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Laine Selwyn's blog

No Picture Selected Laine Selwyn, Israel's national team point guard, left Ramla after two great years, packed her bags and landed in freezing Moscow. In her blog she tells you all about life in Russia, missing Israel and more.
From Russia With Love
Heyyyy everyone I may be thousands of miles away but distance wont stop me from blogging... Sooo with a very brief time in the wnba, the completion of a successful national team campaign, a couple of vacations, and a blink of an eye another season has started. Most of you know I'm currently playing in Russia at Dynamo Moscow. The team wasn’t so successful last year but there’s a totally different roster and we have a lot of goals to achieve in Europe as well as the Russian league. We like Ra’anana and Ramla are in the euro cup but unfortunately not in the same groups. Maybe down the road we will meet in the quarter or semi finals!!

Many of you have asked me why the change from Israel to Russia and similarly I often contemplate the reasons myself. I miss the sun, wearing sandals, the beaches, the loyal fans, the soho, and most of all my friends I have made over the years. But in retrospect I’m very happy with my decision to try something new and broaden my horizons. Much to my surprise things here haven’t been so bad. Besides the long travel days consisting of 8 hours on the train, plane rides, wearing winter coats and the huge language barrier I’ve been managing. NO Thanks to Inna Gourevitch and Katia the past 2 years I’ve heard many Russian phrases but unfortunately none that would be appropriate to use in public. LOL. But most important I think the best thing about playing in Russia is that it is going to be a huge challenge for me and my team. I think Russia has one of the toughest leagues with many great players.

Since I've been here I haven’t had much time for sight seeing or relaxation because we’ve been on the road a lot. These next 2 weeks we will be in Moscow and I’m looking forward to being in my apartment and maybe getting to go to the red square or someplace else in the center of the city. We had our first home game yesterday and won by a lot right now our record is 2-1. We have our first fiba game this Thursday and I’m definitely looking forward for those games to start and really test our skills with the other European teams.

To continue where my last blogs left off here’s a little insight on my personal life…my niece Jordyn is now 7 months old and the cutest little thing alive. Even though it wasn’t much I did get to spend some time with her and see her maturity through her infantile stages. Unfortunately my dog Bailey is not with me now in Russia but he is still up to his no listening crazy antics. He is still his sweet old licking self but unless there’s food in my hand he’s missed the concept of stay, sit and come, essentially the basics of dog/owner communication. I’m still same old me eating frozen shnitzels and making salads almost daily here. I feel great and I’m in a really happy place in my life right now!! Well Batzlacha le kulam!! And even though it’s late Shana tova!. Until next time...
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Preparing for Game 4
WOW…the season could possibly be over tomorrow!! Ani lo mamina…I wont mention that again because I definitely don’t want to jinx any possibly of taking the championship on our home court away. Saying those words creates a sense of nostalgia and brings me back to last year. Taking the double and to potentially be able to have the feeling of triumph and victory again would be rewarding and an incredible accomplishment for our team. Dare I even say this, BUT if that doesn’t happen I still would have to acknowledge that my past 2 seasons in Ramla have been pleasurable and most important successful. I have to admit I have anxiously been awaiting game 4 and possibly game 5 and the opportunity to win the championship.

As I sit here before practice I am beginning to realize that this could possibly be our last one, so we better make it a good one. I know tomorrow we will come ready, prepared, and focused to fight for what we’ve been aiming to achieve all season. We have had our ups and downs and at some points during the season I know people gave up on us but we stuck together as a team and always remembered our goals. Winning the cup, being successful in Europe, and of course taking the championship are three goals of ours that have remained with us all season. We have already achieved one by taking the cup, we’ve exceeded expectation in Europe, and finally the ultimate one that is in the tips of our hands now is the championship. I know my teammates and I will fight and not let anything get in our way of showing we are the best team in the league.

