| ||Alexander Seggelke is a guard/forward for the Artland Dragons of the German BBL. This season his team will compete in EuroChallenge and he will write about the experience regularly for FIBAEurope.com |
3,000 may not seem like a lot of people if you're a fan of Euroleague or the NBA, but in some ways the fan base at Artland is just as, or even more, impressive then in much larger cities.
There was a game the other night in Euroleague between Real Madrid and Armani Jeans Milano. Almost 8,000 people which is great but hardly as impressive percentage-wise as in Artland.
Our home city of Quakenbrück on the other hand is home to less than 13,000 people, so when 3,000 of them show up to watch us play in the BBL or EuroChallenge that's about 25% of the population of the entire town! If that happened in Madrid you would need a gym that seats 750,000 people.
Okay so comparing Quakenbrück to Madrid is like comparing apples to oranges, but my point is that we have as passionate a group of fans as anywhere in Europe.
Most of the players on the team live in the center of town, and I have to believe that we are bigger celebrities here than players playing for much bigger teams are in their cities. You can't go to the bakery or the grocery store and not meet someone who wants to talk hoops with you. That's the great thing about playing in a small town, there are very few distractions and the team has become a point of pride for the community.
We didn't quite have a capacity crowd on Tuesday night against Tartu Rock but the fans we did have were very vocal and we need their energy, especially when we found ourselves down 19 in the second quarter.
Our defense was horrible in the first half, but luckily we have a coach who understands how important that part of the game is and is not afraid to bench players who are lazy on defense. One of our great strengths as a team is that we have a lot of scoring options, and we can rotate a lot of players in and out of the game which means if you don't play hard on both ends of the court you may find yourself watching from the sidelines.
On Tuesday everyone got the message and we played a great second half. We outscored out Estonian opponents 59-26 in the second half and ended up winning comfortably.
It's been a great start to the season and two games in we find ourselves in first place in our group which is exactly where we wanted to be.
Next up is Wels in Austria and our first plane trip of the EuroChallenge season. I'm really looking forward to the experience and I was hoping we might see a little snow, but I've been checking the weather and it doesn't look like it's going to happen.
Oh well, the weather is always the same in the gym and hopefully we can come away with out third win in three games.