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17 abril 2024

Serenna Lynn-Geldof: “I am happy that I can continue exploring Zaragoza next season”

Serenna Lynn-Geldof (Ostende, 1997) has been part of the best season in the history of the women team of Casademont Zaragoza. This has been the first year in Zaragoza. The previous two season she played in Spain for Cadi La Seu y Campus Promete. She plays as a centre and has been capped by the Belgian national team.

Go Aragón had the pleasure of interviewing her and asking her how was this amazing season. He reveal the great relationship that the players and the staff have. Serenna love the wide range of activities you can do in Aragón, from hiking in the countryside to having a coffee in the Plaza del Pilar. 

How have you lived this season?

This is the first season for me with so many games, for example, the Euro Cup, then afterwards the Copa, the playoffs… This is the first year that we actually qualified for all of these that I’m experiencing. It’s something like to test your level of basketball. I think it was a great experience, especially Copa was a major thing here and I’m so happy because we won that. 

I was so grateful that I could experience that and be part of that. This team makes it so special, but it was also the surrounding that it was here in Zaragoza. It was just something indescribable. Then the playoffs, of course, was also something nice. Unfortunately, we didn’t end it on the greatest note. I think it just gradually came that we saw potential like, “oh my god, yes, this team, we can actually do something” and then we actually did it. That is just amazing.

The support of Casademont’s fans surprised you? (2:04)

I knew from last year and the years before that there were a lot of fans here. One of my last games when I was playing in Promete, was here in Zaragoza. I knew there was going to be a lot of people. But I think also throughout this season, with the fact that we were doing so well, every time you could notice that there is more and more and more.

I think that’s so amazing. Women’s sport are always a little bit underneath the men’s sport to people to watch it. But I felt this season that you could notice that a lot of people came to our games, and also people that only went to the men’s game started coming to our games too. Especially with this performance I think it was so great.

What was the key to win the cup? (3:57) 

I don’t know. Once we’re here and it was in our hometown, everybody was super motivated to put something down here and to rewrite history. I think that was the huge motivation. So when we came on court, I think everybody wanted to give a hundred percent, even 200 percent of themselves. The support of the fans behind us, I think that this gave like extra push, that extra boost to even wanting to do more.

Why did you decide come to Casademont Zaragoza? (5:15)

I was playing at Campus Promete. We had our last game here, but then I had already signed to come here. That was something weird. First and for all, last year, another Belgian player played here, Antonia Delaere. When my agent said “They want you”, I didn’t really know what to think of it. So I asked her and Julie Vanloo who played here 2 years ago.

They were both very excited and they only had good things to say about the club and about the people. I was kind of curious. Then I talked with Carlos also, and I had a good click with him. I had a good vibe with him. For me, it’s always important to have a good click with your coach because, at the end, if there’s not really a click with your coach, it’s for me not very possible to perform very well.

Like Leo said also the fact that the goal that they have and the things that they wanted to achieve this year, that was something that I was very looking forward to. For me was very important looking towards same goal and the same ambition.

Did you have a warm welcome in the first days in Zaragoza? (7:37)

I arrived here very early in the morning, and basically, I had to do one thing at another. “We need your pictures. We need this. We need that”. I came halfway the first month because I was still with national team to the world championship. Basically, everything was done for everybody else, but they had to get everything done for me.

I came here like small eyes and pale as hell because it was super early in the morning. They said: “Now you’re gonna take like your profile picture” Worst picture of the whole season, but let’s not complain. The welcome was well. Bea came, pick me up, showed me my apartment, and brought us to the hospital visits. They were all super nice.

Carlos also came directly when I arrived. He had this conversation with me: “How are you feeling? Of course, you are tired, so don’t do this practice yet”. They were all also considerate with how I felt and how they knew that. I came in halfway. They were already practicing and full in preseason. But I still needed that moment of rest. So they really fully appreciate that and they supported that too.

What is your favourite site in Zaragoza? (9:38)

My apartment? No. No. I’m joking.  I actually don’t really know. I’ve been visiting some spots, but I feel like that Zaragoza still has a lot more to give, and I still need to explore a little bit more. I’m very happy that I’m here for the next season, so I can continue exploring more about Zaragoza in a different way. What I like so far I think it’s the little restaurants, the diners, like, the lunch places, the brunch places…

There are so many and in Belgium I don’t do that. Here, I do it much more often, and there is this one cafe that I really enjoy to go. I think it’s called like “Botanico”. It’s in centre close to Pilar.  This is the first time that I’ve gone by myself, walk around in the city. It was a new experience for me because normally I don’t do that.

