Ever wonder where all those excess t-shirts that didn’t sell at the local sporting goods store go? You know the ones I’m talking about. Fifty in every size, hanging on the circular clothing racks, produced in mass quantities often without quality in mind. They can be bright and loud, or adorned with too many graphics on the front and back. If you’re really lucky you might own one circa 1990s, with Shaq Attack, Larry Johnson’s Grandmama’s House or Lil’ Penny gracing the front of your t-shirt. Well wonder no longer, as I have solved the mystery we have all at one time pondered. These t-shirts my friends end up in Finland. Seriously! And it’s not just the t-shirts. It’s the sweat pants, basketball shorts and running shoes. At practice I sometimes feel like I’m back in elementary school when looking at the practice gear my teammates show up in. Purple t-shirt, orange shorts – yeah, that matches! Green shorts, turquoise t-shirt – sure why not! Bright yellow running shoes – I wish I thought of that! Charlee, Lizanne and I look forward to every practice, wondering which fashion faux pas we will see next. It’s quite entertaining, especially because I’m sure we are regarded the same way in our conservative black shorts and white or grey t-shirts.
But how can I talk about practice without mentioning stretching? Most people don’t realize how important it is to stretch before and after you practice or play a game, especially if you are working out everyday. Even I didn’t realize it until I came overseas. All throughout high school and in my 4 years at UDUB I rarely stretched unless ordered to do so. “I don’t need to,” “It doesn’t work,” “I’m flexible, don’t worry about me,” or “stretching is for old people,” I’d often find myself saying. Well I must be getting old then! Everyday I seem to find myself stiff and sore after a practice, game or from lifting weights. My 22 years seem to be catching up with me. ☺ I now find myself arriving early for practice to run laps around the gym, defensive slide up and down the court, karaoke shuffle back and forth and integrate dynamic stretches between sets. After this routine has got my muscles warm and a sweat starting to form, it’s time for 10 minutes of good stretching. It’s amazing what stretching can do for you. After my customary warm-up has got my muscles moving, I feel as light and quick as I did in college. Strange how your body can react to different places and seems to want more attention as you get older. Something to look forward to…I guess!
Perhaps my sore body has something to do with the cold weather and falling snow. You read that right - it snowed here two days ago! Snow in November?? What! It’s a strange thing to see, especially being from the West Coast where it rarely ever snows and sticks. It’s been cold since I arrived, but I never expected snow to start falling – at least not in November. Even Lizanne was shocked, and she hails from Montreal, home of -30 winters. Yet Finland has proved me otherwise, which I suppose makes sense since Jyväskylä is approximately 500km south of the Arctic Circle. It hasn’t snowed again since Wednesday, but 4 inches of snow on the ground is making me wonder why I didn’t pack winter boots. My Nike shox will have to do until I head home for Christmas. The snow on the other hand hasn’t stopped our resident naked guy from prancing around in all his glory. Our large kitchen window overlooks a lake and the apartment building across the way from us. Where on exactly the same floor, the naked guy wanders around his apartment every morning without a care in the world. All while his blinds and curtains are wide open. It doesn’t seem to bother him as he talks on the phone, reads and newspaper and makes his breakfast sans clothes while Charlee, Lizanne and I eat our breakfast. Not exactly as sight you want to see that early in the morning, especially when eating!
Anyway, big game tomorrow for us and the Huskies. My team and I take on Huima who is one game ahead of us in the standings, while the Dawgs open their season vs. Kansas State in Manhattan. Bow Down! And don’t forget Husky Football, we need a win as they take on Oregon State – Beat the Beavs!
I'm sure many of you heard of the horrible shootings that occurred this week at a Finnish high school. Obviously I'm alive and safe here in Jyväskylä. Finland is a country that is known for its safety and lack of murders and violence. However, terrible things can happen anywhere, and thankfully my teammates and I were nowhere near the shootings that occurred outside of Helsinki. Please have your thoughts with the families of the 8 who perished.