Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Chitty chitty Chautauqua!

During the month of July, we, my two roommates and I, were able to go up to Chautauqua, New York and spend time with a lot of the guys on the team and also my host family. It was a quality time to spend with the guys and just develop those relationships even further! We were up there for a week. I wasn't able to spend the whole week up there as there was training but the time that was spent up there was incredible. We got to go Tubing, Wake-boarding, Skiing, and Swimming. See the thing is, there is no way, with the guys we have on our team, not have fun! We have guys on the team that love God and love each other and while having a good time, don't put the first two aside. We bought a new tube for the boat because the one we had just wasn't cutting it. However, the one we bought is an island... almost. We fit 5 grown men on there while being towed by the boat. My friend, Jason (Jcheek for those who read the blog), was driving the boat and he is ruthless. It isn't a good boat ride unless someone falls out of the boat or gets flipped 50 ft in the air. He would whip us at about 40 mph! The key was teamwork. If one person failed, then the team failed... and it hurt! We had a formation of 3 and 2! 3 on the bottom and 2 on top and we had to keep the weight down because if we didn't, the tube would catch air and go 50 ft in the air! If anyone ever wants to see some sick wipeouts, just ask!

The moral of the story is, don't let Jason drive!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Another Night to Remember

This is another one of those instances where there was a major loss of pointage with Princess Di. There are many of these tales and slowly but surely, the world will know... But for now, here is another for your enjoyment. 

Remember Jcheek? During training, he had hurt his foot pretty bad and Princess Di... Actually at this point, I need to describe Princess Di to you all a little bit more in detail. She is an incredible lady. Her basic principle is, if you serve her or her kids, she will go above and beyond normal human capabilities to help you out in anyway she can. She is very straight forward and very blunt in her dealings with people. It is what makes Di.. well Di... She has so many contacts all over the Ohio state and through her husband Jeff, worldwide, that literally anything can be obtained if needed or wanted. For example, my Irish roommate Matt came over from Ireland and after a week, his knee locked up on him and he was in a lot of pain. He needed surgery and within 2 hours and 2 phone calls, he had a surgery set up and ice on his knee relaxing on the couch. This is just one example of how she is. Don’t get me wrong, by telling these stories, I am in no way trying to talk behind her back or chop her down. I am simply telling the stories that surround the City Stars and host families! 

Ok back to the top, Princess Di got on the phone and called one of the ER doctors she knows because she was worried about a staff infection for Jcheek. She told me to tell Jcheek to come over for breakfast and see that doctor. I texted Jcheek and told him to do it. And his response back was a joke but if read in a certain light, could be made to sound like he was a complete and utter ass. I decided I was going to wait until Jcheek to throw me under the bus, as is his rep with the team and the Steinhilbers (we all still love him anyways...). The plan worked perfectly...

As was expected, Jcheek threw me under the bus on his birthday at the birthday party. Everyone was making fun of him for something and he has an incredible ability to throw off or deflect all attention onto someone else... but little did he know or expect that I was prepared... yet little I know what would happen... The text simply said “tell her to make some eggs and bacon with cheese and fruit... oh I like pancakes too...” But when I read it in front of everyone in a “demanding tone,” the light mood of the party evaporated quickly! There was an awkward silence... then more awkward silence... then even more awkward silence. Di sat back in her chair trying to figure out the meaning behind the text. Remy, my little host sister moved from sitting next to Jcheek to across the table to next to her mom and said “I don’t like it when people are mean to my mom!” All the while, there are 5 or 6 City Stars over at the house and we are crying because we are laughing so hard.. It was incredibly awkward but we all knew nothing would come of it but it was still one of the most awkward things I have ever experienced. It was hilarious. Remy then said to Jcheek, on his birthday, “nobody likes you!” Jcheek could not figure out what to do or say because it was not a big deal at all and he knew it but he could not figure out a way to get it away from him so he just sat there... Dano was sitting next to Di and looked at her and put his hand on her shoulder in a comforting way, then looked at Jcheek and said, “J why would you say something like that?” Making everything even more awkard than it already was! I was crying I was laughing so hard. In the end, I explained that no harm was meant and it was a joke. But the damage had been done and Jcheek learned not to mess... although I am actually expecting him to try and get back at me at some point by the end of the season... Round 1 goes to Skelly...

