Mobile Minutes: Fan Boy


I want to make sports alliances very, very clear:

  1. My obvious #1 team loyalty is with the Kansas City Shock [I'd be a fool not to be, especially after this past week of events]
  2. Sporting Kansas City
  3. Boston Breakers

It’s very evident that I am a soccer fan. For several reasons; all of which I’m not explaining tonight. This week though, I’ve been able to be a ‘fan boy’ in several ways. Whether it be standing in the grass watching the Kansas City Shock start their season practices [it was chillingly cool], or what went on today; it was nice to step out of the suit, away from the sandwich, and just be a fan.

Today I had the pleasure of witnessing one of the coolest things I’ve seen come together to date. As all are aware just over a month ago I went to Boston, Massachusetts to watching the Boston Breakers of the National Women’s Soccer League, and their home opener. Quite the experience and came to know several amazing people in the process. Through this event, while talking to the staff of the Breakers, there came the potential idea of the Breakers training at a facility when they came into Kansas City to play. I left them my card, and went home. A few days later I received a call wondering if our home field would be available for training. “Ummm…a NWSL team training on our home field? E.P.I.C.” were my initial thoughts, verbally it was merely “Yes”. However, due to the unforeseen circumstances of the terrorist activities in Boston, that specific game was delayed and they didn’t come into Kansas City.

That brings us to last week. My phone rang again, and the process began anew. We kept it quiet, and just allowed itself to work out up to this afternoon. At 5:15 PM CST I watched a massive tour bus pull up into the lot at our home field. Out of it came 16 NWSL players of the Boston Breakers and the coaching staff. I tried to remain professional, but I make no promises. For the next ninety minutes I, along with some colleagues of our program, just watched this team loosen up, play some balls, and actually have some fun.

I. Was. Fascinated.

Even when I heard our Director of Media call out to Sydney Leroux, “Hey Sydney!” and pointed at her jacket that she nearly forgot, just to remind her to pick it up on her way out; I couldn’t get over the experience. After the week that this week has been, this ninety minute period was perfect. So, so perfect. I was a fan boy. I fit the description. I controlled myself, but inside I was just dying of being around all of these people…many in my world I consider famous.

Sitting back and thinking, it’s incredible to see a connection form between two programs, a group of people, and simple ideas over a set period of time. I love it! I love it because even while I was just amazed at the world around me, it felt so natural, so right. Though I know zero of soccer skills/coaching/statistics/etc…I was so comfortable. It’s similar to other projects that I’ve been involved in this week [and there are a lot of them]. Everything just clicked, everything made sense. I was comfortable and I knew I was exactly where I needed to be.

You honestly thought I wouldn't get a picture of the team?

You honestly thought I wouldn’t get a picture of the team?

-D-

P.S. As a brief statement. For any of them who may ever read this. I’ve met and been around several teams in my life, but never [aside from my biased own] have I met a team on multiple occasions that have been the class act that the entire Boston Breakers are. They could have ignored me, the psycho-child, from the very beginning. A major, major thanks to the organization for being a role model, and for the team for being so darn impressive in person. 

Mobile Minutes: Boston Part XII


Recovery.

As anyone would say when traveling; the first day back you’re just exhausted. I feel like my head has been in a steam room most of the day.

Somewhere in New Hampshire...or Vermont? I hadn't yet realized how far off I was...

Somewhere in New Hampshire…or Vermont? I hadn’t yet realized how far off I was…

When I landed at KCI I was greeted by my girlfriend and four news stations. Because the plane had over 30 local runners participating in the Boston Marathon everyone was looking for a quote. Unfortunately my wardrobe that I had picked out that morning was the same color scheme as the jackets from those in the marathon. After getting through the gate, I hugged my girlfriend, answered a few questions [clarifying clearly that I wasn't there] and moved out of the airport promptly. While this was going on the airline computer system for American Airlines had gone down as well, redirecting passengers to the same terminal we were in.

For once KCI was an absolute nightmare.

The cue of the snow on the mountains should have been the giveaway...given that Portland is a shipping town on the coast...

The cue of the snow on the mountains should have been the giveaway…given that Portland is a shipping town on the coast…

After an hour of running around we were finally out of the airport, I picked up my repaired Altima, worked on a store in Kansas City, and met some of the crew at Freebirds down south. Upon returning home that night up until this point everything has just been a whirlwind.

Turns out on US 302 that the hairpins are driven so much that the line int he middle of the road...yeah...not visible. That railing on the right keeps you from falling into the frigid river below. Fun times!

