Before I begin “home stretch” talk, I thought I’d share one awkward thing I did this week. Some of you may know that I’ve changed my diet a lot over the last year… I switched from eating simple carbohydrates and have seriously committed to complex carbohydrates, increasing my vegetable intake, and adding high protein foods and supplements to my diet. On the way to our game yesterday, I was ready to have some protein, but realized I didn’t have any skim milk or even any regular water for that matter, to mix it with. I looked at my protein packet and reflected about how one of my friends told me that when she was playing overseas she came home from a practice one day and just scooped the protein powder in her mouth. For those of you who take protein, you know that that’s dedication. I’m pretty sure my teammates think I’m a little odd to start with, so I wasn’t about to confirm their beliefs by throwing back raw protein powder. Looking around for something to mix my protein with, I saw a sparkling S. Pellegrino bottle in my bag. Lately, instead of iced tea I have been drinking sparkling water during the day when I’m just kickin’ back and chillin’ in my apartment. Anyways, I figured sparkling water was better than no water, so I poured my packet of protein and some S. Pellegrino into a bottle and ‘shook it like a Polaroid picture’ (is this song too outdated to still be referencing?). I can’t really put into words what swallowing that concoction was like. If any of you watch Family Guy, there is an episode where Lois’s Dad makes Peter eat a pinecone. Peter eats it while saying, “It’s awful… I hate it… it hurts.” That pretty much sums up what I felt drinking sparkling water plus protein powder. I’m sure I made a face with each sip I took (yeah Hill, that’ll make your teammates think you’re normal…). Regardless, I don’t recommend this for my fellow athletes.
Okay, back on track (pun slightly intended – get it? Home stretch? Track?)! Our team had a rough week leading up to this game. I won’t go into details, but I was a little nervous about how our team would respond to some of the stuff that has been going on. I was pretty pleased when we went into halftime up by six. We weren’t playing exceptionally well, but weren’t making colossal mistakes either. In the beginning of the fourth quarter one of the other team’s foreigners (who had been nailing 3-pointers the whole third quarter) fouled out. We were still winning at this point. Then all hell broke loose. Our point guard fouled out. We stopped playing offense. Our defense broke down. Ugh, I’ll be honest; I felt like we lost that game, the other team didn’t necessarily win it. We went eight minutes without scoring a bucket. Not even just not scoring, but turning the ball over within a matter of a few seconds on each possession. It was incredibly frustrating. After games, like most athletes, I go through play-by-play and think about all my mistakes, what the team could have done differently, and then pick out just a few positives so I don’t feel like crawling into a hole and curling into a ball after a loss like that. Here are some positives: during stretches of the game when I couldn’t maneuver around the basket like I wanted to, our 3-guard knocked down some big shots. When our offense seemed stagnant for spurts of the game, our 4-player drove the ball to the hoop and finished some really tough shots to keep us holding onto the lead. I blocked two shots off the backboard and had an up-the-line-on-the-line denial defense steal, fast break layup, and an AND1. Voil