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
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
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
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.