Monday, December 28, 2009

Yet ANOTHER season begins

Recently, Ian began playing with a new club soccer team - the Columbus Crew Juniors Gold U15. Immediately after the high school season, during which he broke a school record for varsity goals and assists recorded by a freshman, Ian began practicing with his new club team. After just a few training sessions, the team traveled to Raleigh, NC for the CASL College Showcase. This tournament gave me another great opportunity to share his passion for the sport, and provided a chance for him to be seen by some of the 500 college coaches who attended the tournament.

We left Columbus early Friday morning so that we could make it to Raleigh in time for the NCAA College Cup Final Four, which was conveniently being played in nearby Cary. After the 8 hour drive from Dublin, we watched the Virginia Cavaliers defeat the Wake Forest Demon Deacons by a score of 2-1 in overtime. We really wanted to attend the second game which featured Akron vs. North Carolina, but the cold weather and an early morning match caused us to head back to the hotel for warmth and some much needed sleep. The next morning, the Crew played the Freestate Red Devils, a top team from Maryland. Having never played with his team before this match, Ian was anxious to make a contribution, in order to earn the respect and trust of his new teammates. No more than five minutes into the match he accomplished just that with a nice goal in which he received a crossing pass from the left corner, feinted left to move the keeper to the far post and then placed a simple ball which quickly found the back of the net at the near post. Up 1-0 so early in the game, his team played possession soccer for the rest of the match, securing a 2-0 victory. Later in the day, he would score what proved to be the winning goal against the nationally ranked Calverton SC Revolution. He's mentioned in the recap of the weekend found on the Crew website.
Between games, we were able to visit the Duke University campus, in Durham, NC. Duke has always been Ian's first choice of prospective colleges, and this visit was somewhat like a pilgrimage for him. The campus is beautiful. Located in the middle of a forest, most of the buildings are stone with some serious Gothic architecture. Of course, Ian quickly gravitated to the athletic grounds:

A life-long Cameron Crazie

Koskinen Soccer Stadium

After the CASL Showcase, Ian and I attended the NCAA College Cup National Championship game. The game saw the #1 Akron Zips take on the #2 Virginia Cavaliers. The weather was HORRIBLE. The temperature stayed on the short side of 40° - with a hard rain falling for most of the game. We arrived early with some extra tickets which had been given to us by the Crew team manager. In the parking lot, we happened upon some Akron fans who were in need of tickets. Ian gave them our extras free of we had quickly found some new friends whom invited us to join their tailgate party. Unfortunately, they also may have taught Ian a few rowdy soccer chants and demonstrated how to shotgun a beer. Despite their coaxing, I didn't let Ian partake in that one. Regardless, we enjoyed our time partying with this crazy group of Akron students and alumni. Too bad the game ended in a shootout, won by Virginia 5-4.During the game, I took off my clothes and danced with the Akron mascot, Zippy. Maybe you saw me on ESPN?
Just kidding, it's not me...really.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Earlier this week, we received just a dusting of snow here in central Ohio. Not nearly the deluge that hit most of the East Coast, but it was enough to set the mood for the week leading up to Christmas. I must admit that our busy lives had kept us from reflecting on the specialness and significance of the season in the weeks leading up to today. However, as I sit here on the couch with a full belly and warm heart, thoroughly drinking in the love and laughter of my family as they enjoy their Christmas treasures, I am overcome with the knowledge that we are truly blessed and loved by our Heavenly Father. It's funny how things like a little snowfall, the smells of good food, and the laughter of loved ones can prepare you for that realization...

These photos were taken in the early morning, just before sunrise, from our back patio. The low light makes the scenes seem black & white. Most of the snow in the trees was gone by noon, but lasted long enough to set the mood for what has been a wonderful week.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sounds of the season

Nathan continues to be the music man in our family. This year, he quit the select choir to concentrate on his newly discovered talent for the upright bass.

