Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Waiting for Godunk: Losing Control

My name is Kevin Owens and I have been playing professional basketball for the past six years. I decided to start a blog documenting my daily life. I have a degree in journalism and haven't written anything since college, so I figured why not. I don't particularly think I am that interesting, however when telling people about the traveling circus that is my life, they seem very entertained. I'll be contributing some of those stories once a week here at HHR. You can also now catch me on Twitter @Waiting4Godunk. Hope you enjoy!

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So I was lying in bed last night (Pause for obligatory female screaming ala Lance Harbor in Varsity Blues), and I was trying to figure out how I can get this train back on the right track. Then I became sidetracked thinking of how cool the nickname “Train” would be, and how I can get it to stick.

Anyway, I eventually realized that the reason waiting for a basketball job is so stressful, besides the obvious, is that I have no control. I tell myself everyday that I control my destiny. I repeat it to myself in the gym when I don’t want to do another rep. I tell it to myself when I am running and don’t want to go another mile. However I have started to realize that as a professional basketball player in my current situation...I have no control.

The people in control of my life now are my agent and the endless rabble of European coaches and general mangers that constantly inquire about me but don’t pull the trigger. I realize that I can do nothing else at this point to impress them. My time to prove myself has passed. They now know what I can do and what they are getting. Even when they are told how hard I am working, they probably don’t care. They are being told the same thing by the countless number of other agents they are speaking to. Most of the players I am competing against went to well-known basketball colleges. As I have figured out, that apparently matters more than talent. It’s a very superficial world we are living in.

Coming out of college I was a relatively unknown player. I finished my career at Monmouth University and, although I was not a superstar, I was, as my mother told me,"important to the team." I think that’s her nice way of saying that we would not have come in 5th place in the NEC had I not been there. Now that I think of it, maybe that was an insult.

Note to self: Call mom, ask her to explain herself!

I was drafted late in the 2003 NBDL Draft. As mentioned in older posts, I was not the strongest. I quickly learned how important muscles were. We had quite a few centers in training camp, including my brother. They all were stronger than me. I looked like someone’s kid brother out there...oh wait, I was. But I came to practice everyday with a confident attitude. Not only did I make the team but I ended up playing in a league which is one step away from the NBA, for three years.

I then moved my act overseas. I played in Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Poland and Kosovo. In all these locations I went deep into the playoffs, or won the championship. All except Korea...Details to follow in future blog.

I am also what I like to call a "class act." I never tested positive for drugs or was involved in an altercation. I just came to work everyday ready to go. I remember a few teammates of mine who were the exact opposite. One teammate I played with used to come to practice nearly an hour late reeking of alcohol from the night before. I averaged more points and rebounds than him. Yet, he currently has a job playing. Another teammate failed a drug test twice. He is also currently playing. Another teammate was thrown out of team meetings and practice numerous times for having a bad attitude. And yup, you guessed it…he is currently playing. Damn. If only I had lived it up. I could currently be a jerk and an alcoholic, but at least I would have a job.

It all comes down to this. I think I have proven myself to be a reliable asset for several different teams. Now, am I better then every player overseas right now? No. But I feel like I am definitely better than most. So how do I separate myself from the pack? When I figure out the answer to that question I probably won’t be waiting anymore.

I need to figure out how to gain the control back in my life. I guess my recent transaction could be a start. I recently started substitute teaching in a local school. This would be a lot less embarrassing had Eastbound and Down not been such a hit. But as always I have to live by my eternal motto…

"Do as Tony Danza does."


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