martes, 20 de octubre de 2015

Bleeding Orange

(This post is a translation of the original post in Spanish which you can find below this post or here). 

I am writing this post (a little more personal than usual) from Syracuse University, where I have completed my first two months of class and where, God willing, I will study the next four years a dual major in Broadcast and Digital Journalism & Information Management and Technology at the presitigious S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the School of Information Studies (ISchool), respectively. 

My story with this university is unbelievable. So unbelievable that I still can´t believe I am here, in 
the northeast of the USA, in the city that records one of the greatest snowfall, writing this post while I do my laundry in one of the world´s most fascinating universities. My story goes back to 2010, when I had the chance to go on a trip to the US for about four weeks, travelling through different spots of the East Coast, taking part in different basketball camps as a player. One of those camps took place in Syracuse University, one of the most renowned institutions in the basketball world (and in many others).

I was thirteen when I attended that camp in which I had the opportunity to play with and against players of all ages (they were older than me 99% of the times) and from all over the world in a unique environment: the Carrier Dome, a domed stadium with a capacity for almost fifty thousand spectators. The Dome is a unique arena, and it´s utilized mainly for football and basketball. As the basketball fan I've always been,  I was stunned by the inmensity of the Dome, the facilities and the process of discovering the large amounts of people that played basketball all over the world.

At the age of thirteen, I had no idea I would end up studying my major at that same place. I didn't even know that I would study in the US, but I did know I wanted to work on something related to journalism. In the long and exhausting application process I found out Syracuse had an outstanding public communications school, so I gave it a shot and did everything in my hand to make my dream of getting accepted true. When I had almost decided to attend other university, the bell rang and Syracuse opened its doors to me. 

I believe that, even though I´m already here, I´m still unaware of what I am living and the opportunity that I now have being in this position. I couldn't think of a better place to go to college. Despite they both have some similarities, the concept of college life here is very different from the one we have in Spain. The student is the main character of his education, and the professors lets us know from the first day that they are ready to help us because they are responsible for our success and our failure.  

As far as basketball, which is the main point I wanted to get to, this experience is making me reaffirm the beauty and the power of our sport. It´s a universal language which anyone can interpret by playing it or watching it, because a crossover can be called rompetobillos in Spain, but it generates the same reaction: the satisfaction of the offensive player, the humiliation of the defensive player and the admiration of the spectators. It´s just an example of the power of this international sport to break geographic and time barriers.

In the two months I've been here, I've had the chance to play with people from France, Congo, Chad Italy, China, the Philippines and of obviously from the US. I don´t think there is a better way to know people and to get a global approach than playing the sport we love, speaking the universal language of basketball with different dialects (the different styles of playing depending on the countries). Based on experience and doing it in a very general way, I would define those as technical in Europe, spectacular in the US, very athletic in Africa and fast in Asia, although the core is the same and there are evidently shared characteristics all over the world.

This is all based on the importance of basketball here, where it was born. Even though Spain has seen how basketball is constantly growing thanks to amazing generations of players, among other factors, the presence of this sport is much larger here, where the courts are always busy and the average level is much better than in the rest of the world. Syracuse is particularly known for the great atmosphere and fan base that are generated around basketball, which is practically a religion here. 

Unlike many other American universities in which football is the main sport, basketball plays the main role in Syracuse. The Orangemen conquered the national title in 2003, led by Carmelo Anthony, one of the best players in the world right now, and they qualify for the NCAA Tournament year after year, providing the NBA with extraordinary players. Besides Carmelo Anthony (Knicks), Dion Waiters (Thunder), Jerami Grant (Sixers), Wesley Johnson (Clippers), Michael Carter-Williams and Tyler Ennis (Bucks) are currently NBA players out of Syracuse University. This year, the Nets have selected Chris McCullough with the 29th pick and the Indiana Pacers have selected Rakeem Christmas with the 36th pick in the NBA draft. They are both Syracuse alumni. 






On top of that, Syracuse has one of the winningests and most historic coaches of the NCAA: Jim Boeheim, head coach of the basketball team since 1976. He has qualified the team for the final Tournament in every single season except for 1993 and 2015, due to NCAA sanctions. He has a record of 966 wins and 333 losses (74% win percentage), and he has kept a winning record in every season. He is also an assistant coach for the USA Basketball Team, having won two Olympic gold medals (2008 and 2012) and two World Championships in 2010 and 2014, apart from several titles in junior categories. Known for being a master of the 2-3 zone defense, he announced this summer that he will retire in March 2018, leaving the head coach position to his assistant coach, Mike Hopkins. Boeheim was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005. 



The main purpose of this article was to transmit my joy to be here and my perception of basketball and its sorroundings in an idyllic scenario like Syracuse University. 
I also want to thank all the people who have helped me to get here, from the staff at the University to the people from outside. Even though I don't mention their names, they know who they are and they should feel very responsible of what we've accomplished together, thanks to their help. 
I plan on posting interesting content in the blog such as photos of the games and maybe post-game articles. I will keep you updated through my American adventure in my Twitter account. GO ORANGE!

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