#getyourpraiseon


Ever wonder if creating a women’s soccer program in Kansas City was a bad idea?

Following this:

It all started in Indianapolis two weeks ago. Three of our staff members [and a short moment with Dur] headed to the NSCAA National Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. I stayed back in Kansas City to work on business [and I was also told ‘owners’ have nothing to do there]. Upon their return, I got an earful about the ladies from Legacy Football Club, and also about the crew from the Boston Breakers. Two programs that over the past year we have developed very strong ties with. I was also informed about how many people at this convention [trust me, it is huge] knew about the Kansas City Shock. A positive from the marketing standpoint of our program.

That was the normal part.

So, Dur comes into Starbucks after her adventure to Indy and asks me if I knew someone named Amber Gwinn. Well, this immediately sparks interest because I do know an Amber Gwinn. Amber was the assistant coach at Southwest Baptist while I was working in the athletic department. Between her and the head coach [now Survivor celebrity] Ben Wade, I learned a ton about women’s soccer. It turns out that Dur met her in Indianapolis. Additionally, it turns out that Amber coaches in Reno, it also turns out that Amber is in direct contact with Jenn and Vanessa of Legacy; also based out of the Reno/Sparks area. Needless to say, the women who easily intimidated me in college [I think I spoke to Wade more then I did her of all the time I was there…out of fear] has connected digitally on Facebook and Twitter, and I just chuckle at the connection of how that comes about. Weird stuff, right? While all of that was going on, our director of merchandise was chasing down Puma at the convention [compliments of Legacy, who run all of their gear through Puma]. Well, in Kansas City currently Sporting Kansas City runs through Adidas, FC Kansas City runs through Nike, and guess what? Yes, even though it was never the initial plan, it looks like we’re going with Puma. Puma is looking at getting into the Kansas City market [a soccer hot spot] and they carry the color orange that we’ve grown to love. Factor in Boston Breakers also running Puma prior to joining the new league that’s been formed, and the stage was already set for a fascinating introduction for Puma with us. Of course I can’t steal Jamie’s [director of merchandise] thunder, so that’s all I can say on that topic. Though very cool.

It gets better.

The following weekend myself and Darco headed out to Las Vegas for the Women’s Premier Soccer League conference. First of all, Las Vegas is a terrible, nasty city. I couldn’t handle that thing for more then a few hours at a time. Regardless, I spent all Saturday in a conference room listening to the league president chat. Afterwards he took us to the standard Las Vegas buffet [my stomach is still recovering], and we sat and talked. By the time I was preparing to leave, he makes mention of Weber Creative Arts. Yes, our beloved Weber Creative Arts in Kansas City that kills our graphic design stuff on a daily basis. He wants to know if they’d be interested in doing design work for the league office. I’m serious! I told him that I connect the two groups, but while I was walking out I was simply thinking, “Remember when that married couple [who I went to college with, who knew K8 that put us together, who also knew Amber Grwinn at the same time] started working on our designs, and filed for their own company?” Needless to say, I was thrilled to send that e-mail to them when I returned to the hotel.

BUT IT GETS BETTER!

