I’m no party animal, but definitely know how to have a good time. Though I enjoy the night scene, you won’t ever find me throwing up outside a bar, passed out on someone’s couch or stumbling out of a nightclub long past last call. I don’t spend evenings at the bar planning to meet a guy who can barely remember his own name in the morning; I go out because I enjoy dressing up, listening to good music and dancing the night away with a group of friends.
I wasn’t always like this however. In fact, I’ve come a long way since my college days. I rarely partied in university - I was too focused on basketball, attending athletic events, doing well in school and spending time with my close friends. Before I entered my senior year, I could count on one hand how many parties I had attended. Staying out late and drinking all night really wasn’t my scene.
Looking back on my college years, I would have done some things differently. Sometimes I wish I had been a little more social and attended some of the crazy football parties or frat events. Heading into my senior year, I finally decided to open up. Living my first 3 years with athletes only, I needed to get outside of the familiarity of the athletic department and meet some new people. Hearing about a house full of ‘civilians’ (what us athletes called regular students…☺) on Greek Row looking for a roommate, I got in touch with a girl in the house and expressed my interest in the available bedroom. Hours later, I was the newest member of an 8 bedroom house full of girls! Being a straight-laced, clean and a painfully organized individual – I was unsure of what I had gotten myself into. Biting the bullet, I decided to spend my last year of university in the loudest area of the U-District. And you know what? It was the best thing that could of happened to me. I met new people, became close with ‘regular students’, attended parties and even hosted a few! I dressed up (dresses, big hair and makeup!) for events I would never of thought of attending. The girls in the house helped bring out a side of me I didn’t know; a side opposite of the one I had been my first 3 years. Though still focused and determined when it came to basketball and schoolwork, I learned how to balance the ‘job side’ of university (basketball, school) while also experiencing and enjoying the social part of college life.
However, if I thought I knew how to party during my senior year in college, I quickly found I was barely an amateur when I came to Europe. Europeans are crazy…they make frat boys look calm. Each passing year I spend in a new country, I’m continually amazed by the amount of energy and stamina Europeans possess when it comes to enjoying the night. Finland, Sweden and Portugal were fairly tame. Luxembourg was pretty crazy, but Spain is flat out insane! The Spaniards break every record when it comes to going out. As evening turns to early morning, the only thing on their mind is dancing until the sun comes up. It’s not normal and as many times as I’ve tried to hang, I can’t. I’m always the ‘weak’ one that leaves early (early being 3-4am!!!) I just can’t fiesta for hours on end. I get too tired and the thought of drinking for an extended period of time is of no interest to me.
Add this to the fact that the night normally doesn’t ‘start’ until 2am. I can’t understand it. It’s quite remarkable how these people maintain the partying mentality. I like going out, but when my Spanish friends suggest a night on the town I don’t know whether to cry or get excited. It’s a workout in itself maintaining a certain level of energy for fiesta night. And to make matters worse, the only time during the week I can go out is the evening after a game, thus I’m already exhausted from 30+ minutes on the court. It’s a no win situation, making me feel as though I’m starting to get old…
Experiencing the Spanish nightlife has allowed me to understand why siestas exist in Spain. It’s because they fiesta harder than anyone else. When you don’t get home until 8-10am in the morning (seriously!) you need an afternoon nap in order to survive a normal 24-hour day. (Typically stores in Spain open around 10am and close at 2pm, only to reopen again at 5pm until about 8pm). The thought of staying out all night into the early morning is completely exhausting. This past weekend I made it to 6am (attended a Halloween party in A Coruña – a city 40 minutes from Ferrol) and the next day I was unbelievably exhausted. I don’t see that happening again for a looonnnnnng time!
When in Spain, do as the Spainards do…at least once. That might be the first and last time, but at least you can say you did it!
Basketball Update: We are currently sitting at 2-2 in the league with our 2 losses coming to 2 of the top teams. One of losses should have been a win, but we self-destructed in the 2nd half. Nevertheless, it was a learning experience that hopefully will make us better. I’ve been really happy with my play, but have been extremely frustrated with the Spanish officiating. Through 4 games I have 2 technical fouls - thus drastically cutting my minutes and affecting my stats. I’d be the first to admit I deserved the ‘T’s’ if I did…however, I really didn’t deserve either of them. Both of the disqualifying fouls have come on plays where I’ve been fouled all game inside (never complaining, talking to the officials or making gestures) and finally, getting hammered hard in the 2nd half without a foul call. Both times this has happened I looked at the official and said the word ‘really?’ in a calm voice, turned around and ran back to play defense. The two times I’ve done this I’ve been T’d up. It’s completely ridiculous and very upsetting. The Spanish girls are constantly complaining to the refs during the games, as are other Americans. I don’t say anything and the 2 times I do, I’m done. The most frustrating part is that in my 4 years of Professional basketball, I had never received a technical foul – and now I have 2 through 4 games in Spain! I’m not an angry, aggressive player, but now realize I cannot say ANYTHING no matter how frustrated and unfair the officiating may be.