The Oz Blog View about stuff while living in the Land of Oz

20Mar/12Off

No Where to Turn.

no soccer

I have been without soccer of any kind since Ash Wednesday. I have not logged into check my Facebook or Twitter account. I have not been able to follow any of my soccer teams, watch ESPN or the Fox Sports channels. I was not able to watch the Big 12 Tournament because the games were broadcast on ESPN.

Lately almost every I turn I see something soccer related! I had a national news channel on the television and walked out of the room. I could still hear the television and the channel started to do a news report about a tragedy at a soccer event. Or the people who come up to check and see how my soccer fast is going. Nothing like having the fact that I cannot watch soccer being brought to my attention by a lot of people. I realize that the people are not trying to be mean by asking, they are just wanting to see if I am able to stick to the fast.

A person is able to give something up for a few days or a week. Yet to give up something for 40 days is a different task all together. I am at that point where I must pursue the end goal. I have to stay focused on finishing or I will not be able to complete my task. This past week has been very hard for me to go without soccer, but I knew that I must push on. I was able to draw inspiration from Jesus, because He spent 40 days out in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13). Although, that is where the similarities between Jesus and myself end.

Through the strength of the Lord, I will be able to complete this task. I put soccer aside to become a better person, husband, and father to my daughters. The Lord is using these 40 days to help build better habits in my life. The more seeds I sow and the harder I work the ground, the better the crops will be at the time of harvest. You will only receive that which you have invested.

**To the Ends of the Earth**

Red Beards

11Mar/12Off

In the Middle of the Storm!

    My 40 day fast from everything soccer is going well from my point of view. Although, some two weeks into this adventure the 'screws' seem to be tightening more each day. On Friday, I was simply watching the weather on a local news channel and then come on a traffic report. During the traffic report, the gentleman dropped a soccer bomb on me with information about a local soccer team and their playoff situation. I was not ready for the traffic guy to give me a soccer update. Which means that I did not have the remote near to change the channel. I am considering altogether giving up television period.

One of my electronic devices has an application that shows scores of my favorite teams. I have four teams selected that are soccer teams and I have to be careful looking at the device. Because at any moment I could get an update from the application. I cannot go into the application and turn off this feature, because of the soccer information that is in the application. I need to find someone that is willing to turn off this feature. There is also the problem of my selection of clothing. Half of my clothing choices are soccer related and so my options are limited. I feel like there is no variety in my choices.

Yet, the benefits are already starting to out-weigh the cost of this small investment of time. I have started to spend a lot more time with my family. I have found television shows that I can enjoy watching with my children. Instead of me wasting time in front of the television at night we plan family game nights or outings. The fruit is already starting to be harvested from the seeds that are being planted.

One very interested questioned was brought up by my seven year old daughter, "Daddy, are you going to go back to the way you were after Good Friday? Because we like you the way you are." Such powerful words for the mouth of a child, but those words could not be farther from the truth. I selected this area of my life to draw closer to my God and my family. After this 40 days I do not want to go back to the way I was, I want to continue acting the way I am. I may be able to watch soccer and follow soccer, but soccer will not control me. I am taking 40 days to start new habits in my life and the life of my family.

Red Beards

**To the Ends of the Earth**

8Mar/12Off

Living with a Traumatic Brain Injury

    March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and March 21st is National Brain Injury Awareness Day for the Nation. Today I would like to talk about what it is like to live with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I want to education parents, students, coaches, players, officials, and league organizers to the dangers of TBI. Because without being aware of the dangers of TBI, we are setting up people for a life of misery and pain. You must only find the family of a military member who has suffered a TBI and talk with those people about how his/her life has changed.

I will go over just a few of the changes for you today. The first thing you lose as a result of a TBI related injury is your short-term memory. For example, you are sitting in the living-room watching television and need to refill your drink. You walk into the kitchen to get your drink, only to forget by the time your arrive in the kitchen what you are in the kitchen for. So you go back and sit down in the living-room. After you sit down you realize your need some more to drink. A person with a TBI injury will repeat process several times before actually refilling their drink. TBI will normally cause a person problems with remembering information for a short-term basis.

Away to deal with this situation is to create a task list. A person might invest in an electronic device or devices that will allow them to create those task lists. On those electronics you can program reminders for any medications that you take and what time of day that you take the medication. This is a great help in dealing with short-term memory loss, but electronics do not help you pay attention.