Since this is my last blog something so special happened to me that I want to share. On March 24 I became an aunt for the first time. My sister had her first baby girl and named her Jordyn. I’m soooo excited and anxious to go home just to hold her. Other than becoming an aunt I’ve just been relaxing, enjoying the great weather, laying out at the park, and of course taking bailey to the beach. On one morning a couple of my teammates, Noa and I did take a trip to the Dead Sea. FYI (for your information) I wouldn’t recommend the sulfur baths unless you don’t mind smelling like sewage for a couple of days. Shay and I would sweat in practice and almost gag at how disgusting the stench was. OK its been fun sharing a little bit of my life with you hope you enjoyed my blogs and I also wanted to thank Orli and Lior for good ole “safsal”. You have become my parents, grandparents and my uncles’ homepage. They and I’m sure everyone else really appreciates the time and dedication you put towards womens basketball and keeping our fans in the states up to date on our seasons and success!! TODA!!
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It was a night before Cup Semis...
Its cup time again so I thought another blog was definitely necessary to release some feelings about the upcoming game and the journey we’ve traveled to get to this point so far. Once again sorry for my brief absence of blog writing, it just wasn’t enough incentive knowing that my 6th blog would break Monique's record to rush into another one.

This will be my fourth appearance in a cup with a record of 2-1. The one time I didn’t succeed to win it was in Haifa and for those who were around for the 2004 season I missed it as an underdog in a double overtime game mainly because of fatigue. But that’s all in the past and now and I look forward to see what the future will bring. After our successful yet saddening departure from Eurocup last week we are really determined to come out tomorrow night and ultimately win the cup. Personally I can say I’m excited and a bit nervous for the upcoming games, but at the same time I definitely feel prepared and eager for them to start. Its money time now and after all the adversity we have overcome this year as a team nothing will be sweeter than proving a lot of people wrong and winning the cup for the 2nd year in a row.

As you all know Jackie Johnson got injured and it definitely has put a lot more pressure on us as a team. Today is her birthday and hope tomorrow night we will be able to celebrate it with a victory over Ashdod. Jackie was a huge part of our team and with her gone it means that everyone is going to have to contribute a lot more. I have to say last year going into the cup games I was a lot more confident and knew that we were considered the favorites to win. This year I think it’s a lot more exciting because it’s all up for grabs and any team can take the trophy.

Putting basketball aside for a minute now lets talk about things that are a little more personal. I guess I have to shamefully admit that I have been slacking on my Ulpan classes and haven’t been since the end of December. It’s sad to say because despite my desire to want to speak and understand the language better I’ve become lazy. Since the break I haven’t had much time for myself we’ve been traveling to Europe every other week where we’ve had some quality shopping days and lots of unnecessary long layovers. Now since the Eurocup is over and the weather has been nice I’ve been occupying most of my time by taking my dog to the beach and hanging out with some friends.

Before I end the blog i forgot to mention the fact that we saw P and Mo Mo again in Israel. It was weird to see them on the other team but also a wonderful reunion for both us meaning the fans and management of Ramla and of course I know how excited they were to come back. Even though they advanced to the finals of the europcup I was still happy with our home game performance against them and since I know they both still read safsal I wish them good luck and hope they take the championship. Talking about winning a title I must try to get some sleep now because I have a big game tomorrow. I guess all I can say is the sensation of winning and popping the bottle of champagne after the buzzer goes off is a great feeling and I hope to experience it again.
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Approaching Money Time
OK… finally after a brief hiatus I'm back! It's been a pretty eventful journey since the last blog that I wrote… Since then basketball in Ramla has been just satisfactory but most importantly we are showing signs of improvement. I have added a puppy to my life, and after spending a couple of days in Slovakia & Prague I'm anxiously awaiting for the warm weather to come back around in Israel…

Since the break the only team to defeat us has been Ramat Hasharon. I must give them all the credit in the world for playing so hard and of course beating us without their most consistent player, DJ. But that's the joy of sport. As Eli always says he waits for the games against the best teams because if you want to be the best you have to beat the best. Likewise to his comment I feel the past 2 losses to them really exploited some of our weaknesses and showed us that we have a lot to work on. I think these defeats will bring us closer to where we need to be in the next month by most importantly learning from them. Not to take these games lightly but I must admit it if we are to lose to any games I’d rather it occur now then in the money time like in the cup or championship.

Napoleon Hill, a famous author of personal success was quoted, “When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.” I think both of the losses against them helped us to do exactly that. We didn’t get down on ourselves and showed it in our Euro cup games verse Ruzomberok. Instead of putting our heads down about the defeats we really accepted them and used them as an indication that we have a lot of things to work on. For example we came out both Thursday nights and really stepped our game up and proved that we can bounce back. As a team I feel we have goals that we want to achieve and nothing will get in our way. I also believe in times of adversity like we have been experiencing all season with new players each month and some tough losses, it shows the true character of a team. We have overcome a lot already as a team and I look forward to see what the future will bring.

