Adam Folker: 6 Things I’ve Learned Playing Pro Basketball in Europe

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The life of a professional basketball player is one of frequent travel. We have the unique opportunity to travel to not only tourist destinations, but also small towns that are not as frequently visited. I have been in Europe for four months and have learned a lot – both about basketball and life.

1.) A simple thank you can make your life a whole lot easier…

When ordering food or trying to ask for simple directions – its amazing how much more willing people are when you care enough to mutter out a simple ‘Thank You’ in their native language. Although people usually laugh at my attempt to replicate their foreign accent, it shows that at least you are willing to try (I’m still not sure whether the laugh is a result of me probably sounding like an idiot or if they are simply floored that I know how to).

2.) Europeans take their viewing of sports very seriously…

In America there are die-hard sports fans that go to every teams game home or away. In Europe there are die-hard sports fans that go to every teams home or away game and bring with them a drum and several other homemade noise makers. Multiply this by hundreds of spectators and you have a very, very electric atmosphere. This differs from North American sporting events in that most prohibit any noise making devices in the arena (short of a pair of “thunder sticks”).

3.) Bored? You are simply not curious enough…

Being immersed in a new city unable to speak the native tongue can leave some completely out of the loop and bored. With a ton of places to see and cultures to learn there’s no excuses for being bored. My greatest discovery was iBooks, and the ability to carry with me hundreds of books at a time wherever I went. This proves to be extremely valuable when making long road trips with no wifi.

4.) In the end all we really have is our memories…

When you buy something new the happiest moment is most likely when you bring that object home and from there your joy slowly diminishes. With life experiences you are creating memories that will derive joy at the time, and also years later when you reminisce about the experience.

5.) The World is both very big and very small…

People live very differently in different places of the world and to have a true appreciation for this you really have to experience it. Traveling from gym to gym throughout the season we get to see a lot of places that the typical tourist wouldn’t. The small working-class towns that ignite on game day to rally behind their home team is a true representation of their home grown loyalty and is a sight to experience first hand.

6.) Life is A LOT more cluttered than it needs to be…

When I landed in Europe I had with me two bags. One with my basketball gear and the other with my computer gear. In my apartment I have a desk, a couch, a bed, and a lot of wide open space. The more things you own the more cluttered your life becomes – sometimes less is more.

With the season not even halfway through, I’m sure there will be a lot more to add to this list as time goes on. All of these lessons were waiting for me back home, but I had to leave and walk into the world to discover them on my own.

Actual Post here in

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Adam Folker
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