Start of week 3: Today was a pretty low-key day; the entire family is always gone on Mondays so it was just me, myself, and I at the house which was nice. Tristan (oldest son) arrived home around 5 and we headed to the weight room. Once there, instead of being the one caught off guard by random people approaching me to shake my hand when they entered the gym, I decided to catch others off guard. Didn’t matter if they were in the middle of a squat, middle of conversation, or in deep meditation, I shook hand after hand, saying, “Bonjour!” Only one person seemed offended and that was a lady whom I tried to shake her hand, I think she was expecting the triple-cheek kiss but I’m not that bold yet. Had a nice workout then headed over to the basketball arena to talk with the coach of the pro team and he gave me a schedule of when they practice and said if I wanted to play that I could. So whatever days I don’t have any football obligations I think I’m gonna play a little bball.
Once at home I prepared myself a nice little dinner. Couple steaks, salad, beans, toast. I ran upstairs to grab my computer and when I came back down 5 minutes later I noticed my steaks weren’t on the stove so I looked over at the dinner table and there is Tristan and Dimitri eating my steaks haha. I didn’t even bother saying anything because after all it is their house and technically their food. On this night I let it slide but next time they cook up something delicious and leave the room for a brief moment, it just might disappear. So after my spoiled dinner, Veronique (host mom) asked if I could help Tristan with his English homework. Being the good sport that I am, I went up to his room and we studied up for his big test the next day. If he does not get a hundred percent, I will take it as a personal failure.
I was talking to a friend of mine tonight (whos name I will not disclose) and he was asking me all the basic questions, how’s France? How’s your French? Do you miss home? Etc. Then after a while he said “you know; if a few years ago someone would have told me that both the Christensen brothers would be living/playing overseas, I don’t know if I would have believed them.” “Nice work, I admire what you both are doing.” Simple words like that are very powerful to me and make me reflect on how far I’ve come as an athlete and more importantly as a person. I thought, if someone would have told myself a few years ago that I would be in the position that I am in now, I’m not sure if I would have believed them either. It took me back to an uncertain time in my life when I was finishing up at Lane Community College and had to decide which school I would attend next to play basketball at. I could have easily taken one of the many D2 or NAIA scholarships that had been offered to me but my brother who had transferred from D3 Lewis Clark college to D1 Eastern Washington always said that it was a very tough decision but that he was very glad he made the move to prove to himself and others that he could play and belonged at the highest level. That was the mindset he instilled in me to not settle for anything less than the highest level. He had me call and send tape to literally every college program in the nation and I’m not talking just Portland State’s or Eastern Washington’s, I’m talking Duke, North Carolina, Oregon, Georgetown, Syracuse, Kansas, UNLV, every big time college program. It was extremely hard and there was a lot of fear. The first few times he had to dial the number then would just toss me the phone. I would pray for answering machines so I could just leave a message ha. It was a huge long shot for me to go to one of these schools but that wasn’t the point, the point was to get comfortable talking to these coaches because they were just like every other person that I talk to on a daily basis and only good things could come from it. An assistant coach for the University of North Carolina called me back one day and said, “We already have our roster set for the next year but if there was anything I could do to help with your process of finding a school to play for, I’d be more than happy to help.” Sure enough East Carolina University came on very strong because of that assistant’s recommendation. Over this process I learned to not let fear get in the way of something that you want. No, I didn’t play at North Carolina or Duke but I was given a chance to play at Portland State, which would not have been possible if my brother didn’t push me to contact all those top tier programs. So now you have a kid who was cut from the basketball team his senior year of high school and who was now playing at a Division 1 school that was coming off of back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances. None of my successes in these recent years would have been possible without the many failures that I have endured but with the support of my close friends and family I continue to take these risks that the old me would have not dared to take. Hopefully all I’ve been through and am going to go through will turn into a best-selling novel one day. Well enough with the short trip down memory lane, time to put my head to this pillow and pass out.