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One Month in Lithuania: By Hollie Mershon October 28, 2013

Posted by Sam Angell in Uncategorized.
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Labas! So I have official been here in Lithuania for one month!!! I arrived on September 26, which I could never forget because it was my birthday.  Crazy, who would have thought! Everything has been going well so far.  We had our first three official games in the Lithuanian League.   Our first game was against a team that played in dresses…We won, don’t worry.  The day I lose to a team who wears dresses will be the end of my career, haha kidding! The second game we won by about 30 points, and the third game we also won, but we started out the game down by 20 points.  Fortunately we turned things around in the second half and ended up winning by at least that much. We are still in the midst of building chemistry with one another and with each game I think it’s developing more and more so when Euroleague games start we should be ready.  

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The Euroleague is going to be very tough.  We actually played a “friendly” game against a team in Russia, and they recently signed Diana Taurasi and Candace Parker to their roster.  They were not on the team when we played them though, yet they were still amazing.  If you do not know who these women are, they are the top players in the WNBA.  So, that is the type of competition we will be going against.  No biggie… I am excited for those games to start though, competitive games are always more exciting.  Some of the teams we play are teams from Russia, Spain, Poland, Croatia, Turkey and Czech Republic. Our first Euroleague game is next week in Poland.  We play on Wednesday, November 6th.  We leave on Monday, and the team we are playing is only four hours away.  If there is a website to watch Euroleague games I will post it on my Facebook, if interested.

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I have not done a lot of exploring lately.  We usually have two practices a day, or a practice and lift.  We also started to play games and soon we will be playing 2-3 games a week.  Basketball keeps me busy, and when I have time to myself I watch Scandal, haha.  Great show, so I am trying to catch up.  

 

I went to one of the men’s games. They lost to a Russian team, but it was a good game and they are fun to watch. The stadium gets very loud, and here they are allowed to have those loud, very annoying horns.  They actually bring them to our games too, and I am not sure if I’m a fan of it. After the game Sophie and I went to the mall searching for some store to fix my iPad.  On the way I was reading the name of the store off the paper, or attempted to, and some guy turned around that was walking in front of me to see who was speaking.  By the look on his face I obviously was not pronouncing it right and I am pretty sure he thought I was illiterate.  I was tempted to tell him I was American but I couldn’t stop laughing.  I didn’t really care, I was laughing at myself before he could even turn around to look at me. 

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My mom is coming to visit on November 10th for about a week and a half! I am very excited for her visit and to take her around the city!  It will be nice to have her here.  But then she has to leave so she can get home to prepare for Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday). 😦

 

I still miss home, but I get a Christmas break and my flight home is December 22nd! The day the Eagles play ‘da’ Bears aka Corey Wootton!! Honestly though, I do not know what I’d do without technology because the constant contact back home helps me so much! Also if anyone is curious about anything, like questions about the country or the basketball I can add them in my next blog!

 

Sudie Pasiilgau! (bye, miss you all)

 

For more from Hollie, follow her on Twitter at @hollieRancher, or visit her blog at holliemershon.blogspot.com/

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Hollie Mershon: Settling In to New Surroundings October 15, 2013

Posted by Sam Angell in Uncategorized.
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Labas,

So Sophie Alexsandravicius (my teammate from Davidson) and I moved into our apartment finally. Our apartment is nice, it is two floors and three bedrooms.  I took the room with the childish mouse wallpaper, naturally. We were left without Internet for about a week, which was terrible!! So everyday for a week we would go to the mall once or twice for a couple of hours just to connect with the world back home.  We were regulars at a mall and would sit at the Coffee Inn and skype and what not, it was pretty funny.  The mall we go to has a movie theater, bowling ally and ice skating rink, it is intense. Sophie and I are also sharing a car but it’s stick shift.  While my dad was here he taught me the basics of driving.  In my head I understand how to drive it but I struggle to remember to push the clutch in while changing the gear, so the car staled multiple times, whoops.  I will get it eventually..

The driving here is a tad more aggressive and I feel like they make up their own driving rules.  The other day my teammate and I were driving to practice and there was rush hour, but it was moving along.  We soon realized that we were driving in the middle of two lanes.  I guess here in Lithuania when there is traffic they create an extra lane on a 2 lane highway.  One thing is for sure, I am bringing that move back to American because I hate traffic.  So don’t be surprised if all the sudden you are driving in the middle of a highway because I will be setting the trend soon enough.  Also, there was a highway biker riding in between the cars…Oh, and since I have been here I have seen ONE stop sign.

