2012 Special: Growing Wings


It would be a tragedy if I didn’t follow suit of so many other digital authors and not disclose my inner, darkest secrets by way of a reflection of the 2012 year of my life.

While there is some sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek reference in the noted piece above, realistically I think it would be wise to share an overview, an overall thought, if you will, of the 2012 year in my life.

Walking up my snow covered steps into my apartment tonight I mulled over the different aspects and ideas of terming this piece, “Would it be ‘Mobile Minutes’? Should it be ‘O’? Do I start over with a new letter? No. That’s stupid.” However, I think the standard “2012 Special” does suffice to bring attention and a simple thought to capture the overall idea of what this year was all about should also be included.

Growing Wings

Thankfully I am not a bird, and by no means do i recognize myself even being remote to angelic hosts. However, in the first time in twenty five years, I felt the drive for adventure and I went for it. The later part of 2011 I found myself recovering, searching, and trying to put pieces together in order to find the next part of my journey. It turns out traumatic events, like a divorce, will do that to you.

Below you’ll find the links; yes the master link files, to some of the bigger moments of the 2012 year for FilingThePapers and myself.

These are just a few of the many reasons to be thankful for the last year. New friends, same family, growing each and every day. by now it is January 1st, 2013 and I’m feeling alive and well. To all of those who have read, written, contributed, prayed, screamed, and laughed; thank you! Let’s be sure that 2012 is merely a memory by the time we get done with 2013!

Let’s soar like eagles…

-D-

P.S. New Year’s started on a great note! Check this out by the Kansas City Star! The Kansas City Shock got named dropped with the big guys in the soccer world!

Mobile Minutes: LA Part I


I haven’t even left…
Morning breakfast with my beautiful girlfriend. She’ll be taking me to KCI in a few hours. I am heading to Los Angeles for the weekend for a few key reasons:

image

A. Most notably for the USA vs Australia match in women’s soccer.
B. I’ll be meeting some digital friends that have created their own soccer program in Nevada. Very curious, fascinated, and overall excited.
C. Truthfully, it is a vacation. After a few releases with the Shock, crazy amounts of work, and moving; I’m looking forward to taking a few days in a foreign world and just relaxing with new friends.
D. Twitter folks, several followers for women’s soccer who follow me reside in the area. I’m pumped to learn their stories.

…ground control, this is Major Tom…

-D-

O: A Working Hobby


*Pauses*

*Stares out window for dramatic snapshot like many yuppies of my kind…*

Yesterday, as you can find through here, I discovered a comment made on this site about the concept of myself [the author] needing to stop whining about being stressed out, get my priorities straightened out, stay away from the soccer concept of life, and frankly…grow up.

From yesterday’s comments:

wahhh.

Perhaps this is why a few people told you not to take on a soccer team right now. Concentrate on paying off debt, stretching those wings and moving out on your own, etc.

And the same individual from an earlier post:

Work where you don’t get paid is called a hobby. Get over it. Pay your debts, then play with the soccer dream. It’s called being responsible. Grow up and stop whining. Yes, you’re whining.

I think it is worth stating that both of these comments have settled unwell within me for the past day. At first it was rage, and after learning more about the comments it was anger, sorrow, and truthfully; sadness. I appreciate anyone that could come out and spill their own thoughts, and after all; I am the one that approves the comments on this site anyways. If I didn’t want the world to see them, I’d ignore them and delete them. However, a day later since waking up to this most previous comment, I’ve had some time to sit down, think, cool down, and give some serious thought to idea of growing up, priorities, and really; as weird as it may be: taking a closer look at my involvement with this hobby known as soccer.

First, I think it is wise to address the ideas of bills, work, and payments. It is vital to explain that I am paid on a store-by-store basis. I have 45 Subway’s that I keep track of each month, and depending on my quality of work; I can get paid between $60-$70 per store [I'll let you figure out the rest]. That’s it. That’s the secret of my job. It is very stressful, and extremely rewarding. I absolutely love development on all levels [and I blame some of that towards Simcity], but if I run the maximum allowance of stores each month, per day [3], that means that of the 30-31 day month [minus February], I’m inside stores for 15 days. Truthfully, that gives me a bit of free time. Now, the other question could be this, “Well, why aren’t you in there more? I firmly believe that I do spend the proper amount of time in each store [we are required to stay a minimum of two hours per store], and I think that currently [though by contract I can't show you] my current sales percentages within these stores…well…they should easily speak for themselves.

