Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Home for the Holidays

The common cliche says there is no place like home for the Holidays. However, the word "home" has been a rather strange concept for me to grasp the past few years of my life. For me, home has been a constant state of transition. Mr. Webster offers a few definitions of the word "home." Home can be defined as one's place of residence, the social unit formed by a family living together, a place of origin, or a familiar or usual setting. I was born in Southern Indiana, but grew up in Northern Indiana. Most are oblivious to the cultural rift between the two areas. I stayed within Indiana for college, but my parents relocated to St. Louis my freshman year. I still lived most of the year in Indiana, but spent my summers working at a ranch in New Mexico. The summer after college I worked for a baseball team in Illinois and I now reside in Houston, Texas. All of this happened within four years. So it is easy to see why I have a difficult time grasping the concept of home. I'm not sure what or where "home" is for me.

I will admit that this was the first time I actually looked forward to coming to my parents' house 30 minutes southwest of St. Louis, Missouri. They live out in the middle of nowhere. Nothing but hills and winding country roads, which exactly what I needed. Living in downtown Houston wore me down. I guy like me needs to see some nature every once in a while. Christmas allowed me to do that this year.

Christmas has been a difficult time of year for me in recent past. Christmas is often associated with reliving childhood memories, keeping traditions, and visiting with friends and family. Anymore, I feel that Christmas has become just another over-rushed, over-hurried event that is synonymous with the modern American lifestyle. I find the irony in all this almost humorous, but mostly frustrating. My household does what I call "The Blitzkreig." Blitzkreigs have nothing to do with Hitler and the Nazi regime, but are visits to where most of my kinfolk live. The Blitzkreig's primary objective is to see as much family possible in the shortest amount of time not exceeding 24 hours. I mentioned irony earlier. When I was a teenager, my mother told me the importance of family and how you need to enjoy them while you can because they won't be around forever. If family is so important then why does everyone seem to make an effort to spend so little time with them? I find the only way to truly connect to people is through conversation. I have known my cousins for most of my life, but in all reality I know nothing about them. I wish I knew them better, but every time I'm with them I feel like cattle being herded from one dinner to the next. At these dinners everyone spits out the usual chit-chat small talk. Nothing genuine. It's fast and to-the-point. Over-rushed. Over-hurried. This year, I think I had only two complete conversations. One with my uncle about Freemasonry and one with my aunt who was the only one who bothered to ask how my job in Houston. I gave her a full account only to be criticized by my siblings claiming I talked about myself too much. Two weeks ago, my sisters could not wait for their Big Bro to come home. Five days later I get lectured on why the world needs nurses and not professional sports. Again irony.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Happy New Year!

Good Luck to Coach Lynch and the Indiana Hoosier football team in the Insight Bowl!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Country Boy in the Concrete Jungle

The Houston Dynamo organization rode its back-to-back momentum as long as it could. Now we're just another MLS club deep in the heart of Texas. The people who know me well laughed when I told them I was moving to Texas saying how well I would fit in there. Ironically it's been quite the opposite. Despite my efforts to get tapped into the things I enjoy. I've struggled to find my niche down here. Last weekend I went to an alumni event to watch the Indiana-Kentucky basketball game. I had a lot of fun, but I was by far the youngest person there. One of the guys is a big soccer fan and player. He's only a few years older, but he's married. I've done the third wheel thing my fair share of times and I'm tired of playing that game. However I did meet an alumn who cycles and wants to get me on his club because I'm an ex-Little 500 legend in my own mind. After that I had dinner with a Philmont adviser. Talking about something other than Dynamo/soccer was a treat. She's signing me up for her Venture Crew so I can attend their events in the future. That night a friend of mine from church and one of our Dynamo girls had her birthday at the dueling piano bar Howl at the Moon. I tried to recruit a few buddies from work, but to no avail. I went anyway. Most of the people there were from our Sunday school class and we're nothing but a bunch of stiffs. They didn't sing along or get into it, which is where the fun is. All they did was stare at their diet cokes and sprites on the rocks. I drank a few beers, but it's not like I got hammered. My friend Jennifer put it this way: if you were Greek in college and a Christian- you get it. I'm a Saturday night out on the town and a Church boy on Sunday. So for the time being, I'm going to crank up my John Mellencamp and George Strait CD's and keep on being a country in the concrete jungle.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

FINALLY . . . Some normalcy!

Last night I met up with an alumnus from my college fraternity who is a lawyer here in Houston for the Indiana-Georgia Tech basketball game. The event was nothing spectacular or anything extraordiary but it was nice to talk with someone who had a similar background and some knowledge about Hoosier Hoops. We ate some wings and put back a few beers at the BW3's in Houston's Midtown. Some of the guy's friends showed up and it was nice to meet a couple more professionals in the city. The night went by fast after Indiana beat G-Tech and Duke easily rolled over Wisconsin. One of the guys is a die-hard soccer fan. I could tell these guys were lawyers as they constructed arguements both for and against a college football tournament. I was out of my league but it was fun nonetheless. Hopefully I'll meet up with these guys again.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving Re-cap

This was my first Thanksgiving away from I had done for 21 years before. My financial situation did not allow me to make it back to Southern Indiana from South Texas. My friend Jason invited me to join him, his girl friend, and girl friend's mother for dinner at his home in Mobile, Alabama. Since I did not have other plans, I accepted. I left Houston for Mobile Wednesday afternoon. The office was dead and their wasn't much reason to stick around. I drive was going very easily until just past Lafayette, Louisiana where an entire 70 mile chunk of I-10 had been shut down both eastbound and westbound lanes. All of the traffic was detoured to a back-road state highway that definitely not equipped for the extra Thanksgiving Weekend travelers. Needless to say my roadrage was in full bloom. I finally made the drive in just under 8.5 hours.

Jason's girlfriend did a fabulous job of cooking Thanksgiving dinner. It tasted no different than my grandmother's cooking. Despite the great tasting food, the overall atmosphere just wasn't the same without my relatives and all of their characteristics. Saturday, Jason and I hit the rock-climbing gym. I'm incredibly out of shape on the rocks and Jason is just plain out of shape. If I wasn't achored in, belaying my friends could have been a safety issue. The holiday was a nice break from the hectic Dynamo front office that had been my world for the past few weeks during what I now call MLS Cup fever, but needless to say it was a reminder of the homesickness I still get from time to time as I take on the challenges of a new life and new city all on my own.

Monday, November 26, 2007

MLS Champions!

This entry is way overdue, but should not be forgotten.

