I’ve been fortunate to have spent the last fourteen years of my life in Ireland, getting to meet a tonne of really cool people and developing great relationships with so many in the Emerald Isle.
One of my passions is coaching and over the last eight years, I have been privileged to have been involved with several teams in Ireland including Meteors Basketball, Dublin Sonics, Kilbride Kelts, Coláiste Íosagáin, St. Josephs Lucan, Dublin Ladies Select and the Ireland U16 Ladies National Squad just to name a few.
Despite me enjoying the working with the players and teams that I have been involved with, I made the toughest decision of my life and after completing my degree in Sports Management and Coaching, I decided to make a trip across the pond to the United States to continue my journey as a basketball coach.
I am happy to say that I will be an assistant coach with Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia for the coming season 2014 – 15.
Now, I always knew that this wasn’t going to be an easy transition and if anything, then, this would just be another step in my journey as a person and as a coach.
Coaching high school basketball in the States is very similar to that in Ireland, yet it is so different. The similarities are that basketball happens after school and hence most of the coaches must have a second day time job.
So, despite the fact that I will be coaching basketball, I still have to go out and look for a daytime job to provide me with that extra cash and experience that I need. The job needs to be flexible enough to allow me to be able to get to practice though for 03:00 pm practice.
Challenge number 1 – finding a suitable day time job!
Bishop O’Connell is in Arlington, VA. Arlington happens to be quite an expensive area in terms of accommodation. Most people who work this way, live out in the suburbs and commute to work.
I am currently living out in Stafford with some very good people, however, it is quite far from the school. Public transportation in Stafford isn’t all that, so the next two challenges actually tie into each other. Solving one of them reduces the need to solve the second.
Challenge number 2 – finding decent accommodation within your price range.
Challenge number 3 – find a reliable means of transport!
Public transport isn’t as advanced in the suburbs as it is in Washington and Arlington. So, where you can just jump on a Metro or catch a bus in DC and Arlington, that option is out of the picture in Stafford.
No buses from Stafford to Arlington?!? In fact, there is no public transportation out of Stafford at all!! That is just insane. Everyone has cars over here, so its not that crazy for them, but the nearest railway station from Stafford is Brooke VRE and is 14 kilometres away and the last train in the morning leaves at 08:00 am. Now, how am I to get there for that time in the morning with no public transport going that way?
The last train coming back to this station, Broooke VRE is at 07:00 pm. I mean, seriously? So, trains are out of the question and there are no buses going, so how else am I to travel 70 kilometres up and back a day?
With that being said, my three biggest challenges to adjust to life in the United States are to find a day job that will bring in some extra income and keep me afloat, sort out my accommodation closer to the school, whilst keeping the rent at a reasonable price, and figuring out a way for me to get around without being stranded and or crucified in expenses.
Challenge accepted… what doesn’t kill you makes you stranger!!