Secondly, as for that lovely ‘moving out’ idea that goes through the mind of so many [including this wandering soul]; I’m more then thrilled with the notion of living on my own [again], and moving on with this phase in life. That’s why I have housing applications for different apartment complexes within the area. I think some would call that…proactive? Sadly, there is one slight issue that has to be resolved prior to having an apartment; I’ve learned. This issue is known by a simple phrase: credit score. It isn’t that I have a credit score, it’s the fact that mine is still buried in the low, low, low 600’s. Due to this, many housing companies look and shudder. The bad news is that even high interest credit cards won’t accept me [I tried out of entertainment], but the good news is that I’ll finally roll over in December. What that translates to is that I am trying, and the terrible credit score is on me, but one way or another I’ll be heading out [and if I don't get out now and'll have to later, I'll be paying my parents rent on a monthly basis].

Finally, this hobby as some individuals enjoy referring to it [or at my parents house; Subway is work and the Kansas City Shock is business]. This is not something that was granted over night, and I’ve endured enough ‘old school’ thought on what “work” is for the past six months that I should be able to write a thesis over the matter. I know the age old debate, and truthfully; I don’t really care anymore. The simple idea that I’m able to do what I do at Subway, purchase a business license, legally own a LLC in the state of Missouri, host a tournament, have a website, do pressers with the media, and even sell merchandise. I know that still comes off to some as a hobby, and I suppose to any extent I could even call it a hobby, but I’ll also tell you this. When you stir up a spirit in a city of 1.5 million people that a professional women’s soccer team is getting installed in their home town, and when local companies call you; curious about sponsorship packages, and when NCAA coaches send e-mails, inquiring on coaching positions…eh…it begins to become a little more difficult to call it a hobby. On the exact opposite side, it would also be easy to say that the Peeps [U-8] soccer is a hobby, and to an extent again, it could be that, but when those parents, those kids are in church that Sunday because they watched the coaching staff and they knew their stories…it’s not a hobby. When the 18 year old girl in Santa Cruz del Quiche is crying because though she loves soccer, she remembers being homeless an relates to your story about God’s grace; that’s not a hobby.

That’s a lifelong commitment.

In conclusion from this sub-partial, couple days too long, rant; I’d like for anyone reading this to take this much away. Our society easily dictates what’s a job and what is a hobby, but I speak to truth to you in saying this: if your hobby or job doesn’t reflect what God has done in your life; you fail either way.

How can growing a beautiful game because Christ grows in me daily, be considered a waste of time?

-D-

O: Shocking Debut


Grab the checkbook.

Print the flier.

Do we have the t-shirts yet?

What’s the pricing for the items?

How do we notify fans?

Just a few thoughts racing through my head in the past twenty four hours.

It’s incredible to believe, among the 100+ degree Kansas heat, this company, this business is getting its debut to the world.

Welcome to the Kansas City Shock.

I mean, truthfully, when I learned about high school soccer, college soccer, women’s professional soccer, and other similar thoughts; my mind did dream of creating something, anything that could become a club, a state champion, a shiny field; anything.

However, this? Really? Mercy…

It wasn’t even a year ago that I was standing on the field of Livestrong Stadium, nearly wetting my pants as the likes of Hope Solo and Alex Morgan passed by, talking, answering questions, and being…human. It wasn’t even two years ago, walking along the unfinished hallways of Livestrong Stadium, that I was fed this story of what soccer is going to be in the Kansas City area, and myself and my wife at the time just thought, “Neat. Too bad we’ll be down south, and won’t be able to get that involved.” It wasn’t even five months ago that I was flying across the country to see some women’s premier soccer team called the Maryland Capitols. Why was I even flying? Because I wanted to learn, I was a new business owner.

I am a business owner.

Today has been a mix of fear, anxiety, joy, praise, and accepting the unknown. In my head, I know of what some things to expect tomorrow. Literally anything and everything could happen tomorrow [and I probably wouldn't be surprised]. I’ve worked on projects, events, both in the United States and abroad [getting a massive revival together in Santa Cruz del Quiche...that's a trip], but it really does feel like my life is on the line tomorrow. Obviously it’d be foolish to believe such non-sense, but reverting back to the beginning of this website; the Kansas City Shock is quickly becoming the legacy of man trying to build, quite literally, everything out of nothing. It started with a divorce, it started with no soul [at least feeling that way], it transitioned to family, jobs, traveling, getting out debt, and running. It was progressed through faith, friends, and a welcoming, rather random church, it was transformed through the way of business, faith, fitness, and a loving God, and it was polished by a destiny, a dream, and beautiful, God fearing woman.

This is my life.