As a full-time employee of the Houston Dynamo I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel with the team to Washington DC for the MLS Cup final against NE Revolution. And what a ride it was.

We arrived in DC late morning Friday, so after a bite to eat my friends and I headed out on the metro rail for L'Enfant Plaza and the National Mall to see all the sights and monunments. DC is a very beautiful city that was definitely planned out in advance before anything was built. After walking all over the place in fairly cold temperatures, we had a bite to eat over by the Marine Barracks were the top general of the Marine Corps lives. The beer and food for some reason tasted alot better in our nation's capital.

On Saturday was a day of old friendships. I met up with long-time Scouting friend Jeff O'Brien for lunch and a few museums. That night at the MLS Cup pregame party I met with fellow IU soccer hooligan Zach Zayner. Seeing some familiar faces and talking about some common ground was a nice added bonus to already incredible weekend.

Sunday started early. The diehard Dynamo supporters including myself and office friends wanted quality tailgate time before kick-off. Waiting for the metro was a scene from London, England. We were a group of dedicated soccer supporters all decked out in our club's colors catching the underground to the stadium chanting and singing the whole way. Some NE Rev's supporters were on the train as well and exchanged a few looks along the way. The weather on gameday was perfect: sunny and in the low 60's. A large contingent of Texian Army and El Batallon made the trip from Houston. We mingled in the parking lot mixing drinks and scavaging for beer.

For the most part, the game was a blur. I can't remember details or specifics, and it wasn't because I was too drunk. All I know is that we were down a goal going into halftime and that we came back to win 2-1. We had an official victory celebration party at a three story sports bars a few blocks from our hotel. It was wild. So wild that I almost missed the bus to catch our plane home the next morning.

The following Tuesday, City Hall hosted a Victory Rally for us. Whenever a city council member or local government official was introduced, our fans kept chanting "WHERE'S OUR STADIUM?"

A good question indeed ...

Monday, November 12, 2007

MLS Cup Fever!

Houston Dynamo is back in the MLS Cup Championship versus New England Revolution. This is an exact repeat of last year's matchup, but the road to DC was anything but pretty.

Houston was already down a goal in the aggregate scoring system playing host to FC Dallas on Friday November 2. When Dallas struck first scoring the first goal, the outlook was not good. Late game heroics by the Dynamo sent the game into overtime and two more goals scored in overtime sealed Dynamo's advancement to the Western Conference Championship. Now all we could was wait for the result of the Kansas City-Chivas USA game to see where the game would be played. KC dug in and held their 1-0 lead from the first leg. Houston would host the Wizards in the WCF.

The arrived in the office on Monday November 5 to sound of ringing phones. Those phones did not stop ringing all week long. To make things interesting, our phone system crashed because of the flood of incoming calls. The week was grueling with alot of extra hours in the office. Before we knew it, it was game-day.

I was working the will-call tent when some fans asked us if they could buy tickets here. I pointed them in the direction of the ticket window, but they said it was closed. That could mean only one thing: there were no more tickets to sell. We had officially sold-out Robertson Stadium.

I was confident that if Dynamo scored first we would win the game. Our team was firing on all cinders after the come from behind win over Dallas. But even after Nate Jaqua's gem of a header into the net from a corner, the Dynamo attack did not stop. They took no chances. They wanted to dominate KC. Houston scored again in the second half, but still continued to dominate every aspect of the game.

When the final whistle blew, I was relatively calm where as most of my coworkers were estatic, but as I said earlier I knew if we scored first we would win. With 30,972 people in attendance, it was fate to return to MLS Cup. As I stood on the field watching the sea of Orange around me go all out crazy for their team, I could do nothing but smile. I thought about where I was just a short time ago, unpacking from college in my parents basement. I had no job, no leads, nothing. How here I am getting ready to travel to our nation's capital for the MLS Cup championship game.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The "New" American Cowboy

Pardon my American English, but I would like to take a moment and say a big F*** YOU to Annie Proulx. For those of you who do not know, Annie Proulx is the author of the novel Brokeback Mountain, which of course inspired the movie. Ms. Proulx, your novel has forever destroyed the image of the American cowboy - even in the state of Texas. An image that was once was the personification of masculinity, self-reliance, hardwork, toughness and Western romaniticism is now nothing more than an association with homosexuality and something more than just harmless Village People reference. Thank you, Ms. Proulx, thank you very much. Ever since your book became a movie, everytime I wear the clothes I enjoy wearing- wrangler jeans, button down shirts, and my favorite cowboy hat around my own peers, I must deal with references to your literary work. Rodeos and ranches have become "Brokeback Fan Conventions" instead of gathering of some of the toughest athletes in all of sport. Ms. Proulx, I think you should give a public apology for all the cowboy's lives you have brought unnecessary harm to.

A Day in Big D

I normally don't take horoscopes seriously. A couple weeks ago a friend of mine read my Aquarius horoscope from Teen Cosmo (don't ask) and it said something like "a much needed trip out of town will leave you feeling like the Energizer Bunny." So when I had the opportunity to get out of Houston to road trip up north to Dallas for Dynamo's first round playoff game against our I-45 rivals FC Dallas, I didn't hesitate. What an interesting trip it ended up being. I couldn't find a carpool group, but I went anyway driving the four hours by myself. I met up with other front office staff once I got there and we took advantage of my pick-up truck to consume a few adult beverages in true Texas style before kick-off. All week I had been looking forward to seeing a college friend who lives in nearby Ft. Worth. As the game wore on and on, and Dynamo played worse and worse, my friend had still not arrived. Dynamo lost for the first time ever to Dallas and my friend arrived nearly 30 minutes after the game ended. In the meantime, I met some Dynamo supporters and jump-started some Dallas supporters' car. I guess what happens on the field stays on the field. Jennifer and I finally reunited and had a late dinner. Seeing a familiar face and talking to someone on the same page as me was a blessing. The visit was short and soon it was time for me to hit the road. As I ventured south through the Dallas metro area, I got lost in a sea of orange construction barrels. Somehow I got on an off-ramp and there was no on-ramp back onto the highway to be found. I wandered aimlessly through downtown Dallas looking for a gas station so I could fuel up the truck and get some directions. I pulled up to a gas station and all the pumps were shut down. My fuel light was already on. I figured if I could just get back onto the highway I would be alright. Traffic that night was a nightmare due to all of the "weekend before Halloween" festivities. I eventually got back on southbound I-45, but no gas station could be found. I finally saw a Shell Station light and pulled over. As I pulled up I was hit by deja vu- it was the same sketchy Shell Station my mom and I stopped at two months ago when I moved down here. Only this time it was close to 1am and the crack heads were out in full force. The second I got out of the truck a man started washing my car windows asking for a few dollars. I told him that if he told me how to get back onto the highway I would give him a few dollars. He did, but washed my windows anyway. The other crack heads saw this interaction and desided to try their luck- it worked. I shelled out 10 bucks just so I would be left alone. I was so freaked out that I decided that I was sleeping in my own bed that night no matter what. I set my cruise control on 85 mph and held on for the ride. I got home just before 4am.

