Saturday, 25 February 2012

Rant Time

Some stuff has been weighing on my mind about 'professional' basketball in Israel. Obviously the rest of the world doesn't have alot of the advantages that North America has in terms of sports and facilities and things like that... But some stuff here just makes me so angry. First and Foremost, and this is like complaint 1 through 27, is that there are no gyms available. Yes, that's exactly how it sounds. We do not have a basketball court to play basketball on except for the short time we have practice, and even then it's not under ideal circumstances. Our practice gym is also home to a day school I believe, as well as a number of volleyball, gymnastics, judo, etc, etc, etc, classes. So if we have practice at 7pm, usually there is gymnastics until like 6:50 or something. What this means is that even if I was inclined to come to practice early and work out by myself from say 6:30-7, I wouldn't really be able to. On the other end of it, when practice is over we only have a short period of time where we can continue to be on the court. The equipment managers hustle us off the court and into the locker rooms to shower so that they can take all the practice gear and laundry and get out of there. Now it has to be said that it's not like I'm used to the finest facilities or incredible access to the gym and such and such... Lafayette wasn't exactly the pinnacle of that type of stuff either lol. But I assumed at this point in my career, being paid as a professional athlete and being expected to perform, that I would be able to practice and improve if I wanted to. To that end, I assumed that outside of the established practice times (which really is only around an hour and a half), there is no available gym time to speak of. Yes,  you heard right, there are no times to come to the gym and work out on your own. Actually thats not true, every once in a while they'll tell us that we can come to this alternate gym with a concrete floor to shoot around from like 8 to 9am.... great. thanks for nothing.  This annoys/bothers me to no end. Like I'm being paid to play basketball but can't practice my basketball skillz other than in the small window of practice which is often not revolving around personal development. I had the same feeling many times during my Lafayette career. The feeling that the circumstances surrounding basketball didn't allow me to be the best basketball player I could be. Here I am, with people expecting results and strong performances, but I can't work to make sure my skill level improves or maintains itself. This is especially bothersome for me, and I honestly believe has hurt my level of play this year, because of the type of game I have. My accomplishments and skills as a basketball player revolve around having a great touch around the basket, feel for when to do what move or play, and finishing a high percentage of plays/shots. All of these things revolve around getting a lot of shots up on myself and being very comfortable with the ball etc. Sadly because we almost literally have no time to be in the gym and do our own thing, I haven't been able to keep up with my usual level of that type of thing. Which angers me. and frustrates me. Obviously I want to practice more and play better but I can't. I could go on and on about this so I'm just going to stop.

Another thing is everything about practice. First off we've stopped practicing on Saturdays (shabbat) so we're down to 4 days a week practicing, 1 game, 2 days off. Second, practice is only around an hour and a half, and alot of it is basically bullshit. People are lazy, lots of stupid bullshit euro drills. Our coach is very quiet and unemotional. Said he's "not here to motivate us"... which I think is almost a part of the definition for a coach's role in leading the team, at least at some times. Altho I don't put much blame on him, its mostly the team. I am constantly thinking how it compares to the far more structured, intense, and challenging practice atmosphere in college. Also I keep thinking about how much better the young kids would develop under college coaches and practices than they are here.

Altho the locker room, training staff, and other surrounding circumstances aren't NBA level, that doesnt bother me that much. Like I said I didn't grow up with a life of being spoiled by incredible athletic facilities etc. rant over for now i guess.

Anyways we've got 7 games to go in the season and are sitting in 5th place. It's a close league so it really depends how the next couple games go to determine if we're going to stay in the top 8 and make the playoffs. Honestly I'm almost indifferent. I want to come home already, have time off from basketball for a while and then be able to work out on my own terms and be back to playing at the level I'm accustomed to. But alas, gotta grind it out for a little while longer and try and stay in the playoff hunt.

