XO: So Long

So long…
And thanks for all the fish…

It only seems natural to use that quotation to define what this post was going to be about. I’ve known this day was coming, at first I tried to deny it, but in the end it became about acceptance and moving on to new adventures with life.

The Kansas City Shock is no more. Continue reading

XO: Random 100

Sometimes you just need to unplug from the digital world.

For some of us that means more often than not. It’s crazy how fast, unpredictable, and dramatic the zeros and ones can be in the alternate world that we’ve managed to create.

In the recent week, aside from one random fit, I haven’t been much of anything over at FilingThePapers. Some of that has to do with the state of the Kansas City Shock, and ensuring that projects are being accomplished for this summer, and another aspect has to do with seeking out wisdom from people around me. Asking hard questions, learning more about business, and seeking God’s direction towards what His plan is…especially versus my own. So, in wake of these experiences, I’d like to highlight four groups of people that I’ve met with in recent days to discuss direction, prayer, and other random thoughts: Continue reading

XO: Two Paths And Whatnot

Be gracious.
Be grateful.
Be humble.

Words that I’ve found myself repeating more often this past week then any other time that the phrase has come to mind. Sometimes, life is just hard. The ones you trust are the ones that drag you down, and ones that you foolishly gave up on are the ones that lift your spirits high. I suppose God works in mysterious ways. Continue reading

XO: Off Target

Realistically I could take this moment to blame the soccer world.
Frankly, I could also blame the social media network that I routinely get lost in.

Who am I kidding?

It’s my fault. Continue reading

Mobile Minutes: #Shock2Dallas Part II

Absolute whirlwind of a day!

Woke up at 3:00 AM
Drove to Kansas City
Drove to Dallas, Texas
Went from 24 degrees to 73 degrees [it’s so nice here]
Ate Whataburger [twice]
Epic women’s soccer match

Credit: I stole this from the Kansas City Shock

Credit: I stole this from the Kansas City Shock

…and that was all in a days work.

I’m wiped out for the night.


XO: Heavy Heart

This morning I started writing an extensive post about life spiraling out of control, and forgetting to give thanks to the one who makes it all possible…

Instead, at midnight I find myself in a dark living room, wife asleep, wind howling, and just lost in my own thoughts:

It’s been nearly three years since my ex-wife divorced me. In three years I’ve witnessed a transformation that books and video can’t even begin to describe adequately. I’m remarried, now to a woman that I hold close to me every, single night. I have a ‘real job’, I own a soccer team, and my life is just…completely new.

There are so many new readers on this site, that many don’t even know the struggles from 2011 and 2012. The rejection, heartache, emptiness, and desperate need of redemption. Many have missed the late nights, sickness from exhaustion, and my attempt to find my footing in the world.

So many have missed my life as  Christian, leading a strange woman to know who Christ is, only to wind up marrying her down the road.

I’ve lived a lifetime in just three years.

I can’t remember most of college, and my previous marriage is a blur, high school felt as if it was someone else’s life, and my childhood is merely a rumor lost in history. I’ve completely removed myself from who I once was, and I’ve lost so many pieces of who I was. This isn’t a case of mistaken identity, it’s the case of redemption and life with new eyes.

I can’t express to you, through the drowsiness of my awakening each day, what it’s like to be alive. To loose a life, just to gain it again. Not to mention losing humanity nearly every night in my sleep. I awake Monday through Sunday, almost as if I was reborn once again. How’s that for random and somewhat creepy sounding?

My writing doesn’t revolve around soccer, that’s just the moment of the life that I’m in. I would have never dreamed in all my life, quite literally, that I would ever be in charge of something like the Kansas City Shock. More so, through the troubling ‘education’ within the church I grew up in and Southwest Baptist University; I would have never envisioned a program that I run having people that aren’t “like me” around me. Reality is, while I don’t agree, I would rather be around someone living a lifestyle deemed “sinful” then be around a Christian that’s too prideful to admit their own shortfalls.

I am a worthless waste of space. I am a sinful creature, that even though I openly know I am redeemed by grace, that of which I’ll never deserve, I continue to screw up. I get lost in my pride, worship my obsessions, and dream of the falsehood of rising above. Every night I find myself mentally sobbing, begging my Father to forgive me of my mistake of living throughout the day.