Surprisingly, the change of scenery was just what I needed. I started my work week refreshed and ready to go. Maybe horoscope's aren't so crazy afterall.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Fisch's Fury

In my lifetime I have learned that writing about your personal frustrations is quite therapuetic. It allows one to vent in a positive way. Therefore, I debut a new segment to my blog this afternoon that I call "Fisch's Fury." In the next however many words that it takes readers will learn about everything that is pissing me off right now. So without further delay, here we go.

Houston Traffic: No matter what time of day or day of the week, a ridiculous amount of cars, trucks, SUV's, etc. are always on the roads. I don't have a problem with the morning and evening commute stuff- that's just part of life, but when I'm fighting to change lanes on a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday at 8am it gets a little old. Not only is there a lot of traffic, but most of the traffic are horrible drivers. Driving is almost spiritual around here. I've found Jesus on more than one occasion while driving around Houston.

Small, yappy dogs: Not to be confused with large rodents, the Houston Metropolitan area is home to hundreds of small, yappy dogs. This is expected given the lack of wide open space which is more appropiate for a Labrador or larger dog. The other day I was pulling into my apartment in my big ass truck, when Fido decided he liked the red paint and ran straight toward my 6,000 lbs of 4 wheel drive madness. The dogs owner glared at me as if I was at fault. Am I bitter? A little, simply because that dog probably eats better than I do.

This next section might seem a little hypocritical given the theme of the "Fisch's Fury" entry.

People who complain/whine: I worked my ass off to get where I am. I applied for countless jobs in anything from minor league baseball to independent arena football. I know how hard it is to land a job in sports, especially if you do not live in a large market. The Houston Dynamo organization was orginally located in San Jose, CA as the Earthquakes. Several people from the Earthquakes remained with the organization and relocated to Houston. However, everyday I hear co-workers bitch and moan about how Houston is too hot, the people here are rednecks, this sucks, that sucks, and it goes on and on. I'm tired of it. First off, if you hate the weather that much then leave. No one is forcing you to stay in Houston. Secondly, this is the South, not hippy California. People beat to a different drum down here. Southerners are a little more laid-back, and just because it's different than what you're accustomed to doesn't make it wrong.

And if one more person gives me shit for listening to country music, I just might have to go "country" on their ass.

Proud to be a neo-Texan and proud to work for HOUSTON DYNAMO!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy Weekend

One night can change a lot of things. One night's events can set a chain reaction in motion. After one month here in Houston, homesickness had sunk in and I was questioning why I even had come down here in the first place. However one night changed all that. Last Friday night I sort of went on my first date in quite some time. I asked a girl from my apartment complex to join my friends and I for an evening in Houston's Midtown. My friends already were quite "happy" by the time we arrived and not before long, it was just the two of us. But we had a great time nonetheless. I enjoyed our coversation and getting to know her better. Connecting with someone of the opposite sex is a feeling like no other. The feeling sets a man free. I look forward to our next evening together.

Saturday night the same theory applied as I watched LSU's surprise come from behind win over the Florida Gators, and Stanford's surprise upset over USC. Once again the BCS system has been rocked and all the rules thrown out the window. I cannot remember a crazier season for college football in my lifetime. On any given Saturday David can overcome Goliath. I really do not see two undefeated teams going to the BCS National Championship Game. Ohio State is the lone Big Ten school that remains undefeated but has remained under the rader with all of the crazier events occurring on the grid-iron.

And last but certainly not least the big MLS Western Conference clash between Houston Dynamo and LA Galaxy. We had completely sold out the stadium two weeks prior, so we anticipated a large crowd despite the unlikelihood that a certain LA midfielder named David Beckham would make the trip. We arrived at the stadium at 8:30am to begin our preparations for the gates opening at Noon and a 2pm kickoff. I had to help pass out materials once the gates open, and the people just kept coming and coming. When I finally entered the stadium with 10 minutes remaining in the first half, I was overwhelmed by a sea of Orange. Every corner of the stadium was packed with dedicated Dynamo fans. The game was by far one of the best soccer atmosphere's I had ever been in for a regular season MLS game. Despite the front office's performance to sell out the game, the team on the pitch did not perform live up to its end of the bargain. Even though Dynamo scored first, a lackluster defense and overall team effort allowed LA to score to unanswered goals losing 2-1 in front of 30,000 Houstonians. The loss puts the MLS playoff picture into a scramble once again.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Workin it . . .

Yesterday afternoon I had had enough of making cold sales calls- the kind of phone calls where you basically pick a phone number, call it, make the pitch, and hope for the best. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn't So I decided to acutally try and do something what productive with my time. I pulled out my Sigma Nu fraternity alumni directory and flipped to the Houston, TX region. I found a guy who worked for a big law firm downtown and called him up. I introduced myself as a recent SNU IU grad who moved to the area just a few weeks ago. We talked about IU and fraternity stuff for about 20 minutes. I didn't mention who I worked for once until he asked me. Without pitching anything, he said he would be interested in hearing more about what Houston Dynamo had to offer. Finally having a positive phone conversation was a pleasant change of events.

That afternoon we had to count all the seats in the stadium to make sure they all actually existed. The front office is taking every necessary precaution to gurantee every fan in attendance for our last home regular season on Sunday has a positive and memorable Dynamo experience.

Later that evening I had my first major networking/ public relations event. The weekly radio show Dynamo Power Hour hosted by Glenn Davis broadcasted an extended two hour show at the Taco Milagro restaurant downtown. The restaurant chain is owned by one of our larger clients who has not been the happiest with his Dynamo partnership lately. Before the account was assigned to me, the account executive before me has promised him the world and obviously could not provide it. The sales team has tried to patch the relationship ever since. When it was appropiate, I sat down with the client just in introduce myself and learn more about his business. We talked soccer, the status of the stadium being built, etc. He said he was very happy with everything and verbally committed to renewing his partnership for 2008. A great crowd showed up for the show and got to hear commentary from players Brian Ching and Stuart Holden, and head coach Dominic Kinnear.