Sure, I can go about working on my Subway’s, but it is so awesome to see that God’s got those stores setup, almost as if He was saying, “It’s OK, I can do great things here.” I mean, an instantly “getyourpraiseon” moment was learning that two of my oldest stores, in the entire territory; both broke their sales records last week. Trust me, it wasn’t by my doing. God is taking that stress away, and I’m thinking; logically, He’d expect me to do the same with the Shock.

It’s just so hard.

It’s hard to see something that has formed so quickly, and in many ways, not fear it. Let’s take a look at some facts:

  • I don’t have a degree in business
  • I’m not a multimillionaire
  • I’m not a licensed, professional soccer coach
  • I’m 24 years old

Realistically, I’m not the man for the job; society and culture tells me that. However, before you write this off as a pity party; allow me to also say this. Let’s look at these “facts”:

  • It can be nearly impossible to recover from a divorce [especially a good Baptist]
  • It’s nearly impossible to lose 50 pounds in a year without dieting and guidance
  • There’s no woman out there that could tolerate my insanity
  • Once you’re that deep in debt, you can’t get out
  • Kids can’t own businesses
  • Non-business degree holders don’t understand business
  • God doesn’t still do miracles

Of course, these are all pseudo-facts, but the picture it paints is that the Kansas City Shock was merely a setup to continue to surprise the standard expectations of a strange world. It’s amazing how gripping fear can be. I’ve literally been shown every reason to have faith. I’m loved, I’m making money, I have a church that loves me unconditionally, and most importantly; I have a God who never gave up on me. How can a man, homeless and pathetic, sit here tonight; knowing what lies tomorrow, and still not demonstrate the faith that has been provided to him? It’s as if a battle of irrationality and logic with a blend of faith are all tangled up together in the cerebral cortex.

What is boils down is simply this:

Dare to be different?

Check.

Shock the world?

?

-D-

#getyourpraiseon


I’m not sure why Christian’s are so hesitant to pray. I think it has to do directly with the word pray and not so much the action of talking to God.
I’m on another business trip for the next three days. I can’t express to you, through the miles of corn, how much I love chatting with God. Furthermore, I cannot begin to express how I love taking this time just to focus on this relationship with my girlfriend, and for the first time ever; acting like a son and talking to my Father asking guidance for this relationship, that it will reflect Him.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Johnny’s


Slightly nervous.

Tomorrow I’ve got a crazy, exciting day coming my way. I recently learned of a road trip back down south for another staff meeting. Following which I will be heading back north at a rapid [legal] pace. Why? Sporting Kansas City is playing Seattle [who I despise] in Seattle, and a local tavern, Johnny’s, will be airing it at their place in the Power & Light District! I suppose you could say, in a very loose kind of way, this is my first date with my girlfriend since becoming an ‘item’ [though many would argue we've been together for months now].

I feel like a little kid, but honestly; I’m very excited…and kind of nervous.

-D-

Guatemala: Day 1


Greetings,

White hat? Me. Where? Middle of bus on “jump seat”; half the size of a standard seat. Four hours from Guatemala City, Guatemala to Santa Cruz, El Quiche.

I’m writing this in the hotel in Santa Cruz, El Quiche located in the heart of Guatemala. I felt that it would be wise, if given the time [which I have] to give you, the reader, the supporter, and the friend the adventures that are taking place in this beautiful country.

Because of the insanity that has taken place in the first few days, I have to catch up, so like all other posts, I’ll be breaking them down on a daily basis; that way, you, like myself can stay slightly organized.

Let’s begin in the beginning:

After a very late night of packing, running around, and possibly…maybe…a date Friday night; Saturday morning started with Darco taking me down to the local international airport. After nearly dying three times, we arrived in tact at the airport, and I said my goodbyes and found the group. With the group together, we searched the small airport and gathered our breakfast essentials [Starbucks] and boarded the plane. Naturally, myself at 6’5 isn’t very complimentary of the planes that we fly in. We took off, and I had a lovely discussion of the trip to Guatemala with one of the wonderful women on our trip [and a lifetime ticket holder for the Shock I might add]. When we landed in Houston, it was a  a bit hectic crossing one of the largest airports in the United States, but per usual with this trip; we made it with ease. I texted Darco throughout the trip, just so someone had an idea of my whereabouts.

Last taste of home…

When boarding in Houston, I learned of the vital importance of turning the data feature off on my EVO prior to hitting international waters [some random story of a $6,000 data bill in Paris emerged from this].

Three, very long, cramped hours later I arrived in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The airstrip…unseen until you actually land. If you come in too steep…SMACK!…cliff side. It’s one of those airports. When going through customers [which I'm pleased to say we had no issues with at all], I was able to just look around the airport, a touch of the country [no Starbucks by the way]. It was hot and deadly in the sun, but once you stepped into the shade…dropped twenty degrees. That was my introduction to the Guatemala weather. Low humidity, evil sun, freezing cold nights. In other words: perfect.