I tell Him my fears of reliving the hell on earth at I witnessed in 2011, and I beg Him not to give up on me. I open my tear stained eyes knowing that my Father loves my pathetic soul, and my desperate attempt to please Him.

If you ever wanted a reflection of my life since 2011, since the time FilingThePapers started, it would simply read:

I deserve none of this. I only deserve death.

Until you’ve lived a lifetime of living, breathing in new air on a continual basis, you’ll never know what I’m saying. Only those who have lost their life will understand what grace and redemption feels like. There isn’t even a word in this world that describes the sheer joy of standing in the doorway, watching my wife sleep, knowing that I’m responsible for her safety. There isn’t a single visual aid that can depict the heartfelt expression of what unconditional love is. In no way is there enough “#getyourpraiseon” statements that can envelop that life that I’ve lived.

I state this case just because tonight my heart hurts. It isn’t some mushy, fluffy Christian-speak. It’s coming from the soul of a troubling time in life. Personally, I’ve messed up as I’ve missed the mark with the Kansas City Shock. I’ve made it about revenge, bitterness, and the hope of crushing those who oppose. I daydreamed of ensuing chaos and demonstrations to let the world know who we are.

The world doesn’t need to know who we are. The world needs to know who I operate under. The lack of evidence to support that claim falls directly on my shoulders, and it is my sin to hold.

I proclaim this gospel, this faith, this stance because I’ve come to understand that being a Christian will never make you cool. If it does, you’re doing something wrong. Imagine this; I’m a Christian, based on the Bible I do not embrace same-sex marriage. I don’t accept abortion as an option, and I’m not an advocate for female preachers [talk about creating some targets tonight]. Imagine the same person telling a person on their roster, who is openly gay, that their safe from the world. Imagine the confusion, complexion, and complication that, that makes in the perspective of the world.

To put it bluntly, if you really want to know what Jesus would do…that’s exactly where I get my belief. There’s no way Jesus would look at a sinner, condemn to hell, and give up on them. He wouldn’t demoralize them, tear them down, or make them feel worthless. If you don’t believe me I’d encourage you check out the Gospel’s in the New Testament of the Bible. That isn’t Christ, and to act that way isn’t Christ-like, meaning it isn’t being a Christian.

If I’m a person who is to stand by my faith, no matter the outcome, then I can’t condemn the world around me. I don’t embrace it, but I’m not in a position to shun anyone. There is no right, no moral obligation, and no power from God that embraces that concept. Why? Because God would never do it.

I’m a liar, cheater, thief, adulterer, and idol worshiper; and that’s on a good day. Does God suddenly decree, “D is a lost cause, there is no hope for him.” No! God is hope, and God loves His creation. God loves me, God loves the people on my roster, God loves the people of the city I live in. That is His description, God is love. He is a wicked harsh judge in the end, but He’s a loving Father. If you want evidence, read the past months worth of posts on this site and read the first month in July of 2011. The whole idea behind FilingThePapers was to one day demonstrate that I’m one screwed up, random piece of trash…and yet somehow God still blesses me with things that I’ll never deserve. I’m not monetarily rich, but I have a family that I wouldn’t give up for anything. I don’t have a 45 foot yacht, but I have people that would surpass that type of value any day of the week.

Perhaps this rambling is a question, thought, and statement all in the same:
Question: Why are Christians so quite? They really have nothing to hide.
Thought: Jesus was never quiet, but He wasn’t rude to those that didn’t believe all in the same.
Statement: How could I live for Christ, but give up on the world?

I’m not a hero, just a story teller, one from experiences of my own vice. One day I’ll probably get skewered by someone for stating my faith, but I’m alright with that. To you dearest reader, know this right now; I’ve lived a life of no regrets because I know where I stand with God. He loves me and all my warts, He’s blessed me with a wonderful wife, a beautiful life, and a reason to breathe new air each morning.