Monday, October 1, 2007

I Still Got It!

You can take the man out of the fraternity, but you can't take the fraternity out of the man. After our indoor soccer game Friday night, some friends from the Dynamo front office decided to meet up in Houston's Midtown to celebrate the end of the work week. The venue of choice that night was the Tipsy Clover. The place reminded me a lot of Kilroys at Indiana University. Similar set up, vibe, and crowd. My friends and I were talking about everything but work, when they dared me to go talk to some girls who just entered the patio. I smiled and said "okay." I don't think they expected me to go through with it. I approached the lucky ladies, said I was new in town, and introduced myself. From there it was like pushing a canoe down a wild river. No looking back. I amused Maia, Denise, and Amy with my Midwest small town charm. They were so impressed that they invited me to go to another bar with them. We conversed for nearly three hours. My partners in crime could not find me at the Clover and had moved on without me. Unfortunate for them because I had every intention of introducing them. Maybe they will think twice before daring me to talk to young women. Afterall, I don't think they liked what happened. I got three phone numbers, they got nothing. There's still a little SNU left in me after all.

IU Football beats Iowa on the road 38-20
IU Soccer beats Michigan 3-2 (OT)
Houston Dynamo beats FC Dallas 3-0

Thursday, September 27, 2007

From Minor League Baseball to Major League Soccer

I once heard somewhere "If you can work in minor league baseball, you can work anywhere." Whoever said knew what he was talking about. In minor league baseball you have small staffs, work long hours, host six to eight game homestands, and barely have a weekend off. Interning for the Rockford RiverHawks in the independent Frontier League was no different. Our staff was so small, interns made up half of the "full-time" staff. Any time there was any type of event, everyone was there. Everyone from the GM to the grounds crew. Working in major league soccer is a whole different world. First, I have worked only one game and I have been here almost a month. When it comes to community events like the Dynamo Charity Golf Outing and Houston Soccer Challenge Tournament, the ticket sales team's presence was not needed. Enough people from the front office would be there. In Rockford, I was expected to due anything and everything necessary to get things done. In Houston, I am expected to due one thing and one thing only- sell tickets. It's different- like night and day. We have a seperate department for sales, marketing, media relations, operations, and sponsorships. The Riverhawks had one person for each of those tasks. Yesterday we had a big staff meeting to talk about our marketing strategy for when Dynamo plays its playoff game here in Houston. Our goal is a sold-out crowd. We've got a lot of great things planned. Welcome to the big leagues I guess.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Aging Frat Stars

At 22 ripe years of age, I still feel very much attached to the college lifestyle and last night proved I could still party with the best of them on a Thursday night. However there is one major difference worth noting: in college, I didn't have to be at the office at 8:30 in the morning. Up to this point, I hadn't had the chance to experience much of the Houston night life, so when a guy from the office invited me to join him for his Thursday night prowl, I of course said yes. When someone buys you a shot at a bar, the polite gesture and proper bar etiquette is to drink it. Since I'm still the new guy in town, several new people that I met welcomed this Hoosier with a shot of their choosing. One shot isn't a big deal, but several of them over the course of the night mixed with the beer bottle I had as my sidearm added up to a lethal equation. Time passed as I rocked out to an 80's cover band and talked to several beautiful,"surgically enhanced" women. Before I knew it, it was 3am by the time I got home and my alarm clock sounded just 4 hours later. The whole 9 to 5 thing prevents me from taking the afternoon naps I was accustomed to, so staying out late and getting up early really takes a toll on you. Recovering took me most of today proving officially that I am an aging frat star.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Life Beyond Sigma Nu

For the past three years, I have lived with nearly 80 guys. There was constant action and human interaction almost 24/7 within the halls and walls of the Sigma Nu Fraternity house on the Indiana University campus. Now I live alone in a one bedroom apartment in downtown Houston, Texas. My apartment complex is very quiet and I rarely see any of my neighbors. The only one I have met is the guy next door to me and that is only because I got bored and decided to introduce myself. His name is Ali and he is a French-Iraqi immigrant. Everyday I see a car with an Illinois license plate and a Delta Zeta window sticker. I wouldn't mind meeting her. I have caught myself on several occasions waking up in the middle of the night or looking around while watching television trying to figure out why it is so quiet. If it was ever completely quiet inside the SNU house, something was wrong. The constant noise and interaction is something I had grown quite accustomed to and something I really enjoyed about the fraternity lifestyle. Needless to say, it's been weird living alone in a big city where you do not know many people. I have been getting out though trying to meet my kind of people. There is a bike shop just a couple blocks from my apartment and I took a fly-fishing class Saturday morning.

Big weekend for sports:

Indiana Football 41, Akron 24
Houston Dynamo 3, LA Galaxy 1- Dynamo clinch playoff spot.
Chicago Bears 20, KC Chiefs 10
Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart are 2nd & 3rd respectively in the NASCAR chase.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sucking Wind and Dodging Bullets

Obviously most people working in the Houston Dynamo front office are soccer fans and former players. I am no different. Some guys from the office and I play indoor soccer twice a week. Even though most of us are in our 20's, we talk about the "glory days" of our playing careers reflecting on intense high school state tournament games in horrible weather conditions and wild stories from club soccer weekend tournaments. There also exists the key element of how out of shape we all are. One of the requirements to make the Carroll HS varsity team was to run two miles under 14 minutes. These days, I can barely run five minutes during an indoor game without running out of juice. One of the most important things in soccer is your "touch" or how easily you can control the ball with your feet. When your energy and endurance goes out the window, your touch quickly follows. You can't control the ball if you can't keep your head above your knees. This was my problem the other night. I couldn't control the ball to save my life. I even completely wiffed receiving a pass and watched the ball shamefully roll into the back of our own net. No wonder soccer is called the beautiful game.

I've noticed that weather and traffic are the two main news topics on any given day in the Houston area. So when a tropical storm began brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, the Bayou City entered a minor state of crisis. I didn't think much of it at first, but as that tropical storm was given the name Humberto and began spiraling toward the coast, I couldn't help but get a little concerned. You see, in Indiana, don't have to worry about Hurricanes. You get the occasional tornado, but never do you have to worry about your house getting flooded and ripped of its foundation in the same natural disaster. The locals in the office took advantage of this Midwestern boy telling me to stock up on bottled water and non-perishable food items. I almost fell for it. Everyone was too calm for me to get worried. That night, I laid in my bed waiting for the storm to hit. It never happened. The next morning, the news anchors said we dodged a bullet, but I thought to myself "What about the people to the east who didn't dodge a bullet? What about them?"

