Today I found myself in the odd situation of being relieved and disappointed at the same time. The reason? Basketball. I had been thrilled to find out that the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid has a girls basketball team and was eager to make the try-outs. Last week on Tuesday I was told to be at the gym at 7:30pm to meet the coach and team. Not having being aware of the practice earlier I hadn’t come prepared to play, so the coach told me to come back on Thursday and looking me in the eyes he declared that he would then “watch how I play”. I went home wondering how good one had to be to get on the team and returned on Thursday feeling rather nervous. I tried to remind myself that this was not my first time on a basketball court, but not having played in a team for over five years made me feel a bit uneasy. The first ten minutes or so were fine – the warming up and stretching. Then I soon discovered that a couple things were definitely not in my favour:
a) language barrier: I hadn’t even considered that this could be a problem, since I’ve been understanding so much…but conversations, classes, movies or sermons are one thing – a coach barking instructions and expecting immediate action…quite another thing.
b) fitness: not only were my ball handling skills a bit rusty, I hadn’t been doing regular exercise and sprinting up and down the court soon made me, and the coach, take note of it
At the end of the practice the coach told me to come back on Tuesday, but informed me that it was very unlikely I would be able to make the team. A bit down, I spent the weekend pondering the matter. If I was on the University team, it would mean three hours of team practice every week and a game every Saturday. I was already wondering how on earth I should find enough time to study AND do things with friends – like a trip to the nearby town Segovia or a biology excursion to learn about the birds of the region. The more I thought it over, the more convinced I was that NOT being on the team would really be the best thing after all. I could still sign up for a less competitive team that played in the afternoons. So I went to the practice today, feeling pretty relaxed since I knew I wouldn’t be staying and just wanting to try my best and have fun with the team. And I did have fun. And it turned out like I expected – the coach took me aside and told me my skill level was lower than the other girls and that this wasn’t a class, it was training. Ouch. But a win-win-situation, right? I knew it would be too stressful for me to play serious basketball during my ERASMUS year and didn’t make the team. Then why did I still feel kind of disappointed? Kind of sad? I guess in the end, it wasn’t the team that mattered – it was what the outcome implied. Truth hurts. I was sad because someone had told me that I was no good at my all-time-favourite-sport. And that bothered me. But then, I can never be sad for a long time – and since its pretty logical that liking something doesn’t automatically mean one excels, I could only blame myself for not dedicating enough time to developing better skills. Yet as much as I love basketball, I could not spend hours every day on the court practising. There are too many other things out there that I find equally fascinating…And so my sadness was soon forgotten as the following things succeeded in distracting me:
- First I ran into someone learning Japanese and hoping to work in Japan, which was cool since it related to my interest in languages and other countries.
- Then, chatting with a fellow passenger in the train, I found out that the University is extremely close to some stables with lots and lots of horses and was invited to drop by sometime…
- And the climax came at home, when my wonderful flatmate informed me, that a wonderful friend of hers is in possession of some tickets for the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu – and I suddenly remembered, how much I love football too =)