Brooke Checks In From Spain
Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their WNBA "off season.” As you know, for most of the players there is no true off season and the same goes for me again this year. Although I was sad when the Sky season ended, I didn't have too much time to dwell on it because I had to be in Madrid exactly a week after our last game. There was lots of packing to do and goodbye-for-now's to be said but I got up and out of my apartment in Chi-town and landed safely in Madrid exactly a month ago. You may not know this but I have spent every year of my professional overseas career in Spain. I fell in love with it the first time I played here and haven't been able to stay away since, so living and playing in the capitol city is a dream come true! There are so many beautiful cities in Spain and all are very unique and have their own charm. But in my opinion, Madrid is the essence of Spain and its culture... a great mix between modern and historic, and the things to do and see here are endless.
Wow, is it just me or is this starting to sound like a travel brochure?
Ok, I'll spare you guys any more flowery descriptions but as you can tell I'm pumped to have the opportunity to spend seven months in this city. The cultural differences between Madrid and Chicago can be pretty obvious but a big city is a big city and basketball is basketball and when it comes down to it, my life hasn't changed all that much from one place to the next. A typical day for me here is similar to those I spent this summer, except we practice in the evening here so I can sleep a lot later in the morning (thank goodness because catching up with people back home keeps me up late most nights!). Our team has conditioning and lifting three afternoons a week and practice four nights a week with games on Saturdays. It's not a bad schedule and gives me free time to get out and about, see the city, and meet up with friends. I live right next to a metro stop here, just like I did in Chicago and it makes it really easy to get anywhere in the city. And although I took the El a lot this summer, I also had a car which I used regularly. I don't have a car here, which in a way is nice because traffic is nuts and parking is a nightmare (and we think gas prices are high in the U.S.?), so needless to say I use the metro to get everywhere - even to practice and games - I feel like I practically live on the thing. But I don't mind because it's clean, modern and most importantly, the trains come consistently and every few minutes (not something I'm used to back home!).
Probably the best similarity between my life in Madrid and Chicago is that Leah Rush is on the team with me here! It's great to get to play with her, she's an outstanding person and friend who, by the way, is learning Spanish at break neck speed! She'll be fluent by next summer guaranteed!! Muy bien Leah!
Everyone loves to visit me in Chicago and the same has proven to be true here. I've got people lining up to come stay with me... I'd like to think it's because they really miss me and want to hang out, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's the quick direct flight from Chicago and the fact that Madrid is a sweet place to visit that's really got them booking tickets. Oh well, I don't care what the reason is, the more the merrier! And it gives me an excuse to get out and be a tourist when people come to town. There is so much to see here and so many spectacular restaurants to try- it's always better to do that with friends and family, no?
Finally, a little bit about the basketball, because really, that's what I'm here for. I really enjoy my team. Can you believe that at 28, I'm the oldest on the team by a few years... yikes! In fact, a lot of the girls are 19 and 20. But youth is contagious (I hope) and I have fun being around them. Our season will be a challenging one because of our lack of experience but after doing this for so long, it is rewarding to watch young players improve and develop their game over the course of the season and to have the opportunity to affect them in some positive way by being a good teammate.
It's only been a month but so far I'm a very happy camper. As always, I miss home and everyone there but this experience is so worth it and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Hope everyone is doing great and taking care! Go Sky!!!