As I have spoken about in my previous blogs, adjusting to Irish culture and lifestyle has been relatively seamless. Apart from a few words and phrases that are common to the area the language is the same (though the way things are pronounced is different), prices/stores are relatively similar and general day to day activities reflect that of my life in America. However the biggest adjustment to being in Ireland is that of the culture of basketball. In the US basketball, and sports in general, are much more hardcore and intense and thus are a bit further along in their development in comparison to the rest of the world. Aside from the difference in the rules of the european game, there are just general cultural things that differ between the American and Irish basketball game. These differences were most notable to me in our first regular season game this past Saturday. The speed, organization, play calling and general pace and cadence of the game was something that I had not experienced before. Though it result of the game was not my team or I were looking for it provided a great lesson in the adjustments needed to adapt properly to the Irish way of basketball. Being used to a system that runs 10 + offensive sets each with their own 5-7 different options, the simplicity of our offense left me at a loss for ideas while I played. This can be attributed to the fact that our team is all new to playing with one another and we simply haven’t had the time to put in a proper playbook however it was a bit frustrating to say the least. I am confident as the season goes on I will be able to adjust to the european game and more importantly our team will become more comfortable playing with one another.
After our game Saturday against the Ulster Elks (and fellow Victory Scholars Ryan Oliver and Will Koppenhaver) I headed back home with the Ulster Scholars coming along as guests. On the walk by my landlords house we were invited in to watch the end of the GAA All-Ireland final. As we sat in the living room with his family being taught the rules and history behind Gaelic Football I realized how special of an opportunity I have to be able to learn from and interact with the people of Ireland along with forming bonds with other Victory Scholars who are staying in different cities. This made me realize that the basketball and some aspects of life may be different, but different is good.Without heterogeneity life becomes dull and if there is one thing I try to make sure to do everyday it is to not let life become boring for that is to waste the precious time we have. So I will try my best to keep adjusting, learning and growing during my time in this ‘different’ place.