I fear the future, because of the turbulent world that I currently reside in. However, know this as a fact [Jack], God isn’t going to let us disappear. It isn’t His plan, and He’s got some amazing, earth shattering [literally] stuff up His sleeve someday. I’m only here in this existence for a split-second, but in that time I can do so much through all the things that He’s given me.

Being humble with success.
Embracing the unknown, unwanted, and undesired.
Speaking truth, abstaining from lies.
Loving my family with every inch of the soul that exists within me.
Never giving up, on anyone…because my God never gave up on me.


XO: #Shock2Philly

I’m feeling the age.

It’s required quite literally 48 hours to fully recover from the adventure out to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania…and back again.

Darco and I have ensured that food has been cooked, but just enough to eat because we haven’t had the energy to shuffle through the apartment. This is an alarmingly true story.

With that said. Continue reading

Mobile Minutes: #Shock2Philly Part I

Did I break tradition?

I feel terrible that Darco and I logged 1200 miles in one day yesterday, and I didn’t share any of it with you!

Shame on me…

It’s just after midnight in New Jersey. Darco and I are out here on ‘business’ for the Kansas City Shock. She’s already asleep. Truth be told, we rocked the drive yesterday. The last hour was a bit rough [from what I was told], but we concluded this twenty two hour drive was better then the eight hour drive last year from Reno, Nevada to Las Vegas, Nevada.

I’m nearly floating with Dunkin Donuts; having stopped there on four different occasions…so far.

We’ve had our “official” Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich [did you know it’s National Cheesesteak Month] tonight. The road system is worse then my adventures in Washington, and I’ve been lost more times then Boston.

Toll roads in Pennsylvania? INSANE! $40 to get to Philadelphia [we went through West Virginia and Maryland instead].

Darco had never seen the ocean before, so with a quick ninety minute drive we wound up in Atlantic City, New Jersey which is ten times more beautiful then Las Vegas, Nevada. She grabbed some seashells, and I snapped some photos.

We’re in town until Saturday afternoon. Afterwards we’re heading to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Meeting one of our new players, and staying the night at an old friends house that you, my beloved readers, will thoroughly enjoy. But, I’ll save that for a later post.

I’ll leave you with a nice photo album of our Atlantic City adventure today.


XO: Two Seashells

…may we see your credentials…

It turns out being a red head at 6’5 means that it is nearly impossible to sneak into anything without proper clearance, paperwork, or blood type. This is what I learned earlier this evening.

A brief recap:

At 3:00 AM CST yesterday morning Darco and I embarked on a journey from Missouri to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; via our new Mazda3. It took nearly 22 hours, we dodged a toll road that would have costed us $40, and even ran into a random soccer coach in West Virginia, also traveling from Missouri. Needless to say, it was a strange trip.

The reason for this trip is technically business related; it has to do with our soccer league’s annual general meeting that we’re required to attend. That meeting is taking place on Saturday in Philadelphia. Darco and myself got a head start on the meeting by leaving yesterday morning. The days in between have been filled with what’s referred to as the “NSCAA Convention”. Tragically, humorously, and seriously it is the largest gathering of soccer coaches within the United States. Name the topic…it’s covered over a period of time.

For a price.

Here’s the problem that I run into; I’m not a coach, I’m not a director of coaches [DOC], I don’t work with youth programs, and I’m honestly not striving to be a coach. I run the Kansas City Shock, and that is a soccer team.

That’s my connection to this convention. However, wouldn’t it be cool to see all the soccer people at work, to be able to see the inner thought process of this somewhat underground operation? That’s what I thought initially. Unfortunately, as time went on I began to realize that this organization just isn’t for me. I’m not a soccer person; I like business, new ideas, and soccer tends to dwell within them every-so-often. Realistically, and Darco will tell you this, the NSCAA Convention really isn’t designed for me. Because of that I elected not to purchase the $80 a year membership, and furthermore chose not to pay the $200-$400 for admission passes [for one of us] for the yearly convention. I truthfully couldn’t bring myself to split with that kind of money for an event that frankly, didn’t pertain to me.

With that said, it comes to no surprise that our beloved friends from Sparks, Nevada sent us a text informing us of a evening meeting that was taking place in Philadelphia, and they weren’t 100% sure that any credential was required. Even through the painfully terrible roads of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Darco and I headed over.

