Matteke Hutzler – Blogging from Portugal!
I’m a small town Ontario girl — for real. Five thousand people small. Like, my family owns a tractor; like, Wal-Mart is the place to go; like, the corner store two blocks away from my house uses dial-up to connect their debit machine.
I’ve been lucky enough to use my talent playing basketball to take me away from my hometown and to places all over the world. First, to Simon Fraser University (SFU), where I played basketball for four years and won three national championships. While playing for Simon Fraser, we travelled to places like China, Cuba and the USA to compete against some of the best female athletes in the world. I finished my collegiate career playing at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) for one year with a completely different team from the one I was used to at SFU. At UWO I had to lead and create a culture of winning with a new group of teammates. Now that I am done my university basketball career, I am pursing my career as a professional basketball player in Porto, Portugal with Academico F.C.
And my first week in Portugal is now complete. I am one of two foreign players on the team. My roommate Nica, is an American guard from Mississippi. We share a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment that is a five minute walk from our Club. We are pretty central to everything we need… two minutes from the metro and three minutes from a grocery store. The rest of the players on the team are Portuguese and are between the ages of 19-24. Most of the girls go to university or college as well as playing basketball. All of the girls on my team are incredibly friendly as well — I felt welcome here from the first day I arrived. There are also a lot of people involved with the club, who help us out if we ever need a ride somewhere or need help communicating with the locals. Most people in Porto speak English so we rarely have trouble with the language barrier. Our schedule is the same every week — we have four team practices, which last about an hour and a half, along with two individual practices with our head coach, as well as two shooting practices. When the regular season begins in October, we will play on Saturdays. Thursdays and Sundays are our days off and we are free to do what we like!
The weather has been very nice here too — at least 25 degrees everyday and mostly sunny. It’s fall here now, but I am still wearing shorts and a t-shirt during the day. When winter comes, we won’t see any snow, but it will be very windy with a lot of rain. The far baseline at our home gym is actually open to the sidewalk, so it can get pretty chilly when we are practicing later at nigh, which is often, as some of our practices don’t end until 11:30 p.m. Thankfully, I am finally on a good sleeping schedule, as Portugal is five hours ahead of Napanee. I get to talk to my family a lot too –- we have wireless Internet in our house so I Skype home a lot. We also have cable TV that has English channels! Oh, the simple pleasures 😉
So after one week, I can say I am pretty lucky. I get to wake up everyday and do what I love – I’m living my dream and wearing my passion!
To follow my journey you can contact me at:
@mattekehutzler on Twitter
Matteke Mary Hutzler on Facebook
Talk to you soon!!!