Took me long enough but I'm finally sitting down to write about my piece with Kaz. Yes Kaz, the Japanese basketball player, Kaz. If you had been following my social media or blog you’d know that this kid flew around the world in order to prepare for his upcoming basketball season.
I can't mention enough how skeptical I was about this kid actually showing up. "Who would fly all the way around the world in order to train under me in basketball?" I completely fail to see, until now, that this is something I would do. I would fly around the world to chase something I love. Watching Kaz make the sacrifice of not just his time but of all his funds was like looking back in time and watching myself follow my basketball dreams. Willing to throw it all away in order to go after something only I thought could be real.
I didn't know this until Kaz was here and I got to know him better but he has a job besides going to school and besides getting his basketball training. I thought okay this is normal but when I found out what the job was I couldn’t help but laugh when I heard it. Kaz works in a factory with an assembly line and his job in the assembly line is to chop lettuce. That's right! 10 hours of his week with other young people chopping lettuce. I don't know how much the rate for lettuce choppers is but I gained a new perspective. I never had to take on a second job to help fund my basketball dreams. I had a mom and dad who sacrificed a lot for me in order for me to chase what I love. I called my mom and dad even after writing this post and said thank you for everything.
Now Kaz didn't just come for the basketball training. I told Kaz that I wanted him to be eating a certain way while he was living with me. I through him on the ketogenic diet and started him off right away with dietary fasting with a mixture of exogenous ketones. Quick check in for anyone on the outside right about now but the ketogenic diet is maintaining a diet high in fat so the body can switch its primary fuel source from glucose to ketones. The exogenous ketone product that I use is Keto Force. I have not tried any others yet but I can vouch for this one. It not only gives me the immediate jolt of energy pre-workout or during a day of dietary fasting but if mixed with MCT oil, I can be jettisoned into ketosis within 15 minutes. Kaz was able to notice the effects almost immediately and for someone who's first language isn't English, consistently raved about how he never felt tired after a workout.
Besides the training it was fascinating to watch Kaz interact with other kids I trained as well as my own family and friends. I got nervous after the first incident because I was sure my boss was not going to let me bring Kaz back in the gym. I had just finished Kaz’s first day of training and he asked if he could change by the bleachers. The bathroom was taken and there were many people in the gym I said of course and didn’t think anything of it. Now Kaz wasn't just changing his shorts he was changing his underwear and went all the way down to his bare bottom. The owner of the gym noticed immediately and gave Kaz a very ominous glare. The glare that signified, “Coach Brandon has just brought a Japanese freak into my gym!” I didn't react hastily and simply mention to Kaz you can't do this in America. This somewhat cooled down my boss who glanced over and worded, “WHAT THE FUCK BRANDON!”
I didn't realize either that this was one of the first Japanese people a lot of my friends had ever seen, and this wasn't Kaz’s first time in America. I can't remember ever going to a country and immersing myself to the levels into a culture the way Kaz did. Hearing the same questions over and over again would have driven me insane but Kaz didn’t seem to mind. He seemed to enjoy all the attention and loved any praise he did receive. I guess I didn't realize how much interaction, attention, and even praise gets thrown my way.
Did Kaz get better? Did he improve? I believe so! Whether he becomes a professional basketball player in Japan after his senior season or gets a chance to play for the Japanese national team Kaz grew as a human being in these two weeks. At least that is what he told me. For someone who spoke very little English, Kaz wrote some of the most thoughtful cards to me that really touched me. Being called, “The best man he knows”. I just don't know where else to go with the writing from here. Those are just some of the nicest words you could here from anther human. and if you ever got to meet Kaz you’d know these words are coming from the most sincere person you could ever meet.
I met a lifelong friend in this process and I'm glad I chose to do something that not many others would do. Just another experience that the Bus Driver gets that others missed out on. But I don't think that's the case! This experience wasn't just for me. all the kids I train my family and friends that got to meet Kaz all got to partake in this experience. I like to think that although the internet helps up connect with humans from around the world. that just one generation ago seemed unimaginable, I up the ante! Why connect through a screen when you can do it face to face.