With a little over 2 months left to play in Luxembourg, I’ve started to think about summer employment. Do I want to work? Do I need to work? Should I apply for a full-time job or look for something more flexible, giving me time to train and actually enjoy my time off?
As a driven and independent 25-year-old woman, I’m starting to think about life after basketball. If I were a male in the same position, these thoughts probably wouldn’t be crossing my mind. Though I’m making a somewhat comfortable living, it by no means is going to support me for the rest of my life. Where many of my male counterparts are making upwards of 6,000 Euros a month sans expenses in Europe, (top men’s leagues are known to pay 50,000+ Euro/month) I’m continually learning how to budget while filtering money into savings and mutual funds. I also make sure to allocate parts of my monthly salary into a travel expense fund (for my weekly/monthly jaunts to other European countries) and summer fund (which when home, will enable me to visit and catch up with close friends.) I’m becoming a grown-up and it’s not easy. After living on my own for the past 7 years, I’m seeing progress, but a lot of this can be attributed to the fabulous support system I have from my parents at home.
As many will attest, yes – money is important. But I also think its important to experience things and enjoy life. I know I’m still young, but sometimes I stress when thinking about playing another year of hoops abroad. What will future employers think of my resume? Why would an organization hire someone whose main work experience post-college has been as a professional athlete in Europe? Do I want to be starting an entry-level job at age 27? How difficult would it be for me to get a visa to work in Seattle? With extra time on my hands, these are some of the things I overanalyze. My dad tells me to keep playing. My mom wants me to set down roots. I want to continue traveling the world and meeting new people….I guess a part of becoming an adult is making the tough decisions on your own.
Eventually, when I do stop playing the roundball, I know I’ll be a great hire for a company. I’m a determined individual who wants to succeed and never gives less than my best. Obviously I’m biased, but I think my lack of resume is actually better than some of those that contain ‘real’ work experience. While I haven’t worked for a corporation, organization or company for X number of years, I’ve gained knowledge and experience that can’t be read in a textbook or taught in a classroom or workplace. I’ve experienced living in different countries months at a time. I’ve traveled to diverse cities across Europe and have learned to assimilate to numerous cultures, beliefs and values. I’ve befriended those with much different backgrounds than I and have communicated with people I don’t share a common language with. I’ve made my way through foreign lands on foot, by plane, train, car and public transit. I’ve hitched rides with strangers, organized travel plans, seen poverty first hand and associated with the extremely rich. I’ve been forced to hold myself accountable at all times and have had to motivate myself individually while also working in a team setting in order to achieve success. I’ve been a mentor and have taught teammates skills both on and off the court. For the past 3 years I’ve learned more than I could of ever learned in high school or college. I have real world experience. I'm international and have learned to be self sufficient in order to survive and thrive in foreign lands.
Almost anyone can look fabulous on a piece of paper, but I think an important part of someone’s personality is his or her life experiences – which are often overlooked. So if you're in the market for a potential employee...hire me!☺
Basketball Update: With the first half of playoffs complete, we’re sporting a 4-1 record. We play each team in the top 6 one more time, with the top 4 teams moving onto semi-finals. This will be my longest season spent in Europe thus far. If all goes according to plan, I could be here until June 10th! Crazy! Last weekend we won a particularly important game against a team we are tied for 2nd with. Up 10 with 4 minutes to go in the first half, I was unnecessarily hit in the face by the opposing professional (Canadian) on a box out. The moment her elbow made contact, the skin below my eye split open and starting gushing blood. Trying to staunch the flow, I grabbed my towel and ran to the bathroom. I didn’t shed a tear, until I took off the towel and looked at my face. With the mirror reflecting mangled skin and blood, I almost threw up and finally lost my composure. Avoiding my reflection after first glance, the opposing teams doctor finally came into the restroom and tried his best to calm me down in Luxembourgish, while applying butterfly bandages. Once cleaned up, he ordered someone to take me to emergency. Upset about my face, I couldn’t help but feel like I was letting my team down. This was an important away game that with a win, would keep us tied for 2nd. Unable to do anything else, I was rushed to the hospital in a big shiny black Mercedes. After sweet-talking the counter staff at the hospital, I was in and out in about 30 minutes. Since the skin under my eye was too thin, instead of stitches the doctor glued the gash together. Rushing back to the gym (even though I was not allowed to play), I was surprised to receive loud clapping and cheers from the crowd as I returned to my team’s bench. Embarrassed, I gave a quick wave and ran to high five my teammates. I’m really proud of them. The came together when it mattered most, clamped down and grinded out a 6 point victory.
Swollen, blue and bloody – I’m not the cutest thing right now. I can only hope that my battle scar will heal without leaving much of a mark. Because please believe, if not, that girl will be paying for my plastic surgery to restore my beauty! ☺