Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Italy Experience: Entry 7

Until further notice, I will blogging my entries on:

Hope you enjoy!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Entry 6

I would like to welcome everybody to another entry in my on going blog entitled, “My Adventures and Beliefs while in Italy”. First, I would like you to thank everyone for tuning in and taking time out of your own lives to read my thoughts. You may think it’s not a big deal, but I do. It means a lot when I see people going out of their way and taking time out (that they will never get back again) just to read something coming out of my head, (no homo) really means a lot. When making this site, I didn’t realize initially that if you wanted to leave comments you had to register. So to keep things simple for everybody, I went into my settings and took that restraint off. Now anybody can leave comments without needing to register. People were telling me to get rid of it and sure enough I did, so there you go. Also if you have questions, want to know what I think about an issue or current event going on. Don’t hesitant, shoot me an email, a facebook or even myspace message and I’ll see what I can do. Sometimes I need ideas to help stimulate the greatness that takes place inside this brain of mines sometimes, now lets begin.

If you haven’t notice, I have been playing basketball for many years now. A while ago I came to this philosophy that every game you play in, regardless if it’s within quarters of a basketball game, either half of a game or even separate basketball games apart. The basketball gods can treat you like a king, then they can turn around and treat you peasant. The feeling you get when you are having a great game is so incredible, but yet the “basketball gods” can also make you so frustrated when shots aren’t falling and things just aren’t going your way. Case and point, it was our home opener of the season on Saturday (Oct. 17) and I played a great game. I had 27 points, 5 rebounds. Made amazing plays on both ends of the court the entire game. I shot a ridiculous percentage from the 3pt line, free throw line and from the field; I couldn’t do any wrong that night. Here are some highlights from that game (They only showed my 2 dunks though):

The next game we played was in Cyprus against Nicosia (Oct. 20) to get a chance to play in the eurocup. We played them (Nicosia) first at their place then in a week we played them at our place. The objective is to win both games to get in the eurocup. But if both teams split with a win then the way they pick the qualifying team is by point margin of victory from both games. So if we lose by 5 points the first game then the next game we need to win by 6 points to advance. For those who don’t know, the eurocup brings together the best team from all over Europe to play against each other. I’m not sure but I think the top 2 teams that make it out of each pool (4 teams in each pool, 5 pools I think) makes it to the playoffs, then from there a champion is declared. Here’s the site: We started the Nicosia game so flat (less than 200 hundred people were in attendance, the court floor was dirty as hell) and I couldn’t make a shot. I went 1 for 10 for the game and we lost by 14 points. Basketball to me is like a beautiful woman sometimes. Lets say you’re in a club one night; you go up to the finest woman in the club. She talks to you; dances with you and even purchases all your drinks for the whole night. She gives you her number; so your thinking you had a pretty good night right? So then the following weekend, you go to a different club but see the same girl. You go up to her, but this time she plays stupid like she doesn’t even know who you are now. You can’t get any attention from her; she went to VIP with some other dudes now. Your left dazed and confused, that’s how I felt after the game.

So after that let down lost, we had another road game against Sienna (Oct. 24). I didn’t even know until we got there but I guess Siena is the shit over (the last 3-4 years) here in Italy. They have won 120 of the last 130 games; they haven’t lost at home in 3 seasons. They went 40-1 last season and swept every team in the playoffs as well, impressive I must say. So for that game, the referees decided to give me 3 fouls in the first quarter. I knew the ref’s were gunning for me once I got a defensive rebound and they called foul on me (I didn’t do anything to deserve a foul). So that just proved to me the referees obviously weren’t trying to let me have an impact on the game, which I didn’t. I barely played and we lost by 20 something. Siena is a good team, but their players have been playing there for a while now. They just have good team chemistry already. Siena is definitely beatable; it’s just that the other teams (including my team) are still trying to find their chemistry in our league, I’ll be ready for the rematch back at our place. So the next game we played was the rematch against Nicosia to get into the eurocup. Since we lost by 14 points in the first game, we had to win the game by at least 15 to move on, a tough task. I will just let the link tell you more of the game, but it was a thriller though:

