Monday, June 29, 2009
Rudy At Camp
Twenty four hours and one temporarily missing bag later, I am finally in Campanet, Spain for Rudy’s camp, or “campo” as they say here. As you can see, my grasp of Spanish grows by the minute. Que bueno, no?
All of the frustration of getting from Portland to Mallorca melted away as Coach Kaleb and I drove into Campanet. I can’t say for sure just what I was expecting, but I know it wasn’t this, and I say that in the best way possible. The city is like something out of a postcard. Narrow streets, old sun baked women in scarves waving from screenless windows, goats, sheep, centuries old olive groves, cobblestone streets. The whole old-world vibe. It’s not exactly the place you would expect an NBA player to conduct a camp, but that’s a testament to how much Rudy identifies with his homeland.
Life moves at a slower pace out here, which I suspect is one of the reasons Rudy has chosen to hold camp here. After doing nothing but playing basketball for almost a whole calendar year, it must be nice for Rudy to relax in a place where he’s almost completely anonymous.
That’s not to say the people here don’t know who he is. Far from it, but aside from the occasional handshake or friendly pat on the back, people let Rudy be. He sits by the side of the public pool like any other local. He eats what the campers eat and sleeps where the campers sleep. Here, he’s not Rudy Fernandez the NBA player. He’s just plain old Rudy.
You can see the difference in his appearance. He seems looser, freer. He speaks freely with anyone who comes within earshot. He’s animated as he tells stories and jokes. And he’s having a great time doing it.