The next day, Darco and I took a brief 6.5 hour trip through…well…nothing from Las Vegas to Reno/Sparks. Why? Simple. Jenn and Vanessa live in Sparks, and earlier that week I had received a message from Vanessa saying that there was going to be a dinner waiting for us when we arrived. When you’re hopping airports and cars, a home cooked meal you take every time. We arrived in Sparks right around 4:00 PM and headed over to the house of Paul and Jamie. When we arrived we found a house COVERED with girls who were ALL keepers [no wonder Jenn enjoys them so much] running around, eating food [it’s a soccer girl problem], and creating chaos. It was awesome! The couple, Paul and Jamie greeted us and started chatting. What I hadn’t realized was that this was the same Paul that a few days earlier on Facebook stated on the Kansas City Shock Facebook page that we needed to stop at the Death Valley Candy and Nut Company. Darco and I had made a specific goal to stop there [THEY HAVE GUMMY, GREEN ARMY MEN!]. It was awesome knowing that the guy we went out to get that trip on video was standing in front of me [eye-to-eye, this family is so tall]. We talked shop, our program, Legacy, and family. That’s when the really cool stuff started to happen. Paul travels a lot, getting shoe companies to sell specific types of shoes from Germany and Austria [I hope I got that right]. He has a lot of business in Kansas City, and is a die hard Sporting fan. He also has done a little business in St. Joseph [remember, he lives in Sparks] at a store called Browns Shoes. This store just happens to be managed by my friend Tom, the same Tom that was with me in Guatemala and the same Tom that is an elder at MoVal. Paul brought up Tom’s name, and this is after I looked at Darco in the car and said, “I’ll give it ten minutes before Tom’s name comes up”…jokingly. I had no idea how serious that would be. The concept of Tom and Paul knowing each other from the business side [Tom’s a bit fuzzy on it] is mind blowing, but when I told Paul that Tom and I were part of a group of missionaries in Guatemala this summer, he perks up, “Oh yeah, I’ve got some friends that are full time down there…” and starts rattling off all of these people they know in the mission field. That’s the same time Jenn pipes up and says, “Yeah, Shawn takes gear down to Guatemala for clinics.” “Really? We’ve got all sorts of stuff from cleats and stuff…” While all that was going on, the missionaries mentioned in the conversation [who I’ve forgotten names of…I’m sorry] triggered a conversation from back home. These names are known by the community that I live in as well [did I mention that this was going on in Nevada], as it turns out Jamie and Paul are actually from the Chicago area originally and were deeply involved in the area. Most notably for me was this:

Halfway across the United States I was in the presence of some seriously compassionate Christians.

While sitting down for dinner [and working on a very stout dark ale that I’m not overly familiar with] we discussed everything from youth soccer, travel, soccer, food, soccer, all the way to business; including questions about the Kansas City Shock, our business model, and the future of our program and Legacy FC. Somewhere within that conversation I brought up Pro Ebiria, a glove company for goal keepers. The Kansas City Shock’s very first sponsor back in July of last year, and we continue to do business with them to this day. They make the gloves for the keeper for Sporting Kansas City. Pro Ebiria just released a youth style glove [size and all] at their usual exceptional price, and the president of Legacy FC just happens to be a former keeper at the Univ. of Nevada [Jenn] and coaches goal keeper clinics and camps. Well, as you would imagine, because I love working with local businesses [see Weber] I pitched Pro Ebiria to Jenn. Now those two are in contact with one another; imagine if Pro Ebiria is selling youth gloves to a youth program out in Sparks, Nevada? Huge marketing potential, helps a local business, they’re amazing gloves, and hopefully assists a growing program out west.

After having my mind blown from that amazing few hours; Darco and I traveled back to Las Vegas that night [another 6.5 hours of two lanes and desert] and arrived in Las Vegas at 5:30 AM [we got to airport by 8:00 AM to depart, a miracle in itself].

At this point, if you’ve kept up with the whole process, you’re probably pretty entertained. Don’t worry though; there’s so much more…

The following days were a whirlwind, including a literal meeting every single day [I was off from Subway for the week]. Tuesday was very stressful, and a rather disheartening meeting over a very, very important aspect of the Kansas City Shock. However, while leaving in the pouring rain our head coach contacts me, tells me a magazine is doing an interview with her; Dos Munos, a bilingual Spanish/English piece that is distributed through Kansas City. For us, that’s a huge deal; we have made it a professional and personal goal to get a stronger access into the Hispanic community of Kansas City. This was a massive step in the right direction. I definitely didn’t realize what kind of first step that was.

The rest of the information is monumental huge, but for fear of press leaks I can’t be too descriptive…for now.

I was contacted by another team of a different women’s soccer league a few days ago, I think Wednesday, they’re curious on what kind of work Weber Creative Arts can do. Alright, now this is where I start to freak out. I mean, the league office has already contacted Weber Creative and this other team from an entirely different league is contacting me about them as well. I mean, realistically, that’s how you grow a business. To see something like that take off; on the personal level it is huge, but on the business side with the program that helped kick start Weber; it’s unspeakable. I hope that as time progresses I’ll have more information about that to share. Additionally, since the first meeting this week fell through, I got a tip for another meeting set up by our general manager this morning. I had no idea how big of a meeting it would be. I want to share this information with so, so badly and I hope I’ll be able to soon, but just trust me when I say it is monumental. Factor that in with an amazing meeting yesterday with the owner of a company called The Soccer Lot; he has built a mobile platform for 5v5 soccer that can be played in an area the size of a basketball court. What happens if we install those outside of our home games? What happens if they open up in Sparks, Nevada? Boston, Massachusetts? Of course, I’m completely speculating, but the possibilities to assist another growing business in Kansas City is never ending!