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Great Migration

There wasn't much space left in my Chevy Silverado pick-up truck when my mom and I left the St.L for Houston. The entire bed and extended cab was packed to its max. The drive was relatively uneventful except for driving along an enormous lake in Oklahoma and getting caught in a horrible thunderstorm in Dallas during rush hour, the one thing we didn't want to happen. The tarp covering my new furniture and belongings barely offered any protection from the rain. So mom pulled over to a gas station on Dallas' south side aka "The Hood" if you've never been there. We left not much longer despite the rain. We stopped for the night right when our nerves were getting tense. We were about an hour from Houston. Texas is a beautiful state- a true Southern belle if you will. My Philmont friends from Texas often said it was my destiny to one live in the Lone Star state.

Driving through morning rush hour traffic in Houston was probably more nerve racking than evening rush hour traffic in Houston. Trying to change lanes and navigate in a place where you know nothing is quite the challenge. MapQuest is not as helpful as it might seem. Ultimately, mom and I found the apartment. By the time we moved everything in, I looked like I had jumped into a swimming pool. Looking outside my bedroom window and seeing skyscrapers is something that is going to take some getting used to. I did get to bring my mom to a Dynamo game. Since I've been here everyone has been very helpful and friendly to the new guy on the block. I've already made some friends, found a couple bars, and started playing some indoor soccer.

Now that I'm working for Houston Dynamo of major league soccer, a good amount on this blog will be dedicated to soccer in the future.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Best Weekend Ever

When Houston Dymano made me a formal offer to join their sales team, I looked at a map, and I realized I would not get the chance to visit my beloved alma mater Indiana University for quite some time. I lucked out and my start date in Houston allowed me one weekend to visit B-town when my Sigma Nu brothers were there. Last Thursday I packed my truck and headed to Hoosier Nation, which didn't seem strange at all. For the past four years, the end of August was always B-town time. When I arrived at 1015 North Jordan Avenue, there were boxes and furniture everywhere. Brothers still moving in. Nothing seemed different to me. Everyone was very excited and supportive about my opportunity. We wasted no time in getting down to first weekend business. Thursday evening was Hairy Bears at Bears Place. About eight SNU's walked into the back room and it was nothing but Zetas, Kappas, and AZD's. A solid 5:1 girl to guy ratio. After not one, but two Hairy Bears, the Men of Beta Eta chapter decided the women in the establishment needed to be lead in an inebriated version of Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond. Soon after, it was off to Kilroys on Kirkwood. I ran into a lot of people I never expected to see again. Luckily the night ended early and with good reason because we were going pontooning on Lake Monroe all day Friday.

Friday morning began with Doug Davis going to the senior rooms mustering the troops for pontooning. We had done our recruitment of local talent the previous evening. After a run to the grocery and liquor store, the SNU's were off to Lake Monroe with several very attractive Zetas and Chi-O's. In all seriousness, there was not a single girl on that boat who was not drop dead gorgeous. We did nothing but swim and drink cheap beer for a solid eight straight hours. The weather was warm and sunny. Perfect weather. The boat broke down in the late afternoon and I ended up stranded in the lake, but I was with a beautiful woman so I had no complaints really. When we got back to the house, I had to quickly get cleaned up to go over to Morhbach, Eaton, Meiers, and Staresenich's house for a kegger. I was sun burnt, dehydrated, slighty drunk, and basically had no business drinking again, but I did anyway. Those guys were very happy to see me. I then got a call from my friend Abi who wanted to meet up for dinner. We had a pizza at Nicks and the whole time I felt two steps away from death, but I went anyway. We visted for about two hours. I walked back to 10th street only to walk back to Kirkwood for a brothers 21st birthday. I ran into a girl from the pontoon boat, she looked horrible too. I bascially socialized until I couldn't keep my eyes open.

Saturday was all about one thing: the live band from Little 500 that was to perform that night in the house courtyard. I took my cousin Ashley around town and had dinner with my former superviser Tyra, who happens to be a Texas native. We all helped the band setup and hung out with them before the show. Soon enough it was time to tap the kegs and get things started. We had two off-duty police officers working the back and front doors to keep the random strangers away. The band rocked and the party was a huge success. Every freshman there wants to be a SNU now and every sorority girl there said this was the best fraternity they have ever been to. Even after the band finished their set, the party was still just getting started. Every brother had a girl on his arm. I don't think anyone went to bed before 5am. I know I didn't. Everyone kept giving me hard time saying I was crazy to walk away from another year of this.

On Sunday, no body woke up before noon. A bunch of us went to the Gresham food court for breakfast/lunch. Going there brought back some memories. Soon enough it was time for me to say my goodbyes and hit the road. Before I officially left, I walked around campus one last time and took those pictures I had not got around to yet.

Thanks guy for a weekend I will never forget.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Heil to Old IU

I received my college diploma in the mail the other day, which can be a weird experience. As I opened the envelope and held my 8x10 inch piece of cardboard in my hands, all I could manage to think was: "Is this it?" After four years of classes, late nights, exams, papers, cramming sessions, and a roller coaster of emotions all I have to prove that I did it is a piece of cardboard with few signatures on it? I sort of feel like I've been hosed. Afterall, it's not like anyone will ever ask to see my college diploma. However this whole ordeal forces me to reflect on my college years in a different way. College is not about "proof" or learning a particular craft or trade such as business or journalism. College is about getting an education, and that "education" can be viewed in several ways. There is the academic education and the life experience education. My years at IU were probably the most influential on me becoming the man I am today. Never before had I been so challenged in so many ways. Never before had I been broken so far down and built back up. I got to meet some great people. I got to do some great things. Few of these examples were in the classroom but in the world I lived in around the classroom. I know I'm never going to feel that way again. I look back at how naive I was about the bigger world around me and I can't help but laugh. I may never actually use my "journalism degree" but my four years at Indiana University made me a stronger person and I am grateful for the time I spent there. The fact that I will not return to Bloomington this fall still has not quite sunk in yet, but no matter what I do or where I go, I will always take the time to say "Heil to Old IU!"

