Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming

Ian left for Germany yesterday. While there was much excitement and anticipation leading up to this trip, I can't begin to tell you the full range of emotions we experienced yesterday as he left. I think this has hit Michele very hard. Giving up our fourteen year old son to strangers for a week and a half was tough. Add the distance (4000 miles) between us, and it made for an emotional "gute reise" or "bon voyage."

Yet, this is such a great opportunity for him. It is also a fine reward for all of the hard work he has put forth to get to this point. Ian will be playing soccer against some of the top youth teams in Europe this week. His U-14 Olympic Development Program (ODP) team left Cincinnati for Frankfurt last night. He has played with or against most of the kids on this team at various club tournaments over the past few years, so I've gotten to know a few of them. It really is a nice bunch of boys. However, the kids were so excited to leave that they were mostly oblivious to the adults in the airport.

Ian called us at 8:00 AM this morning. He arrived safely, and has already done a little sight-seeing. The team has a tour bus with a full-time guide for the entire trip. Therefore, they will be able to see some of the sights between games as they travel through Germany and Holland. This morning, his team took a cable car ride through the vineyards and across the Rhine River, on their way to Cologne. After a brief stop to tour the Cologne Cathedral, they will end up in the little town of Straelen, located on the Germany/Holland border, which will serve as their home base for the next week. They'll be staying at the Straelener Hof, with the entire hotel reserved for the U-14 boys AND girls teams (yes, this was a hot topic this past week).

The boys team flew to Germany with two team administrators, two coaches, and a few parents. However, the parents do not travel with the boys, nor stay with them in the team hotel. Essentially, they travel as spectators or fans for the games. They also have a different tour itinerary. As much as I would have liked to have gone on this trip, the cost prevented me from going...and Ian didn't seem too disappointed for some reason. Yet, it will not be ALL fun and games for him. Ian will still have to do his school work, read, and write (daily) in a journal. I've also heard rumors of plans for a blog to be written during their stay. If I receive more details of the blog, I'll provide a link.

Tomorrow, the team is planning a trip to The Netherlands, with a stop in Amsterdam for a visit to the Anne Frank House. They will also visit a traditional cheese farm and clog maker. I asked Ian to take as many pictures as possible. He even took an extra memory card. We'll see if he can keep his promise to take lots of pictures, but avoid the red light district. Actual games begin on Monday against SV Straelen in Germany. GO OHIO & GO USA !!


Diane said...

Wow, wow, wow!!!!!! HOW GREAT IS THIS???????? I didn't realize this was coming up so fast!
We've been to Cologne and the Cologne fact we were in Cologne when we went to our dock only to discover our ship had already left! Also, we were in Holland, and saw the Anne Frank house.
What an opportunity!!!!
I bet Michele (and you, too, you big softy) had quite a pit in your stomach as you said goodbye. It's soooo hard when their steps are pointed away from you. And it doesn't get any easier.
I am proud of him, he's done so well, and I am extremely proud of the great job you and Michele have done as parents. I love your family, Ken. And I miss you like crazy.

Michelle said...

Little Ian? Are you serious!!!!??? This is big time, Ken. I bet you two are soooooooo proud of that kid! I am giddy with excitement and I want to brag to all my friends that this is MY cousin. I can't beleive that we could be cheering for him in the Olympics. This is amazing! Does Ammon know about this. I bet he would think it is just about the most coolest thing ever. Please tell Ian that we said "Hey" and that we can't wait to see what the next few years brings. Keep us posted!