Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Support My Friend on His Missionary

Good afternoon!  This post is going to be a bit different from my last few posts...Why? Because this post has nothing to do with basketball and everything to do with supporting one of my friends on his missionary trip :)!  

A friend of mine (Rich Bowman II) a fellow college athlete (football) at NDSU is currently on a missionary trip through "WorldRace 11n11".  The link below is Rich's blog and gives you all the details about this mission trip, financially where he stands, etc.  11n11 stands for visiting 11 different countries in 11 months spreading the Word of God.  What an amazing experience!  Rich is currently on this missionary trip on the continent of Africa, however there are deadlines that he has to met financially.  I wanted to post this message because I know exactly how it feels trying to raise money for a missionary trip.  When my fellow teammate Brett Winkelman and I went on an AIA (Athletes in Action) mission trip to Taiwan before our senior year of college.  We had to meet certain deadlines financially to have the opportunity to spread the Word of God to less fortunate individuals.  At times it is very difficult and stressful but I pray that whoever is reading this can give a little (every bit counts) to Rich Bowman II and allow him the opportunity to continue to spread the Word of God.  For some reason the past 3 months I have not gotten Rich out of my head and I believe it is a calling for me to help him in anyway that I can.  So I've taken the initiative and written a blog post in the hopes that he will meet his financial goal.  Have a wonderful day and God Bless!  Mark 16:15 

PS- I made it easier for people to read my Bible verses that I put at the end of each post.  For any of you that do not have a Bible handy, all you have to do is slide your cursor over the red Bible verse and it will magically appear for you :)!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ankara Tournament, Movies, & Shout out

Warm up
 Happy Sunday everyone!  Last night we just finished up our 3 day pre-season tournament here in Ankara.  We went 1-2 in those 3 games.  First game we lost by 20 to a good Montenegro team.  Second game we ended up winning a thriller vs Karsiyaka (another Turkish team in our league).  We ended up winning this game on an offensive rebound and put back by our 2 guard with 7 seconds to go.  They had one last shot but we played great defense and came away with a win.  Our third game we lost by 15 to Fenerbahce.  They are an extremely talented team with one of the highest budgets in Turkey.  It was great to see where we stacked up against some of the other teams in Turkey.  There were some improvements that we made as a team compared to our last tournament.  At the same time there is still plenty of things we can improve on and get better at.  When you bring in 12 new players that have never played together you need some time to get used to playing together and to get accustom to how each player plays.  We are definitely coming together and I am excited to get the season under way.  Next week we are in another tournament here in Ankara.  We will be playing 2 games, on Tuesday and Thursday.  Both teams that we will be playing are from Ankara as well.  There are three teams here in this city that will be playing in the first division this year.
Warm up #2
(Not sure what coach is thinking ha)

Tip off 
Outside of bball we are really enjoying our time here in Anakara.  Last night after our game we went and ate a delicious sushi restaurant with Kirk Penney.  The sushi restaurant is located right by our new apartment that we are moving into.  It also has quite a few other restaurants that look extremely appetizing and an amazing mall with a great cinema attached to it.  Tonight we have another great date night with Kirk Penney and we are heading to a movie haha.  What is nice about the movie theaters here, is almost all the movies are in English and they are subtitled in Turkish.  It is very beneficial for us and it makes attending to and figuring out what movie we want to go to a lot easier.  So I gotta give props to the cinemas here in Turkey!

My sister #9 setting in recent match!
Photo taken by Eric Johnson AL Tribune.  
Time to get our day moving here in Ankara.  Again sorry I do not have stats for these pre-season tournaments.  During the season I will be giving you much more detailed information about our games and my teammates as well.  I want to give a shout out to my sister Bryn Woodside and here volleyball team for a come from behind victory the other night.  They were down 0-2 in sets and came back winning 3-2.  It was quite the performance for the #9 setter of AL!  I hope you have a wonderful Sunday.  Let me guess.....NFL football? Or maybe PGA Tour Championship?  I will be in tune to both this evening after the movie.  Have a great day!  God Bless.. Matthew 25:14-30
Timeout during a game.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

3 day tourney

Good Evening!  Quick little update to let you know what's going on this weekend.  We are in another tournament Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  It is here in Ankara this time so we will not have to travel anywhere.  I am happy that it is here so that my wife can come and watch the games.  Its great having support at the games even if it is pre-season.

