Otto Okkonen's Blog (September '14-???)

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Nasuella
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Otto Okkonen's Blog (September '14-???)

Postby Nasuella » September 6th, 2014, 10:54 pm

Before we begin, a note from Otto's player: just as last time, this is going to be an ongoing thing, chronicling the (mis)adventures of the Okkonen family - at least, as far as Otto and Jordan go - while Otto talks about how he does in the FBA. His brother Akseli, or "Axe" has a twitter account; while Axe often does his own thing, sometimes the two brothers will offer two different sides to a particular story. That'll largely depend on whether I feel it'd be appropriate, of course.

Want to read blog posts from before Otto was moved to the Minutemen? Go here!

--

6th September, 2014

Well, this week took an unexpected turn. While I was busy preparing to move to Huntsville, I got a phone call from my agent telling me some surprising news: I'm returning to the ranks of Williamsburg. Admittedly I was bothered by the timing of the trade; it just had to happen in the middle of my preparations! But thankfully, approximately 20 phone calls and several more hours lost to paperwork later, we've been able to adjust fairly smoothly. Unfortunately it does mean that my arrival will be delayed, but it should only be a few days at most.

Going back to the Minutemen is going to be interesting. If you're not familiar with my history as a player, I entered my name into the FBA draft back in 2010. Perhaps it wasn't the best year to do so, in hindsight; I'm not a bad player (if I was, I wouldn't be playing professionally!), but I was strongly overshadowed by so many of the other entrees, including the Top 24. Naturally I was disappointed when my name wasn't even mentioned during the draft... and surprised when, a few days later, one of the teams offered me a contract. Even more surprising is that it was none other than the Williamsburg Minutemen, who had selected Vera La Tiérra, easily the biggest name in that year's draft pool. (At the time, anyway; no-one was expecting Dirk Von Stryker to become as good as he did. What was that they said about German efficiency?)

I leapt at this chance to get into the FBA - for all I knew, it could've been the only chance I had. And all in all, I'm glad I did.

Unfortunately it came with some harsh consequences - my backup plan, if I hadn't been drafted, was to find another contract in the Furikorisliiga. I was happy to get an opportunity to go to the US... but not everyone on the Komeetat was happy for me. We'd had a mid-season collapse in the season before, for reasons I'd rather not go into. Some of us wanted to try and focus on rebuilding, which was understandable, and they very likely panicked at the thought of me leaving. Combine that with some anti-American sentiments on the team, and, well... let's just say that everyone came out of it with hurt feelings.

It's all in the past now; we've since apologised to each other, and I've since managed to salvage our friendships. But it was definitely a difficult time.

Coming to the US, I'd heard a myriad of horror stories about culture clashes turned ugly, about conflicts between species and social classes, and so on, so as you can imagine I was uneasy about it. Going through customs for the first time certainly didn't help. Thankfully, it turned out my personality was right at home in the culture that the Minutemen tried to cultivate; that made adjusting to life in the US a lot easier, and helped me gain the courage to get back in contact with my old teammates back home... even if I was in deep reserve for the most part. :P

That might just change, though: Nick [Nwabudike]'s retired, Teo [Masalia]'s gone to another team, and there's been some dramatic changes. Vera's still the captain, of course, but now we have two tiger brothers, Desmond and Donell [Macon], in the ranks as well... and more foxes. Okay, I've played with three of them before; only one of them is new. Still, this is probably the most fox-heavy team in the entire FBA. :P I don't mind too much; I am also the only reptile on the team, unless they add someone else. We'll see, though.

Anyway, Jordan's been badgering me to get her some lasagna for the past few minutes, so I should probably finish the entry now.

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Re: Otto Okkonen's Blog (September '14-???)

Postby Nasuella » September 10th, 2014, 8:15 pm

10th September, 2014

Well, we're here. After twelve hours of flying and waiting at airports, we've finally returned to Williamsburg.

It's very, very late as I type this - long past my usual bedtime - so this won't be a particularly lengthy entry. Jordan's already half-asleep just from sheer exhaustion, and I'm close to passing out myself. I'll probably write a more detailed entry about the trip once I've had some sleep.

As is, though, it's good to be back.

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Re: Otto Okkonen's Blog (September '14-???)

Postby Nasuella » September 11th, 2014, 9:13 am

11th September, 2014

Hello! Jordan here - Daddy let me borrow his laptop and write an entry while he was busy getting to know other people on the team. He already knows some of them, but the weird winged dog-lady and the other really big fox are new to him, apparently.