Presently I'm in the Prague airport anxiously awaiting our 2nd flight of the day back to Israel. Today was a very long day that consisted of a 4 hour bus ride, an early morning flight, and an extremely pleasurable 4 hour site seeing walk around the city. I was surprised how immaculate the streets looked, that there was a Pizza place on every corner and was impressed by how many people spoke English. I’ve never been here before but I think Prague is a very beautiful city and we're fortunate that we got the opportunity to experience it.

Well not much else really interesting going on in my life except for I got a new puppy. The young kids in my apartment building found him in the street. He's a chestnut colored mutt about 3 ½ months old. He's the cutest little thing!! I can't wait for the weather to get a little nicer so I can take him to the beach and spend some more time with him outdoors.

Considering the last regular season game is this Thursday all I can say is WOW, time is really flying by. I hope I'll be a little more consistent with my blog writing, sorry I’ve been slacking. But until the next time I hope we start to play better because there’s only so much time left that we have to improve before playoffs.
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Frozen In The Ukraine
Saturday 12-1-07
Its about 10am and I just woke up after a much desired relaxing night. I always look forward to Shabbat nights because I always eat excessive amounts of food and tend to sleep really well after…and that’s just what happened! Its Saturday morning now and I’m looking forward to practice tonight. As everyone knows we just came off a significant win verse Galatassery and have added a new player to our roster. I’m happy about the decision to bring Jackie to Ramla because I think she’ll be great addition to our team. She’s not only one of my good friends but I got the chance to play with her 2 seasons ago in Turkey at Besiktas. She’s the all around player that I think will fill the void that our team is missing at some points during the games.

Even though our win against Galatassery overshadowed the loss to Holon, first I want to give Holon credit for playing a great game against us and I think the loss was a blessing in disguise for our team. The game really exploited several of the problems we need to work on, it showed that talent just isn’t enough to win games and definitely motivated us to come out with a vengeance verse Galatassery. As a team were all relieved and happy about our last performance in the game. Everyone contributed and it finally felt like team basketball. I think it just shows when we play together on offense and defense we can be one of the best teams in Europe.

Monday we play Bnei yuda and then leave for the Ukraine on Wednesday. I’m definitely not looking forward to the cold weather. I actually just checked the weather there now and im speechless it says that it’s 0 degrees Celsius…EEEEMMMALLAYYY (mommy). My mouth is wide open right now as if a dentist was about to pull a tooth out. I think before when I said cold it was an understatement I mean freezing cold weather.

Sorry but have been a little busy lately so the blogs are being written sporadically through the weeks whenever I can actually sit quietly by my computer and think. Presently I am sitting in the Ukraine airport for the 2nd day in a row cranky, uncomfortably cold, and wishing we were back in Israel. Not only did we lose the game the other night but our flight was cancelled due to inclement weather and now it’s our 4th day in the Ukraine hoping that we will be able to catch a flight home later on tonight. I feel like this trip has been a dominoes effect of bad events for us but I have to say the one thing that has kept me sane is Prison Break. For those of you that don’t know it’s a series show back in the states about a guy trying to break out of jail. Thanks to Shay she has the dvds for the first couple of seasons, so me, Shay, and Brasheedah have been watching incessantly. It definitely has helped the time go by and I feel like it’s a new healthy addiction. I’m definitely looking forward to the free time in the airport today and devoting it to watching the rest of season 1.

Right now it’s so cold here, I have 3 pairs of socks on, a long sleeved shirt, a t-shirt, a scarf, and a sweatshirt on. Even INSIDE the airport the police men and the guards all have heavy fur winter coats on I’m wondering why they aren’t putting the heat on.

More importantly the loss the other night is really bothering me. I can’t put my finger on how or why exactly we lost a 20point lead but I definitely think that if this situation ever happens again we need to take full advantage of it. Meaning when we have a substantial lead like that we really need to put the opposing teams away. For example when we see the momentum changing we have to adjust and take the control back into our hands immediately. When things are adverse both on and off the court it reveals the real character and the strength of a team. It’s redundant when I say this every blog but I truly believe our team is so talented and has the potential to be one of the best in Europe. I know basketball is a game of runs but when we go on our good runs we are seriously untouchable no one can beat us but ourselves but when we fall or things start to go wrong we fall completely flat. It’s something that needs to change immediately because these next two weeks before break is huge for us and I know if we stay focused we will start the New Year off on the right foot.