Tonight we (I mean AJ) are making some chicken cordon bleu's, potato wedges, peas, and some fruit.    She is one heck of a cook and I am extremely thankful and blessed to have her preparing such wonderful dishes!  If I were in the kitchen it would be a completely different story.  Some good ol' frozen pizza's would do the trick :)!  In some other news, AJ and I will be moving to a different apartment in the near future.  We are going to be moving by the rest of the foreign players and a few Turkish players.  We are extremely excited about it and can't wait to move.  There are a few reasons we decided to move but basically it was for our own best interest.  When we are established in our new apartment I will be posting photos of it.  Thats all for now.  Nice quick little update for you guys.  I will let you know how the tournament goes.  Have a wonderful evening and God Bless!! Romans 1:16

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tourney, Road trip, Food poisoning

Happy Saturday everyone!  It is a beautiful afternoon here in Ankara Turkey, sunny, 82 degrees, and not a cloud in the sky.  Wow I must be getting old, I am commenting on the weather now!  I must admit that there has only been 2 days here in Ankara when it has been cloudy otherwise it is straight sun the whole time.  My wife can attest to this as she was over at a friends house last week hanging out on her patio the whole afternoon, and when I came home from practice she looked like a lobster!  Sorry to bore you of the weather comments (like watching paint dry haha!).  Today however AJ and I went to the grocery store near by to pick up some dinner for tonight.  Speaking of tonight we have a hot date....MOVIE!  We are heading to our first cinema here tonight and I am really looking forward to it.

Ankara to Gaziantep, Turkey
If you read my previous post you know that I just got back from a pre-season tourney down in Gaziantep, Turkey.  It is located just north of Syria.  The image to the right shows the route and the location of Gaziantep compared to Ankara.  We were down there Monday-Friday and arrived back in Ankara last night.  The tournament consisted of a game on Tuesday and Wednesday.  On Thursday we had a practice, and another game on Friday.  Our first game went well.  We ended up winning by 6 to Antalya.  Again I apologize I do not have any specific stats for our team or individual for any of the games.  Our second game we played a good team in Aliaga.  We ended up losing by 3 points.  It was an exciting game however.  We were down by double figures in the 2nd half and ended up coming back and cutting the deficit to one possession with around 30 seconds to go.  A player from Aliaga took a shot and missed.  The ball was getting tipped around and bounced out of bounds.  We all thought for sure it was going to be our ball.  Referee whistles........ball to Aliaga, and that folks was basically the ball game.  So, we are sitting in the tournament at 1-1 and one game to be played on Friday still.

HOWEVER, we ended up not playing the game on Friday and traveled home because 7 players and a couple coaches on our team got FOOD POISONING from our hotel dinner the night before.  I was one of the players that got it but not an extreme case like some of my teammates and coaches.  It was unbelievable.  Our dinner the night before consisted of some type of minced meat (apparently not fresh). That night I went to bed feeling just fine until around 3am when all of a sudden I had extreme diarrhea like you wouldn't believe (no vomiting).  That lasted all night long.  Immediately I knew that it was something that I had eaten.  That morning I woke up to our trainer knocking on the door saying that I need to go to the hospital to get my blooded check.  I thought how in the heck did he know I was on the toilet all night.  I find out that I was one of many guys up all night, as I stated before.  I say that I did not have the extreme case because some of my fellow teammates and coaches were up all night vomiting and diarrhea.  So, I go to the hospital to get my blood drawn (test came back that I had bacteria/food poisoning in my blood) and I walk into a big room filled with my teammates and coaches laying on gurneys with IV's.  I wish I would have taken a picture and posted it on here.  It was quiet the sight.  Members of a professional basketball team all side by side in one big room getting treated for food poisoning.  They ask me if I wanted IV's for my body but I politely refused (at this time it was around 11am and I felt better).  That day I basically laid around resting and getting fluids back into my system.  Thursday night one of our trainers came into our room and said that we are leaving back to Ankara tomorrow morning (Friday) after breakfast.  So no game!  We ended the tournament 1-1 with a lot of dehydrated, stomach grumbling, scared to eat, and not impressed players.  Not to mention we had a 10 hour bus ride home on Friday.

It felt good getting back to the apartment last night and eating some food that I knew was legit.  I feel 100% better today and am looking forward to getting back on the court tomorrow afternoon.  Our team is making strides in every aspect of the game.  It is great seeing us all improve day by day.  We need to continue to do that the rest of the year if we want to meet our goal.  That pretty much sums up an exciting week of basketball, road trip, and food poisoning.  As I mentioned before I am thrilled to go to a movie with my wife tonight, relax, and not worry about food haha!  I hope you all have a blessed weekend.  I look forward to posting again soon.  God Bless... Colossians 3:17! LOOK IT UP :)

At our newly found bar & grill in Ankara

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pre season games & Off Day

Hey everyone!  I hope you are having a wonderful Saturday afternoon.  I am guessing most of you will be watching some college football today.  I will be checking a few games out and watching some golf via slingbox tonight.