While I been here, I have heard at least 2-3 times from locals that I look just like Will Smith. Will Smith? When they say this to me I’m thinking, “You can’t be serious right now”. I finally came to the realization that he is probably the most famous black man in the world (not counting Barack of course). Then, since they probably don’t have or know many black friends that look like me in the first place, this is the first thing that comes to mind when trying to compare me to another black person. Its just amusing how the human mind works sometimes that’s all, I know they mean well. Don’t get wrong, I have had people say that Denzel Washington and Morris Chestnut (more Morris though) look like me over the past 4-5 years. So I mean, it wouldn’t be too out of the blue you know? They do posses the same sexy qualities as “me” so it’s only natural for those comparisons to be brought up.

So I don’t really feel like going deep this entry since I was wrote a lot of my basketball games. So I’ll hold out until next time, I’m thinking about talking but my upbringing and how it was growing up in Compton, so we will see. People always asked me (still do) about:,_California. Do some research and prepare yourself for the next entry. This will probably be my last entry on this website, I’m moving again. So like the Michael Jackson tour, “This Is It”. I will let everybody in on the details later. One more thing, ladies have fun this Halloween. Enjoy dressing up sexy (others sluttish) in public for everybody to witness, wish I could see the costumes this year. Ciao!

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Italy Experience: Entry 5

Welcome to my new and improve blog site. I say improve because I tied a lot of things together to make it easier for you and definitely to make it easier for me to write and share with everybody. I also started up a google profile and linked different videos and clips I had on youtube. Videos ranging from me playing basketball to helping the kids out (you know bobby love the kids) for community service, I’m even on too. I’m still working on getting all my even better videos uploaded, so I will keep you posted on that. The reason I decided to just my own site was because I was getting so many compliments and suggestions on what to do with my writings. So I took some time out to figure how this make your own blog site thing worked (started off a little confusing but figured it out soon enough). If u didn’t know, I was posting my blogs on facebook and myspace for everybody to read and comment upon. So now everybody is together and united as one like we should be, I don’t discriminate here on my site. Make sure you subscribe as a follower so you can stay up to date when I post new entries too.

Ok, this is pretty much how my regular routine is going to work when I write my knowledge. When I write an entry I’m going to give updates on my experience in Italy (good and bad) then when I’m done with that I might drop some additional kind of knowledge that might be on my mind. I call this section, “I may possibly be wrong, but I know more than you”. If for some reason you think I’m totally wrong or have a point to make or whatever it is, you can gladly leave a comment (like you have been on facebook and myspace) at the end and let it can be heard for everybody to view. I know I can be stubborn at times (we all do it, were human right?) but I do want to know what everybody else thinks too because it is your opinion and your entitled to it even how ridiculous it make sound.

We had out first game of the season on Sunday (October 11) on the road against Basket Club Ferrara. Just so you know, each team in our league is allowed 4 Americans on their rosters (there are loop holes though to get around that). So this week the American we played against that I kind of know is Luke Jackson. He went to Oregon and was a senior when I was a freshman in college. He was the man and definitely had the best team in our conference (that year) too. But when they played us at the “Bank” for the conclusion of the regular season (for us it was because we were still weak so no tournament), I shut his ass down and we won on “senior night”. Anyways, we lost by like 5 or 6 points (we were up 7 points with like 6 minutes left too) off the ref’s making inconsistent calls on both sides but hurting us more at the end.

In the second quarter when the other team was on a fast break, Luke had the ball on the left side of the court with a defender in front of him but drove to the rim anyway to score. I was trailing the play and was timing to block his shot because that’s what I do best. On a side note real quick, I was beating dudes shots from the back (no homo) way before Lebron and Dwayne Wade was doing it too. Back to the play, of course I blocked him then Luke under cut me and I landed on the right side of my face, collarbone, shoulder and chest. It was a quick but harmful fall, here is the link: (It was the #6 play). I tried to continue to play but I soon realized after 3-4 minutes I needed to lie down and rethink my life priorities in the back while getting looked at by the trainer. Once I got in the back, they iced everything trying to rid the pain that was killing me, it even hurt to take deep breathes. I waited till halftime, walked out to shoot a little so see if I could return (I could shoot but it did hurt still so I didn’t know how productive I could be, I definitely couldn’t rebound). I should have just called it a day but the score was tied and knew it nothing wasn’t broken and said fuck it. I played better than I expected, I ended with 13 points and made some important plays in the 2nd half to keep my team in it for a while. Once the game ended, knowing them bums got away with a win because I wasn’t 100 percent leaves me uneasy so much. Taking the next 2-3 days off to rest this collarbone bruised/contusion (pretty sure that’s what it is) and go from there for Saturday’s game at home.