Sooooooooooooo bitter

Just heard the other day from one of my former teammates, Kenny, that my old team released the big guy they signed a month or so ago. The 36 year old who played in Israel 8 or 9 years ago. Anyways basically they released him after a month or so, I think they were paying him like 10 or 12K a month. I heard the news and all I could think was how stupid they are. Ah whatever, I'm long go. Still annoys me though

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Catching up again

Been scumming hard on the blog lately... dunno why. We've gone 3-0 since the new coach has here, beating the 1st place, 4th place, and 5th place teams... all ironically after we lost to the last place team. Although our new coach Hanan wasn't at this last game, nor was he at practice all week due to some undisclosed illness. Apparently it was pretty serious because he was in the hospital for a fair bit of time. Thankfully we've been told he's on the mend and will supposedly be at practice tomorrow. So that's good that he got better.

In other basketball news, during the 4th quarter of last game our Israeli point guard, Avi, went down with a knee injury. We haven't really heard exactly what the deal is but there was mention he could be out for 6 weeks. If that's true that would bring us basically to the end of the regular season. So we'll see what happens with that. He's a veteran guard who knows the ropes, although at times he is pretty damn frustrating.

On the team side, our recent string of wins over teams in the top half of the league, combined with a couple added losses by some of the top half teams, have allowed us to move up into 4th place overall in the league. With (I think) eight games to go we're in a pretty good position to remain in the top 8 and make the playoffs. Its becoming increasingly clear that that is the limit of the teams expectations (and goals) for this year. And because the team is doing well they have basically realized they can skimp by with doing the least possible for the team. They haven't, and won't, hire an assistant coach to help out... the stupidity of which became increasingly clear with our head coach out of the picture for almost 2 weeks. Players have basically been running practice ourselves and its been pretty bullshit. People slacking off alot etc. We've also done away with  having scouting reports for games... At this point its basically one or two guys on our team throwing out a couple names from our opponents team and a little bit about them before every game. The professionalism of the team is kinda devolving. Also, we've stopped practicing on saturdays, possibly because our coach is religious and practices shabbat... but even so I don't know why we don't practice later at night. So we're at 4 days of practice, 1 game, 2 days off.

In other news, I moved out from my apartment in Herzliya a little over 2 weeks ago and brought everything over to the new apartment in Hod Hasharon about 20-30 minutes away. By new I mean the apartment 3 of my teammates, and one wife of a teammate, have been living in all year. What happened was, one of the 3 ended up getting cut, and recently flew home, creating a room for me to stay in. The apartment isn't too shabby, about 10 minutes away from the gym and right around a busy intersection in the town. Lot of little restaurants, convenience stores, etc around. The apartment itself is not bad, pretty big kitchen and really big living room. Bathroom is by itself in this tiny room next to a bigger room that has the shower, another sink, and a washing and drying machine. The dryer is really nice to have after having to dry my clothes outside all year. We don't exactly keep the bathroom and shower in pristine condition but its alright, although the shower itself is a piece of crap. My bedroom is basically just an empty room with a bed. Oh, I also have a wooden chair... sweet.

Had some 'want my mother' moments recently. Last week the night before we played the 1st place team I hadn't been feeling good. On gameday Tuesday it was worse, and from Tuesday night to Friday morning I was more or less dying. I learned around Thursday that some stomach virus had been going around and a number of people had had it... otherwise I was starting to get worried. By Friday morning I was feeling better and ate my first real meal in 5 or 6 days that night. The next couple days at practice were pretty rough after not having done anything for a whole week almost. Thankfully my stomachs all back to normal these days. Then earlier this week I woke up one night feeling all itchy everywhere and some red splotches on my body... it was pretty effing annoying and I was scratching my life away. Don't really know what it was but got some generic allergy medicine the next day and it went away so I guess its all good. I think I must have touched something weird and then touched my body. Anyways I could have used someone to take care of me, but I survived.

Think that's about it. Hopefully the weather starts getting better soon around here, although earlier today when I was in Jerusalem it was hailing really hard for like 5 minutes. Pretty weird to see. The gf will be back in a month so just grinding out a couple more weeks til I can see her, should be good. Later all