The rest of the crew, who had been here for a week, greeted us once we got out of the airport. We boarded our future home for four hours [an old, non-A/C, diesel bus]. However, first, we needed to stop for lunch in Guatemala City. Our solution: Burger King.

After a questionable Whopper [at best], and learning that Guatemala runs off Pepsi [win]; we boarded the wagon and took off to El Quiche. While the miles aren’t really that long [maybe 100], because of the grade of the roads and questionable conditions of them; it took us four hours. You wouldn’t find these grades legally in the United States. Furthermore, I was quickly introduced to the concept called, “The Chicken Bus”. These little speed demon mock-school buses actually increase speed when going up the hill, because of this, they tend to pass our little bus along hairpin corners going up volcanoes in the rain [I'm not exaggerating this time].

Halfway up we reached our first ‘break’ point; a little tourist trap with random bracelets and sausage hanging from the same dead tree.

Welcome to Guatemala.

I denied the random fried potato chips and questionable pineapple drink, and boarded the bus [after getting a five minute sunburn in the rays].

Around dark [no idea what time that is because of the time shift because no mas daylight savings time] we finally pulled into to Pollo Compero [ummm...fried chicken and pizza place?], and knocked down a random dinner [didn't die], and headed off to our hotel.

We are blessed with Hostel Santa Maria; it is an amazing place. Wireless internet, enclosed privacy gate, and nice, hot [nearly scalding] water. Absolutely amazing. Afterwards, we headed off towards Casa De Mi Padre and surprising the orphans who were waiting for us and singing, “My Father’s House” by Audio Adrenaline. Tons of little nina’s and nino’s came flying out of the building and grabbed onto all of their favorites from the past and there was much of crying and laughing and everything in between.

Finally, after a very long day of traveling; we returned to our lovely hotel and hit the sacks.

After the Foursquare check in, I nailed 16 points at this location, and was one day away from being the mayor.

Day 1 was a success, though I questioned the ability of coffee.

-D-

RECOVERY: vOWS


vow

   [vou]  

noun

1. a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment: 

marriage vows; a vow of secrecy.

2. a solemn promise made to a deity or saint committing oneself

to an act, service, or condition.

3. a solemn or earnest declaration.

It quick to look at the term ‘vows’ and instantly assume that this is directed towards the correlation of wedding vows, marriage, and everything else deemed holy in the eyes of God.

Yes, and no.

While I could go and stress the importance of vows directed towards the one you love, in hopes of taking the steps forward to not only promote dedication, but also safety and security; I believe that the idea of a vow has a far more deeper potential towards not just matrimony, but humanity.

We live in a cultural surrounded by lies and deceit, it’s a business model. We lie to get our way, we ‘persuade’ others to see our view point so that they can ‘buy in'; face it, our commerce and industry revolve around the idea of low-balling in order to increase revenue. I know this; I deal with it every, single day.

I was in a store, not too long ago, and several of the stores in my area had changed their pricing scheme to reflect their competition. This little store had not. In fact, they had actually lowered their prices. Now, their sales had been ok, and slightly above, but as you can imagine; in my little world, they could be better.

So, I decided to implement a business tool that is unheard of by so many; honesty. I told the staff that they should boast about their honesty, the fact that whether they meant to or not, they had the lowest prices in the area. Be proud of being different and advertise the idea their they are vowing their livelihood towards the betterment of their town and business.

Who knew that honesty could be profitable?

It took me a year to finally understand that concept. I didn’t hold tight to my vows, while I will always deny the idea of cheating on my wife, there were other areas that I wasn’t faithful, I wasn’t honest, I didn’t understand or respect the importance of the vow that I had taken.

How does that affect the present?

Simple. I cannot handle dishonesty.

Part of the beauty of owning Kansas City Shock LLC, is being able to guide the ethical value of the business. Part of that stance means that I run an ‘open book’ policy, meaning that people can see where our [their] money is being spent any time that they wish. I refuse to allow my legacy, my belief, and my history to be tainted by the idea of being dishonest. You wouldn’t believe the heads that turn when people understand that you are genuine and passionate about what you believe in. That you’re willing to lay it on the line, because you took the vow, made the dedication to promote and exult whatever it may be that you follow.

If there is one major key that I’ll be taking with me, heading into whatever the future may hold [as we know, this could literally mean anything], it is understanding the detrimental importance of any and every vow that I make.

I vowed to lose weight, fifty pounds were gone. You vowed to eat healthier, your body feels better.

What if we vowed to protect one another?

-D-