O: When You Tithe…


I’ve been waiting for this post…impatiently.

Disclaimer: All things typed here was done so with the approval via text message of our director of media.

Sometime ago I made a post about tithing at church, and how it drove me insane and openly admitted that I struggled with it. Nothing really has changed from that original position, aside from the churning in my soul of trying to do the right thing, humble myself, and tithe.

So, with stress building up, the account dwindling I decided last week (05/12/2013) that my first fruits were going on a check, to MoVal, and what would happen would be what happened.

Usually, along these lines that many modernist would suggest as ‘reckless’ I would image that everything financial would go wrong. However, the moment that I had placed that check in the passing plate, the unbelievable started. Along these lines, I’d like to show a correlation to a  mixed bag of goodies from what I learned yesterday at MoVal:

Monday (05/13/2013): After receiving a late night phone call from Customs in Atlanta, Georgia I was informed that our crazy patient player from Scotland would be delayed a day and not arrive until 05/14/2013. She had been held up because they couldn’t understand the idea of her playing for the Kansas City Shock and why she’d be in and out of the country so much as of late. Needless to say; she arrived in one piece [finally] on Tuesday.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy

Tuesday (05/14/2013): Aliesha arrived at the airport [on time], and Darco and I went to go meet her there. At the same time, Jim had posted on Facebook that the plant would be closing…for good. While the joy of having one of our internationals in place was great, my mind was instantly numbed with the a million questions of how to assist my family…and not having an answer.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted

Wednesday (05/15/2013}: I started my day in the gym with a morning run, which was awful, and started working on my schedule for the day; including several meetings with potential investors and other items that I still can speak on. While walking to the car from the gym I received an email from our head coach; she resigned along with the assistant coach. Noting family reasons, I wouldn’t object with the move, and granted them safe journey’s with their new adventures. The reality was; a week and a half away from the Kansas City Shock home opener and there was no coaching staff. I dialed all the Founders and explained the situation. The ladies had their first practice that night; of which I showed up at and broke the news to them. They were given the option to walk away if they’d like. Not. One. Player. Left. On my way out to the car I sent a text to a friend of mine in the soccer world and simply asked if the option presented itself, would they be interested in potentially being a candidate for the head coach position. A few seconds later I received, “Yes. We need to meet.” This eventful day was followed by a meeting with a potential investor that stretched to 1:00 AM on Thursday morning…an hour south of where I currently live.

First team meeting last week.

First team meeting last week.

Blessed are those in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Thursday (05/16/2013): I had been running around with all the events going on within the organization, and on the side note I was working on getting our Australian player into the United States as well. This was also involved in budgeting, financing, and international player travel. She had been crazy patient as well, and I kept pushing her back, and back, and back. Finally, the stage was set for her to get here. However, this also was the same day of a full staff meeting in Kansas City; which stretched to 11:00 PM and went over coaching options. Honesty, especially after Wednesday, it was a very stressful day. I went home worn out, somewhat defeated, and full of questions on how on earth this program was going to get off the ground.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Friday (05/17/2013): The Boston Breakers had come to town and wound up training on our home field [awesome stuff there]. The staff had unanimously agreed to offer the head coaching position to Wendy Louque. Interestingly Wendy had been my consultant and mentor on the soccer dynamics of Kansas City almost since the original creation of the program. Meaning, that in many instances she’s known our battles, struggles, and triumphs. Personally, she’s a nose to the grindstone Christian that’ll set you straight whether you like it or not. Factor in that she has a strong coaching reputation in the Kansas City area, along with being connected to several organizations throughout the region, she was a great find. Who would have thought it would have been someone that had been in the background of the program since Day 1? I was feeling optimistic, went to one of my stores to work that night, and then my phone started going off. Racheal, our Australian was stuck in the airport in Adelaide. I had made a rookie mistake, I booked her one way instead of round trip, blend that in with the visa waiver and that’s enough issues not to be allowed to board. Her mother and I worked tirelessly via Google+ to get the issue resolved, and with some amazing work by Qantas, things were set. However, it was enough for me to lose my appetite for dinner.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy

