Monday, September 23, 2013

Basketball in Glasgow!

One of the highlights of our time here in Glasgow was the opportunity I (Lars) had to play with the University of Glasgow men's basketball team. When I first arrived here, I missed the tryouts because of the delays caused by visa problems. I wasn't too concerned. However, after a few sessions of the weekly open gym, I realized that I would like to play at a more competitive level. I was able to find the email of the club captain on the website and sent him an email to see if I could just come practice with them or something. It took a while but eventually, I was invited to come to practice and feel things out. Unfortunately, the practice was just days after my bout with illness (likely salmonella) and I was feeling quite weak. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I attended anyways and began to play with the 3rd team. You see, the University Basketball Club has a fluid 3 team structure, with players moving up and down for various reasons (need more players, players improving, etc). I had a blast playing with the 3rd team and made friends from all over the world, including Greece, Italy, Spain, China and Lithuania! Around New Year's, I asked if I could move up to the 2nd team. They were glad to have me and I enjoyed meeting even more new people and playing more basketball. Finally, I think a few players from the 1st team left early to go home for the summer and I was invited to play with them for the last game of the season. The best part was, even though it was my first game with the 1st, I was included in this sweet team photo :)

But I didn't just have fun with these handsome men on the basketball court. Oh no, we had some great times outside as well. There were the weekly social gatherings and free food at CAMPUS (a restaurant/bar) as well as some fun organized activities, movie nights, birthday parties, and many of them even came to my concerts. My favorite event, though, would have to be the super smash bros tournament. In order to participate, you had to dress as the character that you would use. Here's my costume:
I was Jigglypuff!

As you can see, Link, Pikachu, Mario, Ness, Star Fox and Donkey Kong were all in attendance as well. I made it to the final bout but was sadly defeated by a laser gun (although there were many who thought it was cheap and that I should've won, so they bought me dinner :) ) It was a lot of fun.

As of right now, I have continued to practice with the club throughout the summer and have been able to play a few pre-season games as well. I'm really going to miss all of these guys and have loved every minute of it. I mean, how awesome is it that a 29 year old grad student with a wife and a daughter can play basketball with a university team!

Finally, here are some shameless dunk videos people took of me during the year :/

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