Saturday, August 11, 2007

God Bless Texas

If you're gonna play in Texas, you gotta have a fiddle in the band. That lead guitar is hot but not for an Indiana man . . . okay, so I ad-libbed a few words in my own rendition of this classic Alabama song, but hey I'm entitled to these days. The Houston Dynamo offered the position I was looking for. I'll be a salesman in the corporate division of their sales department. Basically, I'll make phone calls to Houston businesses and corporations trying to convince them to buy season ticket packages or setting up group events. So two things are official. One, I'll be working in professional soccer, and two, I'll be living in Texas, which is ironic. Many of my Philmont Ranch co-workers are Texans and kidded with me saying I was the biggest, boldest fantasy Texan. Basically they meant that the only thing that prevented me from being a true Texan was the fact that I was not from Texas. My former boss in the media lab at IU said it was my destiny to live in Texas at some point in my life. I don't have to report until early September, so in the meantime I am home with my parents in St. Louis looking online for apartments, furniture, a new truck, and anything else I might need for my new life. I'll be at IU in a few weeks to visit everyone there one last time for a while.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

You aren't a laid-back Southerner are you?

The Houston Dynamo professional soccer club flew me down to hang out with them for a couple days, so I could take in a game and to hang out in the front office a little to meet the sales team and other staff. I had to drive to Chicago's O'Hare Airport which is the biggest pain in the ass ever. When I arrived, however, I got the V.I.P. treatment. Now I know how everyone else feels when a big company brings them in. The team's vice president and director of sales picked me up from the airport, and took me straight to an absolutely fabulous hotel in downtown Houston. I took a much needed 45 minute power nap then walked the two blocks to the Dynamo's office on the 34th floor of The Wedge skyscraper. I ate some pizza with the staff then went over to the University of Houston campus where the Dynamo currently play their games. I got a full tour of the stadium and an all-access field pass. I ran into former Hoosiers John Michael Hayden and Jay Nolly. They were both very excited to hear that I might possibly work in Major League Soccer. One thing I really liked was the V.I.P. tent for season ticket holders. Before league games, one of the assistant coaches will speak to season ticket holders and break down the day's match-up. Supporter groups Texian Army and El Batallon provided plenty of noise and atmosphere. A decent sized crowd attended the mid-week Super Liga game. When the final whistle was blown, I was starving and exhausted. I went straight to bed after some food. The morning the vice prez treated me to breakfast and took me over to the office to sit-in on a staff meeting. I sat down with the sales team one-on-one. I felt confident that I would fit in and contribute to the franchise. I thought the nail was hammered into my coffin when the British born vice president asked me if I was a laid-back Southerner. My heart skipped a beat. I thought I was done for. I answered: "From a cultural stand point yes, but my parents didn't raise a slacker." They said they would have an answer for me by Monday, so until then, all I can do is wait.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Frid's Wedding and Fort Wayne

Matt Bueter's words at the conclusion of Dave Fridley's wedding summed up just about everyone's thoughts: "Can you believe that just happened?" As I stood next to my longtime friend Rachel Esther, I was in total agreement. I had just witnessed my first close friend to get married. A strange situation. Dave's wedding brought me back to my "hometown" for the first time in nearly three years. Which made for an interesting 24 hours.

The journey to my hometown was an interesting one. I left Thursday night after a RiverHawks game. My plan was to avoid the Chicago traffic by driving through it at night. I would drive until I was too tired to drive anymore. I went to my apartment, grabbed my stuff, and hit the road around 11pm. I got through Chicago, and called it a night at a sketchy truck stop just outside Valparaiso. I slept in the back seat of my Jeep. The air was muggy, but I kept my windows up for security purposes. I finished the drive to "The Fort" Friday morning.

I had many people to see and very little time to do it in. This would be a quick visit. I had to be back in Rockford for a game Saturday night. I saw a few people, but then I realized I really wanted to see Dave before the main event. I showed up at his house right as his dad finished breakfast. His mother welcomed me in with open arms. Every one was very calm, relaxed, and in good spirits. I hope it's like that on my wedding day. After a couple hours of playing Guitar Hero on xBox, Dave and his groomsmen had work to do. So did I. I had lunch with long-time friend Austin Hill. Two hours at Buffalo Wild Wings was not enough. I expected to feel awkward as I drove through my old stompin grounds, but it surprisingly did not feel that way. Rachel Esther was my date to the wedding. I had finally gotten Rachel to go on a date with me after nine years of trying and after she gotten engaged. Oh well.

The wedding was at the beautiful St. Vincents church. Dave and Lindsey looked amazing. During the whole ceremony I laughed to myself because the whole time I thought "This is Dave, and he's getting married!" I don't think the guy took anything seriously his entire life and here he was getting married- one of the biggest decisions of your life. I knew most of the groomsmen and bridesmaids, which made for a fun reception. After a nice meal and several beers, it was time to dance. In typical Dave Fridley fashion, it was all country music. My kind of music. I taught a few people to line dance. As the night went on, I still had more people to see. Another friend, Leslie Scott-Slayback was in town for our friend Aimee Kien's birthday. They both knew I was in town and both begged me to see them. We met at a bar in downtown Fort Wayne that we grew up hearing about, but I had never been to. Both Leslie and Aimee looked incredible. Even though I hoped not to run into Carroll HS people, I ran into several. Everyone thought I had disappeared. I informed them of my family's relocation to St. Louis. They asked me what I was up to and I told them of my summer in minor league baseball and my upcoming trip to visit the Houston Dynamo of MLS. I enjoyed seeing their eyes get real big when I told them of all the amazing things I had been a part of the past few years at IU. Not bad for the shy, quiet kid in high school that no one took seriously. I told them all I enjoyed seeing them and wished them all the best. The night was not nearly long enough, and over before I knew it. I knew I had a long drive Saturday morning and did not want to push my limits.

I had a hero's welcoming when I returned to Fort Wayne after a three year absense. But I had to realize that that was a rare occasion. Leslie, Aimee, Rachel and Austin were my high school friends. We had some great times together and I miss them dearly. Dave, Matt, and Lindsey were my close friends in college, and we also had some great times together and I will miss them dearly as well. Dave's wedding made me realize one important fact of life: you don't know you've got until its gone.

Best wishes Dave and Lindsey. Best wishes everyone.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Rocky Mountain High Colorado!

