Basketball was never really my sport. I didn't play the game growing up. I didn't play in middle school or high school, not even pick-up games in the neighborhood. But once I got to college the natural competitor in me had to find an outlet. I am not good by any means. I like to think that I have that natural hustle though, and my big body can get me around in the paint.
We have been talking about playing basketball at least once a day since we have been over here in Europe. In Paris we failed. We refused to fail this time around in Rome.
Me and my new friend Tamar took the reigns and set out on and adventure to scour the streets of Rome and find a basketball. It wasn't as easy as you might think. There aren't any giant blinking lights pointing to a basketball store; no Dick's, no Dunham's, and definitely no Walmart. With limited data, no sense of direction, and the constant fight against the language barrier we set out with nothing but pure determination in our favor.
After an hour and a half of walking through the novelty streets and back alley's of Rome, we found the only basketball in existence at Salina's Sports store.
But our adventure was just getting started.
My feet ached, but we pushed forward to find the nearest basketball court so we could tell the rest of the group where to meet us.
We never found the court.
Instead we stumbled upon the "bloodiest battle sight in Italian history," Janiculum Hill, or the "eighth hill of Rome" which actually has history dating back to 508 BC. Predated statues and fountains liter this besieged roman castle-turned garden and accompany many patriotic memorials to commemorate the Roman's victory over the French's attempt at a siege. Slabs of white stone fill the holes in the castle walls as plaques to remember what happened that day in 1849.
Tamar and I walked around and around this endless-circular garden until we finally realized we had failed our mission on finding a basketball court. The journey was all worth it though, because this garden was one of the most beautiful—if not THE most beautiful—and peaceful enclosures I have ever been able to see.
This description doesn't even include the hilltop view of Roma (which is extremely beautiful by the way).
Clutching the basketball all the while we made our way back home. Not with a map to the court, but with a map to one of an ancient and natural beauty that wont be so easily found in your basic travel guide to Rome.