There once was a time when the sound of stringed instruments in the hands of young people sounded just like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Nathan and his classmates have completely erased this notion with their ability to play music that sounds just as it was intended...or better! We are very proud of him for all of the time and effort he has put into this new endeavor. Enjoy some "sounds of the season" by the Grizzell String Orchestra:

7th Grade Orchestra

Dublin Youth String Orchestra (Nathan in back row)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Time Flies

It seems like it was only yesterday that this photo (above) was taken. Actually, it was snapped over 10 years ago. The occasion was the Indian Run Pre-School picnic at Coffman Park. In the photo, Ian has his arm around his best friend at the time, Sarah. Yet, when he was very young, Ian had a strong fascination with little red-haired girls. In fact, Michele used to jokingly call him Charlie Brown because of this fascination. The little red-haired girl standing in front of him is Britt...

Ten years later, the occasion was the Dublin Jerome High School homecoming dance. We discovered that Ian had asked Britt to the dance less than two days before the big day. Up until that time, Ian had told us that he wasn't planning to go. I must admit that I was happy to hear that he had changed his mind, and even happier to learn that he had asked Britt.

Time flies by so quickly, and experiences like homecoming dances are precious, largely because of the evanescent nature of those memories. This blog was created with the intent of documenting those life experiences or glory days.

Ian and Britt joined more than a dozen other freshmen & sophomores on a party bus that whisked them off to Buca di Beppo for dinner. They all agreed that this time together was their favorite part of the night. After dining, they asked the driver to take his time returning to the high school so that they could arrive fashionably late for the dance. The actual homecoming dance received lukewarm reviews from most of the kids. Afterward, they all partied at a friends home. When I picked up Ian at the end of the night, the size of the smile on his face told the story of lifelong memories made, and shared, with friends.

At age 4

Saturday, October 24, 2009


As Ian had handled some recent bad luck with an extraordinarily positive attitude, it was only a matter of time before karma sent some better luck his way.

Two weeks ago, Ian made it back onto the soccer pitch following a quick recovery from a broken collar bone. It didn't take him long to get back in stride. His touch was spot on and he was able to put a couple of balls in the net during the last three games of the JV season. On an extremely cold and rainy night, following his last JV game, he was asked to join the VARSITY team for their game that night against the number one team in the state: the St. Francis DeSales Stallions.

Michele and I were very happy for him, but I must admit that we were really looking forward to getting out of the cold...and Ian playing with the varsity meant we would sit on the those cold hard bleachers for another two hours. We thought that, as a freshman, he would simply sit on the bench and watch the upperclassmen play. However, after the starting center midfielder left the game with a concussion, Ian was called into the game. He played well. On the bus ride home, the coach asked him to join the varsity team for their run into the state playoffs! Last night, he played a good 60 minutes in the first playoff game against Marion-Franklin. He scored two goals and had two assists from his center midfield position. The next game will take place on Wednesday against the winner of the contest between Marysville and Pickerington.

UPDATE: Dublin Jerome beat Pickerington by a score of 6-0
UPDATE: Dublin wins District Championship by a score of 2-1


Some action photos taken by another soccer dad:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Freak of nature

As described in a previous post, Ian broke his collar bone four weeks ago. After an initial x-ray on September 3rd, he was told that he would be unable to play soccer for another six to eight weeks. He quickly did the math and determined that this prognosis would essentially end his high school soccer season. Ian asked if there might be any chance that he could play yet this season. The doctor told him, "well, I suppose that you could be some freak of nature whom completely heals in four weeks."

Fast forward four weeks: A follow up x-ray showed that Ian's right clavicle had completely healed. The area around the break was now almost twice the size of his left clavicle! I guess there is a benefit to drinking nearly a gallon of milk a day.... and it doesn't hurt to be a freak of nature either.

Needless to say, Ian is happy to be playing again.
Wish him luck.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


In a previous post, I described how Ian had broken his arm playing soccer this summer. He couldn't wait to get the cast removed in time for his first official high school soccer game on September 1st. That game saw the Dublin Jerome Celtics defeat the Westerville North Warriors by a score of 2-0.

In the second game of the season, Jerome played Olentangy Orange in a chippy, brutal match. The Celts were not playing well, so Ian was determined to make a difference. In a tenacious move through the middle third of the field, he was tripped up by two Warrior defenders. Subconsciously protecting his recently broken arm, he went down hard to the turf on his right shoulder. Incredibly, no foul was called. Ian jumped back up and resumed play for another five minutes or so, until the pain became too much for him.