So my good friend told me the other day that portion of my blog was featured in the Seattle Times husky men’s basketball section. This was in result of an interview I did for a different website: I was mentioning my blog for husky basketball fans to check out and view. Here is the link of the Seattle times article: former_uw_stand.html

I was surprised and at the same time proud to find out that my spoken wisdom has made it pass the boarders of this site (facebook and myspace too) for others to gain knowledge of. But what I wasn’t expecting to see was the dim-witted comments left by people afterwards. Let me start off by saying (again) that everybody is entitled to have his or her own opinion. Just make sure you have read my entire blog or done the required research needed before you respond so brainless for others to read. There was just a snippet given for them to read right there on that site. It’s obvious that tell that they didn’t read my entire blog, which shows how unintelligent but yet lazy they are because all they had to do was click on the link that was provided right there on the site.

Then if they did read it, you really don't see the point I was just trying to make in my blog. Obviously some people are only able to see things presented to them on the surface and aren’t capable to see the deeper implications of "my point of view" in my blog. Yeah everybody, I really think being a student-athlete is a direct comparison to being a slave (you can’t be serious). I’m about to give you the link to the comments but let me advise you though. Make sure you click the link and read it. If not, then you would doing the same lazy thing they did when reading the excerpt from my blog on the Seattle times website. I don’t want the same uninformed mistake to happen again when it comes to not reading someone’s entire statement:

One person went as far as questioning my intelligence because I sounded so ridiculous with my similarities comparing certain characteristic in a student-athlete life in college to slavery. First of all, I never said it was “slavery” but gave points on how sometimes it does resembled the acts being carried out in certain ways, that was it. Let me offer a different example and then maybe they will comprehend this time around, pay attention now. While living in Italy on many different occasions, I feel I’m incarcerated because I have so much alone time to myself in my apartment. I get bored and often catch myself staring at the walls like I’m in prison. Now, I’m not saying living in Italy is just like living in prison because it’s not. I can go wherever I want when I want. Unlike a person in prison who doesn’t control what they do on an everyday basis, let alone what time they can eat and go to bed. If a person in the military wants to make a comparison to something they did or saw or heard about while being there. I cannot say that it isn’t a legit comparison or say that isn’t true. I never been in the military and don’t know what they go through either.

Another site said I called my experience at Washington slavery. Now I’m so confused here, when did I make that comment? I never even put that sentence together in my blog. Unless I actually said it verbatim (this is what happened to me in college), when I gave a scenario or a circumstance in my last blog entry, some of it may come from a personal experience. It could of came from a friend I know that plays another sport at my college. It may come from a friend that plays a sport at a different college. It might even get it from a person that played sports in college 5 years ago. For the future, if I compare certain points in a student-athlete experience and put them side by side with a theory. I wish people didn’t go on a limb saying I totally think one thing or the other. Me saying, "Sounds like modern-day slavery to me" was having a little bit of sense of humor but still trying to make a point at the same time. Maybe that is my fault for not making that clearer, next time I will do a even better job. I thought the overall tone of my blogs have a sense of humor to it (that’s what people tell me and I think at least). I know this; if I did feel like I was in slavery I wouldn’t stay there that’s for sure. Other than that little mishap, it was still a good article just like the Seattle times. Here’s the link to that one:

My experience in college was absolutely fantastic. I wouldn’t trade it in for anything in the world; it made me the person I am today. I was just giving a point of view from a person that went to college and played sports there and known many that have done the same. For those that commented on the Seattle times blog board, if you never played college sports, how can you say what physical and mental demands are needed to perform on and off the court? How do you know the pressures student-athletes face in college? How do you know if a past college athlete doesn’t have anything to show from college besides the memories and past injuries that will affect them more as they get older? What if student-athletes (for whatever reason) didn’t get to graduate from college? Those memories and injuries don’t get you a job or pays the bills after college. Believe it or not a lot of past college athletes don’t have anything to show once they leave college, I was blessed that I did graduate. I have seen and heard good and bad situations from college athletes. I’m sorry, but all of them aren’t success stories. Then again, all people look at are the perks athletes receive anyway because that’s all they notice and care about usually. Funny thing, I did touch on that in was my last entry as well, so hopefully people go back and read it this time and not a snippet from another site. I’m not being snobbish, more like trying to shed light on the situation some college athletes do go through and enlighten people that don’t know how it is. If you don’t know something fully or never been in that position then it isn’t good to assume you do. Remember when you judge another, you don’t define them; you define yourself.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Italy Experience: Entry 4

Welcome to the fourth entry of my blog entitled, “My Italy Experience” here on facebook (It was on facebook and myspace). You been following the good, the bad, the weird, the unexpected, the informative, the funny and whatever other descriptions I forgot to mention thus far. And when I think I encountered every condition, I get surprised once again.

It’s been about a month since I made the big move here and it feels like I been here two months already. Things are moving too slow for me because my routine I establish here is already getting played out. I’m so organized now it is ridiculous. My computer documents, flies and pictures are organized perfectly. I deleted a bunch of stuff I don’t need on my computer anymore and looked up and down everything my computer (MacBook Pro by the way if you was curious) can do for me, which is a lot I realized. My email account has every folder you can think of to handle whatever email may come my way. I have a back up option to my back up option just in case if I ever lose my phone (which I have already), computer or even physical, important documents. I’m at the point where I’m making list of random things I enjoy or dislike in my life. I have almost 4,000 songs on my iTunes and I have almost labeled every song, album, and genre. I spelled every artist name correctly and made sure if somebody featured on the song too. I wonder what else I can do to coordinate my life now? When I think I have done everything so far, I always think of something else to do. We will see what else I can systematize.

I been asking people around Teramo about barbershops in the area, thinking I might try one of them out. At the end of the day, I was reluctant to go because they probably wouldn’t know what to do with my hair in the first place. I made sure I brought my clippers though. So worse case scenario I would cut it myself but I never cut my hair before. I have lined myself up many times but not actually cut it so I was nervous when it was time to get to business. The procedure went exceptionally long, it took bout an hour before I was finally satisfied with the outcome. Once it was all said and done, I did a better than I thought. Plus even if I do mess up, I really don’t care because I could care less if the people see it or talk about it. It’s not as hard as I thought and I know I’m only going to get better over the months to come.

On a serious note, I wanted people to know (especially if you never been an athlete before) what is it like to be an athlete on many different levels. I was lying in bed and lately I haven’t been able to go straight to sleep like I’m used too, so I just think about all kind of random issues going on and this was one of them. Now, for the most part people see athletes in one these words or phrases: having it easy, conceited, cocky, selfish, stupid when it comes to dealing with anything outside of sports, arrogant, players, cheaters, think their above the law at times. I hate this one, “Your lucky you’re an athlete you got it made”. We can go on forever, but you get my point right? Some of that can be true but where people don’t understand or fail to realize is a couple things. Lets go down the list! This was a list too if you wondering.

Can you imagined working on becoming a doctor or a lawyer at the age of 10? And you just know your going to become one so all you do is put all your time into that craft? Because the sooner you start working on it the better off you are usually. Trust me, it’s that intense if you allow it to be. If that isn’t enough for you I got more.