Turns out on US 302 that the hairpins are driven so much that the line int he middle of the road…yeah…not visible. That railing on the right keeps you from falling into the frigid river below. Fun times!

But, we move on. As goes with any trip I’ve got photos throughout this post from Monday’s random journey, and all sorts of random links that document the entire, eventful journey to Boston, Massachusetts [and back]:

Turns out coffee shops in Portland, Maine close at 7:00 PM EST during the week. Who knew? The good news though? The ocean never closes.

Turns out coffee shops in Portland, Maine close at 7:00 PM EST during the week. Who knew? The good news though? The ocean never closes.

Sadly, this journey will be memorable for far too many things. It was nice going into work today and being asked about the soccer match. Realistically, by the time I woke up today if it wasn’t the phone case I purchased this weekend, I’d almost forgotten why I was even in Boston. My poor girlfriend doesn’t even talk about the game, she only makes mention of me flying back. MC talked to me today on the phone, and just hinted at how nervous my girlfriend was about the airport [which thankfully was wonderfully amazing]. It’s a heavy heart that I left in Boston, to the city, but not the people. The people of Boston do not need heavy hearts sent their way; they’re stronger then that. Take every horror story you’ve heard about New York, Washington, and elsewhere along the coastline and never, ever compare it to the city of Boston, Massachusetts.

Even before the traumatic events on Monday, I was going to be sure to wrap up this whole adventure by speaking about the city dynamics, the atmosphere, and the overall culture of Boston; just from my perspective. I feel guilty knowing now what I do versus what I had grown up believing about “Bean Town”. The people are prideful, but not in an arrogant way, its in a way that shows you that they’ve worked hard for what they have. Meeting the Boston PD while at Dunkin Donuts was an example of that; everywhere I went the respect for the police in Boston was unreal [this was before the bombings mind you]. Sure, traffic is terrible, but people aren’t mean, they don’t yell at you; this was definitely not D.C. or LA for sure. It really felt like a close knit community of only 1.2 million people. Outside of the insane pricing for home ownership I definitely wouldn’t mind living in Boston [or Portland...my goodness].

In case anyone is ever curious…yes, I did finally get my lobster roll at Susan’s Fish-N-Chips in Portland, Maine [also got their 2 Fish Sandwiches for $2.50]…

Portland, Maine; while being much smaller then Boston is truly a hidden gem in the New England area. If you don’t know what you’re looking for you will miss Portland, I promise you. However, once you find it, even a few minutes in there will keep you from wanting to return from your original destination. The city overlooks a glass bay, from one side you find people and parks, and everything in between and on the other side you see the cityscape; nothing extremely large, but its beautiful. Modern decor blends with fishing stories and great food. The people are lively, active and engaging. I saw more people in bikes in Portland in one evening then I’ve counted back home in at least a month. It’s peaceful, remote, but large enough to find anything and everything you’d need [did I mention that they have a pretty decent lobster roll?]

...with tarter sauce...

…with tarter sauce…

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Boston Part XI


Good morning world.

I’m sipping on some Dunkin and sitting at gate E1A.

It’s time for some serious bragging:

Boston: Aside from the rush hour this morning being absolutely awful, the people are Boston are not down and out. They’re moving along and making sure that they’re taking care of each other. Realistically, it is very noble. Each radio station this morning had people calling in from their viewpoint of the bombings. Some sad stories, but honestly…with 26K runners and thousands of fans; the positive stories of safety and rescues far outnumbered the sorrowful notes.

Boston-Logan: Mad props to Boston-Logan International. Sure, there has been an increase of definitely 100% of police force in the area, but people are smiling, flights are on time, and no one is irritable. Blue and yellow shirts and jackets are dotted throughout the airport [these are the jerseys and jackets from the marathon runners], but there’s just happiness. People ‘high fiving’ one another, and just happy…people are just happy in the airport.

TSA: For the flack that TSA has received in the past, major, MAJOR props to the TSA at Boston-Logan today. They have been insanely friendly, very patient, no one is barking out orders, and they’re smiling. Yes, there are assault rifles all throughout the airport and again security has increased substantially, but TSA has blown me away today.

In the end, I’ve got an hour before I’m back on my way to KC. Never underestimate American’s and their will to succeed. Sometimes that success and overcoming sensation is demonstrated by a single action:

A smile.

-D-

P.S. I think I’ve discovered a new personal goal for 2014. I’m going to try to run the Boston Marathon.

Mobile Minutes: Boston Part X


Somber.

Quiet.

Boston.

