been here for a couple weeks after birthright. So I got dropped off, we bought some beers and headed back to Kyles place. Had a barbeque care of Jason Wiseman who lives with Kyle. Some solid chicken. Davis ate approximately 4,670 sunflower seeds. Solid night tho, got to just relax and catch up on stuff. Stayed there until like 2am then walked home with Kyle and Davis.  Like 20 min walk away and not too confusing to get there, so that’s good. Fun times.

The Flight/Day 1

So I got here in one piece. The flight actually wasn’t that bad. I sat in the first row of regular seating so had
some solid leg room... but they did make me pay for it, fuckers. The seats next to me were empty too so I was pretty comfortable. They showed a bunch of movies  


                                                                             that wrestling movie called ‘win/win’: watched it, pretty go 
Rango: already seen it, didn’t watch
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 1: seen it, watched some of it tho
Narnia #17: dunno what Narnia it was but wasn’t interested.
And I think that’s it.

Funny bit from the plane... hilarious to watch the Israeli flight attendants decide who they can speak Hebrew to and who they have to speak English to. In their defense, they are surprisingly good at it.
Another side note, first class looks like the best thing ever... the seats recline so far back its stupid. They’re almost like actual beds. Lotta jealousy over here. Probably slept for a combined 4 hours on the plane in relative comfort, so that was legit.

When we landed and de-boarded there was a guy waiting for me (and one other girl who was making aliyah) who took us to the immigration absorption centre to do the paperwork. Got a bunch of papers about health insurance, bank accounts, my Israeli i.d., etc. When it was all done with we headed out to the concourse where I was met by the national team coach and the team manager of bnei hasharon.  Seem like good guys. I got all my bags and went with the guy from bnei hasharon (his name is Ze’ev). We drove away from the airport, through Tel-Aviv, and into Herzliya. He was on the phone the whole time and I was semi eavesdropping because he, nor anyone, knows that I know Hebrew... ok I was fully eavesdropping.  The other manager of Bnei called a bit after saying he found an apartment for me to live in for the year, so we drove out there. I’ll get some pics up but it seems like a nice place, nice landlord who lives next door, etc. Then me and Ze’ev went out to eat and he dropped me off at the hotel I’m staying at for a day or two before my real apartment is ready. It’s a nice place. On the eighth floor and I can see the ocean from the balcony.



Took a solid nap and then got picked up by another guy on the national team named Ben Reis, who’s also on my club team. Drove to university of Tel-Aviv athletic facility and practiced for a little. Only like an hour and a half... I was pretty surprised. Met a lot of guys at practice, obviously the different coaches and around 16 players. Was a little bit rusty but warmed up a little but as we kept playing. All of the guys know each other pretty well, but most of them were pretty nice to me, cracking some jokes or just talking some. They also got some people helping me out with my I.D. stuff so hopefully that’ll all get done quick.

After practice me and Ben went out to eat and then met another one of his friends and went to a bar on the beach near my hotel.  Pretty cool spot. Just got a beer and hung out for a while. Now back in the hotel. Had to wash my practice jersey in the sink haha, no washing machine. Bootleg as hellll. Watching superbad and making sure I’ve got all my stuff ready to go... Tomorrow morning one of the Bnei guys is coming to pick me up and take me my real apartment that I’ll be in all year. Pretty legit place I’ll get some pics when I’m all settled in there.