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Carbohydrates and ceiling heights

22.09.2013 - Article

On a diplomatic mission in Ljubljana Lena Handwerk, press and cultural affairs officer, meets the German national basketball team and has to organise a buffet suitable for the sportsmen.

They, too, are cheering on the German team: pupils from Maribor Grammar School I
They, too, are cheering on the German team: pupils from Maribor Grammar School I© Gymnasium Maribor

You learn a whole range of things during 14 months training in Berlin-Tegel: international and consular law, negotiating skills, making speeches in French ... And then you suddenly find yourself in your first posting asking yourself, “How can I do a buffet with enough carbohydrates?” This was the situation I faced in my first posting as press and cultural affairs officer in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

This Sunday (22 September) is the Eurobasket Final in Slovenia. An important event for a relatively small country, and also a highlight for the German Embassy: the consular section staff have to look after the German fans, in the cultural affairs section we are organising a fan event with school children, and then there was our ambassador’s reception for the German national team.

7 foot 1½ inches – press and cultural affairs officer Lena Handwerk at the reception with basketball player Tibor Pleiß
7 foot 1½ inches – press and cultural affairs officer Lena Handwerk at the reception with basketball player Tibor Pleiß© AA

After some liaising, we found the perfect date: a Friday, after the third of five games and before a match-free day. We just hoped that the German team would still be in with a chance by that stage. An evening meal was planned. Then we started wondering what basketball players actually eat. And more importantly, what do they eat after a game? And so we tried to check whether our buffet would contain enough carbohydrates. To be on the safe side we thought we had better do an extra pan of gnocchi and rice ... During preparations at the residence we also checked the height of the ceilings, just to be sure. The biggest player is 7 foot 1½ inches tall. He would have to duck to get through the door.

When it was time for the reception, the German players had unfortunately lost the game beforehand. So instead of a party we had regeneration, as the President of the German Basketball Federation phrased it. All the German sports journalists also attended, as our reception was the only chance for them to meet the team that day. It isn’t every day that the residence garden provides the backdrop for Sportschau and Sportstudio interviews with the trainer and the ambassador is broadcast speaking on Sky‑TV.

The German basketball team and Ambassador Dr Anna Prinz in front of the residence in Ljubljana
The German basketball team and Ambassador Dr Anna Prinz in front of the residence in Ljubljana© AA

Even though the German team was unfortunately eliminated in the preliminary rounds, Eurobasket 2013 was great fun! It certainly made a change for a press and cultural affairs officer. And it all worked out with the carbohydrates and the ceiling heights, even without a training seminar in Tegel.

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