Lets say you’re lucky enough to use that craft you been working on to get a free education and go to college. You should be thankful right? You should, but at the same time what you sign up for is having other people telling you what you going to do from the moment you wake up till about 6-7pm at night (which is the whole day). If you’re lucky, for four years you are going to deal with this. If for some reason you don’t perform like our coaches think you should or capable of or even worse, they just want to get rid of you. Your scholarship will not get renewed for the following year and they will send you on your way. Sounds like modern-day slavery if you ask me. It also sounds like a job but you don’t get paid for it even though you’re making the institution a shit load of money (depends what sport you play as well). If it isn’t a business then why do coaches get fired if the team loses? Why do they get hired for millions of dollars to help a team win? Winning brings in money for the colleges. From television contracts, to the selling of school apparel, ticket sales, and concession stands revenue, its about money. The big “pay day” for the colleges comes if you make the NCAA tournament or a bowl game. They say you’re an amateur athletes but that’s only because you aren’t getting the money you generate from it, I can’t help but think of the word “slavery” again. Free education your saying again right? Some colleges don’t even care if you graduate, just as long as you can stay eligible to play for the upcoming season, sad but true. I see it this way, no person should tell another human being they shouldn’t get paid for the work they put in (which is definitely a lot in college, they will make sure of that). Not one person life is the same and that person might have a family to take care of but somebody decided its illegal for you to help your family or just even yourself by making money in college. Oh I’m not done people, not by a long shot.

Lets say your fortunate to become a professional athlete in your sport. Check out these statistics just for the average NBA player:

1. 3 of 5 retired NBA players have no prior work experience, which means they will struggle to find a post-playing career.

2. 4 out of 5 don’t have a college degree. (There goes that free education they didn’t take advantage of)

3. 80% of NBA players end up divorced.

This is just for basketball; every major sport is just as bad if not even worse. Lastly, I’m tired for women saying all athletes are players or cheaters, like were all in a category all by ourselves from the rest of the race of men. First of all, it doesn’t matter what you do for a living. A teacher can cheat, doctor, garbage man, politician, preacher, whoever for that matter. So don’t just throw us in a group like people don’t cheat besides athletes.

So women don’t cheat now? You don’t hear me saying all housewives cheat, or women who don’t go to college cheat that just sounds stupid. I’m not even satisfied with the comment that all “men cheat” which I had women tell me before. Don’t say something ignorant because you had your hopes up and were disappointed or bitter because it didn’t work out how you wanted it too and now you badmouth athletes as a whole. Even if your tried more than once with an athlete too. I can keep going on but I’m going to stop though because I don’t want to get too deep on you all. I wouldn’t trade being athlete at all, but people have to realize we go through a lot of stuff if not more than the normal person at times so don’t think we got it “made” our wholes lives because we don’t. We have opportunities to better our lives just like everybody else so don’t criticized because you wasn’t or didn’t become one, that is your fault not anybody else’s. Just needed to drop some knowledge this week.

I can say my week was definitely better than last week so that is a plus so we will see how this upcoming week goes for me. I need to go download some more music so I’m going to end it here. Signing off, until next time people.

My Italy Experience: Entry 3

Welcome to the third installment of my recent relocation to wonderful Teramo, Italy to play professional basketball. Just going to get straight to it this time people, so here we go. Oh yea, my teammate Tommaso (Tommy) had the nerve to say that I write in my dairy every week trying to be funny. A diary has a lock preferably, personal secrets contained inside of them, little drawings and stuff, different color pens or papers and pictures of some sort too. So Tommy, that’s the difference between a blog and a diary ok?

As the days continue to add up, I keep asking myself do I think I can make it here the whole time. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy the pleasure of being by myself all the time. It’s just that I’m suppose to be here till at least the end of April unless we make the playoffs then a little bit longer than that. I just hope I don’t get home sick to the point I want to leave, I’m pretty strong mentally and probably wont get to that point, but you never know right? All this “extra” time to myself is helping me put things in order and have me cleaning up a lot around the place. Because of that, I blew the fuse in my apartment. I didn’t even have a lot of things on at the same time if you ask me but all the power just cut off. I had the drier and washer on, a couple lights on in the place. I was working on my computer (it was charging up) and watching television. I called the team manager so he could help me out which he did eventually. I was in the dark for about 20 minutes before my Italian neighbor came down and helped me out and restarted something outside the building. The next day, I went to the store and bought candles and a lighter just to be safe from now on.