That John Dever is definitely not full of sh*t. Any one who has ever felt the thrill of climbing a mountain knows it is a high unlike any other. So when when I received my invitation for the MLS ticket-sales job fair in Denver, Colorado, of course I was going to hit the backcountry. Luckily, I have a few friends in the area. After my interviews Thursday, Erica Jenewein picked me up at the hotel. Erica and I did some mission work together Summer 2002 on the Black Pines Lakota-Sioux Reservation just south of Badlands National Park. We had not seen each other in five years, but it felt like five days. Erica and I explored downtown until we met up with my Philmont Ranger buddy Lee Tolbert. The truly awesome thing about working at Philmont is that you have friends all over the country. We met at the Rock Bottom Brewery and began making our adventure plans. We decided we were going to knock out not just one 14er, but three. Mt. Lincoln, Cameron, and Bross were our backcountry destinations. Friday was all preparation for our hike. We left for the trailhead at 12,000 feet that evening. Camp was a packed house. We had to pitch our tents in a meadow. In the parking lot, I met a former IU girl who lived in the Kappa Delta house next door to Sigma Nu and happened to be a Little 500 rider. Small world. We arose early Saturday around 5am. The air was cold, but the 2000 ft elevation gain in 1.5 miles warmed us right up. The trails were steep and the wind vicious. We met some really cool people, and dogs, along the way. The elevation crippled me a little, but nothing major. All in all, we bagged four peaks in four hours. Not bad for a guy who lives in the Midwest and had only two days to acclimate. Our trip to the 14ers of Colorado was exactly what the doctor ordered. My summer in minor league baseball has been fun, but a little lacking on the adventure side. Once again, I conqured the moutain. My only wish is that I could do it more often.

Risk and Money

As my summer-long quest for sports industry knowledge continues, I came upon one incredible revelation as I sat on a bus headed toward Denver, Colorado from the airport: He who takes the least risks, makes the least money. This statement is 100% Jon Spolestra- the man who wrote the book on sports marketing. A man I have become a true disciple of. That statement is why I found myself at the Radisson Hotel outside the Mile High City the morning of the MLS All-Stars vs. Celtic FC match. I applied for an invitation to the one-time-a-year league-wide job fair and I actually got invited. My dad put it bluntly: "You have to go." So that's all there was to it, plain and simple. Despite my reluctance at first due to my yearning to hold onto IU life as long as possible by going to grad-school, deep down I knew dad was right. Never let an opportunity pass you by. I may not get the chance to meet with people from every single professional soccer club in the USA ever again.

The job fair went very well. I got to see which clubs I would actually fit in with. I felt I had strong connection with the Houston and Dallas teams, but that is just my perspective. The decision is ultimately there's, not mine. The 10-15 minutes I had with team officials flew by like the wind. It seemed that everyone else was talking much longer than I. Denver is still my #1 choice, but that may not happen. We'll see how things work out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Minor league ball, major league dreams

The original goal of the Frontier League was to bring professional baseball to locations that could never possibly attract a major league affiliated ball club. Independent league baseball has recently been the target of frustration and ridicule among my colleagues and I, but there was something about being at GCS Park, home to the Gateway Grizzlies, that brought it all together. As I gazed upon the St. Louis skyline beyond the first baseline bleachers, my eyes drifted down to a family of five sitting a few rows behind me. I could see the excitement in the young boy's eyes. I also could see the burden in his father's eyes from a long, hard 40 hour week of labor in the hot, humid Mississippi River valley air. I could tell this family simply did not have the means to cross the river and attend a Cardinals games. But why should this young boy and his family be denied the opportunity to watch a live baseball game in person? The green grass. The roar of the crowd. The smell of the hotdogs and popcorn. All add to the package that can only be experienced in person. That young boy probably will not get to attend many games in his lifetime, but he will remember the games he did attend. So I guess it's best for him to attend a Frontier League game than no game at all.

The very next night, my dad took my family of five to a Cardinals game. Our seats were in the Redbird Club section directly below the broadcasters booths behind homeplate. The Redbird Club was exclusive with its own air-conditioned bar, catering, and food much nicer than your average ballpark food. Dad bought us all the food and drink we wanted. I never asked him how much the tickets cost and I cant comprehend how much money he spent. Sometime during the seventh inning stretch I thought of the family I saw at Gateway and I was thankful to be where I was in Busch Stadium. I was also thankful for what the Frontier League provided for those less fortunate than me.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

To good times and good friends . . .

I went to visit some fraternity brothers of mine in Chicago last weekend. We had a great time and somehow managed not to get arrested, but it made me realize I spend way too much time living in the past. This summer has been rather surreal. The fact that I have a college diploma with my name on it has not quite sunk in yet. Maybe that is why I find myself looking at old pictures or thinking a million "what-if" situations where if I had done one thing versus another my life would be better. Thinking about the past is a waste of time. You can only move forward.

The two weeks I spent at home after school were some of the hardest of my life emotionally. I went from being Big Man on Campus as a senior and bike team captain of Sigma Nu Fraternity to just another guy. I had no job. No plan. Nothing. I didn't think a life after IU was possible, so I held onto what was safe for as long as possible. This internship with the Rockford RiverHawks has at least calmed my fears about post-college life. No matter where I go or what I do, there will be good people you can relate to.

My college buddies will always be just that- my college buddies. We had our time and it was great. I wouldn't change it for anything. The games, the parties, the tailgates- all great times. I know I can rely on them for advice, but I also know I can rely on new friends for just as good advice.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rockford Purple Sox

In addition to my many duties for the Rockford RiverHawks baseball team, I'm currently leading a campaign to change the franchises name to the Purple Sox. The season is almost half-way over and up until about a week ago, our team was the worst in the Frontier League. The players wore purple socks one game for the "Give Cancer a Curveball" Night. The team has not lost a game since. The team has not stopped wearing their purple socks either. The manager J.D. Arndt goes as far as pulling up his pants legs with his purple stockings in full view for all to see. All athletes have their superstitions and rituals, but baseball players are a whole different breed. If somehow, this Rockford baseball team is dubbed Frontier League champions this year, then I feel it is only appropiate to change the team's name to the Purple Sox.

P.S. I want to give my former superviser Tyra Robertson a big shout-out for bringing some Texas attitude to the IU School of Journalism Multi-media lab.

Perks of the Job

People have many misconceptions about working in minor league baseball. People ask me what I do and they say "it must be great seeing all those games!" I chuckle and tell them I hardly get to watch the games, and when I do, I don't really get to enjoy it. As an intern, I work long hours and don't get paid jack. However, there are some pretty awesome perks to the job. After the the last fan left the stadium after a six game homestand, the general manager rolled out a keg. Play some music, add beer, get some 20-something year olds together, and just like that it's a college party all over again. We played cornhole and beer pong in the beer garden until 1 in the morning having just a good old time. Fun is good. Sure the days are long and you have to deal with some of the most obnoxious people, but if you're not having fun working in sports, then you ought to get out.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Coach Hep: The Rock of Indiana

My alma mater Indiana University lost a dear friend. Indiana head football coach Terry Hoeppner passed away from brain tumor complications yesterday morning in the Bloomington hospital. Coach 'Hep' was a players' coach. He was a students' coach.

