Eric Peterson, Published December 22 2010
Peterson: Concordia’s Nord gains valuable experience representing USA in August in BrazilErica Nord spent a 10-day stretch of her summer touring different spots in Brazil – Jundiai, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
“I had never been to another country,” Nord said with a laugh. “I mean I had never even been to Canada.”
Nord – a senior guard on the Concordia women’s basketball team – visited Brazil in August as part of a Division III basketball All-Star tour that included a men’s and a women’s team. Nord was the only player from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on the women’s squad. The men’s team had three players from the MIAC.
Nord played on a team that featured players from all over the United States, including California, New York, Kentucky, Indiana and Connecticut.
One of the neat perks of the trip was playing for a team that represented the United States, Nord said.
She got to wear a Team USA jersey.
Nord’s team played in five games (going 2-3), with some games having the pomp and circumstance of Olympic competition.
“Before the games, they would play our national anthem, their national anthem,” Nord said.
“And then after the game we would have a ceremony for the medals and Olympic music.”
Nord said when the team played its first few games in Jundiai, the prize was even bigger.
“And then you got this humongous trophy if you won,” Nord said. “It was like, ‘This is a little bit excessive.’ I mean, it’s one game, but we’ll take it.”
The Brazilian teams Nord played against ranged from pro to club to Brazil’s equivalent of a U.S. college team. Nord said each of the games was close, except the matchup against the professional team.
Nord said the experience not only exposed her to a different culture, she also was exposed to different styles of play. She not only learned from playing with some of the top Division III players from around the United States, it also gave Nord a chance to play under international rules.
Learning some of those new rules was a challenge.
Nord said it was hard to communicate with the referees, who didn’t speak English. The style of game was very physical and the Brazilian teams generally had the size advantage.
“If I played like I did there I would foul out of every game here. It was much more physical there,” Nord said.
“I think it made me more appreciative of my team. You kind of take for granted playing for your own team.”
Cobbers coach Jessica Rahman said it seems Nord has carried over some of that experience into the college season. Nord leads Concordia with 13.5 points and 2.3 steals per game.
Already one of the team’s top defenders, Rahman thinks the Brazil trip just added to that.
“I think what it did, it just solidified her defensive toughness. Not necessarily a step quick, but maybe a step smarter,” Rahman said. “The other thing that an experience like that is it just kind of broadens your horizons.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.
Peterson’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com