So we had our first “real” road trip as a team last week (9/11-13). It gave me a pretty good idea what to expect for the remainder of the time here. Ok, so let start by saying this. They eat a lot of pasta here, more than normal, way more than we do in the states. I mentioned in the previous entry that they don’t really have or eat breakfast like we do, or for that matter, not the way I like too. So, this is how our road trips went for the most part. We come down for “breakfast” and there’s just croissants and cappuccino (don’t drink coffee) and maybe cereal but I had to ask for that though. We go to practice next and then we go to lunch right afterwards. So for 2 ½ days we went to the same restaurant, had the same exact pasta (shape and all) for lunch and dinner. Since they (locals) don’t eat breakfast, the portions we eat for lunch and dinner are huge! I went crazy after the second day when I realized this was going to be the routine for this trip and the every road trip in the future (hopefully I’m wrong). So for the second time in 4 days I blew a fuse out again, but this time it was in my hotel room while on the road trip, my adapter overheated. I had my computer and phone charging plugged in an intention cord that was connected to the adapter that was in the wall. I had to walk downstairs and have the front desk people help get the power put back on. This just wasn’t my week for electricity I guess.

Three teammates and myself got asked to go to some dinner to represent the team for something on Friday night (9/18/09). I’m used to doing stuff like this ever since I was in college and in the NBA. So when they asked me to go, it wasn’t any big deal or a surprise to me. But I was surprise on how long this dinner lasted thought! It didn’t last1 hour, not 2 hours, not 3 hours, not 4 hours but 4 ½ hours! No dinner should ever last that long; there wasn’t even a translator to help us understand either. The stuff they were talking about was ridiculous from what I was told. After 3 hours into the dinner, this woman started talking about an Italian poet from the late 1800’s that was ugly and short but he banged a bunch of women and took a rib from each side of his body so he could blow himself and he whacked off a lot too. This lady spent so much time studying this guy she wrote a book and gathered information and letters and was there to basically promote her book. Come to find out, all the local people there heard of this guy at some point in their lives and knew the stories. They weren’t going to buy that book, let’s be honest here. This lady wouldn’t stop talking though, for at least 45 minutes. She was so boring even for the locals, the old people (it was all older people in attendance) started falling asleep because they were drinking wine and stuff for hours and they bodies had started shutting down on them. Then when she was done, another lady came up and read 3 love letters from that book, from supposedly 3 different women to that poet guy. The dinner started at 8pm and I didn’t get to my car till 1230am. I was so mad while driving home; never again I’m doing that here.

After another preseason game we played Sunday afternoon (9/20/09, lost by 2pts) we drove back on the team charter bus headed back to Teramo. I was just listening to music, messaging people on my blackberry, just normal stuff. When we got back and as I was starting up my car headed home, I remembered I left my phone on the bus. So I called the team assistant and told him the situation and he said we would take care of it in the morning. So the morning came and I gave him a call and he said the driver didn’t find my phone on the bus. Either the bus driver stole it or he didn’t look hard enough because I was using the phone when I was on the bus. I realized I left it soon as I closed my car door so I know it is there. Now I’m pissed because I just bought that blackberry right before I left the states. I do have my contacts saved on my computer but still I put a lot of info into that phone plus I can’t upload pictures to facebook, myspace (my own site now!). No talking on bbm, aim or yahoo messenger people while I’m out and about now.

So as of right now, I’m out of an outlet adapter, 4 ½ hours of my life, we lost a close game and got my Blackberry Tour taken from me all in one week. I use that phone as my alarm to wake up everyday so I got to find another way now. So in all, my week and a half wasn’t all that great. It left me in a shitty mood on my day off today (9/21/09) thinking about all that just happened to me. Hopefully this week coming up will be better for me. Thanks for reading and letting me bitch about my bad misfortunes, I feel a little better now. Until next time!

My Italy Experience: Entry 2

Welcome to the second entry on my wonderful experience (so far) here in Teramo, Italy. This entry isn’t going to be as long as the first because I had a lot to share since that was my first week being here. Plus things have kind of slowed down a little bit now, well maybe. For those who left comments last week, you have been added to “the list” congratulations. Lol… No big deal, but happy you all liked enough to let me know, means a lot.

