Brooke Wyckoff Diary

Connecticut Sun forward Brooke Wyckoff is playing for Mann Filter, based in Zaragoza, Spain. One of five Sun players competing overseas, Brooke will be writing occasional diary entries about her experiences.

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This is my third season playing in Spain during the offseason of the WNBA. Iíve played in a different city every time. This year, Iím in Zaragoza, which is a decent size city located about half way between Madrid and Barcelona, three hours away from each by car. Zaragoza offers just about everything. Like most Spanish cities, it has a rich history. There is a beautiful and famous cathedral, the Pilar, that draws a lot of tourists. Any city in Spain has delicious restaurants, a wide variety of shopping, sporting events, and nightlife. Zaragoza is no exception.

My team (Mann Filter, Zaragoza) not only plays in the Spanish League, but also in the FIBA Cup, which involves teams from all over Europe. We already traveled to Italy to play a team there which included Asjha Jones from the Washington Mystics. Last night we played a French team here in Zaragoza and won by 15 points. Deanna Nolan of the Detroit Shock is my teammate, and she played unbelievably, wowing the crowd with her excellent shooting and amazing shot blocking abilities Ė the girl can jump out of the gym. We played a Spanish League game Sunday here at home against a team from Madrid that has Korie Hlede, a former WNBA player and now a coach for the Detroit Shock, and Ndiaye-Diatta Astou, who also played for the Shock this season.

I like playing ball in Spain, although itís definitely different than the WNBA. Itís not necessarily any easier, but the style is a little different. The biggest complaint I have is, of course, with the officiating. In the Spanish League they call fouls for the slightest things Ė and I thought we had it bad in the WNBA! (just kidding, sort of). But I am a physical player, and can be foul prone at times. So, as a result, Iíve fouled out of probably half the games here so far in Spain. Thatís another thing that playing overseas helps you do; adjust your game.

Itís about noon on Friday, October 31st, and Iím just rolling out of bed. Thatís the beauty of playing basketball in Spain. Most of the time, practice is late at night. In my case, itís 8-11 p.m. So sleeping in is one of the luxuries I enjoy in my profession. In the U.S. itís a different story. Most coaches like to have practice mid-morning and be done for the day. This has its advantages also, but sleeping in usually isnít one of the them. So while Iím living here in Spain, playing basketball, I take full advantage of opportunities to wake up when my body tells me to instead of setting an annoying alarm clock. Actually, I donít get to sleep in this late every day. About three times a week we have a morning shooting practice at noon, so I have to be up by 11:15 at the latest. Sleeping in late is just one perks I enjoy as a professional basketball player overseas.

Last night, after our game, some teammates and I went to eat at a delicious restaurant, where the main course was Txuleton or T-bone steak. But this T-Bone wasnít something like youíd see in the U.S. very often. It was cooked ďPoco Hecha,Ē which translates to still kicking in English. But, I have to admit that it was delicious. Thatís another great thing about living overseas. It helps you take on a new sort of bravery where youíre willing to Ė or out of necessity have to Ė try new and strange things, and discover something youíd never dreamt of liking or enjoying.

Iím learning so much every day, and hopefully this experience is continuing to develop me into a better player for next season with the Sun in Connecticut. If nothing else, Iím getting to enjoy a different lifestyle filled with great food, new people and lots of time to sleep i