I’ve arrived back in the city a few minutes ago. My hotel is across the street from a National Guard base; as you can imagine they’re on full alert. I think four Hummer’s were sitting out on the entry of the base, lights on, and fully active. Chilling. My hotel, like several other hotels in the area, were packed with Boston Marathon runners. This hotel is silent…just silent. I walked along the sidewalk to my room and saw a few people in sweats and comfortable looking shirts; we made eye contact and we all knew we looked the exact same: tired, confused, and still in a matter of disbelief.

We’ve been informed that everyone is to stay in their homes and hotels tonight. So, no one is moving through the area. From what I know my flight is on schedule for tomorrow morning; the FFA has lifted the ‘no-flight’ area at Boston-Logan. Southwest is allowing flights to be rescheduled, but as I’m sure many others can say…I’d like to get out of this area as fast as possible. With that said; I can’t even imagine what security is going to be like at Boston-Logan. We know the “T” is going to have a very heavy police presence, and between the tunnel [Big Dig] and the international airport, I imagine tomorrow morning is going to be a very, very long morning.

As you can imagine; every television channel and every radio station is 24/7 stream of news and updates. Truthfully I feel the eerily similarity of being in Joplin, Missouri after the tornado a few years ago. Walking zombies of people who have no idea what’s going on, and the overall sadness in the atmosphere. The evident difference is that someone did this on purpose, to create violence, to end life, and create chaos.

I just saw an update along the ticker on the bottom of the screen that we should expect massive delays at Boston-Logan tomorrow. So, I’m going to make my life as simple as possible: laptop goes into the carry-on suitcase. I’ll wear a t-shirt, jacket, and sweats tomorrow; no belts, zippers, or anything else. Make sure that the plastic bag is out in the open with shampoo, and all other liquids, and have my ID and ticket available at a moments notice.

So many of those friends that I had made yesterday, and the players from yesterday were in or at the race. The Boston Breakers were prompt in informing everyone that all players were contacted, all are safe, and all are taken care of currently. It’s unreal to think that 24 hours ago the atmosphere was light, full of excitement with the soccer match. Tonight, even in Somerville, Lexington, and elsewhere in the area…it’s just silent; Boston is silent.

I know several of you who read this have peppered me with questions about today, and my plans for tomorrow, so I hope this assist in clarifying. As far as I’m concerned it is an attempt at military organization tomorrow; make eye contact, say ‘yes sir, no sir’, and focus on getting on the plane.

Here’s to a new day, and here’s to the prayers going to Boston tonight.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Boston Part IX


This was supposed to be humorous.

Sadly I can’t quite find the mindset to bring a smile to even myself. After getting lost in Vermont I went through US 302, winding across the mountain range that actually has Mount Washington in it. During this time I finally got cell reception, saw the emails and suddenly panicked.

I was supposed to be at the finish line. In a random change of events last night I had decided to not go to the Boston Marathon and instead head up here. The realization of that was more then I could handle and required a few minutes of fresh air. Then I started receiving the texts and phone calls from those who knew where I was this weekend. I called MC, she nearly lost it when I told her what had happened and that I was safe. The players from the Boston Breakers were in the race today, but thankfully they were all safe.

This is the first time that I’ve been this…close…to something like this. I imagine that the airport will be a nightmare tomorrow, but for now…I’m unbelievably grateful for direction to head north. No humor in this at all; I’m just happy that somehow God shipped me to Vermont, Canada, and then Portland instead of spending the day in Boston.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Boston Part VIII


I thought the Rocky Mountains would be a little rockier…

So, I’m on my way to Portland, Maine; heading to Susan’s Fish-N-Chips, and I started to think “Wow, I didn’t realize there were so many mountains on the way to Portland…which is on the coast?”. I was on I-93 for felt like eternity. That’s when I saw the sign:

Canada 59 Miles

Yeah, turns out I was supposed to take I-91 NOT I-93. Thankfully the rest stop in Vermont has free WiFi, so I’m typing this while I’m checking on routes to cross the state to get to Portland, Maine.

You just can’t make these stories up.

I will get my lobster.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Boston Part VII


I’m on the loose. Because of how the airline tickets setup I wound up with an extra day in the area.
So, I’m packing my bags and I’m heading north. Literally. It turns out that Maine is just up the road. Maine as our economy teachers have taught us, has lobster. I’ve come this far and haven’t had lobster yet. It’s nearly a two hour drive (with tolls) and the weather is beautiful.

Shoreline drive it is then, and this time my camera is ready.

-D-