XXXI: Elite


Currently: Into the evening ritual that includes laying my feet upon pieces of ice for twenty minutes at a time. This can only mean on thing…
…story time.

While I’m stuck on the couch for the next hour-or-so, there was a story that came to mind that felt needing to be shared with you, the reader. A bit of a taste of what “XXXI” is about, its strange intent, ideas, and images. Sadly, it tends to revolve around one word that, over the years, I have grown to strongly despise: Elite. Continue reading

#getyourpraiseon


Well…

Student debt is always a ‘reality’ of my life, and that’s something that I’ve aimed to just accept instead of just complain.

There’s some silver linings to it. Recently Darco and I have discovered an opportunity for a certain state government to remove $15,000 of debt if we were to move to a specific location inside that state [more later].

We’ve also learned as of yesterday that Starbucks is will to pay the tuition of their employees that work over 20 hours a week. This would qualify Darco.

Just some interesting tidbits as of late.

-D-

XO: God’s Not Dead


No, I haven’t seen the movie God’s Not Dead, and I don’t plan on seeing it anytime in the near future. After spending a life of being dragged through Left BehindFireproof, and nearly every other Christian film; I’m yet to be swayed.

Allow me to be clear: God’s not dead.

Continue reading

Mobile Minutes: Debt Free


The title of this post should terrify you.

Darco and I were in the apartment this morning, plotting out our world domination [per usual], and we started speaking about her opportunity for promotion with Starbucks this month.

That’s when we took a break, and started crunching some ‘hypothetical’ numbers. We factored in my monthly pay, and her adjusted pay with her new pay salary when she promotes [trust me, she's going to promote]. That’s when we sat in the bedroom, nearly startled at our discovery.

If…

Darco gets promoted, and I maintain the position I currently have with the investment firm in Kansas City; we could actually be…in theory…

100% debt free by Christmas of 2015

Some of you know of my college debt, and there has been some theme of it throughout this site. Darco and I, myself nearly shaking, just kept going over the numbers and realizing. It’s possible. After a decade of personal debt, there is a potential light at the end of the tunnel. When you’ve dealt with such high debt for so long you tend to just acknowledge that it’s something you’re just going to ‘deal with’ for the rest of your life; like a house mortgage.

What if that wasn’t the case?

Sure, it does revolve around a giant if but…can you just wrap your head around that concept?

-D-

XO: Filing [Part I]


I’m up past my bedtime, and I will regret it at around 10:00 AM CST tomorrow morning. This’ll take place right about the time I step into a classroom full of junior high students anxious to learn math…that’s probably a slight fib.

Realistically, I haven’t been sleeping well. Several nightmares, waking up jerking, scaring the cat, and being elbowed in the face by Darco. Last night I was to the point of earplugs while I was sleeping because of all the noise. When I say that I’m a light sleeper; that is probably the most modest way of determining my rest cycles.

With that random rant of rest aside, it doesn’t answer the question of why this is even being written.

I need to get lost in my words for the night. Darco knows that I’m up and chilling in the office while she sleeps. Tomorrow will be a bit rough, but currently I really just need to be able to type. Life is so big at the moment, that I’ve aged a few years since starting this site and realistically I’ve missed it.

I’m married, I’m back in the classroom, I own a soccer team. What? Tonight is one of those nights that it’s more of a starstruck realization of pondering how these turn of events even take place for the lowly sandwich artist of the past.

I was meeting with an engineering and architect firm about the property development for the Kansas City Shock a few weeks ago. One of the points that made was that I needed to be able to share a story. In this case, “What is the story of the Kansas City Shock?” As all of us know now, that’s a story full of entertainment in itself.

While I hold onto the belief that, that program is destined to become something greater then what I’ll even be able to comprehend; ideally I’d like to spend this piece revolving more on the overall aspect of this life, this love, and a deeper understanding of this existence.

In other words: this could be rather long, and a bit of recap for the past reader. I’m going to break this section into multiple parts; primarily for the sheer volume of words [I feel bad for you].

Let us begin… Continue reading

Mobile Minutes: Suit


A dear college colleague of mine is getting married on June 15th in St. Louis. This man, to his credit, not only was in my wedding, but was one of few to walk me through the entire divorce process. Realistically, he never gave up on me.

Well, I’m preparing for this wedding, and it’ll be a blur (Kansas City Shock plays that night in Kansas City), and just now it dawned on me:

I need a new suit. I havebt worn an actually suit since I clocked in at 275 pounds in February of 2011. It’s been a while. So…it looks like suit shopping for me (I’m thinking black this time).

Feel free to drop pointers on this new quest.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Better Block


I had the most fascinating day today.

