Perks of the Job

As cliché as it may sound, words could never explain my unwavering appreciation for what basketball has done for me. Whatever effort and devotion I have poured into this sport I have been paid back tenfold. A ball and hoop have molded me into the person I am. My hoops journey has educated me on how to deal with heartbreak and that hard work is the key to success. On this road I have seen unbelievable examples of how not to act as a coach, a leader, a manager or even as a person. These experiences may have been harsh to undergo but it has molded me into a better father, husband, person and player. Basketball has paid for my college education and to top it off I have been allowed in my short life to see the world. What more can I say?

To gain some perspective here is a list of the places I have been thanks to basketball;

States

Washington

Oregon

Idaho

California

Nevada

Montana

Wyoming

Arizona

Colorado

Utah

North Dakota

Kansas

Texas

Missouri

Minnesota

Mississippi

Illinois

Tennessee

Georgia

Florida

New Jersey

New York

Countries

Mexico

Germany

Czech Republic

Hungary

Poland

Austria

Slovakia

Slovenia

Italy

Israel

Finland

I am 24 years old and feel blessed beyond belief to have seen and experienced such wonderful places (and not so wonderful). At Northern Arizona I was a history major and minored in anthropology so needless to say I enjoy this aspect of my job. Some of my favorite cities are Prague, Vienna, Ljubljana, Venice, Budapest, Berlin, Jerusalem and my current city of Helsinki. Each has different pace and style but in their own ways are equally impressive. Jerusalem and Venice are absolute must sees for an old world feel. Both cities are locked in time and I hope they stay there.

Here are a few thoughts on traveling. It’s interesting to me how much you can tell about the government of a country just from staying a couple days, even more so when you’ve stayed for a few months. I loved the opportunity to see the well oiled machine of Germany, which I believe is a stellar example to the rest of the world (Finland is right behind). Israel seems stuck in a battle of rising to the highest of world standards but are held back from its obvious history and circumstances of their existence. No matter what you have heard I highly recommend a trip to Israel. It’s an eye opening experience in many ways. Where I have been in Italy completely lives up to the hype. I had a calzone the size of a football and went swimming in the Mediterranean. If I had to pick a country to live in besides the USA it would be Germany, Finland or Slovenia. Slovenia thoroughly surprised me. Ljubljana was quaint, beautiful and clean.

Most of all what traveling has done is allowed me to step outside my USA box.  You gain a unique perspective on your own life by seeing the lives of others. The people of the world are diverse and equally fascinating. The USA has so many lessons to learn from Europe and the world. The forefront of these for me is Germany’s recycling policies, Finland’s education system and the absolute necessity of health care reform. I was surprised the way the rest of the world views Americans. As an expatriate or even an average American you have the absolute responsibility to be an ambassador to our country, behave accordingly. Lastly on this subject please tv-land stop polluting the world with the garbage you allow out into the world. Others form opinions of America off of shows like Laguna Beach, scary thought (sorry for the rant).

I hope everyone out here hooping overseas takes advantage of the opportunities to travel. It is a tremendous perk to the occupation. Those who are thinking about coming over I absolutely recommend for at least a year no matter the contract offer. When will you ever have this chance again? And to all the up and comers take advantage of the opportunities the game brings. I promise if you work hard enough and believe in yourself you will be rewarded, in one way or another. Thank you basketball.

Season update; My team (ToPo) has won 3 games in a row. We acquired a new import Justin Hawkins who had a solid debut with 12 points. In the last two games I had 15 points and 3 assists and 13 points and 3 assists on 10/12 from 2 and 2/7 from 3. Still room for improvement and can’t wait to really get things rolling here in Helsinki!

If you want to know more about me you can watch my highlights on YouTube (http://youtu.be/ApGzS3h-csQ) or follow me on twitter @jdubball21. Check back in a few days for next the blog. Josh Wilson (188-PG-87, agency: Hightower Law Firm, college: N.Arizona)

Pictures courtesy of the beautiful Dominique Wilson.

From Hungary to Finland

A ton has happened since my last post so I have some catching up to do. A few weeks after my last blog my family and I decided to leave Kaposvar in Hungary and pursue other opportunities for reasons I’ll explain in a later blog. We arrived here in Finland Jan 22nd and are just now getting settled in and comfortable in our new life in Helsinki.

There are very striking differences from Hungary to Finland both in lifestyle, people and the style of basketball. The biggest difference can be noticed immediately after getting off the plane, the weather. This was to be expected but is not as big of a deal as I thought. As long as you layer up and have a good coat it’s not a problem at all. Today was -15 Celsius and my wife and two kids did just fine getting around the city.

Nearly everyone in Finland speaks English. I read in an article that 90% of the people in Helsinki speak English. That is pretty impressive. They have a very good economy, education system and everything seems very modern. To an American Finland is great. The local stores have all of my favorite American food Mt. Dew, Peanut Butter, Doritos and even the impossible to find Ranch. My only complaint is the cost of living. Everything in Helsinki is expensive and that’s not even considering the exchange rate from Euro to Dollar. A small example was a 16 ounce bottle of coke at the gas station was 2.50 Euro. That means it was $3.29 for a coke. Huh? I highly recommend Finland to professional hoopers, atleast from what I’ve seen so far. Of course, I am in Helsinki.

The style of play here is also much different. Everyone asks me what is a better league Hungary or Finland. Generally they are considered the same from the people  I’ve talked to but I think there is a big difference. Hungary has a ton of good big men and is a very physical league. The refs really let things go and the games can easily turn into a slugfest. Finland is the complete opposite. The refs are super touchy so I am having to shed all my bad handing checking habits I’ve developed over the last few years. Finns also play extremely hard and so far seem to be very organized. I may form different opinions by the end of the year but these are my first impressions.

I’m very excited to be here in ToPo. The city is great, the people are very friendly and my team has a ton of potential. I struggled adjusting to the style of the refs and just getting comfortable my first few games but we finally got a much needed win tonight. Also, best of luck to my former teammates in Kaposvar, keep on keeping on. I know this was a very short blog but I was necessary. Very soon I will explain the whole Hungary situation and share some of my thoughts on my favorite perk of this job, seeing the world.

If you want to know more about me you can watch my highlights on YouTube (http://youtu.be/ApGzS3h-csQ) or follow me on twitter @jdubball21. Josh Wilson (188-PG-87, agency: Hightower Law Firm, college: N.Arizona)