Saturday (05/17/2013): I finally hit rock bottom. I was stressed at work, I was stressed running, I was stressed at my parents house that night. In the wee hours of the night I saw that I had phone calls from Australia…again. This time Racheal had been delayed in Sydney due to engine issues in the plane [good enough reason to be delayed]. My head was spinning; this week had been a wreck, I was a wreck, time was ticking down for our home opener, so many unknown questions and that didn’t even include my family. I just broke down Saturday night in my apartment. Just lost it. It was after that pity party that things started to make more sense. I had done something that was against my standard norm, I tithed. While it wasn’t the action of tithing that creates insanity, it was doing something that kept me from being stagnant that brought about issues. See, if you’re a stagnant Christian, the devil could care less about you. You’re not a threat, you’re lazy. However, if you do something that provokes spiritual growth in yourself and may align the Kingdom towards continued success…you better be ready because everything imaginable is probably going to be hurled at you…all at once.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Sunday (05/18/2013): A dinner with the players, they were introduced to their new coach [who many of them knew from the past], many small meetings, and plenty of food to go around. Racheal had made it through Customs, and through the storms, we were able to pick her up at 9:53 PM last night. Meaning she slept better, her mother slept better, Darco slept better, and I slept better. The rain washed away the past week, the storm brought with it a new passenger of our ongoing journey, and the new day, a Monday [of all things], further instills in me that this is the right direction.

One From Scotland

One From Scotland

One from Australia

One from Australia

 

Team meeting while introducing Wendy Louque.

Team meeting while introducing Wendy Louque.

How do I know? Because the persecution feels so good.

-D-

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Mobile Minutes: International Traveler


I randomly awoke up 3:50 AM and checked my phone (it was on silent while I slept).

Four missed calls from Australia.

One of our players heading into Kansas City was briefly held up in Adelaide, but got through it (with an incredible mother along the way assisting).

Wound up in Sydney. Next flight had engine issues, flight was cancelled, and now she’s stuck in Sydney and will be coming in a day later.

I’ve never witnessed in all travels this many problems. Personal thought? Prayer. Something is working against this program, and it is dark.

-D-

O: Australia


This is a great story; one that I’ve been dying to share on here for quite some time, but due to business policies I had to hold back.

First, I’d encourage you to read this exciting release from the Kansas City Shock:

Now I’ll tell you the story:

I was in second grade and a girl in my class had her aunt and uncle in school for show and tell. They were from this enchanted land called Alice Springs, Australia. They had a cool accent, amazing stories, and wore some really cool clothes [I was in second grade]. This small moment started a fascination with the land down under.

I never knew much about the country, aside from MC’s love for Crocodile Dundee and my enjoyment of The Rescuers Down Under. Aside from that my knowledge kept small about the country with the fascinating accent in a land nearly a world away. It wasn’t until the 2000 Summer Games in Syndey, Australia that my interest really started to peak. I learned more about their country/continent. From the games, to entertainment, to food, to diversity. There was much to learn about this foreign world. I discovered that I would need to journey to this land to learn more.

In the fall of 2008 I had been in communication with the education services in Australia; namely Sydney. I had a friend that had just traveled to the area for school, and with my dual degrees I could have potentially qualified to teach in this country [along with coaching]. I had finished up the paperwork, had it placed on the table in the house I was staying in while in school, and would be shipping it off to Australia the next morning. However that night I had to go into the city to eat sushi and was set up on this ‘unintentional’ blind date.

That blind date turned into a relationship, an engagement, and eventually a marriage. The letter to Australia was thrown away at the realization that this is my life now, and those travels weren’t meant to be. I still paid attention to Australia, watched the development of the Westfield W-League women’s soccer program, and even stayed up at 3:00 AM listening to the plays get called in the dead of winter via internet radio.

With the divorce came a sense of realization and anticipated adventure. I wanted to visit Australia, but knew my limitations financially would prevent me from traveling there anytime soon. However, as I started to dabble in the women’s soccer writing world I began to discover this passionate group of people within the the soccer community of Australia who were hell-bent on growing the game in their own land. From news agencies to Twitter accounts; these women were passionate about their game and stopped at nothing to let themselves be known. Many times I thought:

What could that kind of passion do on a field in our own country?

This is when I discovered the coaches from Legacy Football Club; one of which is a native to Australia. At this point strange pieces started to come together; with the Shock being created we started to pick up a bit of hype from Oz. At one point even getting a few emails from people in the country about our program. It was some unique times.

