Tuesday night we wrapped up practice a little early at 5:30 because we had an event to get to at 7: a television broadcast welcoming all the new professional athletes to Nantes. We were excited to finally dress up a little and see more than just our team! Our coach however, failed to inform us that he would only give us about 30 minutes to get ready. Girls are running through the halls and bathrooms downstairs with wet hair, brushes flying, blow dryers on the fritz, while Sylvain is standing at the end of the hall, “Allez, allez, allez!!” (allez=go) If you “Allez” one more time, coach… luckily we all made it into the cars halfway ready, and after the 30 ish minute drive in traffic we had enough time to be as put together as possible.
There are 49 new athletes in Nantes on 9 different teams and coming from all different countries. We found out that besides us, there is a men’s volleyball team, men’s and women’s handball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s football (achem, soccer), and hockey (men’s. duh). There are 3 more americans here as well!! They were talking about the different countries we represented, and there was a grand total of 6 from USA! Immediately we had to find our fellow Americans, who turned out to be 3 basketball guys. Instant friends.
It was a live television taping (which is actually available online here: http://www.telenantes.com/Sports/Emission-speciale-Sport/2012/10/Emission-speciale-Sport) so we had to sit patiently and listen for a little over an hour. It was actually a very nice event thought. The host would bring up and athlete, or 2 or 3 from the teams and have a little conversation about why they’re here and what to expect this season (I’m pretty sure that was the gist of the interviews, only 3 were in English). Between all of those segments they showed my 2 minute video interview as well as others from the different teams. (My video is a few posts before this). The video turned out really nice, but it is so weird hearing and watching yourself! And then in front of everyone else. Cool, but weird, I have to laugh at myself most times.
Anyways, after the taping there was refreshments and time to mingle! I hunted down the American basketball players pretty quickly, who were nice guys. We met one of the men’s volleyball players- because he’s married to our teammate Laura! They’re so cute 🙂 And then we started chatting with some of the men’s handball players. A Norwegian and Swedish player came over asking about my last name, and swapped a little family tree history.
Turns out, the handball team had a match the next night and we had that day off! What a perfect storm 🙂 They reserved some tickets for us, and Kristy, Coop, Mira and I set off to see our very first Handball match the next night! We didn’t know what to expect, I’d only seen handball a couple random times during the Olympics and played it in 7th grade I’m pretty sure.
WELL, it’s pretty darn exciting! Lots of action and athletic plays. The goalies look ridiculous because they keep warm by doing these side-high kicks with their legs. We got the hang of the rules relatively quick. There was a big crowd at the stadium, maybe 4+ thousand. AND the game came down to the last 2 seconds where we threw one in for a 22-21 victory! Whoop!
Then we headed down to the VIP reception after the match to talk with the players and have some refreshments. Overall, it was a really fun evening, and it’s safe to say we’ll be checking out another handball game, as well as the other sports, when our schedule permits.
Apparently, they have another home game on Saturday, BUT there is a more important game that day- MINE! We head to Paris tomorrow, and get things started the next day 🙂