Did I mention that I had a meeting inside Kansas City City Hall this week? No? That happened to. I was able to speak with the adviser of Mayor Sly James for about an hour on the Kansas City Shock; strictly looking for recognition and nothing else. First, I couldn’t believe that they responded to my inquiry. Second, I couldn’t believe I had a meeting at City Hall [across the street from one of my Subway’s]. Finally, I was meeting with the right hand man to the mayor of Kansas City; people that is no small position! We talked start up businesses, technology, growth, and economic development. In a very scary sense; I felt right at home. What will that meeting translate into? I have no idea, but something will come up; it’s sure to.

I want to take this point to make three clear points:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to read this extensive piece of information
  2. All of this took place in the matter of just under two weeks
  3. YOU CANNOT DENY THAT THERE IS SOMEONE A LOT BIGGER THEN ME, THE STAFF, OUR PROGRAM, OUR CITY THAT IS DOING SOMETHING ABSOLUTELY AMAZING THINGS! 

I’m living a dream, and from this site, by now we all should know that my credit goes directly to God for taking care of me and never ceasing to blow me away.

-D-

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Mobile Minutes: Vegas Part V


Got a two hour nap since returning from Reno this morning. All packed and heading to the airport. Cannot believe we don’t drove 900 miles in one day!

Also found my vacation location when it is time for rest: Sparks, Nevada and Lake Tahoe. Anytime business is required out here I’ll always go through Reno, not Las Vegas.

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Yeah, there was nothing out there…

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Vegas Part III


Up early again. Heading north and driving through the desert. Looking for Starbucks. Nice and warm in Vegas. It’s 38 and snowing in Reno, Nevada. I also started sweating due to the heat in Phoenix. This area definitely gives Missouri a run for its money on extremes.

Still have plenty of energy, but I’m fearful of tomorrow for sure. We’ll be getting back to Vegas around 2:00 AM and our flight leaves at 10:00 AM.

No rest for the weary.

-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-

O: Snake Eyes


It’s been a whirlwind of a week. Just a blitz of many sorts. I’m going to fight the sleep and try to get something pumped out tonight before dozing off…

Ideally the imaginative mind of myself has been at work since Sunday, and yes it all started at MoVal.

For the past several weeks I’ve been in a rut; a spiritual rut. I knew that owning a business, a unique one at that, would be difficult at times. However, the biggest struggle I’ve had out of it all has simply been the doubting and the fear. Those of you familiar with the ongoing story line of the Kansas City Shock know that it has been an…entertaining…journey to say the least. It wears on you though, especially when you’re not strapped into your faith.

I wasn’t strapped and I was being flung around. Every day I was more tired then the next, I was getting sick, I was told to rest, I couldn’t sleep, etc…something was just off. I’d lost the momentum, the drive, and realistically…the faith.

That’s when I stepped into the church last Sunday and watched as our preacher, Duck Dynasty quotes and all, took the ‘stage’. Now, he yells because he is passionate, he stomps because he’s passionate, but he tells the truth because God works through him.

God put a target on my forehead.

For the next several minutes [hours?] I listened as Jared went through a sermon about knowing when God expects you to take a risk. That is something I can relate to. So, Darco, Dur, and myself started keeping track of the points he was making, comparing them to what I knew about the Shock, and for the first time in a long time I made a very startling discovery:

I’m exactly right where He wants me to be.

I’ve dreamed of the day of taking risks, but I never dreamed it would be done through soccer. I mean, you want some risks…try building a women’s soccer program in a market that’s never had it, then be the youngest person in the United States to command it, factor in a handful of people from every walk of life, an extremely young [and very talented] head coach and that’s enough to cause some concern. Factor in another team starting at the exact same time in the exact same city in a completely different league that is literally ran by the US Soccer Federation, and has nation team players. Throw in a few people that want you to fail, and a soccer ‘blogging world’ of the area that doesn’t give a flip, and honestly…that’s a recipe for problems.

The scariest part?

It. Is. Still. Working.

I stepped out of church and my girlfriend, who I love dearly, looks at me and says, “Well…I guess that answers that question…” and proceeded to get into the car.