…if you’ve ever in my life time have made a comment about me and the involvement of politics please save your ‘I told you so’ for later…

This morning my girlfriend, Dur, and myself found ourselves deep in Kansas City, Missouri at our favorite location on an early Wednesday morning; 1 Million Cups. This is my first day going out in the world since being sick and we made it one wild day. After an hour there, and spending some time talking to some business friends of ours we split to Blanc burger to enjoy some quality food from Kansas City.

Afterwards [and some coffee later] Dur was dropped off for work, and my girlfriend and I went to an event in our city that we were curious about: Better Block.

The concept of Better Block is unique:

Take an area of a downtown area [like a city block] and spruce it up; clean up some downtown storefronts and invite local businesses to ‘rent out’ the area for day and practically throw a festival. The final product is to show citizens what a rebuilt, lively downtown can look like. Given the city I live in is older than Kansas City; it could be royally sweet if cleaned up correctly. My girlfriend and I got a tour of some of the buildings [none of which I had ever been in] and the creativity within this city on the architectural side is breath taking.

Prior to this, we had, had a meeting in the regional development office for a few hours and taking the knowledge from the Kansas City Shock; myself and my significant other introduced ideas of social media influence, soccer concepts for the festival, and even the introduction of some of the start up businesses we work with in Kansas City.

We caught the ear of the right person.

Walking to the buildings from the meeting I was able to walk with the director for the regional development office. We spent some time going over my past, the city, and then we entered into politics; both of us being political science students in college. By the time we had entered the first building my questions had been answered, my foot was in the door, and this much had become evident:

I’m entering the world of politics.

I’m on the planning board for Better Block, working with the media director, and am also going to start plugging this group into our connections within the Kansas City area. Imagine if the ideas of innovation and development in Kansas City spread to our neck of the woods, it’d be continued development for the entire region. Needless to say, my head is busting with ideas, concepts, and the overall irony of how my life has played out.

Those closest to me, reading this, combined with the events of the Kansas City Shock are sitting back knowing what all of this is:

The first step.

-D-

O: International Tools


Incredible.

Simply incredible.

In recent days, especially for a few weeks now; I’ve just marveled at where this life has wound up, and where it is going, and fascinatingly enough; who’s in control.

I’ve had some people, not many, but some ask the simple question of why I’m so invested into the Kansas City Shock. Why make it work? Why lose sleep? What’s so unique about it?

Simply put; it’s more then a job or a business; it’s a ministry.

I think this weeks earlier example proves a very valid point, but to really understand the clarity of the message, we must draw back to the year 2007.

During the winter of this year I had been dumped [via cellphone ironically] for the first time ever, and I was spending time with my parents; trying to figure out life [tragic, I know]. In the process we had some family emergencies, injuries, sickness, and even death; it was a busy month of December.

Leading up to this moment I had chosen to go to college in the Ozarks to pursue a degree in Intercultural Studies; why? Because God told me to a be in the ministry. Looking back, I don’t doubt that, but the process of going about it; well, I had tunnel vision. Eventually, a family member, more through just bitterness then anything else ended up screaming at me in the end of 2007 some words that stitched some severe scars into my heart:

God called you to be a missionary? Wow, you sure did let Him down, along with this family!

I’m so far past the point of anger with the individual, this many years down the road that it doesn’t even register with me. However, those words did. I dropped out of the degree department, left the theology section of the university I was at, and refused to go ‘that route'; not to mention I had lacked several friends. All of the friends I had developed in those short two years of college revolved around the same theme: athletics.

Needless to say, this is where the adventure truly began with athletics, my life, coaching, soccer, etc…I just poured myself into it because in some ways, it’s all I knew.

God called you to be a missionary? Wow, you sure did Him down, along with this family!

Through a nasty divorce, being homeless, broke, and broken these words I think I could picture coming out of the mouths of many. Here was the good church boy, with a great future ahead, “full of potential” and to some, I threw it all away. Others just saw me as a mere statistic of a said and sound truth of American marriages, and many just forgot I even existed.

It was about time…

The cool thing about being a Christian is often when you are forgotten by the world, that is where God is known and is evident the most.

I share that painful, drawn out story from 2007, along with the potent single line that just doomed me that winter night; to share this remarkable story.

Earlier this week I was running over some search engine inquiries for the Kansas City Shock, along with that I was moving through some e-mails that I needed to get caught up on. Maybe to no ones surprise we have started to get international inquiries about the Kansas City Shock and the potential for international players to call Kansas City home for a few months out of the year.

Completely caught me off guard, but naturally; I’d be a fool to ignore it. So, we took some time and planned out how to deal with international applications and international inquiries as well. Don’t forget, my soccer blog started on a server based in the United Kingdom, not the United States. To be part of soccer, one has to be able to be one person not of their own country, but one person of their world.

