Junior Kirsten Daamen checks in with CCSUBlueDevils.com after six weeks with the Dutch National Team.
June 19, 2012
It has been four weeks since my last update and six weeks since I arrived in The Netherlands! Time really does fly. A few days after we got back from Italy I found out I did not make the final twelve, but was chosen as a reserve for the national team. The coach wants me to practice with the team when they are in Holland until the end of the season in case of injury to another player. The team can only travel with twelve players so I was unable to travel with them to Croatia and Lithuania, so I practiced with the U-18 national team while they were away.
The style of play is completely different in Europe, so it was a lot to get used to in just a few weeks. The coach was very positive about preparing for the future and said that this was only the first step to see how I fit in with the team, see how different international competition is, and what I need to work on to make the transition to playing overseas.
Overall everyone here, the players and coaches, have been very friendly and accommodating in making me feel welcome and at home.
The team was on the road for almost two straight weeks. They went to Croatia and then Lithuania. In Croatia, they finished their friendly matches and then went on to Lithuania to play their first qualifying game for EuroBasket 2013. They lost 88-47, Lithuania is said to be one of the strongest in the group. This upcoming week they will play their second qualifying game against Slovenia. Then for the next month, they will play four more games at the home gym in Almere, NL. After the national team returns from Lithuania, we will all stay in a hotel for the next month. The hotel is less than ten minutes from the gym, so it is really convenient! We will continue to practice twice a day to prepare for the remaining games. The last four days of the summer season the team will travel to Belgium to play their last qualifying game.
EuroBasket is held every two years for all the countries in Europe. Next summer France will host the tournament from June 15th-30th. This summer there are 25 countries competing for the 16 spots for Eurobasket 2013. EuroBasket is also used as a qualifying tournament for the FIBA world championships and the Olympics!
On one of my days off, I went to visit my neighbors on the street I lived on as a child in the Netherlands. Public transportation is fantastic in Holland so I made my way to the city of Amersfoort by train and then bus to the street where I grew up. When I got off the bus, I did not recognize anything even though the bus stop was right across the street from where I used to live! It all looked very different to what I had remembered! I spent an enjoyable day with a few of my former neighbors, most of whom I had not seen in nine years.
I am currently in Slovenia. The team manager was unable to make the trip so I was asked to travel. This way I can get more of an idea of what international competition is like. We arrived Sunday night. Our night was planned around the soccer game between the Netherlands and Portugal. We had a nice team dinner and then watched the soccer game. We only arrived at our hotel at one in the morning, and then had to get up to go to breakfast and practice at 8:30. We will spend four days in Slovenia then travel by bus to Slovakia for another game. Then we will head back to Holland on Sunday.