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.

 

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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-

X: Alex


A friend once told me, after confiding in him, shortly after my ex-wife left me:

You’re used to living with a woman. Be very careful not to be tripped up by pornography and the flesh.

That kid has a serious knack for being completely right.

It was, and still is a struggle; making sure that your mind stays pure, and attempting to focus on priorities of my life, not including the dexterity and clarity of a lovely woman’s skin.

Catch my drift?

I wanted to paint a picture to assist in the illustration that I’m getting ready to ‘type’ [rant].

While heading to work this afternoon [I was tired], I noticed through Twitter that one of the USWNT players [yes, soccer moment coming]; Alex Morgan had a HUGE announcement. Now, she’s too young to get married [slight tongue-in-cheek] and we know she’s going to be at Dallas [tomorrow!], so I was curious. After back tracking a clicks and links I found her breaking news:

I won’t post the link here.

Alex is going to be in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition magazine this year, though she will merely be donning a bit of body paint of ‘patriotic taste’.

Frankly, truthfully, if it was a year ago; I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. However, upon reviewing my own life, going to amazing weddings, and see true love take place between God’s creation; I found myself in a literal state of rage while driving down the bleak two lane road.

A few reasons:

  • From the women’s soccer fan/developer perspective; we’re trying to paint a picture that skill can sell, not sex; unlike what the economy of the United States attempts to teach young women [and the men ‘investing’ in it].
  • Ms. Morgan is a beautiful, beautiful young woman [two years beneath myself], short when I met her, but absolutely lovely, kind, sweet, and physically stunning. That’s just a fact. Tell me though, why does her body have to no longer be a mystery to us? One of the biggest regrets looking back at my life, is getting so caught up in lust-filled steamy sessions, that a lot of the honeymoon night…was sadly, no surprise. My breath was taken away because I had foolishly wasted that moment prior. Now, in a very similar sense, the same could be said for Ms. Morgan.
  • While I took off my ‘professional’ hat for a moment and went borderline ape crazy on Twitter, one thing that astounded me was the very, very few people who said anything against her decision. I wasn’t surprised at the support, but I was surprised that so many ‘athletic Christians’, or FCA wanna-be’s said absolutely nothing. How much does that relate to the sickening complacency of our own Church today? While I’m not claiming to be the perfect revolutionary, I stuck my tongue out there, said my piece, and you know what? I got feed…BUT NOT ONCE DID SOMEONE ATTACK ME FOR MY SPIRITUAL STANCE. You know what say about assumption.
  • I’ve got undying respect for Ms. Morgan, she is and is going to be one of the best in the world in her profession. She’s crazy good. However, between this moment and several other ‘tweets’ it caused me to wonder that if she was placed before the thrown of God, what would happen? I’m not saying that I’m called to her salvation, as it isn’t my own doing that does it, but merely God, Himself. If she is a professing Christian, what does this say about our growing tendency to become ‘mainstreaming’ in the things we do to be accepted? Once I heard a pastor make a comment that inside a church, our aim isn’t to get your attendance and get your tithe money, our mission is to convict, resurrect, and send out Christian’s [little-Christ’s] to a dead and dying world. Moments like this [let alone every profit building adventure inside of a non-profit church] do nothing but continue to allow us to stay silent, accept our criticism, and  fear the idea of being questioned, not attacked, but questioned on what we believe. If Ms. Morgan is not a Christian, has anyone reached her? Has anyone talked to her? What’s her story? Is someone trying to reach her? Secondly, does anyone actually, truthfully care?
  • Finally, personally, it’s hard to accept. I thoroughly enjoy Alex Morgan [aka baby horse] tear up the field and frankly be as sweet  on the camera as the girl next door [granted, I didn’t grow up with a girl next door, they were all old, living off stories and giving me Shasta soda]. She’s 22 [I think], and that picture that I caught a glimpse of, as photoshopped as it was, merely painted a picture of a girl desiring to grow up as quickly as possible. If I can attest to one thing, forcing growth tends to result in a weakened body and mind. Obviously I would never want anything negative to happen to the lovely girl, but after my own revolutionizing moment of my own life, I can’t express to you how much I’d desire for all of us, including Ms. Morgan, to witness these adventures. They’re life changing.

As I finish packing up, getting ready to throw Darco in the back of the car, and head to Dallas to see Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, and the rest of the national team play, this is going to be revolving through my mind through most of the night.

