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;
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.