That’s when I I saw a e-mail that I had failed to reply to, a man talking about getting together via LinkedIn, and his new coaching application for phones. I didn’t think much of it, sent a quick ‘thank you’ message, and told him I was nervous and excited for 2013. Not even an hour later I received another message from him with this inside the message:

Your personal story speaks for itself…your faith and unyielding spirit stands as an example for all young men and women. The Shock will succeed. I will not wish you best of luck…we mistake the gifts wrought by heeding his work for luck…I humbly ascribe that he will help those that help others see his glory.

This man was based out of the United Kingdom, or at least the primary amount of his business was.

It’s also about the same time a mother of a professional player in Australia contacted our office, inquiring on getting a film of their daughter to us.

It was the lady from Delaware.

It was the club from England.

The player from Macedonia.

It was the assistant coach growing up in the same community deep into Mexico that I also witnessed as a growing adult; digging water wells and loving on some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met.

Finally, it was put into full picture on a few days ago when I placed “Kansas City Shock” into the search box of Google. As noted, Weber Creative Arts just went over and above for the tryout flyer dubbed “#whiteout12“; what really allowed us to see the reach was when I found the flyer on a website that Google was having to translate.

We’re reaching people that would have never been imagined as ‘reachable’.

Sound familiar?

All of this boils up to this point: Kansas City Shock isn’t just a movement, a passion, or a business idea; it’s so much more, it’s my responsibility, my calling, and His dream.

Don’t believe me?

Ask the kid sitting in the parking lot of a college campus in 2003 looking for answers on why his heart was set to explore the world [the same college I would graduate from six years later]. He’ll tell you, still in his stubborn innocents of teenage years…

I cannot deny His calling.

Even through rejection, heartache, and painful words all ran together; understand that when God wants something, He’ll make it happen, no matter what the masses say.

-D-

O: Simulated Reality


There is well known fact that I have a deep, dark passion for a specific video game. This game has plagued me since around 1995 and I’ve grown with it over the years. It’s gone from 2-D, to 3-D, to actually making sense. It’s realistic, but also a simulation; it is…

…SimCity.

Literally, from the moment that Windows 3.1 was introduced into my life in elementary school, I’ve had a strong fixation on this game. There’s no point, there’s no last level, there’s no orc’s; the concept is clear: build.

It’s a developers utopia. From the original, limited, but nostalgic Simcity to my personal favorite; Simcity 4 [in which you could create and program your own buildings]. It was a nerds paradise; a paradise that I didn’t end…ever.

To this day, on my trusty, old laptop; Simcity 4 is still loaded. Why? There isn’t much else more relaxing then looking at something created and modifying, adjusting, increasing, decreasing, and just relaxing as you escape from your world into another.

Or was there something more?

From what you’ve read above, it’s been a geek-fest of a males take on a video game. However, the concept behind it really stuck with me over the years. It wasn’t about the tornado, UFO, or some other random disaster [including Car-Zilla?]; it was about going behind and above and building the impossible.

Yes, I even used SC4 as a failed diagram about zoning regulations in my philosophy of politics course in college. The belief behind development just amazed me. I went ahead, in school, and pushed the envelop on State and Local Government, I followed Department’s of Transportation, my wallpaper as a child? State maps from around the United States. Going on vacation wasn’t about the destination, it was about traveling from A to B and where and how we’d travel [I'm already freaking about driving to Indianapolis in January]. I thoroughly enjoy the Shock because I’m getting develop something out of nothing in a place that I’ve watched grow through the years; Kansas City.

However, it turns out that Simcity, Shock, teaching degrees in social sciences; emphasizing geography, and others were it for me.

Through my rather random Twitter feed; I follow groups like the international airport just south of where I live, or the state’s DOT, I talk to the social media specialist of MODOT almost daily [even when I don't get lost]. I took what I loved in a digital world and placed it into reality. It’s evident with Subway, what do I do? Develop. I chart out growth patterns in neighborhoods and towns, I keep up to date with transportation adjustments, and I’m always looking for the next ‘hot spot’, bu  I never considered an actual public figure position that involved development until about a week ago. Right before my girlfriend started to learn about her opportunity to relocate to Kansas City, I was inquired by the social media lead at the chamber of commerce of the city I currently reside in. Inquiring on if I’d apply to become a member of the city’s Chamber of Commerce.

…yes…read that again…

I’m still sitting here, haven’t replied back to the thought, but naturally in this mind; the concepts are endless. I mean, check out this one idea I’ve had in my head:

In the current city I’m residing in the downtown looks…well, awful. Old buildings, no development, just a lack-luster attempt at survival; let alone growth. Watching the downtown of Kansas City become what it has over the years versus what I have here has been a challenge. So, I’m taking what little I know, what I constantly think I know, and I’ve created a way to bring some new, fresh life into this dull, old city.