In the perfect world: I’d walk up to Ms. Morgan, covered in dirt, sweat, and as physically unattractive as possible, and just whisper in her ear.

You are a beautiful daughter of the King.

-D-

P.S. Yes, I’m heading to Dallas. Keep up with this insanity through FilingThePapers.com and through my Twitter: @CoachDaugherty

Mobile Minutes: Dallas


OK,

If you hadn’t gathered from September and some very random [left unanswered] letters to Nike; I kind of have a think for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team. It’s one of my favorite things to do to pass time, watch them play.

An opportunity came a few months ago for this very team to play in Dallas, Texas in the second weekend of the month of February.

I desired a road trip.

I hadn’t been to Dallas in…years [almost a decade].

So, today, along with the crazed Darco, I purchased tickets and made hotel reservations for this weekend.

My new phone should be in [meaning new camera], and we’ll be locked and ready to rock.

Going to the ‘big D’…

…and this time I mean Dallas…

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Hope Solo Jersey Part VI


Yes! This circus does continue. I must give affection points to the NikeStore for ensuring that my requests were allowed frequent feedback from the staff. Here is today’s response.

Hi Shawn,

I have recorded both your email as feedback and sent them to our apparel department for consideration. My first email was explaining the products we currently have out. You might try on the Women’s soccer jersey because we do have L, XL, and XXL available.

http://store.nike.com/us/en_us/?l=shop,pdp,ctr-inline/cid-1/pid-381681

Thanks,

Michael
Nike

My quick, unedited response:

Greetings,

I would like to extend my gratitude towards the ongoing efforts in order to find a resolution for this dilema; I know I speak for several males who would cherish the ability to adorn the jersey’s of their favorite athletes, male or not. Please continue to keep me informed, through the proper channels, of the progress of this request. It would be fantastic to be able to support Alex Morgan, one of your focal athletes, through 2012 London Olympics, or even more drastic, in the February 11th, 2012 match versus New Zealand, as I plan to be at this location in person.

Respectfully,
Shawn M Daugherty

Now, there are a few things worth noting from this:

  1. Nike is making the attempt to get a finalized answer for a border-line disgruntled, potential customer. This is Capitalism 101 folks [some of my stores need to take note]. For this, I appreciate their desire to continue to push this conversation up the ladder.
  2. IF I WAS A WOMAN I WOULD WEAR A JERSEY DESIGNED FOR WOMEN! HOWEVER, I AM A GUY WITH BROADER SHOULDERS AND SINCE LIVING IN MEXICO HAVE I DECLARED NO INTERESTS IN ADORNING MYSELF WITH WOMEN’S/YOUTH SIZED SHIRT/JERSEY’S EVER AGAIN!
…don’t worry Hope, this dream will come true…

Bad punch line out of all of this? Staring in frustration at a women’s jersey, trying to rationalize trying it on [6’5 and 225 pounds of Irishmen here], and thinking:

Come on Nike, just do it.

I think I just lost a follower…

-D-

The Hope Solo Jersey Saga:

…what Nike doesn’t know is after this jersey request becomes a success, I’ll be working towards rocking out a jersey for Jo…

Mobile Minutes: Hope Solo Jersey Part V


Nike responded to my inquiry about a USWNT Jersey sized for a male:

Hi Shawn,

I did some research and we do not offer the ladies USWNT jersey in a men’s size. We do not offer customization of the Men’s jerseys to reflect the ladies’ styling. If you click the link bellow it will show what we offer in the Men’s US Official Jersey.

http://store.nike.com/us/en_us/?l=shop,pdp,ctr-inline/cid-1/pid-302465/pgid-496305

If you need further assistance feel free to call us at 1.800.806.6453 7am-4pm, Mon-Fri, PST.

Thanks and have a good day,

Michael
Nike

Where did I miss the fact that I wanted options for the US Men’s National Team jersey’s? I. LIKE. TEAMS. WHO. WIN.

Nike, you’re killing me!

My ‘professional’ response:\

Greetings,

If I’m understanding this correctly, the conclusion that I’m drawing is that Nike does not, and has no interest in designing a jersey for a specific fan base? Just to ensure that I’m completely cognitive in from the previous message; there is no way I can support the US Women’s National Soccer Team with a men’s sized jersey, but if I choose to support the US Men’s National Soccer Team, I have options. If a female friend of mine wishes to support the US Men’s National Soccer Team, she has options. However, as a male I do not have the option to support the US Women’s National Soccer Team with a mock jersey by Nike?

Respectfully,

Sigh…

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