Since I last blogged we have had 3 pre season games here in Ankara.  We went 2-1 in those three games.  I apologize I do not have any team or individual statistical information.  However, it was great getting out there and actually playing against some body else for a change.  During those 3 games we had some positive aspects but also some details that we can improve on.  We are a brand new team and it takes time to get that chemistry on the floor.  Getting used to playing together and working hard everyday is a key in becoming a good team, and I think our team is capable of doing that.  We have great individual talent now we need to put it all together on the floor.  It will all work itself out over the next month of pre season.  I am definitely looking forward to playing with the teammates that I have this year.  We are flying to a pre-season tournament on Monday and will be gone for 5 days.  We have around 12 pre season games this year before our first regular season game.  Thats about all the bball info I have for you right now.

Aj in front Anitkabir
Today we had a day off so my lovely wife and I decided to head to Anitkabir Museum this afternoon.  It was an amazing and huge museum.  If you wanted to you could literally spend all afternoon reading information on Turkey history.  This museum was basically a tribute from the war in which Turkey got its independence.  Images throughout this post are from our museum adventure today.

Water w/ pump
The water picture to the left is the water that we drink here.  The neat thing about it is all we need to do is dial a phone number, say the word "one" and someone will bring you one 5 gallon jug of water for 7 lira (roughly $4 USD).  It only takes them approximately 10 minutes to bring you the water from the time you called.  Notice the pump that we have on the top to pump the water out (very handy).  I think it is a great idea, that way we never have to pick up water and bring it home from the store.
Guard at Museum
Also, we got an automatic car yesterday.  It feels great not having to depend on a taxi every where you go.  The driving over here is extremely different than back home.  Its basically a "free-for-all" here so you have to be cautious and careful at all times when you are driving.  I do not have a picture of the car yet but I will post one eventually.  Thats all the new information I have from Ankara, Turkey.  Have a blessed Saturday afternoon.  Keep you posted on the up coming games. God Bless!  Matthew 11:22-23
Soldiers at Museum
Anitkabir from a distance 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Training camp, Settled In

Good afternoon from Ankara, Turkey everyone!  I arrived back here from our training camp on Friday afternoon.  It was a wonderful training camp up near the mountains.  It was great getting to know about my teammates and coaching staff at the camp.  I think it was a successful camp in terms of preparing guys for this up coming season.  I know we have a lot more work ahead of us in this pre-season but I think the camp was a great first stepping stone for our team.  Our whole team was very enthusiastic and worked extremely hard during the whole camp.  For most of the camp we did 2 a days.  We had strength and conditioning in the morning and basketball practice at night.  It felt amazing being able to get back on the court with a group of guys and compete.  I am thrilled to get the season going!  As I mentioned I came back on Friday afternoon, and this weekend Aj and I have been getting the essentials for our apartment (ie. groceries, few pots and pans, new bed sheets, etc).  We are still waiting on a few things for our apartment but all in all we really enjoy it.

We are on the 2nd floor of our building with a huge balcony.  Our apartment has 2 bedrooms (master and regular), living room, kitchen, 1 bathroom, and a nice little entryway.  It is one of the smaller apartments that we have had in terms of square footage but we still enjoy it (visitors always welcome).  The apartment is about 5 minutes from the gym which I really like because Ankara is huge city and it makes it easy to get to and from practice.  We are also extremely close to one of the biggest malls in Ankara and a lot of nice restaurants are by us.  Aj and I have had some great adventures already living here.

Today,  we went to a market within walking distance.  We had an absolute blast there.  I have never been to a market this big before and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  We ended up getting bananas, peaches, tomatoes, lettuce, and pears for an extremely great price.  I am totally looking forward to going back there next week again.  At times it is a little difficult with the language barrier because not a lot of people that we have come across have been able to speak English.  But, that is all part of the fun!

Its time for us to eat some dinner now.  I want to apologize if I am not grammatically correct all the time, NO ENGLISH major here so deal with it haha!  The pictures posted below are few shots from the market (mega amount of green beans huh?).  I hope you have a great Sunday morning/afternoon.  Enjoy the church bells and organ playing!  God Bless, Philippians 4:13

Green beans

Assortment of produce
Green beans up close