This past weekend Mak and I traveled to Spain with our National League team for our first away tournament. We flew out of Belfast International Airport and,less than three hours later, we arrived in Alicante. Shortly after arriving, we drove to Murcia where our tournament was being held. We played 6 games over the course of two days so it was a lot of basketball in very hot weather, but I truly can’t complain! We won 4 out of the 6 games which is a great start to our season. Throughout the weekend, we were able to interact with some of Murcia’s local youth club teams as well. There was only one “obstacle” – our language difference. I had taken Spanish classes every year until my senior year of high school so I was actually able to have a few structured conversations with the girls. My sentences weren’t always perfect, but they were enough to communicate with them! It was really enjoyable being able to connect with the young girls and learn more about them and their culture.
Aside from the tournament, we were able to explore the city of Murcia and Alicante. We were personally welcomed by the Mayor of Murcia at City Hall and there was also a radio announcement made about our participation in the tournament! Our host and tour guide, Juan, was incredible. He showed us great hospitality throughout the whole weekend. On our last day, he gave us a map of different sights to see on our city tour of Alicante. The sun was shining and it was a fantastic day to take a tour. We were able to see a beautiful cathedral and botanical garden! It was nice to bond with my new teammates off the court and explore a new country together. The weekend flew by (doesn’t it always?) but this is a weekend I will always remember. I really am so grateful for all the opportunities I have been able to take advantage of thus far. Sport truly does change life!
I can’t describe how amazing it is being able to travel the world and meet so many different people who instantly welcome you like family. The world can feel so unfamiliar and perplexing at times, but meeting people who genuinely care about you and your well-being makes you feel like you immediately belong. That’s why this quote by one of my, and actually Matt St. Amour’s (fun fact!), favorite artists Taylor Swift is one I try to live my life by every day: “No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.” Remember, all we have in this world is one another!
What do you call a big Irish spider?
A Paddy long legs!