Sports have always been a big part of my life, so I knew when I decided to study abroad that I would want to continue while in France. I also needed an excuse for all the extra croissants I was going to be eating :) Before I arrived, I talked with my host family about trying to find a basketball club to join. They were very helpful and found a club that practices about 20 min away from the house, which was perfect. I brought my basketball sneakers from home, so all I needed was a doctor's note, which CIEE helped with that process.
My first practice was yesterday (Friday) at 7:30 so I got home from school with enough time to change and get some homework done before my host parents drove me to the gym. We arrived a little early, so I was able to watch the younger girls team practice for a little before some of my team started to show up and I was lead to the locker room. All the girls were very welcoming and didn't think twice to intoduce themselves and ask me questions about where I came from. I told them I've only had three years of French, and they were very understanding and talked a little slower so I could understand.
Once everyone arrived and changed, we went out to the gym and I was introduced to the coach. She was also very nice and told me she would explain everything in french but if I was confused she could try to explain it in english, which I thought was very nice. We began practice with some drills that were a little similiar to the ones I am used to back home, so I wasn't completely lost. Once we started playing some scrimages, the coach started explaining some of the plays to me, which stressed me out a little. I thought it was so cool learning the different words used in basketball in french, especially that "basketball" is called "balloon". After she finished explaining, she let me sub in for someone and try them out. Although I did make some mistakes, I did start to understand the plays a little more.
At the end of practice, we gathered up and the coach talked about the game this weekend. She invited me to come watch and also added me to a group chat with the entire team. We also took a picture all together (picture above).
Even though it has only been one practice so far, I am so glad I decided to play basketball abroad because it's an oppurtunity to meet more people and do something I love!