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When I have free time to myself I try to practice my Lithuanian. I can count to twenty, name all the body parts, a few foods and some every day words (please, thank you, yes, no ect).  It’s funny because when my coach is speaking in Lithuanian to the team I stand there paying attention like I actually understand what is being said. Some of the girls call me out and tell me to stop nodding my head pretending like I know what she is saying.  I do try to see if I can make out any words, but it is a struggle.  Usually one of the girls on the team stands next to me and translates everything that is being said.  The coach translates in English unless she is yelling at us.  I guess that works in my favor…

Also on my free time I have been able to sightsee a bit.  I climbed a pretty steep mountain that overlooked the city of Vilnius.  At the top of the mountain was also “The Three Crosses,” which were built to honor monks martyred in the 14th century.  The original crosses that were built were removed by the Soviets, but then were rebuilt in 1989.  We also visited The Castle in Trakai, Lithuania which was very cool.  The Castle sits on an island on a lake. The town the Castle was in was small, but very cute, and looked like a vacation town.

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Practices have been going well.  We have had a couple two-a-days, but nothing I am not used to.  The mens arena is connected to ours and they usually practice right after us.  I am assuming they are a big deal, considering that when I left the gym all of their cars were parked outside with their name and number printed on the side of the car. I guess in case they forget which car is theirs…I don’t know.  Anyways, our first game is Friday, for the Lithuanian League and our Euro-league games start in November I believe.

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I am still enjoying myself, but I am missing home which is normal I guess.  I mean I missed home at times even when I was 30 minutes away, but now I don’t have the comfort of being able to just go home when I want. Oh well…

Alrighty, well I miss you all and until next time..

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Tootles!!!!

 

For more from Hollie, check in at http://holliemershon.blogspot.com/

Happy Birthday to Me! The latest from Hollie Mershon September 24, 2013

Posted by Sam Angell in Uncategorized.
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Labas, Labas (hi,hi)! So it is official, and although it has taken a while to sign with a team I am happy to say that I will continue to play basketball with The Euroleague team of Vici-Kibirkstis in Lithuania, Vilnius! (Don’t ask me how to pronounce that, I have no clue)  I will be playing in the Euroleague which is the most competitive league over there, so I will certainly have my work cut out for me.

I am going through many emotions, but I am very excited that I have the opportunity to continue my career. I was very hesitant to leave the country and start a new journey but at this point I honestly feel like this is what I should be doing. Change freaks me out, big time, but at least at the end of the day I know that this is a challenge I am up for.

This is the website of the team that I will be playing for:

http://www.fibaeurope.com/euroleaguewomen/cid_-tmRPCfrIrYRSO2M5V49E1.pageID_yv9w3TCqGj6EDOBjQZoUS0.compID_jr6ZiXqeGhMBtfq1yxqV83.season_2014.roundID_9680.teamID_97539.html

I will be leaving on Wednesday, tomorrow, a day before my birthday…Naturally, that would happen :).

Also if you don’t think you can go 5 months without talking to me get the app Viber or Tango or Whatsapp or facebook. Don’t worry I have all four on my phone just in case someone seriously needs to reach me. And if its urgent you can always hit me up on all four at the same time. I’m pretty sure ill get the picture.. And anyone who wants to COME WITH ME, my answer is YES!

Considering the 160+ hits I got on the first blog, I will continue to write while I am over in Europe.  Well, 100 of the hits may have been from myself, but 60 is still pretty good 😉

As for now, it’s not a bye, it’s I’ll see ya later! And if I get a chance to say “see ya” in person before I go, I would love that! ❤

Well, it has been real America! See ya soon!

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To continue following Hollie’s journey, check back to the Dragons Den and follow her blog at http://holliemershon.blogspot.com/

Going International: A Blog from Hollie Mershon July 25, 2013

Posted by Sam Angell in Uncategorized.
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The following was written by Drexel women’s basketball Class of 2013 guard Hollie Mershon, and edited by the Dragons Den:

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Hey Hey!!! For those of you who do not know, I have decided to leave all my family and friends and go to Europe for  6-8 months to play basketball professionally. Shocking, I know…the furthest I have lived from home was 35 minutes, and that was when I was playing at Drexel. Now I am going to a country in Europe. Kind of a huge difference in distance.

 

Playing basketball at Drexel was the best four years of my life so far, but playing overseas is something I have gone back and forth with so many times. Ultimately, I look at this way: In 10 years when I look back, do I want to possibly regret not taking this opportunity? Obviously, no!!!! I am not sure where I am headed yet. Hopefully it will be somewhere that will accept really cool people (which is not me of course!), but I wanted to create this blog for family and friends and whoever else is lucky enough to stumble upon it to share my experiences along the way. Hopefully I find out where I am playing soon and I will post it when I know. So if you think you will really miss me you should probably start hanging out with me NOW. 🙂

 

FYI…I know Europe is not a country, it’s a continent. But that’s beside the point – I hope the title shows that even though I am growing up, I still don’t know everything…or, well, very much (laugh here). Kudos to Abby Redick for the blog title idea!

 

Oh, for those who do not know me I am very sarcastic so I would 100% recommend not taking my jokes literally, but feel free to laugh!

 

(for more from Hollie Mershon as she begins her journey in professional basketball, visit http://holliemershon.blogspot.com/)