On the sidelines, the trainer recognized a suspicious bump on his right collar bone. A trip to urgent care resulted in Ian hearing the words he was dreading...."broken clavicle"...."no soccer"...."six to eight weeks." I could see him quickly doing the math in his head. He'll likely be cleared to play again for the very last game of the high school season. However, he is taking the news pretty well. The club soccer season begins November 2nd.

Here are some photos of Ian's high school debut:

Winning a 50-50 ball.

Celebrating a goal...good times.

Anticipating the aftermath of a hard, solid slide tackle.

Going up for a header in close quarters...maybe too close.

White men CAN jump.

Friday, August 28, 2009

....and new seasons begin

The 2009-2010 school year started this week in Dublin. Nathan began the seventh grade at Grizzell Middle School, Ian went into the 9th grade at Dublin Jerome HS...and I began to feel like an old man. Both boys have been working toward their new beginnings all summer, with preparations for their respective fall sports seasons.

Nathan went through summer conditioning and two-a-days to prepare for the football season. He has already played two scrimmages in which he started at center and logged a lot of playing time at defensive back. He worked really hard in conditioning seesions and it is paying off for him. At the end of a recent scrimmage, the mother of one of his teammates commented that she had noticed how hard Nathan was working in practices. She stated that he finished first in all of the wind sprints which come at the end of each practice. When I congratulated Nathan, he was modest and said that the only reason he won each race was because he "ran with the hogs" on the offensive line. As with everything he does, we are extremely proud of him.

Ian started preparing for high school soccer back in June. He would do weight training in the morning, and would attend open field scrimmages in the afternoon. In July, he broke his right arm in a collision with another player in one of the open field sessions. He wore a cast (which his trainer wrapped with a huge, hideous foam contraption) for all of his remaining scrimmage games - during which he started at center midfield. Some Columbus Crew players (Robbie Rogers, Danny O'Rouke, and others) signed his cast. After this, Ian didn't let anyone else sign it. The cast was removed last week, just in time for his first game, against Westerville North, which will be played on Tuesday, September 1st.

Michele has joined the PTO, and was very active in freshman orientation activities. Tonight, she and the boys attended the tailgate party before the first Jerome football game of the season.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Another season ends...

I can't believe that summer is almost over. When I was younger, the conclusion of baseball season was always a foreboding that the end of the summer was near and that the FUN would soon become a little less free-spirited and a lot more structured. The end of summer baseball season meant that the dread would be ever-present, as a return to school was imminent.

Nathan had a good season of baseball in the Dublin Youth Athletics Bronco Major League. At the end of the post season tournament, he was chosen as an all-star. This meant that he was eligible to play in the annual all-star tournament. His all-star team was called the Dublin BLOOD PIES. The league commissioner stated that he wanted to name the team after "something Irish." He was hungry, so he came up with the Bangers, Mashers, & Blood Pies (all Irish food). While Blood Pies is an unusual name for a baseball team, it sure beat playing for the Dublin Haggis or the Dublin Fish & Chips.

In the final all-star game, Nathan made a crazy, diving catch in the outfield to rob the other teams big hitter of a sure triple. If the cameras had been rolling, I'm certain that you would have seen it on ESPN's Top Ten Plays. Of course, I could be a little biased...

That's Nathan in the back row, first on the right, and trying hard not to smile. I'm sure some of you will have questions about the kid in the front. Did you ever see the (original) Bad News Bears? By the way, this classic is on my list of the top five sports movies ever made. Maybe I'll have a separate post about this topic sometime. Anyway, the kid in the front row is the real-life version of Tanner Boyle. During the trophy award ceremony on the field after the game, I expected him to yell, "Hey Yankees, you can take your apology, and your trophy, and stick them straight up your @$#%!" while non-alcoholic beer sprayed everywhere. It would have been 1976 all over again.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Carolina STILL in my mind

It's been over a month since our return from vacation in Charleston, SC. So now I'm longing to go back! These family getaways bring out the best in each of us, and remind us of what is important...
each other.

While visiting, we stopped at Rosebank Farms on Johns Island. This place is one of our favorite stops on the road back from Kiawah Island. Michele and I first stopped here in 1992 (B.C. - before children) for peaches, tomatoes, and fresh seafood - our beach staples. Rosebank is much, much more than a roadside stand. They also have a menagerie of low-country farm animals, which include chickens, rabbits, goats, pigs, cows, mules, and others. Since Michele has a special connection with all animals, you can guess where she gravitates when we visit...