If you haven’t notice in some of the pictures the Teramo locals posted on facebook (I’m friends with them on here now), we had our first team appearance at a mall in the city last week (9/2/09). We took pictures, signed stuff and spoke to the crowd that attended the event. The event was cool, besides the fact everybody who talked on the microphone spoke Italian the whole time. So after a while I lost focus and started messaging people and playing games on my phone. Hopefully they didn’t get too mad at me because I saw some stares but oh well, if the shoe was on the other foot they probably would of did the same thing. Afterwards, we had a team dinner at this nice restaurant and chilled there for a while until we went home; sorry forgot to take pictures of that.

The list of things I’m really starting to miss in America is really adding up now. Since I been out here, I realized me going to see movies are done for a while. No theaters here show up to date American movies as they come out. Hopefully in Roma they do though, I’ll let you know. Say I these things because I love going to the movies, I try to go at least once a week and if I can’t find somebody to go with, I go by myself. I’m left with going online and bootlegging the movies now, which isn’t the same as buying popcorn, candy, drinks and leaning back in the seats with surround sound and a big screen in front of you to watch it on. Nothing beats that, out of reality and in a different world for a couple hours. More importantly, I’m missing my little one (Aaliayah) even more. Ever since she’s been born, I haven’t been around her for about half the year on average. I know this stage very well now, knowing I can’t see her when I want to. It doesn’t fell good at all because my basketball career keeps me away but pays the bills right now and obviously I don’t want to switch careers and means of income either, I call it “The Gift and The Curse” What you think? This time around though I made it a little bit easier for myself. I bought her a camera for the computer and finally decided to use skype to see and talk to her (should have been doing that I know). It helps, just not the same obviously, but I just got to deal with it until she comes to visit me.

For the moment, were done with the track training in the morning, which is a relief. We played our first exhibition game (they call it friendly games which is far from friendly) wednesday night (9/9/09) in this tournament that is two hours away. We lost, but I lead the team in scoring and rebounding with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Finished the game a little bruised up on the right hand and left shoulder. They play much dirtier here that’s for sure and because of that I received a technical foul. This foreign dude grabbed my arm as I was playing defense coming off a down screen. Being frustrated since they were doing it all game, I punched him in the stomach with my other hand. The referee called illegal screen but I had enough by then. Funny thing though, he looked at me crazy like he hasn’t been doing that stuff all game to me. I think they have stuff against Americans here a little bit, that’s jus me though. Plus, the ref’s here have huge egos as well, like people come out to see them blow their whistles or something. We play three games total regardless what the outcomes are and I’m happy to play somebody else instead of practice everyday. I’m still not used to their practices either, which is making me antsy for the season to start. We don’t get enough water breaks and their offensive and defensive schemes aren’t always the same that I’m used to also, I’ll get them eventually though.

Thursday (9/10/09) we visited The Sanctuary of Saint Gabriel, which is found 20 minutes outside of Teramo. I had no idea what to expect but was very happy I went once it was all said and done. We were given a tour around the sanctuary and it was beautiful. There were two rooms that stood out the most for me. One was a room for prayers; a person can leave notes, pictures, articles of their children clothes all for good luck and prayers. Of course I felt obligated to leave something but didn’t know what because I wasn’t expecting to do that. Then, I remembered for some random reason I grabbed an extra wallet-sized picture of my daughter and me and put it in my wallet when I was packing before I left. I didn’t know at that moment why I did it, but I did and I was feeling “heavenly” for it, guess everything happens for a reason huh? The second room was for prayers and blessings I think. This room contained the remains of Saint Gabriel but they were inside of a replica body of his at the time he died. Before we left, the priest splashed us with holly water then received a book and a pamphlet of the sanctuary history and of Saint Gabriel too. His story is pretty special, so you should look it up when you get a chance.

I’m bringing the second entry to a close now. Leaving something for you all to think about this week, getting deep real quick. Unless your homeless, flat broke or dying remember it can always be worse. We all are inspired to want and have the best things in life. Regardless if it’s for ourselves or those close around us. But in reality, if that was the case, then the world would be perfect and we all know that isn’t the case at all. Guess this one ended up being just as long as the first after all huh? Oh well, it’s my blog right? Until next time folks, I’m out!

