Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"Once You Go, You Know": Ken Atago


Masae Atago, the great-grandmother of Mitakihara Magi recruit Ken Atago Jr., a defensive end.

"Once You Go, You Know": Ken Atago

By Kobeni Yonomori
The Daily Magi
July 1, 2065

Mitakihara Magi recruit Ken Atago Jr. is driven by the memory of his great-grandmother, Masae, a former schoolteacher at Himematsu High School in Osaka, Japan. When he visited her at her deathbed in June of this year, he was in tears.

"I talked to my great-grandma about the future and she simply told me, 'You know where you will heading to in the future and what you will do,'" Atago said. "She told me, 'Once you go, you know.' Those were the final words she told me before I gave her a final kiss and she passed away, smiling. I looked to the sky and I said, 'I will remember those words, great-grandma.'

"I was named after my father Ken, who was in turn named after my grandmother Kinue. Switch some letters around, omit a few and you get Ken. My father played football for the Hosei Tomahawks, but I was born in Mitakihara. I was raised on riichi mahjong and football but I chose football because I could get an exercise in body and mind, rather than just the mind only.


Kinue Atago, the grandmother of Ken Atago Jr. and the mother of Hosei Tomahawks defensive end Ken Atago Sr.

"I wanted to play defense and go after the quarterback. My cousin, Harry, is my neighbor and is just about like a brother to me. He likes to call himself "Dat Retard Master of da Gridiron,' or 'Dat RMG' because he takes pleasure in schooling retarded [sic] offensive lines and crushing the quarterbacks. He does remind me of grand-aunt Hiroe, who Harry is named after. She's no slouch and I often get the better of her in riichi mahjong these days.

"After I returned from my great-grandma's funeral, I decided to visit Mitakihara University unannounced. I saw all the different facilities, the trophies inside the Hall of Fame, the banners, the flags of the school, the city, the province and Canada flying, the statues, the deformed version of the founder that made up the Madoka Union building, and the charms of YSG-Your Silver Garden.

"As I meditated inside YSG, I heard my great-grandma's voice. 'Once You Go, You Know.' Over and over and over again. Then I realized, this was it! This was where I had to go because I know I'm ready to be a Magi. I went over to the office of Coach Tatsuya Kaname and knocked on his door.

"'Come in,' he said. I opened the door. 'Who are you?' I said, 'My name is Ken Atago, a recruit that you were scouting last year.' 'Oh? Oh yeah,' he said. 'You're the cousin of the Retard Master!' 'Yes, begrudglingly I am,' I said. 'Well, do you need something, because I'm preparing for camp.' 'Coach Kaname, I have great news,' I said. 'What? What is it?' he asked. 'I'm committing to Madoka. I'm gonna play for you next year.'

"His smile was as big as a Cheshire cat. 'Excellent,' he said. Coach shook my hand. 'Welcome to the family, Kenny. Well, with that, you know what you gotta do regarding the admissions process, right?' 'Yes sir,' I replied. 'Talk to your counselors about how everything is done. I'll have Miss Seara send a package detailing out your next steps. Thanks for committing and remember that Feb. 1 next year is Letter of Intent Day. Get that bad boy signed, will ya, Kenny?' 'Yes sir!' I said. 'All right, see you next year and welcome once again to the Mitakihara Family.'

"I left Hakurei Centre and leaped toward the heavens, as if to embrace my great-grandmother, who, I would imagine, was happy. 'I did it, great-grandma! You were right!" I shouted. She was right. Once I went here, I knew I would commit here. The rest is history. I think that's how the cliche goes. Something."

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