Michele and a new friend.

Nathan inherited Michele's love of animals. I'm somewhat surprised that we did not "accidentally" drive away with a new pet hidden in the backseat. And yes, his teeth are blue...a result of his new blue braces and Grape Nehi.

Ian found a friend in Bluebell the Mule.

My niece Jessie recently blogged about skimboarding. Ian first learned to skimboard when he was 7, and has gotten to the point where he makes it look easy (it's not, so I don't even try anymore).

This was the first beach vacation in which we were able to take the entire family. Suzanne and Mark were kind enough to invite Guinness, too! She handled the drive well, and was a real good dog. Of course, driving 1400 miles affords many opportunities for riding with your head out of the window, so she was an extremely happy pooch. Although it is not the best photo, I love how Michele and Guinness appear to have the same facial expression. Like mother like daughter, I guess...

We can't wait to do it all again, soon!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Carolina in my mind

In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina
Can’t you see the sunshine
Can’t you just feel the moonshine
Ain't it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind
-James Taylor

I couldn't believe that it had been a whole year since our last family vacation. As always, I desperately needed to see the water, hear the waves crash, and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. Something deep within my soul demands that I make a pilgrimage to large bodies of water at least once a year. Evolutionists might say that this is some instinctive behaviour passed down from some ancient ancestor. Well, I'm not so sure about that, but I do feel much more alive when I'm at the beach for some reason....

This year we headed to South Carolina to visit Michele's mom Suzanne, who has recently moved to Charleston with her husband, Mark. Michele has always been extremely close to her mom, so this move has been somewhat hard on her. Yet, Charleston is one of our favorite cities, so I'm sure that we will happily visit often. Mark & Suzanne live along the Ashley River, near the old plantations, just southwest of the city. They also are only 20 miles from Kiawah Island, Folly Beach, Sullivans Island, and other beaches... an added plus! The entrance to their subdivision is on Rhett Butler Drive (really). The live oaks and spanish moss signal your arrival in the ol' south.

On our first day, we went down to the waterfront to see the final departures of the tall ships which were in town for the Charleston HarborFest. Mark's office is in the Maritime Building, just steps from the waterfront park pier, from which these pictures were taken:

Personally, I don't consider it a "vacation" unless a boat is somehow involved. Luckily, we were all able to take a boat from Bohicket Marina on Johns Island to the mouth of the Edisto River at the Atlantic Ocean. Michele and I have taken this trip a few times. However, the new Sea Pro boats are much nicer than the old Carolina Skiffs (floating bathtubs) we used to rent. The Sea Pros came equipped with GPS, depth finders, marine radios, live wells, etc.

Before we arrived, Suzanne had been bragging to Mark about my supposed skills as a boat captain. We'd had an outstanding boating experience in these same waters over 17 years ago, and she used this as evidence for her claim (it's a good story, which has been properly embellished over time). My own family doesn't share Suzanne's confidence in my skills. Although I did get a "nice job, captain" from the marina's harbormaster, following this most recent trip, when we docked and tied up in a very tight space.

One of these days, I hope my family appreciates the experience and knowledge they've gained on boats. Michele is an awesome first mate. After numerous trips like this one, she instinctively knows what to do (and when) without any instruction from "the captain." We make a pretty good team, I think. Michele mans the anchor and bow, and she remains the best fisherman in the family. Nathan is learning to navigate, and Ian is....well, Ian is a good passenger.

We beached on the (mostly) deserted Botany Island. The boys, Michele, Mark, and Suzanne jumped ashore while I anchored in deeper waters. The beach scenes in the movies "The Patriot" and "Cold Mountain" were filmed right here. "The Notebook" was filmed just across the river on Edisto & Wadmalaw Islands. I can see why... the natural beauty of this place seems untouched by time and modernity.

After a short stroll and some shelling, everyone hopped back into the boat for a little fishing. We tried the nearby shell mounds (prehistoric trash dumps), which were likely built by the Edisto Indians over 4000 years ago. We didn't fare too well there, so we moved the boat closer to Privateer Point, on Seabrook Island. The fishing and crabbing was much better here. Ian worked hard to hone the fine art of crabbing with a chicken neck tied to kite string. He was able to catch one Atlantic Blue crab and one hermit crab using his trademark "toe method"....when you feel a tug on your toe, just pull up the line.