So, at this point I made a bold [repetitive] decision that I was going to listen to God, not fall into doubt, and believe that I’m on the right path.

Since that point two things have happened:

A. I’m sleeping so much better at night, it’s insane.
B. I have had so many hurdles thrown in my way, my head is still spinning.

Being able to sleep is very, very nice [can I get an “AMEN!”], but really the second point is the more fascinating area. It’s incredible, when you’re focused, when you see the hurdle you easily read that it isn’t there because you’ve made some mistake. It’s there to knock you loose, shake you down, and cause you to stumble. Incredibly, for all the hurdles that have been found this week, it’s only caused the push to become harder and harder.

When you’re following the grace of God and hurdles come up, they should merely be that reminder that you’re on the right path.

There are still so many issues that I don’t have answers for at the moment, and the temptation of doubt just nips at me all day long. I can’t give up though; He’s brought me too far on this amazing journey, and I firmly believe that this is just the beginning.

Tomorrow I begin the next leg of the journey; the traveling of 2013. So far on the list is already Las Vegas, Nevada; Sparks, Nevada; and Boston, Massachusetts [that leads up to May]. This weekend is the AGM for the league that the Kansas City Shock is apart of. Darco [traveling buddy] will be chilling with me as we head over to ‘sin city’ and then later up into the northern area of Sparks, Nevada [Reno] to see some great friends of ours. I most definitely would ask for prayers on Saturday, I’m not sure what this thing is going to be like, but I know that it is a great opportunity for God to show off some amazing stuff, and I believe it can happen.

Per all fun travels, I’ll be running “Mobile Minutes: Vegas Part [#]” through the weekend; photos, video, and everything else Darco and I can come up with. Also, if you’re on Twitter be sure to follow the hashtag #wpslAGM for a closer look into how Saturday is going.

He has some big things coming up, I know He’s just waiting to put me on my face…again…

-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 V


I’m letting these out at a rapid pace, just because I’m trying to catch up for the past near 48 hours.

After destroying the Double Double, I took an hour nap until the vibrating phone on my chest alerted me of a missed message. I think the area code was 208?

Regardless, one of the exciting features of this trip was meeting up with people that I randomly met through Twitter; all of which revolved around the concept of women’s soccer. Primarily two ladies; Jen and Ness. These two wonderful ladies are the founders of a quickly growing youth club in Sparks [Reno], Nevada called “Legacy FC” with the tag line, “Building A Legacy” [I’m serious, our generation is coming up with all the good quotes]. Jen is home grown from the Nevada area and Ness is actually from Australia. They both played soccer at the University of Nevada and have since graduated and have grown into building this non-profit organization. Last year [their first] they had 30 players register, this year they had over 130! Obviously they’re doing something right. As much as I’m intrigued about the growth of their program, they too have invested interest in the Kansas City Shock.  Between myself being 25 and the two being 27 and 24, we also share the similar age group. With them coming to LA for the game, and myself; it was a set a few weeks ago that we would hang out.

I’m not familiar with “hanging out”, it isn’t my thing primarily because I’m not very good at relaxing. However, for sake of curiosity I agreed to meet and I hopped in my car [another huge thank you to Avis for getting me hooked up again with a stellar vehicle at a great price] and headed towards this area that I had heard about before in movies; Santa Monica Boulevard.

To get to Santa Monica I had to take The “405” to I-10 and across to 4th street, only to intersect with the boulevard and take it two blocks west to the Pacific Ocean and Ocean Avenue. Uh-hu. I’m still amazed that I didn’t get lost.
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In the process of finding a place to park [after my first successful attempt at NASCAR racing], I noted a few interesting things about parking in Santa Monica:

  • You’re paying, the real question is how much are you paying?
  • I’m sure to continue to encourage health the county of Los Angeles thought it would be wise to stick McDonald’s underground in the parking garages [I’m still as surprised as you are].
  • Promenades are cool…except for the people crossing from them to the next; I almost racked up 5 people in one inch of movement in the car at the cross walk.
  • The paying process for the parking garage is all automated. You are given the slip [duh], placed in the car, take the other slip with you when you leave the car, coming back you have to take the slip you have with the barcode and insert it into the machine. Next, you pay the outlandish fee for parking, and get the slip back. Get in your car, drive out, at the gate you put the paper back in the machine, it reads that you’ve paid and it lets you out.
  • Make sure you note what time you are to leave that garage. I parked at a location that allowed me to stay until 12:00 AM, some close at 10:00 PM and your car will be towed.
  • Coolest feature: Parking meters…yes…you can pay for them via your debit/credit card. In Kansas City, we’re still keen on the quarter.