Actually is the winged one a dog? I don't know. She does look a bit weird, but she's probably harmless. I'm not too sure yet.

Anyway, Daddy still hasn't decided where our new home will be yet, but he's looking into a few. He's also looking into where he'll send me to school. I hope it's a good one; he's grumbled a lot about how he thinks the American education system sucks. Well I know a few teachers in my last school who sucked. Glad to get away from them! I'll miss Mrs. Gretsky though.

By the way, while we're talking about education, I'll be getting my own laptop soon! It'll help me catch up on stuff I missed, but uncle Axe also told me that I could use it to get up to mischief. I like this idea. :) I get up to mischief all the time anyway, so why not?

Daddy's just told me that he'd like to have his laptop back now. I'll write another entry sometime! Bye!


P.S. Otto here. Please don't tell any patriots about what I said about the US education system. Hearing something like that on the anniversary of 9/11 will not go down well. x_X


(Player note: GAAAAAAHH I have a love-hate relationship with writing Jordan. x_______X She's a lot of fun, but her speech patterns and trying not to make her come off as too childish/stupid/annoying... GRUMBLE.)

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Re: Otto Okkonen's Blog (September '14-???)

Postby Nasuella » September 18th, 2014, 7:43 am

16th September, 2014


It's been a while since my last entry; sorry about that! A fair bit has happened since returning to Williamsburg; we have our new apartment, which is a nice and cozy place; we've found a school for Jordan, which she should be starting at next week; and I've finally been able to start training properly again.

I can't emphasise enough how happy I am to train with a team again. I did practice on my own and visit a local gym in Spokane after returning from Finland, but it's just not the same as practicing with other people, you know? After all, basketball is a team sport.

Most of the training this past week or so has been to help the newcomers - Mikaylah (who Jordan calls "Mickey") and Rebecca (who Jordan calls "Really Big Fox"; seriously, she's taller than Leonard!) in particular. I've been told that they don't have much professional experience prior to coming here, so there's a fair bit that they have to learn.

It's also been a good opportunity to see what they're capable of. Mikaylah's definitely a shooting guard through and through; she's a fair bit taller than most pure guards I've seen as well, which I could see giving her an advantage at times. Rebecca... well, is tall. Not as heavyset as Donell (then again, no-one on the team is as heavyset as Donell!), but she's easily the tallest person on the team, and she's not real bad as a bigfur - being a bigfur myself meant that I could help give her an analysis of her style and some tips, especially when going up against one-flap users. (See, having a dragon on the team does come in handy! ;P)

In addition, I've started some personal training regiments - so far, I'm doing weighted flights (think of a weighted run, but flying... which was probably obvious anyway), and I've been watching videos of various FBA small forwards at work and taking notes. If I'm going to learn how to play the position, then I'll need to study them and maybe adjust my own playstyle a little.

I'm not sure by how much, though - when Lokke suggested the idea all the way back in July, I said that there was no way I could play like a typical small forward. His answer: "Then don't. Play like you."

Anyway, I need to get back to training, and then to head to Vera's place tonight - Marron's leaving, so we're having a little party for her.

(Player note: That whole paragraph right there on Mikaylah and Becca? I would've gone into more detail were it not for the fact that a) my own knowledge of basketball is inferior to Otto's, and b) I was hit by food poisoning not long after writing it, and accuracy kinda had to take a backseat to BLEAAARGH-ing. So, apologies.)

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Re: Otto Okkonen's Blog (September '14-???)

Postby Nasuella » September 22nd, 2014, 9:30 pm

22nd September, 2014

It's the 22nd already? How time has flown. Perhaps it is true that time flies when you're having fun... or, considering that I'll be turning thirty in a few weeks, maybe it's just an effect of aging. :P

Schedules are being drawn up for the preseason, and as expected, we're going to have a busy one. It also appears that I managed to dodge a bullet: currently there's no game scheduled on my birthday. (Although I had to have a stern word or two with Axe when he claimed that he'd prompted Williamsburg staff to schedule a game then. 1. No, 2. You don't need to rub it in my face every time that happens, and 3. No.) We do have a game in Biloxi on the 10th though. That is cutting it a little close... (Not to my birthday, I should clarify. My father died on the 11th.)

I do have some good news, though: first, Jordan's back in school, and while she's only been there for one day, it looks like a promising start. We're still searching for a nanny (finally got the right word! ...I think?) to look after her while I'm away, but unless we suddenly have an away game before my birthday, I probably won't need to do any actual hiring for a little while.

