Jason Rowe, the former Traditional standout, begins his eighth season of playing professional basketball overseas. Rowe, who is the starting point guard for Banco di Sardegna Sassari in Italy, will keep us updated throughout the season with a blog for Sports, Ink.
Adjusting to the city is not as difficult as adjusting to new players, new system, new coaches. It may only take a few days to learn a city because you only go a few places in the beginning (gym, team office and grocery store) I really don't have the time to go anywhere else because we practice so much. We have been practicing twice a day almost everyday.
Currently, we have been away from our hometown of Sassari, Sardinia for two weeks straight playing games and practicing without a day off. Castel San Pietro is where we are now and its a small village about 20 minutes from Bologna and two hours and 30 minutes from Milan.
I haven't been through a preseason program like this since college. Running and weight lifting in the morning and a normal two- hour practice at night. I’m starting to understand what it feels to be 30! LOL. The coach has us on 11:30 p.m. curfew every night. You aren't allowed soda, desert or even juice without permission - yes, permission - from coach. So naturally, the tough guy who sneaks Coca Cola and candy in the room is the man of the hour! I decided to take on that role since I am the new face of the team. LOL! I have been eating pasta and salad for the past two weeks and although its good. I would do almost anything for a home cooked meal right now just to change things up.
The hotel room is not that big, but for the past 2 weeks it has become my home. My roommate doesn’t speak much English other than rap songs and curse words so my conversation with him has not been the most intellectual because of the language barrier. CNN International has become one of my best friends because it is the only channel in English. I had difficulty trying to follow the Bills’ game last week because the internet line wasn’t so strong in the hotel but I did my best with what I had.
The one surprise came earlier this week when I walked into the gym and saw Loren Stokes on the opposing team. We will play against each other two times during the regular season. It was good to see a familiar face but it was even better to get the win. I have never met any of these players or heard of them prior to my arrival. But that doesn't mean we don’t have a good team. Last year the team finished in second place and six players from that team remained here so I was told my job is to get the team into the first place position and into the first division. I think we have a very talented team and hopefully we can reach our goals at the end of the season.
It may sound like a rough time but at the end of the day I realize how blessed I am to be able to live out my dream of being a professional athlete. I would be a fool not to appreciate what's happening to me.