After getting my parking business down I stepped out onto Ocean Ave, crossed the massive street, stepped into the park, stepped over the drunk homeless man [it was sad to see a park that was so nice and trim, and so many homeless people just sleeping there; sometimes our money and priorities get a little skewed.

Now from Ocean to the ocean is a massive cliff that I had to scale [walk down the stairs], crossed I-10 via a walkway, and stepped into the sandy realm of the Pacific Ocean beach and more notably; the Santa Monica Pier. When, after a few miles, I finally got to the pier I was welcomed by a man rocking a LA Lakers jersey [to no surprise] and with a black Bible in his hand, he was proclaiming his faith. Now, I stood around looking like a tourist [oh wait…] and listened. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you that there are more screwed up people on their ‘faith’ in Topeka, Kansas [specific ‘church’ if you will] then this man on the pier of Santa Monica, California. I just chalked it up as unique.

Speaking of unique, while watching him, I noticed I was standing near a strange little shop…COVERED WITH ROUTE 66 STUFF!
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*As my own little, unique, strange hobby; I thoroughly enjoy collecting and reading about the legendary Route 66 that started in Chicago and as it turned out…ended in Santa Monica, California.

I was standing at the end of the Mother Road, the final piece of the puzzle, the heavenly destination of the road that started it all. It ended at the pier. I was completely spazzed at this point about my discovery, killing my battery, sending it to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace [that’s a lie], etc…

Finally, once my heart rate calmed; I kept walking along this pier and these two ladies came up and said, “You made it!”

It was Jen and Ness. They presented me with a Legacy FC scarf [note; I need to get their address to send them some shirts], and took me down towards the very end of the pier. Out there, while listening to a lady, live, belt out “My Heart Will Go On”, we watched the sunset over ocean and the 90+ degree day instantly turned to a 70+ evening. We talked about soccer, traveling, Nevada, California, what on earth I’m doing out here alone, etc…

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Eventually, like any good former soccer player, Jen piped up ‘I”m starving, have you ate?’ Aside from slaughtering the cow the second time on that Double Double, I had not. So off we went down Santa Monica Boulevard looking for food.

We wound up at this Italian Restaurant please note the previous experience traveling and Italian food] and sat down to a beer and some* pasta.

*Some: This is a family portion style restaurant, so the Chicken Parmesan was the size of my head…one of them was, it came with two.

I think we spent nearly four hours in that place, just talking, eating, laughing, and most importantly; talking soccer. Talking to business owners, innovators in the own sense, it was incredible. I was getting a taste of the mindset and thought process of the world around me, without me being part of the equation. Part of the unique setting of developing the Kansas City Shock, that since it is the first of its kind in the area it is practically sandbox mode for me 24/7. When I’m out traveling, I’m getting to peer into the minds of others and see, compare, and discuss the differences between their business model, patrons, and demographics versus my own.

In other words; I was spellbound for four hours listening to these two talk about how their growing not just women’s soccer, but soccer as a whole for a large group of people that wouldn’t be considered ‘elites’ within our current culture. I was able to witness passion for the same idea and concept from different people with different walks of life. It was inspiring and man alive was it motivating.

As the pasta cooled and the glasses emptied, we parted our ways [they were so kind that they picked up my bill, I owe them dinner when they’re in KC for sure]. I hopped back on I-10, scooted to The “405”, found my way to Century and located my hotel.

Laying in bed, listening to the airlines fly overhead [I’m rather close to LAX]; I was trying to process the day. So much went on all at once, but similar to the theme of Maryland. Some count this ‘soccer-thing’ as a hobby; I understand [to the best of my ability], but I tell you the truth: my life just shines when I’m in something comfortable. Watching, talking, and listening to how the dynamic game of women’s soccer is growing throughout the United States, sensing the concept of a cultural revolution, a real changing of the guard…

I went to bed relaxed and exhausted, and I went to bed giving praise for the fact there’s no doubt in my mind that my calling is set and passion, though tested, continues to shine through.
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-D-