I find it fascinating that for years I had a passion of knowledge of such a wonderful country as Australia, and even though it has taken time on my part [almost twenty years…literally] I’m finally starting to see a bit of that passion becoming a reality. Sure, I’m not heading to Australia anytime soon, but to know through the Kansas City Shock, that a bit of Australia is coming to us? It’s just a continued reminder that we’re moving along the right path.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Vegas Part II


Day Two:

Darco and myself can be summed up in one word: exhausted.

Moving to the meeting today, we were in for a 12 hour experience. It varied from all degrees of soccer in the league, but this much I was able to walk away with; we’re doing something right. We were immediately recognized for the social media stance that our program has. Following Darco and I actually got involved in the open forum discussions, not what I was expecting for our first adventure with the AGM.

Outside of the soccer world Las Vegas is…depressing. Everywhere I go it is the same: smoke, old carpets, craps tables, and people that just want to ‘live’. I’ve never felt more uncomfortable in my life. Strange sensation as there are simple .01 slots everywhere, $10 craps tables, and buffets galore, but all of it seems…gross. I see these bright towers and I think of skyscrapers, offices, business, corporations, etc…but they’re all casino’s and hotels. That’s it. Sorry to all of the Las Vegas fans out there, but I’m not overly impressed.

Heading to bed now, need to be up by 5:00 AM tomorrow so we can head up north to Sparks, Nevada to see our wonderful friends at Legacy FC.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: LA Part VIII


Quick step back into the joys and excitement of yesterday.
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Incredibly; it was much warmer here in Los Angeles then it was in Kansas City when I left. Many people were speaking of the incredible heatwave that had gripped this area. I thought that they had been full of it when i woke up and stepped out of my hotel. It was cloudy, cool, with a pleasant Pacific breeze.

How can a heatwave come from that?

Easy, the clouds can go away.

After spending my Sunday morning driving The “405”, to I-110, across to The Home Depot Center in Carson, California; I was quick to find the closest Starbucks. There may be a ton of Starbucks in California, but I’ll most definitely give them credit in saying that they know how to make a good mocha. I know that Starbucks has a standard protocol for making each drink that you can find nationwide. However, whatever this crew does differently, it was definitely noted. The mocha was smooth, creamy, I could taste the espresso, but I could also taste the mocha blended smoothly through the drink. It was excellent and a benefit as I strolled over to the HDC [Home Depot Center]. After paying another $15 for ‘standard parking’ I quickly found myself sitting next to Ness and Jen awaiting some of their friends for the big game that I had traveled out here for.

Soon three younger women, college age, were around Jen and Ness; they were all laughing and carrying on. The mood was light, and the atmosphere was stirring; then the sun came out.

It went from 70 to 115 degrees in about three minutes. No sunscreen, so of course I burned like none other. Eventually the gates opened up and we started to pour into the stadium
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As a soccer specific stadium; the HDC is incredible. Small, compact, and perfect for American soccer. Compared to Livestrong Sport Park? There isn’t even a contest. Jen, Ness, and myself found ourselves two and four rows from the field in the scorching direct sunlight for the entire match. However, when the national team players are that close to you; it’s hard to even care about the heat [aside from the growing sunburn].

Ness took off like a rocket when we stepped into the seating area. We couldn’t figure out why until we found her running down the stairs to the very edge of the seating. There, Aussie and all, she started to wave and yell at some of the Australian National Team players. Of course I would find myself hanging out with someone who played club soccer with these players. So, while waiting for the game to start, during warm ups; I got to just watch and listen to Ness and these players just carry on conversations as if they were neighbors. Go ahead, ask me if I’d ever been that close to national players from another country; yes, never. As quick as they came, they went back into their locker room for pregame.

We took our seats and waited for the crowds to arrive. By 12:30 AM PST there were close to 19,000 people crammed into this stadium; not a sold out event. Australia got off to a rocket start, and by half they were leading 1-0 over the United States. Truthfully, it was evident that when you’re playing a game that isn’t worth anything [not a qualifier] there isn’t much motivation except to please the public [aka US Soccer Federation]. Needless to say, as expected the USA came back in the second half with a quick goal and a PK to win the match 2:1. The little girls were thrilled, LA saw their childhood stars carry on, and the head coach left the USA on a good note.