Downtown, near a major interchange of two highways stands an abandoned, privately owned rail yard. The sidewalks are destroyed by weeds, half the fences have been knocked down/rusted apart, and there isn’t life anywhere around. Again, the rail yard isn’t used; it’s been abandoned for years; I remember when it went vacant.

So why not change that? This city has several running/biking trails throughout the city, and their growing [slowly, but surely]. However, there is no trail head in the city. Due to this, and vast acreage of the rail yard; the city can turn around and knock the yard as ‘blighted’ and take the action of eminent domain and take the yard. Additionally, through an actual useful TIF, since this area is specifically what TIF’s were designed for in the first place. Not to be used painfully such as it was in the Kelo vs New London case [think I didn't listen in class?].

With a TIF in place, we can start a two-fold plan for redevelopment in the area:

  • First, this mass amount of space can become a park/trail head for all the massive trails that stretch for several miles throughout the city. This would include a plan for a potential riverfront trail to run directly off of this park area, north into the softball/baseball complex/casino several miles to the north [the city sits directly on the Missouri River].
  • Secondly, in order to bring about actual growth and not just to spruce up the area; a calculated, commercial development would also be cornerstones within this park area. Businesses such as an Apple Store and Trader Joe’s, two businesses envied by the upcoming business minded generations of the area, would snap the city out of the fast food controlled, factory foregone past. Additionally, not only will the properly value continue to increase in the area [trust me, it can't get any lower, minus nuclear waste being spilled], but it will begin a decent to the north and take a two-three block wide area and build up new commercial entities. Being able to actually rebuild a downtown means that cornerstone businesses could take bake a blighted downtown area.
  • Finally, we take out the notes that Johnson and Wyandotte Counties in Kansas have learned in the last decade; when done calmly and carefully, tax breaks for businesses, regardless the condition of the land, can bring about additional interest to the region. The fact that this downtown area does sit on an interstate with ease of access to Omaha, Nebraska and Kansas City, Mo/Ks is also a lucrative pull for the sake of transportation.

All of this is so, so theoretical that it really isn’t funny, and with the government of this city being run still by the “good boys gun club”, it is doubtful that progress would take place immediately.

However, who knows what the next week, month, or year holds?

Regardless, I find it amazing that video games and a strange, geeky childhood passion can stay alive so long to the point to where I’m looking at actual movement inside the political machine.

1.4 years since my life got turned upside down…

…I think we’ll count this as progress.

-D-

O: Head Shot


I’m getting ready to release a photo on you; I hope you’re ready.

This photo was taken last week in the heart of Kansas City. Interestingly enough the outfit I’m in was for work, but it doubled well for the photo session. This photographer has their own, newly launched business in Kansas City; Weber Creative Arts [this is the group that went to college with myself and K8]. They were kind enough to set down the staff from the Kansas City Shock and get their ‘head shots’ for the development of our website.

I thought it would be wise to get a photo of us with our team colors [hence the ball], and with Kansas City in the background. It was hot, and part of our crew was late, and part of them were out of town, but we made due.

I received these photos a few days ago, basically proofs for me to ‘OK’ before their final edit. I won’t go into details about all the photos, because they weren’t of me, they were others in our crew. However, I think this photo is worth displaying. As much as I would like to use it as a ‘I told you so’, I think realistically it’d be wiser for me to just use it as an illustration and try to put myself and my nasty ego aside and just make the continual comment of what God can do.

Tonight at MoVal, we were discussing the idea of what would take place if we were to put ourselves aside and try to think about what god could do with us if we just listened to Him. I’ll confess that there were a few times along the way I found myself chuckling. Not to the presentation or the discussion, but just to idea and belief of what God can do. Many have said that your natural passion and God’s inherent design frequently go hand in hand. In other words; He gives us a passion to do something that we love, hoping that we can use it to glorify Him.

I would hope by now that anyone who has read these posts over the past year and some odd months have been able to notice the creation and unbelievable moments that have consisted with the Kansas City Shock. From selling tickets to interviews to logos, tournaments, and even announcing a coach this week. If there is one thing that I will not back down from, I refuse to back down from, is the concept that God’s design and grace allowed all of this to take place, and continues to make it take place. Our company has turned heads in ways unimaginable, and I love it because it puts me in a position to where I’m required, forced; I have to give credit to God for the sake of any of this existing.

With all of that said, it’s an honor to present to you this photo; the ‘head shot’ of the CEO for the Kansas City Shock:

“Dare to be different. Shock the world.”

-D-