Kristen Mann’s Overseas Journal: Part 2
The joy of FIBA fines.
We’ve talked about it before, but there really isn’t an “off-season” in women’s basketball. After the WNBA season ends, players are lucky to have a week or two to see their families and pack before heading overseas to play professionally for seven months. SLAMonline is excited to bring in WNBAer Kristen Mann to give everyone behind the scenes access to the life of a women’s professional basketball player overseas. – Ben
by Kristen Mann / @dreamingtree44
I apologize for the delay; surprisingly, I’ve been a tad bit busy with basketball and my son, Mr. Sawyer. So, let me get all of you caught up on what’s been going on lately.
Since my last blog, we’ve had a few games and I believe we’ve won all of them except one. We lost a Euroleague game at home to Rivas (Asjha Jones and Essence Carson) which sucked because we really needed to win that one. Then we went to Gospic, Croatia and, of course, it was an interesting travel experience. Once again there was a four-hour train ride up to Paris, then an hour and a half flight and then a two-hour bus ride. We didn’t have practice the day we got there because we arrived so late, but we definitely had an hour and a half practice the day of the game. That’s right; we played five-on-five full-court at “shoot around.” But I suppose it paid off because we won that night. Our next Euroleague game was at home vs Kosice (Kayla Pedersen and Danielle McCray). I think they take the cake on “Worst Travel Award” because I heard they had some problems and didn’t arrive until the morning of the game.
Bad for them, good for us – we won that one too.
But before the game, we had some drama with one of the commissioners from FIBA (as usual). Before I start venting about FIBA, here’s a little background: Every Euroleague game, FIBA sends someone there to make sure everything is good to go…but I personally believe they are really there to take everyone’s money. Ok, ok – I know they’re just doing their jobs because they have to write up a report about the games, turn that into FIBA, and then the FIBA “Gods” decide who gets fined for what. I don’t feel bad at all talking about this because they’re clearly not shy about fining everyone and it’s Europe.
So, as I was saying, FIBA has made some strict rules this year especially in regards to uniforms. Though, my club has known that we were going to be in Euroleague since last May, so in FIBA’s defense, I don’t think my club read a damn thing about the rules and regulations, haha. Because of this, we go through the same shinanagins every game. FIBA’s commissioner always tells us our uniforms are too big, the gym is too hot, etc. (No, I’m not making those violations up.)
Some of these fines are absolutely ridiculous.
For example, our first Euroleague game at home we were fined for the following: Having the old three-point line on the court along with the new one, the gym was too dark, the gym was too hot, our captain wasn’t available for media after the game, two players had on Booster socks, and, of course, our uniforms. When we were in Poland, the commissioner told me three minutes before the game that I would be fined 500 euros because my spandex was black, not blue like our uniforms.
Really, three minutes before the game??
A week later I found out our club wasn’t fined 500 euros for my spandex, but 2,000 euros! Yikes!
No labels can be shown on your socks, you have to cover the Nike, UA, or WNBA logos and socks have to either be white or the dominant color of the uniform…but only if the whole team wears it. Ankle braces have to match the socks, so I have teammates with black ankle braces who have to roll their white socks over their ankle braces to avoid fines. Meanwhile, you can wear bright, neon green shoes and labels galore; that’s ok, haha.
The WNBA has the same restrictions when it comes to uniforms, BUT the major difference is that the league provides you with gear, etc. FIBA doesn’t give you anything. And I don’t think the penalty is as harsh as it is with FIBA. It’s really quite comical and I’m sure you all might think I’m over exaggerating but, unfortunately, I’m not. Thankfully, my team’s colors are blue and white because I feel really bad for those teams who have crazy colors. They’ll definitely have a difficult time finding spandex or other necessities that match.
My mom and sister are here in France but I have yet to see them. I leave tomorrow for Moscow so they’re off enjoying the Eiffel Tower and all the other fun, tourist-y things in Paris. This week will be difficult for us; we play Spartak in Moscow on Wednesday (driving to Barcelona and then flying), come back Thursday night, practice Friday and then leave again to play a French league game which happens to be against the only other undefeated team in the league. I’m glad my mom and sister decided to come for a good game but it’s definitely gonna be a doozy.
Oh yeah, and how could I forget that Thursday is Thanksgiving? I’ll be cooking dinner; yes, that’s right, I said I’ll be cooking dinner! Mr. Sawyer likes it when I cook because I tend to drop food on the floor here and there, haha. Not sure what I’ll be making but I definitely don’t have time to make a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. So all of you at home, please eat some deliciousness for me.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families; I am definitely thankful that my mom and sister are flying out here to spend it with me. I hope when I write my next blog that we will still be undefeated in the French league…
Happy Turkey Day, ya’ll.