I've still been practicing and training, of course! Though you'd think that would go without saying... oh well. I've been taking some mixed jogs/flights around Williamsburg as part of my exercise; flying is great exercise since it burns up so much energy, but it'll only help me so much on the court. Additionally, being the only member of the team who can fly means that I'll need to do some jogging if anyone wants to join me... which seems to happen a lot. I don't mind; air traffic can be a major headache sometimes. I have heard some people mention that flying looks awesome and that they wish they could do it themselves; don't get me wrong, it is awesome, but sometimes it's more trouble than it's worth.

Anyway, I promised Jordan that I'd take her to a pizza place for dinner tonight, so I'll be heading off now.

(Player notes: Considering that flying involves 3-dimensional movement and there's a lot that can go wrong when you're mid-air... air traffic would be a major headache sometimes. Which makes me wonder - how far back would the existence of air traffic laws go in the FBA 'verse? Probably thousands of years back, really.
What can I say? I enjoy worldbuilding. :P
Also, as an amusing side note, a game nearly being scheduled on Otto's birthday actually happened - and yes, I did prompt that one. And yes, I know it'd technically be a "hatchday" since I've stated that he and Axe hatched from eggs... but I go with birthday because everyone else does.)

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Re: Otto Okkonen's Blog (September '14-???)

Postby Nasuella » October 11th, 2014, 4:20 pm

(This post reserved for the Big 30th Birthday post. It'll be a long one... I think?)

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Re: Otto Okkonen's Blog (September '14-???)

Postby Nasuella » October 11th, 2014, 4:22 pm

11th October, 2014

Axe here. Otto let me write an entry for the blog today, since he's in Biloxi. Today's a pretty big day for the two of us.

In the year 2000, on this day, our father Denver was killed in a car accident.

Everyone has to go through the pain of losing a loved one at some point - it's just part of life and having a family. Even the possibility of a family member dying is scary as hell; recently I had to offer support and comfort to a friend whose father'd had a heart attack and had to go to hospital. He's okay now, but she was freaking out pretty bad; the best I could offer was "I know what it's like".

Not exactly, I admit. Dad's death came out of nowhere; that morning he had breakfast and headed off to work like always, and then... he didn't come home. Mum, Otto and Sonja only found out what happened after he'd been declared DOA at the hospital. Hell, I didn't find out until the next morning, after a date with my then-girlfriend. (I was at uni in Helsinki at the time.) I wasn't good at emotional stuff or dealing with it back then; she had to talk some sense into me before I was willing to head back to Tampere for the funeral.

Now, at the time I had grown a bit distant from my family, and there was a schism developing as a result. So I had a complex mix of emotions when I went into the chapel where the funeral was being held. That mix just got more complex when I found that I'd missed it by half an hour - dad's ashes had already been placed in the urn and been buried. Once I found out where, I flew there as fast as I could.

Otto was still there. He was in his last year of comp school, and was already facing the pressure of playing for the team as well as studying for his final tests. I later found out that he'd been trying to stay strong for mum and Sonja's sake as well. All of this had taken a toll on him; it was a shock to see my happy-go-lucky little brother kneeling in front of the grave, staring, seemingly apathetic to everything.

We got talking. We almost got into an argument, but as I was yelling at him, I noticed he wasn't responding - he was crying. And at that point, that mixture of emotions got to me, and I just... broke.

Mum and Sonja found us hugging and crying into each other. It quickly became a group hug.

It was only later that I learned about depression, which gave me a new perspective on how badly Otto had been affected. He's long-since recovered, but depression never goes away - it just sleeps, waiting for a chance to wake up and wreck havoc on the mind again.


I'm not gonna put on rose-coloured glasses and say that life was better with dad around. I know; earlier on Twitter I called him a hero, and I stand by that. He was a hero because he worked tirelessly to keep us all fed through a financial crisis early in the 1990s, in a country that he wasn't familiar with and with a language he could barely speak. He encouraged us to try to find a way to fulfill our dreams and goals while still living a practical life. He brought us entertainment and culture from his home country, further opening our eyes to what the world had to offer.

He also wouldn't have approved of a lot of things we've done - for me, same-sex relationships and dabbling in computer hacking; for Otto, dating a co-worker (in his case, a teammate) or going to the USA to play a sport professionally.

The thing is, in the end he wouldn't have stopped us. But all the same... his death changed things significantly and irreversibly. And we have to acknowledge that.

So, rest in peace, dad. Wherever you are, I hope that maybe, we've made you proud.

--Your son, Akseli Okkonen


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