Sorry everyone, I know it’s been a while since we’ve posted, and by we, I mean me! It seems like after a year here in Korea we’ve started adjusting and getting into routines. We still love to explore and have so much to see but we’ve mostly limited our exploring to the weekends. During the week Andrea takes zumba(her class was on Korean t.v.!), and is joining a running club while I’m looking to join a language class and have my basketball club.
When we first got to Seoul last year I was looking for basketball leagues but the only foreign league I found was an hour and fifteen minutes away on the subway, too far. Thinking that I’d exhausted my search for any organized games, I settled for pickup games at the parks. A couple of months ago while Andrea was looking for orphanages for us to volunteer at, she came across a new basketball club which was associated with a volunteer organization helping at an orphanage.
The Mannam International Volunteer Association, which the Mannam Warriors basketball team is a club of, was founded specifically to focus on expatriates who live in South Korea, providing the opportunity for them to experience Korea, as well as to make a difference in Korean society through volunteerism. Mannam’s clubs vary from korean language classes, judo, Kpop dance, soccer, and way too many more to list here. It’s been a great way to meet people and volunteer, and funny enough, we just met someone last week at an event who happens to live in our building!
Because Mannam’s focus is on expatriates, our team tries to show that different nationalities and languages joined together can still create a great team and function well with good sportsmanship. So far, our co-ed team has members from the Philippines, Spain, Russia, Singapore, China, Ethiopia, Taiwan and Canada. I know I’m missing a few more, but you get the general idea!
A few weeks after we started practicing, we signed up with a Korean league in which we’d be the only foreign team. While we’ve won a few games, basketball in Korea is a little different from what I’m used to back home. Fundamentally, Koreans tend not to play as physically as I’m used to, which in turn gets a lot of fouls called our way. Second, we usually don’t have a game clock displayed at our games, so we’re all getting better at learning our Korean numbers as the time keeper shouts out how much time is left! Lastly, our league has some rules I’ve never heard of before. For instance, because we don’t have matching uniforms (we have jerseys but not matching shorts) our opponent gets to shoot two free throws before the game as a penalty. Also, before every game you can select one woman or man (over 40) to have a bonus point for every point they score. I have to say we’ve had a few 4 point shots scored on us, crazy.
Warriors basketball has been a great way to get in shape (I think I’ve lost 7 lbs so far) and a great way to volunteer with great people. I think we’re looking to make our own league in the future (without some of the rules we’ve played with so far), against other foreign teams and other Mannam chapters throughout Korea. Go warriors! If you want to keep up with what the team is doing or just see more pics and videos you can check out the team’s blog here.
Look forward to another post in a couple of weeks as I get to meet my half sister!…