Playoffs in Estonia
Kevin’s team is rolling, as Estonia’s snow is melting.
by Kevin Owens / @Waiting4Godunk
These past few weeks have brought upon several changes here in Estonia. First of all, the regular season ended and the postseason began. We already won our first round matchup against a team from the Southern Estonian city of Valga. It was a three-game sweep, which is a relief because we only had to make one trip down there. You know what those Estonians say about the trip from Tallinn to Valga right? Oh wait, you don’t…OK, it’s far. So now we start our semifinal matchup against rivals TU Rock, which should prove to be a very exciting series.
The past week and a half we have been hard at work, improving on the mistakes we made last round. We have had quite a few practices throughout the city of Tallinn. That reminds me, I need to stop and get gas before practice tomorrow. I am not a mechanic, but I think when the gas light which has been illuminated for three days begins to blink, the car may need a refill.
The other change has been the weather. Spring has finally peeked its head out from the several feet of snow it had been buried under. The warmer weather brought my first view of grass since I have arrived. It also brought out an abundance of children, who play in the park across from my apartment. It seems like the children aren’t the only ones enjoying the snowless landscape.
The other day I looked out of my window and saw my landlord sitting on the edge of the forest that borders the property. As odd as I found this I paid it no mind. Then about an hour later I again glanced out the window, only to find him sitting in the same spot staring into space. I am not sure if he was getting in touch with nature or possibly drunk. Either way I have no complaints. As long as I still get hot water and electricity he can stay in the woods all day.
(I only talk about the water and electricity because of my experience in Kosovo. Along with power outages every night, after 10 p.m. the water supply was shut off to the city. I had to brush my teeth with bottled water. I also rarely had hot water in the shower. Unfortunately that was not the worst aspect of my bathroom. My laundry machine emptied its dirty water into my bathtub. I have the video to prove it! Check it out at the bottom of this post.)
Although my landlord seems nice, I am not sure he really understands the health aspects that go along with being a professional basketball player. The other day I was walking into the building and saw him sitting on his deck. He looked at my bag which bore my team’s logo on it, smiled and wished me good luck. He then proceeded to ask me if I had a cigarette.
Earlier this month, I also celebrated my third Easter in a row… away from home. This holiday was never a giant celebration back home, but I still wanted to do something special for dinner. I went over to the local Rimi (grocery store) to find something interesting for dinner. It was then I discovered the “fresh food” section of the market.
I was able to get a full rotisserie chicken and a large serving of potatoes for a staggeringly small amount of money. I was extremely excited that I had a freshly cooked meal to eat for Easter Dinner. On an odd note, the elderly lady who bagged my food could not stop smiling. She kept looking up with an ear-to-ear grin, so I politely smiled back at her. Maybe she was looking for an Easter date. She probably could have had one, had she played her cards right.
Anyway…Charles Dickens once wrote, “Change begets change.” Things in Estonia are certainly changing. Let’s hope this perpetuates similar changes on the court. We ended the season a 4th place team. It’s time to turn into a 1st place team.
Kevin Owens is a veteran of overseas professional basketball who currently plays for Kalev/Cramo in Tallinn, Estonia. Owens also writes for Waiting For Godunk and Hugging Harold Reynolds. You can also catch him on Twitter @Waiting4Godunk.