Warm fuzzy’s all around.

Naturally, like many of the ‘critics’ out there I saw the game in its political sake of a ease of enthusiasm to the fans of the United States. It is what it is, for me it was definitely more about growing knowledgeable about the dynamics around me.
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During halftime I was able to meet several individuals that follow me on Twitter, and even two of most vocal people on the USA women’s deaf national team [who had just won a gold medal in the Deaf World Cup]. It was incredible to see so many people around me, so passionate, so moving on what their dream is; growing women’s soccer. So many, like the captain of the national team for the USA women’s deaf program had been neglected by so many over her 16 years of playing, and yet she never/hasn’t stopped. Jen and Ness, several times they were being told that their philosophy, their location, their dream wouldn’t succeed. This trip wasn’t just about the national game and Los Angeles, it was about finding the root, the believers, the growers, and the faithful.

While I did leave burnt to a crisp from that game, while sitting at Starbucks afterwards with Jen and Ness, prior to them hopping on their flight for home; it was a few hours of growth, determination, and fueling frustration. The system for women’s soccer in Australia is a complete mess. You/I think the US has it rough? We’re clueless. The USA Women’s National Deaf program? They have to find $120,000 prior to the Deaflympics next year in Bulgaria. These are programs that have been around, they have existed, and yet they continue to struggle. Who am I, the owner of a new program with fresh legs, to complain about the ‘unknown’ versus the rough and tumble?

While physically I’m rather spent, even though technically I haven’t done much [warning: allergies…dang…smoking me right now], mentally I’m charged and ready to go at. There’s so much to do in so little time, and even though I want nothing but success for the Kansas City Shock; mentally, it is so, so bigger. I want to run with Legacy FC, help Milwaukee United get off the ground, hang out with the Gulf Coast Texans, and watch the fans stream in for everyone of them, regardless of size.

The potential lies for something incredible, unique, and innovative, and this weekend; I got a taste of how far we’ve already come.

-D-

P.S. The left over Chicken Parm was out of this world good! Even without a fork.

 

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:

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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-

#getyourpraiseon


I’m just more then thrilled to share this wonderful adventure that has quickly panned out.

First though, I’d love to share this:

I’ll be moving into my new apartment September 1st, 2012. To those of you who have been positive, prayerful, and motivating; thank you. To those who have been arrogant, resentful, and all around in poor taste towards me moving; I politely bite my thumb at you [it’s call literature, look it up sometime].

Now, onto the fun part:

I learned last night that the US Women’s National Team will be playing Australia in Los Angeles, California in September. Like any other time that I learn about a game I’d be interested in, I head to kayak.com and investigate airline pricing. I was shocked, and I mean shocked, to learn that the price for tickets to Los Angeles from Kansas City were not outrageous. Suddenly, upon learning this, I got very excited and noted on Twitter that I was considering the idea of going to Los Angeles.

That’s when the excitement really began.

A soccer grower, similar to myself, but out in Nevada, is from Australia and we’ve been in dialogue for some time now as she grows her program out west. She contacts me through a direct message, starts talking about tickets being taken care and the possibility of meeting the Australian Women’s National Team, and anyone who knows me, knows that I have a very, very large soft spot for the Aussie’s. At this point I was quickly becoming more and more excited. That’s when I told them that I’d never been west of Colorado [this is a fact]. This brought about a tour of LA and some time on the beach [surfing?]. So in less then 24 hours I went from hearing about the game in LA, to being informed the tickets were being addressed, I may meet the Aussie National Team, a tour of LA, and time spent on the beach.

I’m sorry, what?!?!

With that said, prior to typing this I just finalized my airline ticket purchase.

*deep breath*

It’s Maryland all over again, it is Washington, D.C. all over again, it’s traveling, it’s soccer, and it is exactly where I need to be. I woke up this morning swearing that it was all a dream. How absolutely blessed I’ve been to be able to partake in this exciting moment in 43 days.

I know the soccer haters are still out there, and the ‘grow up and get a real job’ folks are as well, but I’ll challenge you to this: if you’re a Christian and you’re all about ‘open doors’, I’d love to see you rationalize how God does not continue to open doors into this soccer endeavor.

How can I not give praise about this?

-D-