Desherra (Dede) Nwanguma played for UT Arlington between 2010 to 2014. Her bi-weekly blog is self-written and is a feature of UTAMavs.com. To keep up with Nwanguma between her writing as she plays professionally, follow UTA Athletics on Twitter at www.twitter.com/UTAMavs
So where do I begin...
A lot has happened over the last 48 hours. After nearly having a panic attack at the airport in Switzerland because I didn't know where I was, where my new coach was located, and how to get in contact with him (I had trouble getting my new Swiss phone to work), I finally got myself together and used my excellent nonverbal communication skills to communicate with the airport security for help. They of course did not speak a word of English, but my awkward, yet entertaining hand gestures served its purpose and they pointed me in the right direction.
I found my coach, met my new roommate, Erica, and my teammates. We went to eat lunch at a local cafe in Zurich. My first taste of Swiss food was interesting. I normally shy away from exotic dishes, but I decided since I'm here I might as well dive right in. My main dish was Älplermagronen. It's very similar to our macaroni and cheese...but better haha. We then left the cafe and went to our new 2 bedroom apartment, which I must say was a lot more spacious than I thought. I especially love the view from our living room window!
Fast forwarding to Day 2 in this Swiss paradise...
The first day of "official" practice...welcome to 2-a-days. The first early practice was at 12PM, which is 5AM US time, so that was a little rough. Honestly, I did good in the weight room for my first day, all of the work I did over the summer really paid off! I'm the strongest post here, so I'm predicting a great season if I keep up the work and build on my current skills. A lot of the guards are pretty strong too. Their workouts are similar to ours, mainly the bench press, incline, bicep/tricep lifts, etc. but we also do A LOT of ab work and push-ups (oh joy haha).
We lifted for about an hour and a half then had to get shots up before leaving. After shooting with some of my teammates, I decided to head to the grocery store. Here in Switzerland it's really different. Everything closes so early so we have to do it in the morning or afternoon. They also close from 12PM to 1PM because everyone goes home to eat lunch with their families...kids are let out of school during that time too! Crazy! We need to bring some of these practices to the US seriously!
But I'll save my rant on the importance of eating in the comfort of your own home for another time.
The second practice took place at 7:30PM and that's when the real work began. We did a lot of drills, some conditioning, ball handling, and learning of plays. Honestly, some of the drills are a little unusual I must say, but I'll get the hang of it sooner or later. My ball handling skills should and WILL get a lot better here because on this team everyone needs to know how to handle the ball. Not my favorite thing, but I know it will pay off during the season. The last 30 minutes of practice was 4-on-4 and 5-on-5 pickup with the new plays. This part was VERY physical. I guess they don't call many fouls here because people were borderline wrestling and I loved it haha! I never turn down an opportunity to show off my strength in the post :). There was big girl that they "warned" me about because she's not very skilled, but she is very strong...let's just say she fell twice while guarding me haha.
Overall, I'd say it's been a successful 2 days! I'm sore, I'm tired, but I'm happy! Once I get back in shape 1000% I'm going to be in BEAST mode all season long! I can't wait!