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Published: June 30th 2017
25th June - 29th June
It's been a relatively busy and WiFi free few days but most of what we have seen and done is Basketball and Island Games related, so I have condensed my time in Gotland to a single post. As Gotland is quite flat and the Basketball venues, the ICA Maxi Arena - a very modern sports centre and the A7 Hall - a school gym, were a fair walk from my AirB&B place, I rented a bike for the week to get around. I was also a little further than expected from the NOVI Resort, where Team Jersey are staying, which was a little disappointing.
Both Men and Women's teams are guaranteed 4 games, the Ladies started with a game on Sunday, just about, after a nightmare scenario where the NOVI Resort gave a number of players (including about 9 of our players) food poisoning from dodgy rice and lasagne on the first night of the games! Thankfully they weren't as bad as the Cayman Island ladies, who had to forfeit their first game due to suspected gastroenteritis and quarantined for 48 hours. This was later overturned and Caymen's game eventually rescheduled. Despite playing well,
the Ladies were 0/4 having played Gotland, Gibraltar, Cayman and Isle of Man. The Men 1/3 having played Froya (win), Guernsey (loss) and Cayman (loss).
I made my Jersey Men's debut for 1:14 of the Froya game and played about 5 minutes in the Guernsey and Cayman games, I was a bit nervous but started to relax into it. Sadly we have suffered a few injuries a sprained ankle, ligament damage to a shoulder and a dislocated shoulder. The men had a final game tonight against Isle of Wight to determine their final placing, I've not heard the score yet.
Gotland itself was nice all be it a little quiet. Most of the things to see in Visby were in or around the medieval walls of the old town. There are many old church buildings in various states of ruin as well as some more modern and still functional churches. The city walls themselves are one of the main attractions and, to be honest, we saw most of what Visby had to offer in one morning. The TripAdvisor top attractions included the Visby tourist office (#14) and the port (#21) so we weren't exactly spoilt for choice of
activities outside of the Island Games themselves.
Our AirB&B place was hosted by Isabella, who ran her home business, a framing company, from her basement where she also has 3 twin rooms and a separate bathroom and kitchen. It was a 20min walk from central Visby but with our bikes, was convenient enough. With a few small exceptions like having to provide our own towels and an early wake up call from a faulty fire alarm it was fine and covered everything we needed.
I enjoyed the Island Games experience and I felt I bonded a bit more with the team or at least as much as I could being that I had different accommodation and transportation options (they mainly used the free shuttle bus services). The Cayman game in particular was an eye opener into a much higher level of basketball, they are a very strong team including two professional players and they could basically sink shots from anywhere in our half, hand in their face or otherwise. I also did the statistics using FIBA LiveStats for a few of the Ladies games, which I think the ladies themselves appreciated as they could review their own stats
after the games. With the benefit of hindsight I would have preferred to stay at the NOVI resort with the rest of the team so I could have joined them for meals and some evening banter however, this would have potentially seen me also get food poisoning and didn't seem fair on Dan, who came over to join me in Gotland mid-week. I would also have encouraged Ping to rent a bike with me and made it around to view some of the other sports, swapped more pin badges with the other islands and attended the opening and leaving ceremonies if it had been possible.
All in all the Island Games left me hungry for more and motivated to improve as a basketball player. I would like to work hard enough to be a key player on the team sheet for the 2019 IG in Gibraltar! The first steps towards that will be to train hard and show my improvements in the next two interinsulars against Guernsey.
This evening we are flying from Visby to Copenhagen (via Stockholm) and will be checking into 'Sleep in Heaven' hostel for our first experience of a shared dorm (of 6). I
am hoping it won't be as bad as I'm expecting, that it is clean (especially the bathrooms) and that I can get a decent nights sleep!
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