Yes, I know it’s been a while, but if you follow me on social media I’m sure you may somewhat have kept up with how my 8th season overseas went. If not, let me enlighten you.
This season was unlike any other. Being a young team, as we all got comfortable with our new roles, we found a rhythm towards the middle of the season. Our team ended up getting 2 wins in a row (including the #1 positioned team), and things were looking bright. We began to chase the goal of making the playoffs and even eyeing the final four. After the 2 game winning streak however, one of our main players pulled their hamstring. Nonetheless we were still able to finish the season on a very high note by winning our last 5 of 6 games.
In addition to ending the season pretty well, there were a lot of other bright spots. Like the fact that we had an American coach- which rarely happens overseas- who was super cool and personable. I loved when he would make practices light after the nights he believed we went out to enjoy the infamous Tel Aviv night life. He was a player in Israel for 20 years so he understood his players, which was really cool. Also, as I mentioned before my team was young but I found time to do fun things with them when I could. From getting invited to different teammate’s Shabbat dinners, to going bowling, to making trips to Jerusalem, I had so much fun off the court with my team this year. Below I’ve shared some pictures of times we shared together throughout the course of the season:
With all the growth and good times I had basketball wise with my team this season, outside of basketball was the best time I’ve had in a long time while being overseas. Playing in Israel is an experience unlike most other places, in that most of the other Americans that play in Israel all live very close to each other. With that being said, we always had something to do. From going to each other’s games and having get-togethers for things like people’s birthdays and holidays, there was rarely a dull moment.
With Israel being so beautiful and with so much to do there as well, I had friends and family who were also excited to come visit. Early in the year my college teammate, Corinne, who was playing in Turkey, had a chance to come for a few days. Also my sister, Rhema, came for about 2 weeks later in the season. From taking them to places like the Dead Sea, Ramat Gan Safari, and different really good restaurants, I had a chance to show them the beauty of Israel that I have come to know very well.
Overall, season 8 was great. With the season in Israel ending somewhat early, I ended up signing with a team in Turkey, who’s season was still going on. Unfortunately, I was there only a week before the COVID-19 pandemic began. So the season there was postponed and all the foreigners went home. Most likely the remainder of the season will be cancelled rightfully so. Nevertheless, I am thankful I had an amazing experience in Israel before the pandemic began.
Reflecting back, my greatest advice would be to enjoy the ride, embrace challenges and divulge into the culture wherever you are!