I know the break is approaching soon and everyone is looking forward to their time at home no matter where in the world it may be. I personally know that I am counting the days down to get on the plane back to Florida to see my friends, my puppy, and most important my family. I wish everyone a happy and a healthy new year !!
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Before and After
BEFORE the game vs. Galatasaray
For my third blog I wanted it to be different and creative
So I decided to make a poem and try something new
Time is really flying by we've already played 5 league games
And tomorrow verse Galatassary is the start of Euro Cup too

We just had 2 convincingly good wins over Ramat Chen and Ahsdod
I really see improvement in the team and I think we are starting to gel
Our chemistry on offense and defense is slowly coming together
I feel the sky is the limit for our potential but only time will tell

As a team we've been doing the bonding thing
I feel we have each others backs and it's starting to show when we play
We had a great day off at the beach, went to Roni’s sons barmitzvah
And also got to celebrate Brasheedahs' Birthday

So today I'm back in Istanbul in fact my home from 2 years ago
It's 12:43am now and we just had a late dinner and practice
Driving to the gym brought back memories at Besiktas
Its crowded, cold, and the traffic are things I definitely don’t miss

I think tomorrow is a huge game and will be a good test for us
They have a really talented team who doesn't give up without a fight
But I know if we keep the momentum from the past 2 weeks
We will win this battle if we stay focused and keep our minds right

In the game we will be without home court advantage
And of course our rowdy, crazy, loyal fans
I want them to know they are so appreciated by us
And when we hopefully WIN it will be weird not to run to shake there hands!!!

This wasn't easy to write but I hope you all enjoy
At this point my eyes are heavy and it is getting late
It's a big game tomorrow, I don't want my typing to keep Tali awake
But she's a great and understanding I'm lucky to have her as a roommate!

Lastly, it's only appropriate and respectable to mention
Its been 3 years since the tragic death of Nili Natho
Even though I didn't know her for that long she was still a friend with an amazing smile
She was so young it was definitely way too soon to see her go…

I just realized I won't be able to send this blog before the game
We are going to the mall in the morning and there’s many things to do
It's not that this isn't important
But don’t worry I plan on continuing this poem with the after math part two!!

AFTER The game(Ramla lost 63 - 75)
So now we are on our way back to Tel Aviv
It's funny to see Shay, myself, and Avi on the plane
We are always tense, pale, and nervous
And drive the people around us insane!

It felt like we lost by 30 instead of 12 but the final score is what really counts
I don't think we were in sync or at least that what it seemed
It's hard not to take last night's game to heart
I feel we could have played so much better because we are a better team

I'm actually on the plane now talking to Noa
About taking more responsibility and adjusting to a new role
I want to be more of a leader for this team
I believe I can do it and winning the titles at the end of the season are my goals

I know everyone is going to be excited for Monday's game
The rivalry is always considered the best show in town
I hope we will learn from last nights performance
That we have to keep moving up instead of moving down

Its already been two and a half hours in the air
It's time for landing now so I'm about to sign off
But tomorrow is another day for us to improve and prepare ourselves
The future has a lot in store for us even if we are upset about last night's loss!

Sorry if it doesn’t translate to Hebrew well but I really enjoy writing poems. I just wanted something a little different didn’t want to keep the blogs monotonous. Basically just to sum everything up we lost a good opportunity to win the game for ourselves in Turkey but we will definitely learn from the lose. We will work hard this weekend because we know Monday will be a very tough for us and we need to get our momentum back!!!!!
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Life in the present
The big question I've been hearing lately is what's going on with Ramla?? How does it feel to lose so early in the season? What about last year? You aren’t as good… Are there enough balls to go around? Egos ? ect All I can say is MA ZEHHH!!!

As the writer Jim bishop wrote, "It is difficult to live in the present, ridiculous to live in the future, and impossible to live in the past. Nothing is as far away as one minute ago." I really love this quote and also apply it to my everyday life. Before I get to answer any of those previously asked questions I feel in the first blog for those of you who don't know me personally I didn’t really tell you much about myself. So I think its important that I share a little about myself so you can understand or just know me a little better.

