Recently I was very blessed to have my older brother Ronald Jr. come visit me for a week here in Poland. It was his first trip to Europe, and it was the first time that my brother and I had been together for a week since our summer breaks in the late 90s! Before coming to Poland, the last time that Ron saw me play live was back in 2010 when I played for UNC. I was extremely happy to know that he was there supporting me in the stands. Ron was the one that started me out on my life as a basketball player. Growing up I always wanted to be like my older brother, and when Ron and my mother began to teach me to play basketball, there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do. Since Ron was also my coach in high school, I’ve always found a great deal of confidence when I hear feedback from him, another reason it was great for him to see me play this past week. During his visit, our team had a perfect 2-0 record, which is the best record we’ve had while I’ve had a visitor here. I think we might have been 3-1 when my mother was here. It might not be a bad idea to have Ron come back once the playoffs start!
We were able to visit a few cities outside of Włocławek as well. I wanted to do my best to make sure Ron could see as much as possible. One week feels like the shortest time ever for a visit, but we did what we could. We spent a day in Warsaw, where we randomly found an amazing place to have pancakes. If you ever find yourself walking past Mr. Pancakes in Warsaw…turn around and stop in. Ron traveled with the team to Sopot for our game, so we had a little bit of time to take a walk through the city and to walk around the mall for a short time. Lastly we made the short drive to Toruń, walked through the city a bit, and finished the morning by introducing Ron to the famous Polish pierogis.
I enjoyed seeing my brother react to the things I first couldn’t wrap my head around when I first arrived in Europe. For sure my brother wasn’t used to showering with a shower head mounted at chest level. I remember visiting a friend in Warsaw, and Ron shouting from the bathroom, asking how he was suppose to fit. Of course not every bathroom is so small, but I think its pretty well known that in Europe you will experience much more confined spaces than you would in the US.
Most of all, I enjoyed just being with my brother. The nights that we sat on the couch until 4am watching NBA games and NCAA tournament games will be something that I always remember. Its hard finding the words to describe how special the time with your loved ones truly is.
Here’s what Ron had to say about his visit to Poland:
My first trip to Europe provided me with a new pair of glasses through which to view the human experience. In the United States we work to make life more convenient because our lives are busy. We too often fail to absorb our current environment and to value life’s simplicity. Europeans preserve life’s natural elements and make life meaningful rather than convenient. True human interaction in Europe is at a much higher level than my experience living in the United States. It has been some time since my brother Marcus and I have spent time together alone. Europe is the perfect place for that uncommon experience; it gave us time to simply be rather than be doing something. Unfortunately my busy life in USA must resume; I’d prefer to stay in Poland longer. I’m grateful for this opportunity; I pray it will present itself once again.
I too hope that I find myself together with my brother somewhere outside the US for another foreign adventure! Thanks for coming Ron!