This past week was a bit of a break for most of us scholars around the country of Ireland. Due to the clutch bank holiday and school graduations for the 2018-2019 school year taking place, scholars got a chance to breathe, travel, and even catch up on some work. Nope, that wasn’t me. Little did I know that I would experience a week full of excitement and growth.
My coach invited me to stay over his house for the majority of the week. Some of my past college friends/teammates have given me stories of how their coach invited them into his home and introduced his family. I’ve just never had that type of relationship with any of coaches. For the first time, I can attest to the relationships that my friends/teammates’ have had with their coaches. The coach that I have this year is an all-around phenomenal person and coach. I got a chance to meet his family and get to know a little more about him and how he got into coaching. After a 1 win 1 loss weekend of basketball, I got a chance to watch a couple scholars play against my coaches hometown team. The game was down to the wire from start to finish. It was a great way to end the weekend. I had no idea what was coming up next.
The next day I found myself in a car with Dave Hopla. Yes Dave Hopla. He’s one of the most prominent NBA shooting coaches. He’s worked with many of the NBA’s greatest players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, and the list goes on and on. Coach mentioned to me that he comes to Ireland once every two years and there Dave was sitting right there in the front seat. I was speechless. For 30 years, he has been across the world performing shooting demonstrations where he teaches kids the proper way to shoot and how basketball relates to real life situations. We were on the way to a gym to watch Dave give one of his shooting demos and I’m pretty sure he was annoyed with all the questions that I’d asked. Once we arrived to the gym, Dave stepped into the gym and started to warm up with some shots. Even his warmup was so smooth.Watching the demo was simply incredible. The way Dave performed his demo with little to no effort was surreal. And if I could somehow upload every minute of that demo, I definitely would. After the demo, we dropped Dave off at another gym where he would perform his second demo. Coach and I would have loved to stay and watch but he had an early morning ahead of us.
For the next three days, we helped work a camp. The camp hit me hard with some true challenges of coaching youth but it also provided me with self-evaluation every day. It reminded me of the endless energy that kids display on an everyday basis. By the last day of camp, I was completely exhausted. But I gotta say, it was the best week of sleep that I’d ever gotten since I’ve arrived here. They say that I talk funny because of my American accent that I apparently have. The kids made me feel like a real superstar when they asked me to sign their shoes on the last day of camp. I didn’t spend the week the way that I had planned but in the end, this week has been one to remember.