What differences are between your city Ostende and Zaragoza? (11:21)

Actually, kind of the same that what Leo said. The sharing food is something new. Of course, with the fact that I’ve been here in Spain for 2 years, I got used to it, but this was the first time that my mom came to Spain, and she was like “the tapa and the sharing food, I don’t get it”.

It’s actually true. We don’t do it in Belgium. We all get our own plate, and we don’t really take stuff from each other. So the fact that here they’d be like “Oh, yeah. You want a steak? Oh, yeah. Let’s go. We’ll share” They like cut it in these nice little pieces, and everybody is staking it. It’s a different connection. You connect with the people around you: you have a laugh, you have a drink, you have some food, sharing the same food, and it’s something that we’re not used to do. 

I think there are a lot of differences. Also the way of living is very different from in Belgium. Belgium is like “Get up early. Eat at 12:00. Eat at 7 or 6 even and then have your evening”. Here, everything is more extended, like “Okay, you can still eat around, like, 7, 8, but then have lunch at 13:30 or 14:00 even, and then go have your dinner around 9.”

Did you friends or relatives come to see you? (13:16)

Yes. My guy, my mom and her partner came and they had so much fun. Like, they like my mom’s partner does something, which is called hide caching. You get these coordinates and you need to find little papers that give you other coordinates, and then they give you like a whole tour that you can walk.

And basically, I did some of them here in Zaragoza, and there was one with, wall paintings and like so we did a whole tour through the city, and we had to look for all these different kind of wall paintings. It’s so nice, and she really loved it too. She love this town. 

There are so many different things to do. You can just go to centre and just enjoy some shopping or have a tour and get some drinks. There is also, for example, a little bit further, suddenly next to the Ebro, you have a whole nature place where you can just walk in the woods and have like this nice walk around with all nature around you. It’s very different and she loved it.

Would you recommend coming to Casademont to another basketball player? (14:30)

Yes. Definitely. Like Antonia did to me and Julie Vanloo did to her, I would definitely go spread the word about because there are some things that I value, and here they are very on point with it, like the professionally, the things that you can ask people, and they will try to do whatever they can to get to try to find the right things to do or like try to get it for you.

Also with Carlos, it goes very well. He’s also supportive in the things that you do. Of course, there are ups and downs there that’s throughout the whole season, but  this year I can honestly say the down moments never been the same as years before. So I think that’s a very important thing, and I think Casademont Zaragoza took care of that.

Did you suggest move to Zaragoza to Belgians like you? (16:15)

Like my teammate said, it’s very hard if you don’t know Spanish. It’s very hard to come around. People know somewhere a little bit of English, but not that much.  But I would say to tourists to come visit for sure. 

There are a lot of things that are like. You have the city life but you also have, if you prefer to, take a hike or go for a walk. You have Zaragoza that provides you that, but also Aragon, there are so many different and things.

I can’t remember where I went, but it was like somewhere a 2 hour drive, and we had a walk there in a nature reservoir next to the water, and it’s next to this huge church also.  I don’t know what they call. I think Zaragoza has a lot to give, but I feel like they environment if you have a car and you can go out of Zaragoza, there are also a lot of things to explore.

There is a lot of different environments. You have smaller cities that are very cosy, but then you have bigger cities. For example, Zaragoza is that where you can go shopping. But then you also have cities that is only nature. So that’s like a very nice to be able to do different things if that what you prefer. So I would definitely recommend to people to come to Zaragoza and explore the city.

The last question is if you could you give an advice to the young ladies that they are playing basketball in the school and during the weekend watching you?

That’s the thing because Leo said the thing that I mostly said to those questions. It’s important to know when to work hard, when to be ambitious and when to know that now it’s time to search my limits and search the things that I can do. But it there’s also a time that you just need to relax, have fun and enjoy. 

That could be off court, but that could also be on court. It’s more fun that, for example, you hustle for a ball, you slide over the floor but the ball still out. It’s more fun that some like one of your teammates come and said “Yeah, nice try” and that you smile, then that you be like “Oh, God” and curse.

Enjoy it. Enjoy that just try to slide and the next time try to slide again and maybe get it in. It’s just enjoy the things that you do. Enjoy playing the same sport as your teammates and having the same ambitious to reach for a common goal and whatever might be. Maybe it is not “La Copa de la Reina”, and winning it like us this year, but maybe it could also be something else. Just being in whatever league you’re playing, have a nice time and enjoying it. That’s the most important part. 

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