I'm a person who lives my life day by day and tries to make the best of things. I have a huge heart and I'm a believer that things happen in life for a reason. I believe you should securely embrace good things as they come to you, don't burn bridges and keep your friends close but enemies closer. I appreciate the little things in life like bubble baths, my dog, intelligence, sensitivity, comfortable "dreamy" sweatpants, days at the beach, tuna fish, my family, nice perfumes and flip flops. Now that you know a little about me now onto the important stuff. The world has not ended and yes we lost a game. It happens, also yes we are working hard to fix our mistakes and be the best we can be. We have a great team and have all the tools it takes to be at the top but nothing is easy and we know that we will have to work hard to be where we want to be! Practices this week have been better for us and we are still getting to know each other as individual players and of course always working on the team chemistry thing.

I feel like my role on the team this year is a lot different from last. I've been talking to Chasity a lot and we both feel I have to take a lot more on myself and become a leader. There's no Monique Currie who I miss so very much (SHOUT OUT...LOL) and Plenette Pierson this year to just take over things when they’re rough. I think with my teammates' support I can accept and embrace this responsibility and I will do my best for the team. I think at this point in our season if someone can be a leader and develop the chemistry we need it would be great for us. We are trying to prepare ourselves as best as we can for the upcoming month. We have difficult weeks ahead of us and of course with Europe starting things will only get harder. I have confidence in my teammates and Eli and I’m sure we'll start to play better and be the team that everyone expects us to be.

About Scrabble night I haven't been able to go because they switched it to Monday, game nights for us, but I will participate in the tournaments that they have on the weekends once a month. The dog shelter has been a little slow for me too. But I love going to Ulpan and learning Hebrew. I really think I've come a long way but have to keep studying!

So after another bowl of pasta and some schnitzel I will take a nap now before our game verse Ramat Chen. Sometimes in life when things are a little rough you need to focus on the bigger picture and at things you can control. So I hope tonight we play better, believe in each other and come out victorious. I have faith that we can do it and I know my teammates do too!!
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The night before the season started..
YES… finally after a month for some of us, weeks for most of us, and days for the select few, tomorrow is the day that stops the monotony of practice and the season will officially begin. I must admit I am really excited for the real games to start. Any reason to get out of chasing AK (Anastacia Kostacki) and Shay around the court for an hour or Noas’ 40minute warm-up drills is a relief. So now it’s about 10:00pm, I just watched the Jerusalem men's basketball game and ate a never ending bowl of pasta. Usually nights before games I relax and take it easy so I knew I would have some time on my hands and thought it would be a perfect opportunity for me to write my first blog. I admit I’m a little tired from practice so it feels good to just get off my feet, watch some TV, and of course, for those of you that know me, find me on my computer!!

This is my first blog ever so give me some slack. After a long successful summer abroad with the national team it's great to be back and settled in Ramla. Things look the same here but have definitely changed. Our colors from last season, we went from derby to Nike, some new staff members, and most importantly my new teammates. Other than that things here are pretty normal, if that’s what you call it: our fans still cook and bring us food, Rafi still doesn’t know a word of English, and we have more people in our practices then some teams do at a game!!

After winning the cup and the championship last year and building the new team, management has high expectations for us. I would say so far we started off on the right foot. We won all our practice games and the mayor's cup even without our full roster. I know this doesn’t say much because it’s still extremely early, but each day we practice I feel we are developing a greater chemistry and understanding as a team. I feel we have a very experienced, mature team full of vets. Chas, Shay and Tang are not only all coming off summers in the WNBA but have all previously played in Israel before. Our other vets include Natasha aka SHANKY, Tali, Inna and AK. They all have been playing ball in Europe for many years and bring so much experience to our squad.

I'm really excited about this upcoming season. I’ve even added a couple of extra curricular activities to my schedule. I figured since it's my 4th year in Israel and I am half Israeli I would take it upon myself to start Hebrew lessons. So not am I only enrolled in Ulpan the place where you learn Hebrew, I am a part of the Tel-Aviv scrabble club which plays once a week and also also a volunteer at the animal shelter in Ramla. I have a love for dogs so once a week I go and volunteer my services.

I don’t want this to be long and I hope I didn’t bore you but BEHATZLACHA to healthy and successful season!!
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