|Up against Chiney|
William and Mary graduate Emily Correal is preparing to play her first season of international basketball in Italy with Fila San Martino. LadySwish is thrilled that Emily has agreed to blog about the experience. This is her second post.
All is well here in Italy. We have been training now for four weeks and are about three weeks away from the start of season! We have had six “friendly games,” which are kind of like exhibition games. We also have practice twice a day and at least a day off each week. I like having two, two-hour practices a day rather than one really long practice like in college. It gives you time to recover mentally and physically.
Speaking of recovering physically, the team has access to a spa that has a heated pool with massage jets. It is a great way for the muscles to recover, and I have taken full advantage of this amenity. Like I mentioned in my previous blog, one of our friendly games was against Stanford. It was awesome playing them. It was one of our first games together, so we made a lot of mistakes, but overall we played well. It was a close game, but Stanford ended up winning by 9 points. After the game, Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer came up to me and talked to me at length. I felt honored to speak with such a successful coach in women’s basketball.
I have been learning a lot in practice and in the friendly games. Some things in European ball take some adjustment. One thing that is different from U.S. ball is the traveling call. They call traveling very close, so on my spin moves and when I start to drive, I have to be cautious and make it obvious that I dribble first before I make my move. Another difference is the defense I am playing; it is a very aggressive man-to-man, and in college my team played all zone.
I am learning other things besides basketball techniques -- like how to tape my own ankles, how to cook Italian food and how to drive stick shift! It took me a couple weeks to get good at ankle taping and cooking, and I still haven’t perfected driving stick shift, but I am driving well enough to get around.
This past weekend we had two off days, so I got brave and took a train to Venice. I spent the day exploring, and it was a wonderful experience. Venice is so beautiful; it’s a place I wish everyone could go to at least once, because it is so unique. I walked around for hours enjoying the scenery and going into a few museums and shops. I even met a nice couple that works for an English-speaking radio station in Belgium, and we had a nice conversation during the boat ride back to the station. It is nice to be able to play basketball during the week and do some site seeing and adventuring on the days off.
I am really looking forward to my first game. For opening weekend, all the teams in the league play on the island of Sardinia. I hear it is very beautiful, and it will be cool getting to watch all the other teams play. I’m also excited for the first game because my parents will be there! My birthday is the next day so I asked them if they would come visit for two weeks as one of my birthday gifts. I also have two best friends who are planning visits! That’s all I got from Italy.
In other news, I am happy that my favorite player Candace Parker got MVP and I am proud of my former CAA opponent Elena Delle Donne for getting Rookie of the Year. God bless and Ciao!