My Italy Experience: Entry 1

What’s going on everybody back in the States, welcome to my blog on facebook. So I decided to document my current residency/trip to Teramo, Italy and blog it for everybody to view for different reasons. First reason, I want to look back at this experience years from now and remember exactly what I was thinking at that particular time in my life. Not wait as time pass or once I’m back in America to change my initial thought process on each week-to-week learning experience my mind is giving me at this very instance. Second reason, I really don’t have a lot of stuff to do here so far, why not make my time here useful and productive. Might as well use that degree for something right? Third reason, I have a horrible memory so this could help me out when remembering things that I probably would forget anyway. Fourth reason, I want people to know what kind of stuff I’m doing over here just in case they might never travel out the country, you can live through me a little bit I guess. Lastly, I know you all miss me, so this is my way of talking to everybody if I don’t on a consistent basis. I’m hoping I can post new stuff every week, especially if I don’t get lazy. If I do (there’s a good chance), then for sure every two weeks, we will see what happens as we go. I know my entries aren’t going to be all accurate grammar wise, so don’t judge me ok? I’m not trying to get an A+ here people. So lets begin!

Been here for little bit over a week now, my internet just got installed in my place the other day. I didn’t really know what to expect once I came to Teramo regarding my place, car, food, the people and the whole playing basketball in Europe. I decided I was just going to take it as goes, so I wouldn’t disappoint myself pretty much. Everything has been pretty great so far. My place is nice I think; it’s 3 bedrooms, 2 bath apartment. My three teammates that are American who lives in my building here are older than me and married at that. Plus, all their wives are coming to stay here in a month or less, so I kind of feel like I’m going to be really chilling by myself soon, but I got my PS3!

The city looks old but has that beautiful, historic feel to it. I believe it’s about 50,000 people living here and about 10-15 miles from the Sea. Everybody I met here is nice and the ones I don’t know just stare at me because I’m tall, dark, handsome and from America and they know I’m here to play basketball for their city. It didn’t take long to know my way around driving in the city. There are a couple roads I stick to that take me where I need to go for whatever reasons, so I’m good for that standpoint.

Traveling to get here, which took about a full day was cool. I slept for most of it so the time went fast to be honest. We landed in Roma by way of Madrid, Spain (that’s what they call it here not Rome) and drove to Teramo in the team van, which took almost 2 hours, I feel asleep for most of that too. Soon as we get there, we had a team meeting for everybody in the organization that lasted an hour. Most of the coaches and players speak predominantly Italian but one coach is a translator and most of the teammates speak pretty good English too. Then after the meeting was over with, they took us to the track! I was like, “What the hell is wrong with these people?” “Can’t they just see I got here for traveling across the world” Anyway, I sucked it up and we jogged for 15 minutes around the track as a team and then we called it a day. Since then though, we run in the morning, which I didn’t mind at first, but now is getting tired of it and practice in the evenings. The gym is hot as hell so when we’re done, I’m always dripping with sweat all over.

Food here is another story though. Ok, if you know me, you know I loved me some breakfast. That is my specialty and the only thing I can proudly say I can cook and better than anybody! Just imagined how I felt when I get here and found out that breakfast is not a main concern here. No waffles, no pancakes, no syrup, no grits, no omelets, no french toast, no breakfast sandwiches, no sausage (the way I like it) and especially no BACON!!!!!!!!!! Bacon is my crack! It broke my heart when I saw that. Luckily enough, the other day I found something pretty close to bacon and I have force myself to use it as my substitute for the moment. At night, there are I think 4 to 5 restaurants here that sever pasta and pizza, the local foods and that’s it. So for dinner, I have been going back and forth with pizza pasta or I make hamburgers at home. So to make sure I stay healthy and get my much needed nutrients, I added salada (that’s Italian for salad people) to my every night dinner menu.

I’m going to end it here people because I feel I wrote too much as is. That, or I’m tired or typing, plus I need to stuff to use to write next weeks blog. I got to keep my material new and fresh so you all can keep coming back. Hoping the lucky few that were smart enough to look on my page or see the notification of this and click to see. I thank you for reading my first entry, hope it was entertaining. Ttyl!