Former Illini Bec Harris is playing for Olympiakos in Greece this season.
Sept. 30, 2009
Former Illini Rebecca Harris, a 2008 UI graduate, is playing professional basketball overseas in Greece. This is the first of many updates she'll provide throughout her season there.
Today marks the first month of my time spent here in Greece. It seems as if I have been going non-stop since I first got here. I have had plenty of practices, had a few scrimmages, spent some time seeing the sites, been to a few beaches and even enjoyed the nightlife once or twice. But the best thing I have done so far while being here was go to a Greek wedding. What a great experience!
I'm still becoming familiar with everything that surrounds me here, but in so many ways I do not want to get too comfortable. What I mean by that is, I am very thankful for the opportunity to further my career in basketball but I want to stay hungry for more. I am always striving for more and striving to get better! And just as fast as I have been blessed with this opportunity, I know that in a blink of an eye it could all be taken from me. So I just continue to be thankful and feel blessed to see the things that some people only dream of.
I was trying to start off fresh this season and pretend like last year never happened, but that is just so hard to do. I learned a lot from last year even though I was not in the best situation. Last year I played in the Czech Republic, lived in an apartment that no one should have to live in and dealt with a team that did not believe in accomplishing much. While the ball club was going under and could not really afford us in the end, I tried my hardest to keep my head held high off the court and to stay focused on the court. Now I have moved on to a much better place and a much better situation.
Bec sporting some Illini gear in Greece
As soon as I arrived in Greece, the team building and bonding began with my new team, Olympiakos Volos. Actually, it started in the airport on the way here because I was sitting next to my American teammate on the plane, Monique McLean, a former St. John's player. When we finally reached Athens all we could do was wait in the airport. Neither one of us had the slightest clue as to who it was we were looking for, but we knew that whoever it was that came to get us would have no problem finding us because we stuck out like sore thumbs in that airport! We sat in the airport and ending up waiting for about 30 minutes before a cab driver came to pick us up. It turns out we arrived right in the middle of some brush fires that had been tearing through the area and since this cab driver was a friend of the ball club's, he was up for the challenge of taking the two Americans on the two-and-a-half hour drive to Volos.
Once we arrived in Volos we met up with our coaches, one teammate and some people that help run our ball club. We were so tired that it was hard to pay attention. All we wanted to do was put our things down somewhere and rest. At some point they realized just how tired we were and took us up to our hotel where we would be staying for our preseason camp. The week we spent up there with our teammates was cool. We got to see the mountains, learn things about each other and get some training in. Although I had a good time while training in the mountains, once the end of the week came I was definitely ready to come down and enter the city I would be staying in for the duration of my time here.
I am partially settled in my apartment with the season officially three weeks away. I have a few favorite dishes here that I like to eat, one is called "mouzaka," and another is a dessert that I am unable to pronounce. Everyday I try to do something new here, whether it is learning a new word, tasting something different or just saying something to a neighbor of mine. I am just trying to make the most out of this experience and I do not want to look back with any regrets. Until next time...