Monday, June 30, 2008

A Night to Remember...

I am living with a family, last name Steinhilber. Great family. Big house. Fun kids. Point system??? What? My host mom, self titled "Princess Di" and "Kitchen Nazi," has this point system for when you do good things and when you do bad things. For example, if you clean the dishes without being asked you get positive points and if you don't clean up after yourself, you get negative points. The person at the end of the summer gets a prize from the apple store (keep in mind that for my birthday, they got me an iTouch... hmmm). Well, the point system can actually get pretty ridiculous at times. For example, leaving a bowl of cereal unattended for longer than 5 minutes can result in a big loss of pointage... or for example, if you are a girl, come over in a dress and you will get HUGE points for "looking good"... it really is quite hilarious. Guys on the team come over and take it serious.. they will do whatever it takes, including "throwing other guys on the bus," in order to get points. Matt (my roomie) and I could care less about the points.. they are more of a joke... a set of guidelines to abide in the house. With that being said... 

There are some offenses that are so bad or funny that they are never recorded... my job is to record them and let the world know...

The first tale goes like this... The first night I got into Cleveland, I set straight away to calling some of the guys I knew from previous times to come over and play RockBand (an amazing xbox game). Well, while we were playing, one guy played a very crude prank on another guy, (we'll call him Jcheek). When the guy (Jcheek) that the prank was played on found out, he went straight into "I'm gonna kick your ass mode" and they wrestled while we watched and he actually picked him up and threw him against a wall which ended up cracking the sconce... or cover to this light... it was a tiny crack and you can barely see it. Well, he didn't want to lose any points so he decided to switch it with another sconce on the other side of the room. What he didn't know was it was being noted by one guy (we'll call him Dano) that actually told him to be honest about it. But Jcheek decided to not say anything, thinking it would just blow over. 

A couple of weeks later, Dano and Jcheek came over for dinner and just as everyone sat down, Dano leans over towards my host mom, Princess Di, and says to Jcheek, "did you ever tell Di about the sconce you broke downstairs?" It was classic. Jcheek did not know what to say. He just sat there in shock wondering what she was going to do. He finally came up with "It was Shmericks FAULT!!! But the damage had been done... Dano proceeded to tell Di what happened and how Jcheek switched the sconces. Di, in a very cool way but with a scowl on her face, got in on the action. She told Jcheek that those sconces were $500 dollars and imported from Italy. If you could have seen the blood drain from Jcheek's face, you would have pee'd your pants... very similar to what I did... To this day, he still claims that it was his fault... but you have heard the truth...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A day in the life of a Cleveland City Star

Everything in Cleveland moves slow... the traffic, the people, the talk, the cops, and the way of life. Cleveland is a very blue collar city... It is a beautiful city... Green, hills, forest, rivers and streams, Lake Erie. However it is also the poorest major city in the US according to a study in like 2004 or 2006... From what I can see, from my extremely perceptive eyes (you can roll yours at this point...) is that there is not very much middle class. There are rich areas and there are poor areas. To me, it seems like either you have money or you do not! People here seem to be so focused, so worried about everything, and so straight laced, straight as an arrow that they forget to actually live life. So it is really funny to watch us (Cleveland City Stars or CCS boys) interact with people living in the area. We are all about spreadin' the love any way we can... whether its gettin kicked out of wal mart for throwin a football or tubin' down the chagrin river or takin' a palm sunday/Cleveland City Shake/Cleveland City Rocks from Dana or Kickin' each other in training day in and day out... We love to our utmost. 

Usually our days consist of trying to figure out what to do... We train in the morning and are done by 1 or 2 at the latest. We sometimes have player appearances and have to sign autographs. Sometimes we go into the inner city to hang out with less fortunate kids. Earlier this year, I went into a school to read to a bunch of crying kindergartners or another time we went to a middle school assembly where it was so loud you couldn't hear each other yell... No matter what it is or what we do, adventure always finds us and we love to take advantage of it. 