Michele caught a few nice fish, but the "big ones" just weren't biting on this day. Maybe next time. When we got home I took a peek at some previous vacation photos. I'd guess that I have at least 20 photos (dating back to 1989) of Michele with a fish, and they all look just like this current one...she just doesn't age.

After some dolphin (plus one shark) watching, and swimming (just me, due to aforementioned shark), we cruised back to the marina...another awesome day in the Carolina low country!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Heaven on Earth

Heaven on earth.
Even though I believe my little family views me as the stereotypical bumbling father (e.g. Homer Simpson, Tim "the Tool Man" Taylor, or Ray Romano) they must still love me. For Father's Day, I was given this beautiful red hammock. When I'm lying in it, I feel like a king.
"Hammock-eye" view of the "kingdom."

Loyal subject.
Thanks, Family.
I love you, too.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bursting with pride...

It's been awhile since my last blog entry...I'll try to catch up!

"Bursting with pride." I had really never given that expression much thought until a few weeks ago, when I believed that I actually might rupture during a speech at Ian's middle school graduation ceremony.

Michele had been called a week or so before the ceremony by the principal, who wanted to be sure that we would attend, as Ian was up for an award. She was told that Ian had won the "Citizenship" award, which apparently was a big deal at his middle school.

On graduation day, we sat on the bleachers in the gymnasium as certificates were distributed and awards were given for things like achieving higher than a 4.0 throughout middle school, or other academic feats. At the very end of the ceremony, and with the final award, the principal took the podium and began to honor the winner of this year's Citizenship Award. He began the speech with a description of the recipient. No one other than Michele & I knew that Ian was to win the award. Evidently, the staff keeps this secret until the award is given. Ian himself knew absolutely nothing about it. In fact, during the principal's speech, he was somewhat slouched in his seat, anticipating the end of a long ceremony.

While the principal read the award speech, I was overcome with pride as he described the person who would win this year's award. A parent's love knows no boundaries. We love unconditionally, and are always proud of our kids, right? Yet, it is not often that we get to hear what others think about our children. This additional pride was almost enough to make us burst:

Well done, Ian. We're VERY proud of you!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Geek Chic

Ian has always been somewhat of a trend-setter. Therefore, there was only a small hint of surprise when he told us that he wanted a bow tie to wear for his final 8th grade dance. I must admit that when I think of bow ties, the images that come to mind are Orville Redenbacher, Winston Churchill, the Cat in the Hat, and Tattoo from Fantasy Island. Yet, Ian was sure that he would (in his words) "make this look good." Guess what... I believe he was right. Although, for some reason, I had a strong urge to order a drink from him. If you didn't experience the 80's, then you just won't understand that reference.

Anyway,you can bet that the bow ties will be flying off the store shelves in the Dublin area before the next middle school dance!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Music Man is a teenager?

I can't believe I've got TWO teenagers at home. I realize that this post is a little late, but Nathan turned 13 years old on May 1st. Yes, his cake is pink in the picture. Not his choice of color, but rather a result of the natural coloring of the strawberry icing. However, this was one of the most delicious cakes Michele has ever made...and that is really saying something!

As described in a previous post, this is still very much the "Year of Nathan." Of course, his year couldn't be without music. Earlier this school session, Nathan made the select (ensemble) choir. This meant he had to sacrifice some sleep so that he could go to school a little earlier once a week for an extra choir practice. Yet, a few weeks ago we discovered that he was also using his study hall to learn to play the bass. After just three weeks of practice, he was asked to join the school orchestra for the Spring Strings concert!

The strings concert was awesome, and the talent of these kids was remarkable. I could also understand why Nathan decided to play in the orchestra next year. The director allowed the students to choose some popular music to play in their concerts. This year, they played Viva la Vida by Coldplay, and they nailed it! The director also allowed some modern instruments, like electric violin and electric bass. I think she is pretty savvy for trying to inject a little "cool" factor into a middle school music program.

Tonight, Nathan sang in the Spring Band/Choir concert. He sings real well, but is also very serious about smiling allowed, apparently. That's him in the middle of the second row in the large group, and on the far right (near the piano) in the smaller group.

You Rock, Nathan !!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Earworm REMEDY !!!

