Notre Dame senior swingman Ryan Ayers blogged for Irish Insights during the Irish's summer trip to Ireland. Well, Ayers is back blogging over in this little corner of the Internet and Insights thanks him for taking the time. This is Ayers' second entry of the 2008-09 season. His first entry can be found here.
I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful holiday, and a good start to the New Year. All the guys and I were able to make it home for a few days over Christmas. Being at home was great as I really enjoy being around my family and friends. We do not get to see them as much as we'd like, especially the guys on the team who live on the east coast. While I was home, I met up with some old friends from high school to catch up. One of the real treats of being home was seeing my brother play for my old high school, Germantown Academy.
My brother, Cameron is a junior now and it was a lot of fun seeing all my old coaches and friends at his game. Unfortunately, they lost that night, actually to the high school that one my assistant coaches, Martin Inglesby attended. I am sure I won't hear the last about that game from coach. All in all, home was good for all of us. It really helped rejuvenate our spirits and gave our bodies some time to rest.
A lot of people ask me if it is hard to be away from your family for so long. My answer always is yes and no because in a way it is hard to leave your family, but the environment we have here at Notre Dame and on this team is a family. South Bend has become kind of our second home, so when other students get a whole month off of school after break and we are still hear playing ball, it is not a big deal because we actually like being around each other.
Winter break gives us a chance to just work on our games and try to become a better team. We don't have worry about tests, grades, or making the 8 a.m. trek through a snowstorm to get to class everyday. It is just ball and the guys.
It's a time where we can catch up on all the good movies that are out this winter season. I know a few of guys were interested in seeing:
1.) Marley and Me, which I saw and was a great family movie, but extremely sad. Prepare to cry (Not that I cry at movies or anything).
2) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt, which I heard was awesome. Tim Abromaitis and I are for sure heading to the theater sometime this week to catch this one.
3.)Yes Man, starring Jim Carrey. I think if you are looking for a good comedy and you are a Carrey fan, this is must see. All the guys and I really enjoyed this one.
4.) Valkyrie, the Tom Cruise movie. This movie I have not seen, but I have heard mixed reviews from the guys. Most did not seem to care for it, but they said it was an interesting story to tell.
Now, all of these opinions are loosely based from our team. We are not experts on reviewing movies, so please don't judge.
In addition, a plus of coming back from our stint at home is that the Big East season starts. The Big East is totally different from non-conference games. The intensity from the players, coaches, and fans is heightened. Every team in our league can beat any other team on a given night and this season will truly test our focus and discipline as players. Though it may seem like a lot of pressure, we have come in with the mindset of just going for it. We have learned that you cannot play like you are protecting something. Right now we are 2 -1, with a loss to St. John's and two big wins over Georgetown and DePaul.
The only highlight about our St. John's trip was the fact that we were in New York. The game did not have the result we wanted, but as a team we really love being and playing in New York. The atmosphere is like nothing else. Because we are out of school now, we were able to arrive in the city two days prior to the game. This gave us time to practice and explore the city a bit.
I know a couple of the guys went to different shops: Niketown, the NBA Store, and even to Times Square. In New York, I was actually able to catch up with an old friend, Hudson Sullivan. Hudson is a good friend of everyone on the team because he roomed with Rob Kurz at Notre Dame the past two years. Hudson is living in the city now, so he was able to show a couple of us around his home.
Another perk of being in New York was that we were able to watch some of the Indiana Pacers' shoot around before their game against the Knicks last Friday night. Troy Murphy, a former ND basketball player, is a member of the Pacers, so we got to catch up with him. I know the guys and I were really in awe watching the Pacers practice. We are all basketball junkies, so it was really cool to watch these players play on a level where I am sure all of us want to get to some day.
Before I close, I figure each entry I should have a player profile describing a couple members of our team, just so everyone can get to know us a bit better.
Luke Zeller (Sr.) 6'11, Washington, Indiana Luke is actually the teammate I have known the longest. We had our official visit together during our junior year of high school. His nickname is SMOOF, so whenever you see him please refer to him as such. He has been an awesome teammate to myself and others. Luke is a big ole country boy who is very laid back, reserved, and easy to talk to. Though don't let his laid back personality fool you, he is very approachable, especially with the ladies.
Smoof is just Smoof, I don't know how to fully describe him, but he just a great guy that I have been happy to share my experiences here with. I know him and I will always be close, because that who Luke is, a lifetime friend we can all truly count on.