In the empty chasm of the convention hall [this is well after the day was wrapped up] we did stumble upon the grand room that held the get-together that we were aware of. I thought about charging the door, but the concept of security was frowned up. With Darco is tow we started towards the door and that’s when we heard it:

Sir, may I see some credentials?

Ugh…this ranked up there with only having $4.88 to pay at the toll booth [it is $5…in cash only]. I walked away towards the door, my wife next to me, and she pulled me aside and simply asked, “Now what?”

Stupidly, and I mean at stupid as humanly possible, all I wanted to do was cry.

I’m embarrassed, and I would really like to leave.

The only words of control that I could get out of my body, as it began to shake.

Was the admission too much? No, I could afford that, be in the convention, no problem.

The frustration stemmed from the fact that it wasn’t for me. This event isn’t aimed at people like me, this sport isn’t aimed at people like me, my livelihood isn’t even aimed at people like me. The harsh truth is that in the soccer community, Darco and I don’t fit in. The better part of it, is knowing that neither of us wants to fit in. As I shut the door in the Mazda3, Darco looked at me, hand on my face and quietly said:

You were not meant to fit in. I was afraid this would happen when we arrived. You’d be disappointed, but the fact is that you don’t think like other people do. You see this sport very differently versus’s many others, and that doesn’t make you popular, and it doesn’t make it easy. I’m sorry you’re embarrassed from tonight, but I’m glad we didn’t waste money on admission passes because it would be just that…a waste.

While getting lost, trying to find our way back to the hotel, I started thinking deeper on the topic, the day, the events, and a way to comfortably sum it up in its entirety.

I hope that I’ll always be an advocate for soccer. Personally, I think the “American” model is a ludicrous joke that focuses on wealth, and not necessarily passion; something it’s lost over the past ten years. My opinion of course. I don’t think I’ll ever want to wear a track suit, I don’t care how much stuff Adidas could throw at me. I can’t imagine sitting in lecture halls learning to coach, or let alone sitting in a lecture hall for any given amount of time. I want to be moving, thinking, talking, tinkering, and dreaming. I want to get lost in cyberspace, connect industries that don’t relate, and most importantly…have fun while doing it. While Darco is currently asleep [she’ll read this later], I’d much rather spend more time in Atlantic City then pushing business cards to random people. Harsh? I don’t believe so, it takes a unique person, like our head coach to be awesome in the soccer community. I am not that person, and I hope I’ll never be. I hope instead that I can spend more time on the beach, like today, picking up seashells, smiling, and just enjoying an overall exciting life.

Summed up; it’s about prioritizing. Introducing my best friend to the ocean trumps sitting in a lecture hall all day. Finding authentic cheese steak sandwiches in Philadelphia beats learning nutrition for athletes [not even my responsibility]. Please forgive me for saying this, but the truth is…I just can’t take it serious anymore. Anytime that I’ve wound up getting serious, frustrated, and other descriptions; I end up losing the concept on why I even got involved in all of this to begin with. It’s about being different. It’s about wearing a weird hat, a comfy hoodie, and some random shoes. It’s about unique business cards, Google+ oddities, and giving away random shirts to random people along our travels. It’s about a beer with friends, making fun of scarves, and at the end of the day not stepping onto the turf, but instead stepping onto the beach.

Guys, let’s be real, life is way too short to be so serious all of the time. When Saturday rolls around and for four whole hours I have to be serious…the likelihood is that it isn’t going to happen. From church to work to everything in between; I’m so sick and tired of everything having to be so serious. Darco couldn’t have cared if the world was on fire; she was just thrilled to have some seashells from the beach. She didn’t worry about the meeting on Saturday, she was busy running down a seagull near the pier. Believe it or not, you can get tasks accomplished without having to keep a straight face.

I get it, for some people soccer isn’t just a job or an opportunity; it’s life. For myself though, especially after some meetings earlier this week, it’s only a part of my life. The difference is that I don’t live soccer through my life, I live my life through soccer.

Greetings from Atlantic City!