A recent post described my week long earworm problem. This has truly been bothering me this past week, and affecting my work, since some of my co-workers found my singing of Big Butter Jesus (under my breath, of course) to be a bit distracting in meetings. In addition, many of them were worried that my earworm might be more contagious than the Swine Flu...I wonder if wearing surgical masks over your ears prevents this affliction? Hmmm....

Yesterday, a good friend of mine prescribed a remedy for earworm infestation. He told me that the only cure was to replace the earworm with an equally catchy tune, yet one that I will hear more often in daily life - on the TV, radio, etc. His suggested Rx was Mickey. However, even though it is a catchy little ditty, I just couldn't get "oh Mickey, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind. Hey Mickey!" to stick... so I tried a few more songs.

Well, I am happy to report that I am now mostly free of the Big Butter Jesus earworm. Thanks go out to Marty, for his suggested cure. Yet, there are some side effects...sing along with me:

¯...They say a man should always dress for the job he wants. So why am I dressed up like a pirate in this restaurant? It's all because some hacker stole my identity. Now I'm in here every evening serving chowder and ice tea. Should'a gone to free credit report dot com [yee haw]. I could'a seen this comin' at me like an atom bomb. They monitor your credit and send you e-mail alerts. So you don't end up selling fish to tourists in t-shirts...¯

Monday, May 4, 2009

Earworm infestation

Have you ever had an earworm? You know, a song that gets stuck in your head like freshly chewed bubble gum which has become adhered to your shoe while you are walking on hot asphalt? For the past three days, I have not been able to get this ridiculous song out of my head. It's there in the morning when I wake, it's there in the shower (so I sing it aloud), it's there while I work (I whistle the chorus), and last night I even dreamed about singing it!

Of course, my earworm couldn't be some classic rock tune or even Susan Boyle singing "I Dreamed A Dream" from Les Miserables. earworm just has to be a song by Heywood Banks, called "Big Butter Jesus."

On I-75, between Dayton and Cincinnati, the Solid Rock Church erected a 62-foot statue of Jesus Christ which seems to explode from the earth in front of the church. However, the statue is also quite crude in construction and has an off-white, almost yellow hue....seemingly carved from butter. Heywood Banks has written a song about it.

The song may be a little sacrilegious, but probably much less so than a 62-foot graven image of Christ emerging from a pond along the interstate. Plus, I tend to believe that our Heavenly Father and his Son have a good sense of humor. Now if I could only get this stupid song out of my brain....please help me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Germany/Holland Tour 2009

On Sunday, Ian arrived home safely from his soccer tour of Germany & The Netherlands. We are so glad to have him home! Surprisingly, he even received a big welcome home hug from his little brother. Trust me, this is a big deal for teenage brothers. Anyway, I'll attempt to update a little here, but maybe I can turn the blog over to Ian for a few days so that he can chronicle his trip....?

Setting foot on foreign soil - '94 Boys ODP

and then, jet lag set in.....


Checking out the sights in Rudesheim.

A typical Rudesheim alley.

Ian's roommate, Jevon.

In Holland, with the '94 Girls, on a statue of Rembrandt.

The windmill from many of Rembrandt's paintings.

'94 Girls & Boys teams outside of the stadium and training grounds in Mönchengladbach.

The tunnel leading onto the field at Borussia Park, the home of Borussia Mönchengladbach. As his team walked out onto the pitch, this song played. Ian still gets goosebumps when he hears this. Mönchengladbach has a history with American players, including Kasey Keller and Michael Bradley (current star on the US Men's National Team). Ian told his guide to remember his name, as it is now his dream to play for M'gladbach.

The pitch at Borussia (Prussia) Park.

They are still kids after all....

Much like Frank Ruettiger in the movie RUDY, I needed to see Ian in uniform and playing in a game in order to believe that this trip was really about soccer. Especially after hearing Ian's stories - most of which had NOTHING to do with soccer. Here he is in attack against one of the top youth teams in all of Germany: the Borussia Monchengladbach Academy. Many of these kids already have signed professional contracts! Final score: 4-1 M'gladbach. Ian said the game was much closer than the score indicated, and that he was proud of how well his team competed. Hopefully, I'll be able to persuade him to take over the blog for awhile so that he can regale you with all of his new stories!