I keep bringing up Dana. Let me explain Dana just a little bit. Dana is a free spirit that everyone loves. He does what most people would never dream of, for example, putting the mascots head on in just his underwear in the middle of DC traffic with a guitar singing worship songs to cars as they creep by. No matter his antics or what crazy thing he thinks of, he always puts a smile on other peoples faces. With us, he helps to bring us together by his antics because we love to do it along with him and at the very least watch him do his thing. He is a liberator. He is not afraid of what other people think about him because his confidence is firmly rooted in the Rock. All I know is, he is one of the people who has affected me most in my life because of the way he lives his. If there was more people like him in the world, the world would never know what hit it and would be forever changed for the better. 

Monday, June 2, 2008


It has been a little over a month since I have been back from Afrika... I have had to do a lot of processing and had to go through a lot of reverse culture shock (which as strangely as it sounds, unfortunately exists and is very strange). Afrika was dirty, poorer but never in need, chaotic, unscheduled, much more chill and much more random. Here, everything is in clean, richer but always needing something more, organized, time oriented, insane (cough cough anal cough) and insured. The quality of life is different. The attitude is different. The church is different. The football is different. The language, lingo, and accents are different. The food is different. My friend Gina just got back from South Afrika and she used a word that describes the way you feel when you get back: Numb. It is like de javu... Did I really just go there? Did I really do all that... Sometimes when I look at my pictures, I think I could have photoshopped myself into some of the pictures. It is so strange but never the less, I am excited to be back and excited to get going on what is next in life. 

Right now, I am in Cleveland playing soccer... well trying to play... training a lot. It is good because I am learning a lot about myself and God and people. With the attitude "God First, Team (others) second, I'm third," I show up to training everyday and put a smile on my face and push everyone on the team to be their best! The team is full of guys from all over the world. My favorite foreigner is probably a guy from Sierra Leone named Sallieu Bundu. His story is incredible. You might know the movie "Blood Diamond" with Leo Di Cap in it... Well, my friend Sallieu grew up in that... He doesn't know where his dad is because they were separated when they were seeking asylum in another country. He is the youngest of 7 and sends money back every month to help support his family and friends. He was telling me a story about how he thought he was going to die when a rebel came up and asked him for a cd... for his cd player. He told me about the dead human bodies piled up at graveyards because there was no one to dig graves... He is the nicest guy you will ever meet (and between us, has the body of a Greek God... we had to do body fat tests {while yours truly was at 6%, he broke the machine...!}). He is searching in his faith. He used to be a muslim but I believe he is here for another reason... His country after (give or take) 12 years of war is finally starting to calm down and peace is coming in. It is amazing how Time heals...

When I found out about his story, I felt like other people needed to know so I hope you do too!

Lately, I haven't really known what to write due to my inability to put anything into words... but I figured I better get on it before 2 of 4 readers decide to hurt me ;-). I hope everyone is well! I will write tomorrow and tell some stories that have happened here! Love ya!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Road

Well in the past 2 weeks, I have traveled from one hemisphere to another, over 13,000 miles by air, as well as 3000 miles by car! I am in Cleveland, Ohio living in a cute little town called Chagrin Falls which could also be described as Mayberry. Everyone knows everyone and their mom. It is a quiet little town for 8 months of the year and for most, they like it that way. However, for 4 months of the year, soccer players from all over the United States, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, etc invade this small little town and turn it upside down by sparking life and excitement into the town. The people of this quaint little town try and figure out what is going on but by the time they do, the players are gone to their respective countries and things go back to normal... only to be upset again the following year!

This is the Cleveland City Stars at its best! 

If you ever come to Cleveland, there are certain things you have to experience.
5) Lebron James. He is stupidly good. Sometimes its not fair.
4) They make some mean Panini's!
3) A Cleveland City Stars Game!
2) Dana McGregor (Cleveland City Shake, Palm Sunday, as well as the Cleveland Rocks!)
1) The Steinhilber's House!

I have been here for about 4 days now and my body doesn't know which time zone it is on. However, Life is great and I am excited about being a part of this team and experiencing life on a team again as well as what God has planned for this summer! Since I now have unlimited internet access and don't have to worry about how much internet I have used, I will be writing much more frequently! I will not be talking about the soccer aspect aside from wins and draws (no losses!). I will be blogging about the different things that happen over the season on a team level as well as a personal/spiritual level! So if you would like, stay tuned...