For The Can Ball Report's latest installment of From Long Distance, we dial up Regina resident and current pro baller Margaret De Ciman from Spain. Check out her post on the pro life, travelling and a few other things all right here ...
Welcome to another edition of the pro powered From Long Distance on the Can Ball Report. This time out we have Margaret De Ciman joining us. She's a Regina resident who spent her college career playing at Seward County Community College for two seasons where she's the school career blocked shot leader with 180. She would then transfer to Louisiana Tech where she'd finish up in 2006 holding a place in the Lady Techsters' record books for 5th most blocks by a junior with 57 averaging 1.9 on the year and would have the most blocked shots by anyone in an NCAA Tournament game with 5. She would finish out averaging 3.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks for her career. She is current anchoring the post in Spain for Cadi la Sue D'urgell where she's averaging 7.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 18.8 minutes of game time. By the way, she's the older sister of one of Canada's brighter basketball talents Joe De Ciman. Check out her post all right here ...
A 10 hour road trip to Salamanca, Spain let's go! Vamos! You know those big travel busses with a bathroom in it and like maybe 50 seats yeah our bus looks nothing like that. This one is half the size with no bathroom. Crises?
I'm Margaret De Ciman here writing to give you an idea of what being a professional woman's basketball player overseas is like. I figured with this long ride it'll be perfect to put it all down on paper. The practices, games, preseason, the league Liga Femenina (LF), days off, teammates, vacation, agents, positives and negatives. All that I'm about to say is my own account of my personal experience playing pro and life overseas in Spain.
Born in Ireland, raised in Africa, educated in America, and living in Canada it's fair to say adapting to a new country and culture was relatively easy for me to do. I graduated from Louisiana Tech University in 2006. (Go Lady Techsters, Go Bulldogs!!!) I've been playing professionally since January of 2007 and each year with a different team but that's common. Currently I'm playing for Cadi la Seu located in La Seu d'Urgell, Spain about two and a half hours northwest of Barcelona. I landed in Barcelona on September 5, 2011 preseason started the very next day. Preseason work outs consisted of three -a -days. 9:30Am-11:00Am on the court agility's, post / guards, full court drills, 5 on 5. 11:15am-12:15Pm soccer field running intervals, stations work with bands, medicine balls, abs, TRX training. 4:30-6:30 on the court again mostly drills and 5 on 5. Time in between practices were cherished as you can imagine. Now at this stage in our season we continue two a days but limiting Wednesdays and Fridays to only one practice and games an Saturdays.
When the season started back on October 15 I remember thinking okay time to play some real games where it counts after grinding it out for 40 days. That thrill and eagerness to play gets me every time! Things got more interesting as we started traveling seeing this beautiful country, winning games, getting to know my teammates. One of my favorite things is traveling away from La Seu and getting to see different parts of Spain. We play teams in Ibiza, Zaragoza, Madrid, Gran Canary Islands and in Majorca to name a few. That's one of the joys of having a job like this, you get to see so much that you maybe otherwise wouldn't and creating long lasting friendship with teammates is a bonus. I can honestly also say that the Spanish league is one of the top leagues here in Europe! So much talent and competition. WNBA, Olympic and National Team players. Great talent here!
So you probably want to know how my team is doing, we're currently ranked 6th out of 14 teams in our league (7th now tied with Gran Canaria at 13-13). The aim is to crack top four because here in Spain for Liga Feminana only the top four make play-offs and that also compete in Copa de la Reina (Queen's Cup) which is a tournament at the beginning of March usually. The teams could vary in both competitions depending on the cutoff date and where you're ranked at that time. At the end of the regular season the bottom two teams from Liga Femenina will have to drop to LF2 and the two top teams in LF2 will replace those two teams and now compete in LF so that's how that works.
The hardest thing about my job is being away from my Family. Going home at Christmas is always a time I look forward to and I'm sure most athletes feel the same way. We had a week off so I flew home to Regina and was on a flight back to Barcelona five days later. Being a professional athlete you sacrifice a lot and like any job it has its pros and cons. You're over here for seven or eight months playing, competing, working. I've been fortunate to have played for some great clubs and I'm so thankful for that because not everyone's professional experience in Europe is a pleasant one. I do owe a big thank you to my agency 4Players Sports for all they have done! Sometimes finding the right agent to represent you can be a trial and error type deal.
After each season I grow as a person and as a player and I take from the game all I can! I wouldn't be able to do what I do without God and the loving support of my family and friends. I'm so grateful for everything. Thank you for taking the time and sharing my experience with me.
A big shout to Margaret for sharing her experiences with with us here. You can check her out here for all the action in the Liga Femenina and you can check out her on the daily on Twitter by following her @girl_africa. Tune in for more on Margaret and other overseas pros in the future ...