As the season wears on, it's of no surprise that my body is starting to complain more and more. Some mornings I wake up and feel as though I’m 40 years old. Only 25, every joint has taken a consistent beating year after year due to a competitive basketball schedule. Unfortunately, I'm already beginning to feel the effects.
Throughout my high school, university and professional playing career I’ve remained relatively injury free (knock on wood). Though I’ve never had a surgery, I’ve visited my fair share of doctors, physiotherapists and chiropractors. Keeping the body as close to 100% is very important in my line of work and requires a constant effort.
After a week of suffering though uncomfortable lower back pain, I finally decided to visit our team physio Angel. I’m not one to complain about injuries, nor do I enjoy spending excessive amounts of time rehabbing, but it's better than being held out of practice. I don’t really like special treatment. If your injury disables you to the point that it’s affecting your play - ok, but if you can handle the pain – suck it up and stop being a baby. Maybe I’m a masochist, but that’s always been my approach.
Anyway, after being poked, prodded and questioned, I was finally granted what I really wanted - a massage. During a long period of silence, I decided to engage Angel in conversation. Though we don't share a common language, we were somehow able to communicate and I was surprised to where the conversation led. Practicing my Spanish, Angel commented on how adaptable and friendly Canadians are. Swelling with pride, I couldn’t help but agree with his observation. Wondering how he had deducted this from just speaking with me, he explained that a couple of seasons ago, the women’s team had employed 2 Canadian girls (coincidentally, both of who I know and had played on the National Team with). He then continued to explain that 2 Canadians had also played for the men’s club in the 80’s. Not expecting to recognize the names, I asked anyway. “Rick Hanger and Lars Hansen.” The moment Angel said Lars’ name, I couldn’t believe it - Lars is from the Greater Vancouver area (my hometown), played at the University of Washington (my alma mater) and is an acquaintance of my father!
Though completely different players (Lars 6’10 center, my dad 6’5 swingman) the 2 share a lot in common. Lars was BC High School MVP in ’71 and ’72, while my dad was MVP in ’60 and ’61 (yep, he’s a tad old and grey...love you daddy!) Upon graduation, my dad went on to play for legendary coach Marv Harshman at Washington State. Similarly, Lars went to play for Coach Harshman 10 years later at the University of Washington. My father and Lars have played together many times during the mature parts of their careers. Lars is a member of the Canadian and British Columbia Basketball Hall of Fame, the latter of which my father will be inducted into in April. I’ve met Lars a handful of times and the fact that he played here in Ferrol blows my mind!
Sharing this information with Angel, he quipped “so all you Canadians do know each other?” I laughed. It seemed as though the stereotype was true. “Just a coincidence” I stated with a smile. Angel called his father into the room and shared the info I had just told him. He was ecstatic and left the room, returning with a team photo. He explained he had been the physiotherapist for Lars’ Ferrol team when they played in the ACB. Crazy!
Every year I’m abroad, I can’t help but shake my head. No matter how far I am from home, I always seem to stumble upon something or some sort of information that surprises me and proves that it really is a small world after all…
Basketball Update: And the roller coaster continues…2 weeks ago we lost to one of the worst teams in the league on the road. Though they had changed 3 players and their coach over the Christmas break, talent wise, we were still the superior team. Nevertheless, that day Carmelitas wanted it more than us. With an unkind rim and soft defense we quickly found ourselves down 20. Finally finding some will after halftime, we battled back to make it a 1-point deficit with 1 minute to play. Unfortunately, it was too little to late and we were handed the L. Lets just say the following week of training and meetings were the furthest thing from enjoyable…However, the following weekend we managed to bounce back and destroyed the 2nd place team (who prior to playing us, had only lost twice) at home by 18. Yup, 18 points. Happy with the win, I was also frustrated. We have the talent to be the 2nd or 3rd place team in the league, but it depends on which personality shows up Saturdays. Our team is very young and attitude and discipline are problems that hurt us. Until we find a cure for this, I don’t know what to expect. Road game versus the 3rd place team today…fingers crossed.