It’s hard to believe that my first season of professional basketball is over. A week ago I was strolling the streets of Sundsvall, drinking coffee with friends before heading to practice in the evenings. I went from being surrounded by historic buildings and walking down narrow cobblestone streets, to driving around Richmond on freshly paved roads where buildings are torn down for new ones as soon as they show wear. I almost feel as though I’ve traveled through time. Just now am I grasping how different North America is from Europe.
After living the Scandinavian lifestyle for 6 months, I almost want to say I like it better. I like how carefree Europeans are and how they cherish the history of their cities. Among other things, I appreciate the convenience and inexpensiveness of public transportation (buses, trains, bikes, etc), their unique fashion and the creative meals served each day. Living this way was an experience that allowed me discover myself and to not take life too seriously. I’m grateful for that.
My time in Sweden was amazing, one I soon won’t forget. I played well, explored interesting cities and met wonderful people. Aside from being a bit chilly, the weather was nice - with the sun shining almost every day on freshly fallen snow. Time after time I’d find myself walking around the city centrum to window shop or to just take in the crisp spring air and enjoy the moment. A self-professed photo lover, you’d find me constantly snapping away, believing I needed “just one more shot” to capture Sundsvall.
I really couldn’t of asked for a better home this past month. I made friends quickly, enjoyed the nightlife, educated myself on the town and even tried to speak Swedish! Living in Sweden and Finland for the past 6 months have helped shaped me as a person, and both are places I’ll hold close to my heart for the rest of my life. I’m thankful for this whole experience, one most don’t get the chance to have. I’m thankful for the Malmbom family who invited me over for dinner and decided to only speak English while we were at the table. I’m thankful for Madeleine becoming such a great friend and taking the time to help me get acclimated to my new environment. I’m thankful for experiencing fika, appreciating the city's architecture, integrating Swedish style into my wardrobe, learning how to use/pay with kronas, the great teammates I played with and so much more. I'm especially thankful for my head coach Henrik who taught me about playing with my back to the basket. I've already seen an improvement in my post game, something I wish I had learned in college. Henke really took the time with us players to make sure we understood how to make a move and when to use its counter move. His basketball knowledge is second to none. Whenever Henke talked - I listened. It's easy to nod your head or wave off advice when coaches speak to you, but Henke has a skill for teaching. I found myself wanting to learn more and more from him every time I had the chance. Practices were fun. Not only was I learning, but I was getting better every time I stepped onto the basketball floor. Tack Sverige (thanks Sweden) for everything!
Though I’m home, I find myself missing Sundsvall at times. Weird right? I think it must be human nature, or maybe it’s just me – but when I'm away from one place I tend to miss the other. Nevertheless, it is great to be back in Beautiful British Columbia. I’m happy to be able to spend time with my parents and brother and take in the familiar sights of my hometown.
I’m not sure what the off-season will see me doing yet, but I’m planning on playing at least one more year of professional basketball and have already been contacted by 3 teams. I have my hopes set on France with Spain as a close second. I’ll hopefully have that all figured out in the next couple of months. Sadly, this will likely be my last blog post until I head abroad again next season. I hope you’ve enjoying reading “Bre Dub’s Blog” as much as I have enjoyed posting on it every week. Here’s to wishing you all the best and enjoying the moment…