The first European stop of the season brings us to The Netherlands in what is also my first time competing in The Hague. We practiced Friday morning in Canada, and after swinging by Canucks Stuff/Overkill to pick up our team shorts I sped home to begin packing at 2pm for my 5:30pm departure to Amsterdam. **Improve time management skills; noted.
Now sitting somewhat comfortably in my Air Transat plane seat, having tested my patience sitting in rush hour traffic the entire way to the airport, I popped my headphones finally being able to relax a bit. When I arrived in Amsterdam I had two hours to kill until Redmann arrived and we would travel to The Hague, the perfect amount of time to watch a replay of the Bruins game that I missed while in flight.
The game was real tight and when the Bruins finally scored in the third period I cheered uncontrollably loud. As I looked up I saw a group of European travellers staring at me, I calmly turned my computer screen around and pointed at my Bruins hat while giving them a discreet fist pump as to say ‘my team just scored’ – they all nodded and smiled understanding I was Canadian and this behavior is normal for us.
Now on a high thanks to the victory, Redmann appeared out of nowhere and we began our journey to The Hague. A quick train and taxi ride later we arrived at our hotel and quickly laid down for a nap, we were going to hit the sand later in the day… Four hours later, awakening from a pleasant slumber, we left for the courts and were greeted by a stiff and constant wall of North Sea wind. After hacking our way through a light serve and pass we picked up a quick bite near the beach then went back to the hotel for the night.
Our second session the following afternoon was much of the same, if not windier. Just so you can understand how windy it is, if I stand at the service line and place the ball in my open hand prior to hitting it, before I can toss the ball it will have had blown out of my hand. As you can imagine this makes everything far more difficult and at times it’s tough not to laugh at how ridiculous the wind makes you look while trying to control the ball. Regardless, it’ll be the same for everyone and is actually supposed to die down for the qualifier, which begins tomorrow.
Till then I’m doing my best not to eat a plethora of delicious stroopwafles – a local, extremely treat..