Thank you, Estonia!
Kevin’s official end to a new beginning.
by Kevin Owens / @Waiting4Godunk
As a small group of child stars once sang… “Now it’s time to say goodbye to all our company.” Although I was only an honorary Mouseketeer, I am currently singing that same tune. The season has ended for my team, BC Kalev, here in Tallinn, Estonia. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to advance to the championship. Now I must repeat the task of three months ago — pack up my entire life, and head home.
As any professional traveling athlete can tell you, packing for home is a difficult process. There are several new items that must travel back with you…game jerseys, (either given to you by the team, or stolen) practice gear, bags, souvenirs, etc. The hard part becomes cramming those few extra pounds of gear into a bag that is already pushing the airlines “weight restrictions,” which means most of the time you suck it up, and pay for the extra bag.
Once your bags are packed, the hardest part of leaving begins…Saying goodbye. This weekend, we had our team’s end of the year party. The venue was right up my alley. I’m unsure why…maybe it was my obsession with He-Man growing up, but I am a big fan of castles. That is why Europe is so appealing to me. I remember when I found out I was coming to Estonia I googled “Estonian Castles.” There’s something so fascinating about being in a place filled with that much history. Anyway, the party was not in a castle. It was, however, in a small German restaurant that sort of resembled one.
I spent that evening eating German food, tasting German beer, and drinking Estonian vodka. I enjoyed the first two. It was also time to say goodbye to the fans, the management and the players. It’s tough to describe the bond that forms during athletic competition. You are with these guys during the majority of the stay. You practice with them, eat with them, and party with them. Then suddenly the season ends, and you say goodbye…possibly forever.
It’s truly a sad feeling. When you combine that with the pure excitement of going home, it can be a little overwhelming. But like the Roman philosopher Seneca, or the band Semisonic, said “Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.” Seasons come and go. It is the relationships and memories that you take with you. I am blessed to have met some amazing people throughout my career. Many are friends I still talk to regularly. When it is all said and done, the friendships will outlast anything else.
That being said, I figured I’d stay in philosophical mode a little more and say goodbye to the fine people of Estonia. I’d first like to thank the fans, who showed me nothing but support despite my arriving only three months before season’s end. I thank you and I appreciate it. I’d next like to thank the management and coaches of BC Kalev for giving me a shot and believing in me. (Oscar music begins to play)…OK umm…I’d like to thank the man upstairs…wait what…Sorry.
OK, back to serious mode. Finally, goodbye to my wonderful teammates. In all honesty, this was such a great group. Thanks for giving me a bit of a learning curve upon arrival and for your constant support and friendship. I can’t thank you enough.
So now I fly back home to see my beautiful wife, family and friends. I have missed them all dearly. A new beginning has officially ended, and I currently find myself back to a familiar feeling…waiting.
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.