From the moment he arrived on campus, Coach Hep did everything within his power to turn around the Indiana football program. More importantly than the win/loss record, Hep made us all proud to be Hoosiers again. He led his players through the tailgate fields and stadium parking lots encouraging everyone he passed to come inside to cheer "their" team to victory. Inside Memorial Stadium sat a giant limestone rock and it was every fans' obligation on Saturday afternoon to "Defend the Rock!" After every win, the players led the fans in "Indiana, Our Indiana"- the fight song. The Indiana native himself understood the history and tradition that did exist with Indiana football. He used his state connections to emphasize the importance of in-state recruiting when establishing a winning program.

Hep's fight against his illness paralleled his never say die coaching style. He was a warrior. He was a fighter. During the 2006 season, he endured two surgeries and miraculously missed only two games. He very much wanted to be healthy again and return to coaching the Hoosiers. In his short tenure as coach, the Indiana football program made incredible progress.

Rest in peace Coach Hep. You were the rock of Indiana. You will be missed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Field Trip

I had not been on a field trip since I was in high school, and I could not think of any other way to describe my day trip to Chicago anything other than a field trip. The RiverHawks production crew and I went to a Chicago White Sox game to get a "behind-the-scenes" look at how a major league team produces its game and runs its scoreboard. So even though I got a day off work to go to a baseball game, it was a learning experience.

The day started out as a great adventure in public transportation. Where I come from, public transportation is piling fifteen guys into the bed of a pick-up truck. We rode the Metro train into the city, hopped on a water taxi to the Billy Goat Tavern, walked down Michigan Ave. and then rode the subway train to U.S. Cellular Field. I learned more about Chicago history in one afternoon than in the 22 years of my life. The Billy Goat Tavern is where the Chicago Cubs "Curse of the Billy Goat" legend originated, as well as the SNL "Cheezeborger cheezeborger cheezeborger!" sketch. We received VIP honors at the ballpark and went to a lot of places most people do not have access to. Maybe it is just because they are Chicagoans but going to a Sox game with my colleagues was like living the movie "Fever Pitch." I'm a big sports fan and all. I love my Hoosiers, Bears, and Cardinals more than any other, but these guys who are way too obsessed with their baseball team.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Best Man

My good friend Cory Bivona asked me to be his best man for his wedding last night. I accepted the honor without hesitation telling my friend that I would be there anyway. I might be stricken to a wheel chair with tubes coming out of every orifice of my body, but I would be there.

In the back of my mind, as Cory gave me the details of the wedding so far, I wondered: "What exactly does it mean to be someone's 'best man'?" The tradition of the best man has been around for years, but does anyone really stop to comtemplate its meaning or significance? I doubt it.

Cory continued, telling me all the reasons why I was the only worthy canidate. He said I was the only constant source of friendship that he has had in his life when it mattered most. I was present at all the most important events of his life. I was the only friend from Indiana that ever visited him or called him after he moved away. I don't think I have ever received a better compliment.

Cory and I go way back. On his very first day of 5th grade class in Indiana, this kid talked about a boy scout camping trip he went on. Cory was a scouter where he used to live. Turns out, that kid was me and I got him involved with Troop 12. We went on our first backpacking trip together and went on a 12 day trek at the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico.

As Cory talked on, I started to get a better idea of the best man's role, but I wasn't satisfied. I did some research first thing this morning. The role of best man was introduced by the Germanic goths at approximately 200 AD. Due to a shortage of women. Goth men frequently resorted to bride kidnapping to procure wives. When the groom went to the bride's house with the intent of carrying her off, the best man was dispatched to help fight off the relatives of the bride.

Backpacking may not be of the same intensity as Germanic Goth-style wive-stealing, but I was starting to get the concept. The groom and the best man overcome some sort of obstacle together. Being the groom's best man meant to be his best friend, and no greater title or honor exists than to be a man's best friend.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The crack of the bat . . .

"The heart of the game is the crack of the bat." James Earl Jones spoke these words narrating a documentary on baseball as you begin your tour of the Louisville Slugger bat factory and museum. I heard these words several years ago, but their meaning did not hit me until last night.

Last night we had a double-header against Windy City. The first game went along just fine and the RiverHawks actually won, but the second game was one of those games that drug out forever and the home team was getting slaughtered. Everyone just wanted the torture to end. The air was cold and the wind made matters worse. At one point there were maybe 20 people left watching the game. The game did not end until well after midnight. All I could think about was going home.

Right when I was about to leave, another intern said: "Let's go play on the field." Everyone grabbed their gloves and I reluctantly followed. For the next thirty minutes or so we hit, catched, and threw just like we were kids again. I had not had such innocent fun in quite a long time. Playing ball on that minor league field in Rockford, Illinois took me back to a time when all was good about sports. A time when people did not play for fame or fortune, but for love of the game.

Whether we want to admit it, baseball is in each and everyone of us. Baseball is an allegory to the American dream. Baseball, like the American dream, has changed over time, but has stood the test of time.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Meeting Danica Patrick

Working in minor league baseball has its perks besides free brats at the ball park. You get to meet some cool people. So just as any home grown Indiana boy, I love the Indianapolis 500. It's without question the greatest spectacle in racing and the best team is the Andretti-Green Racing team. When Danica Patrick left the Dave Letterman team it was a big deal because the Letterman team gave D.P. her big break. Danica happens to be a Roscoe, IL native which is very close to Road Ranger Stadium where the Riverhawks play. She's come back the past few years in between races to make a community appearance and help raise some cash for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. As a front office employee of the Rockford Riverhawks I had the opportunity to meet the best-looking spectacle in racing.

River Hawks Professional Baseball

Hey everyone. This came up sudden, but I’m currently working as a video production intern with the Rockford (IL) Riverhawks baseball team. I read about the job on a Tuesday, drove up for an interview on Wednesday, hired on the spot, and started that afternoon. Opening day is Friday May 25th, and we’ve been running around like maniacs trying to get things ready to go. I’m having a great time though and learning a lot about minor league baseball. Hopefully this will get my foot in the door and launch me to the next level.

Congratulations to my boy Cory Bivona on his recent engagement.