What’s up world?! It’s me, Luke Sikma, back again with the second installment of my EuroCup blog! It’s been a little over a month now since we brought you Part 1, so I’ll catch you guys up on what’s been going on with ALBA Berlin on the basketball court. We’re currently 9-3 in the German BBL, which is good for second place, although we’ve played a couple more games than most teams, so the standings are a little misleading. We lost a tough game to Bayern Munich at home and another equally tough game on the road at Bayreuth. Obviously, we don’t like losing games, but we showed some good resilience after both losses by winning on the road in the EuroCup against Bilbao and Partizan. In terms of our EuroCup group, we’re still in second place at 5-1 with a home game this week against a very good Lokomotiv Kuban team, so we’ll have to be ready for a real battle and hopefully we can come away with a great win in front of our home crowd.
If that quick rundown of our latest results wasn’t nearly enough for all you ravenous basketball fans out there, I’ll go ahead and leave any more in-depth game and statistical analysis up to you, as you clearly all have access to the internet! As for me, I’ll go ahead and clue you guys in on what’s been going on with your favorite German basketball team off the court
As an American living abroad, I’ve grown accustomed to missing out on a lot of American holidays. I know, I know, “But Luke! You get to play the game you love for a living, explore the world, etc…” Can’t argue with you there, I love what I do and count myself very lucky every day. But still, it doesn’t make it any easier not being able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with family (more on that later) or dressing up like an idiot with your friends on Halloween. So this year, as the veteran on the team, and therefore having the authority to boss around some of the younger guys, I pushed hard for a team Halloween party. Our captain, Mr. Niels Giffey, was gracious enough to host with his now fiancée Erin (Congrats to them!), and I’m happy to say we absolutely crushed it. You can check out the accompanying photo for all our costumes, including the costume contest winner, Mr. Kresimir Nikic, aka Kresh, aka King Kresh, aka DK, aka The Body. He came in a full on Spanish matador outfit, which was even more impressive considering he’s 7’1” (2.15 meters)! All in all, it was a fun night, and I’m very appreciative everyone was able to bring some Halloween spirit to Berlin for all us Americans.
As I mentioned earlier, living abroad also means missing out on America’s favorite day of family and gluttony, Thanksgiving. For those who don’t know, it’s a day where friends and family get together, watch football, and enjoy an unbelievable meal of turkey, gravy, pumpkin pie and numerous other Thanksgiving dishes. This one can be especially tough nowadays as social media means we’re constantly subjected to endless pictures and videos of our friends cooking and stuffing their faces with all of our favorite food.
This year, Spencer Butterfield and his wife Chelsea made sure that wasn’t going to happen to them and invited us all over for Thanksgiving. It ended up being a kind of potluck Thanksgiving and everyone brought something to share. Chelsea was able to procure two Butterball turkeys, and I volunteered to cook one of them, along with some cornbread dressing and mashed potatoes and gravy. I’m sure most of you are surprised to find out that I can cook all of that, but let me just say, your boy gets dowwwwnnn in the kitchen! As a supplement to the traditional American dishes, we also had some Lithuanian and German food. And those who didn’t cook still contributed with drinks, chips, or in the case of Peyton Siva, a rack of ribs from our favorite BBQ spot in Berlin. The winning dish of the night though was Chelsea Butterfield’s sweet potato casserole; it was crazy. Due to our practice schedule, we celebrated a day early, which meant we got to flip the script and make everyone back home jealous via social media. By the end of the night, we were all stuffed full, happy, and ready for a nap.
As most of you know, this year brought the implementation of the much discussed and debated in-season FIBA World Cup qualification windows. Or, as guys like myself who don’t play for the national teams (some dude named LeBron just beat me out for a spot…) have come to call it, The FIBA Break. It’s basically two weeks where there are no EuroCup or BBL games so national teams can play qualifying games for upcoming FIBA tournaments.
From ALBA we had two players go with their national team. One Mr. Stefan Peno, aka Doktore, aka Gordo, was with Serbia, and Mr. Joshiko Saibou, aka Joshi, aka "Why they jumpin’??", was with Germany. We were all pumped for both of them, and seeing how ALBA Berlin breeds nothing but pure winners, they both went 2-0 in their games. As for the rest of us, we had a good week of practice (or recovery for some) bookended by a couple of free weekends. That’s right, you heard correctly, TWO straight days off, which for an in-season basketball player feels like three weeks. Some guys chose to get away for the weekend and check out some new places, while others (like myself) chose to just stay in Berlin and relax after a crazy month of basketball-related travel.
That’s going to do it for this second edition of my blog. I hope you guys enjoyed another glimpse into our season and hope we turned some more of you guys into ALBA Berlin diehards!