08 February 2010

The Adventures of Nottingham: Chapter 2

So, if you haven't read the previous blog post, this is a continuation of that story and will contain "spoilers".

So, after watching the train roll out of the station, it was time for plan b. I was tempted to just call it a day, skip the tryouts and save the 3 hour trip each way, but alas, tickets had already been purchased and I had paid to put my bum in a seat, so I was going to get what I paid for. So, 40 minutes later, the journey to Nottingham began. Now, I should tell you that there are parts of England that are very beautiful. But that does not change the fact that part that houses the railroad tracks from Oxford to Birmingham New Street, to Derby, to Nottingham is not one of those places. If I didn't know I was in the UK in 2010, I might have thought I was driving through a Hooverville in the 1920's US. That might be a slight exaggeration, but it communicates something important. Specifically, this was not a picturesque trip. So the final train finally pulled into the final station (with a sense of much anticipated finality) at 1:40, and I tumbled into a taxi and asked for Jesse Boots Arena. Other than the non-English sounding utterance about going to Nottingham Arena (which I knew was a synonym based on my thorough research) and some comment I still don't understand about "starting the meter now", this was one leg of the trip that went relatively smoothly. After riding for a few miles I was glad that I didn't opt for a thrifty walk.

I arrived just before 2:00 (14:00), with an hour of tryouts remaining. Apparently I hadn't missed much other than learning offenses and doing some shooting (and freezing my bum off). I arrived just in time to play. An hour later, I had played four games to two baskets (I think a bead of sweat popped out of my forehead during one of the longer defensive match-ups), played knock-out, done a drill for three minutes where all 30 of us (that's right, 30) shot three-quarter court shots, stretched, and had my shoes on ready to leave. I was disappointed that I hadn't even gotten exercise out of this eventful and frustrating day, but was ready to head back to Oxford.

Unfortunately, no one was making their way back to the train station (and couldn't be bothered to give me a lift) so I got a map from a guy at the front desk, and some skeptical looks about how far the train station was from the Arena. That's right, there's more to this story. The next chapter will feature my own personal Robin Hood. In the meantime, you should know that Nottingham doesn't look like this...

In fact, it looks more like this...(Except dirtier...and cloudier.)

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