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.
Our last game of our boot camp (LOL) or training camp was against another familiar face, former Niagara University standout Alvin Young. We spoke before the game reflecting on our battles in college and the few games we have played here in Europe but as soon as the ball went up in the air to start the game we quickly turned into enemies. The game went back and forth for about 30 minutes until his team (Reggio Emilia) pulled away for the seven point victory.
It was great to be off the road finally. I was exhausted mentally and physically. I knew the only thing I wanted to do was rest. I needed to get off my feet and just enjoy a day to myself. No whistles, no squeaky sneakers, I didn't even want to drink water (LOL). Silly me, I forgot I had to cook and clean (LOL). I took advantage of being in the hotel and having those simple things done for me. Now I'm back home and its up to me to be the "chef" and the "maid"(LOL). I'm not going to sit here and act like I will have my own cooking show on TV but I haven't had the fire department to my house nor been rushed to the emergency room for food poisoning, either, so i think i am doing something right (LOL).
The following weekend we had an important tournament at home. I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to show the home crowd what I have to offer. Little did I know the managament had called my agent to put a little pressure on me also. They wanted to know why I wasn't playing to my maximum potential. I didn't want to burn myself out before the season started and I was simply tired. The managment could care less how I was feeling. I am an investment to them, they needed to see a quick return (understandable). I considered this a warning shot. I don't want any managament from my team calling my agent unless its to renegotiate my contract . So I had to change my attitude quickly. Otherwise this blog will have a different tone . Changing my approach was at the top of my to do list. I found myself literally going through the motions. I love playing ball but I wasn't playing with the love of the game. I was just showing up to games and practice because that's what the schedule said. When I was younger, my father would always say to me "Don't go to the show, BE THE SHOW." I didn't fully understand what he was trying to say at the time because I was in high school and I thought I knew more than him (LOL), but as I got older I picked it up. I needed to be the leader and be the reason why my team was successful. More importantly, be motivated to perform. I am in a position that people would love to be in and now is not the time to let it slip away.
The good thing for me was that the game was aginast Livorno, the last Italian team I played for so I had added incentive to play well.
Game day against Livorno and I started back into my normal pre-game routine. I wake up about two hours before I need to be at the gym. I turn off my phones, eat my pasta, shower and then about 30 minutes before I leave my house, I watch old Michael Jordan highlights, turn up my Jay-Z in the house, turn the lights out and just visualize myself dominating my opponent. Simple, yet effective for me. It puts me in a zone that I cannot put into words.
Against Livorno we won by 20 and I had 18 points the most of the preseason so far.
The next night we had the championship game of the tournament against Veroli. We were down six points at halftime and I only had seven points. Both of our big men were not playing due to injuries and my shooting guard was not 100 percent healthy. I knew that I needed to do something to change things. In the locker room, all I could hear was my father's words.
We lost that game in double overtime by five, I finished that game with 41 points, the most points I have had in six years, and nine steals. I did everything I could to sinsure a victory for my team, but failed. As I was walking to the bench, I received a standing ovation from the fans and the players on my team. You would've thought we won the game because in the locker room the guys were excited about my performance , but I was angry, we lost and I fouled out. I still felt responsbile. In my head I let them down.
That same night I received a text message from the General Manager of the team at 1 a.m (during the Bills-Cardinals game) stating the he was proud of me and my performance and excited about the season. The next day I was in the grocery store siging autographs and giving interviews to the local newspaper. What a difference a day makes!!!
The season has finally started we won our first home game against Pavia, 90-83, but we lost our second game to Imola, 85-81. Our next game is against Veroli at home. Should be interesting , because I hate losing and I didn't play well in my last game (LOL).