The second problem we will look at for a person suffering from a TBI related injury is attention deficit. Some people become more sensitive to movement and some people to sound. While some people become over sensitive to both sound and movement, which means that holding a conversation is very difficult. Or writing a paper, listening to something important to that person, watching a television show, and working have all become harder now because the brain does not tune out sights or sounds properly. A person's brain will normally filter out secondary or unuseful noise or sights, but as a result of a TBI the brain no longer functions properly. The person's brain cannot tune out the child three tables over while out at dinner or not notice a person walking by, without hyper-focusing on the current topic and blocking everything else out.

The major problem with hyper-focusing is that a person must block everything else out. Which means that if someone else tries to get their attention, a lot of effort is required to break the barriers in place. The person that struggles with attention does not want to seem aloof or that they do not care. This is something that the person cannot control because of their brain. Yet, if the person hyper-focuses the problem maybe even worse.

Another serious concern from sustaining a TBI is headaches and to be more specific, migraine headaches. These headaches are serious and a majority of people who suffer a TBI suffer from headaches. Luckily the large majority who have the headaches go away, but there is a percentage of people who have the headaches stay around. A migraine headache will be the end of your productive day and if you have never had one (you get a gold star!!) try to keep it that way. In the news over the past couple of years have been a number of professional athletes who have suffered from migraines after sustaining a TBI. The headaches keep these people from playing their profession, a migraine is not something your want to invest in for the rest of your life.

Now to one of the more serious aftermaths of a TBI, a friend of mine from Church has sustained a TBI from a motorcycle wreck and now has seizures. Yes, if you hit your head hard enough or often enough, you can cause yourself to have seizures for the rest of your life. Depending on how quickly you are treated after you have a seizure and what type of seizure you have, you will start taking medicine. Then you will not be able to drive a car for 6 month from the date of your last seizure. If you continue to have seizures, then you will not be given the privilege of driving a car. One of the crazy part of seizures if that you never know when one will happen: while you are at home, shopping, at Church, or at dinner. If you have seizures you will not be able to go to concerts will flashing lights. Do you want your family or friends to worry about whether or not you are going to have a seizure all of the time?

To the worst part of TBI, people who sustain a TBI often have a change in personality or behavior. The person will not have the same attitude that they have always had, because the connections in their brain have been disconnected. To the dismay of the people around that person, that person a majority of the time does not understand the change in behavior. You can go from being the best person in the world to being the worst person in the world in less than a second as a result of TBI. You can be the happy-go-lucky person one second and the mean guy the next as a result of TBI. TBI is not picky on who get the punishment for their lack of judgment.

A terrible side effect of TBI is unbelief and mistrust. After you sustain a TBI related injury and you start to suffer from the aforementioned symptoms, people will only think that you are faking those symptoms. People will tell you that the brain heals, that you did not use be like this, TBI is not a real thing, or just refuse to accept you for who you are now. Even better are the people that will tell you that use your TBI as an excuse. Those people will tell you, "Every chance you get you blame your brain!" These are the same people who do not understand why you honestly repeat yourself in a conversation. Well, you repeat yourself because you cannot remember if you already said that or not. But you are different now, just accept yourself for the way you are.

From all of the research that I have done into modern culture, being different is good. You can consider yourself a trend setter. Although, I do not think that this is a trend that you want to be in the front of the line for. I will take my place at the back of the line. You should really consider the effects of your choices, because those choices do not just affect you. Parents, coaches, and league organizers, you are responsible for all of those children in your leagues. Please do not take the brain of another lightly.

Red Beards

**To the Ends of the Earth**

7Mar/12Off

The Focus of Dedication.

     During this 40 Days of Dedication so far I have attempted to go without soccer of any kind for I do not know how many days so far. That is a little weird for me to think about. I was talking with a good friend last night and he asked me, "How many days do you have left?" My response, "I don't know, can't say that I have been counting." He then asked, "Do you even know when Good Friday is?" My response, "Nope, do you have a calendar?" I have gotten into a routine of living without soccer and I know what I must do to survive. I know that I cannot look a certain channels and if I am tempted too much. Then I must turn the television off, period!

Yet, I struggle to understand why I am not keeping better track of the days. I mean this is suppose to be a 40 day experiment. Although, for some strange reason the amount of time seems irrelevant to the overall situation. I know this is for my betterment and no matter how long the time and the invest of pain, I must put in the work. I know there will be an end to this some day, so until then I will just drive-on. I am reminded of making it through some of these kind of days in the Army. I had good days and bad days, but I always knew that I was progressing towards the end of training or whatever we were doing.

Often times we do not understand the season of life that we are going through, but hind-sight is always 20/20. The Lord is always guiding us down the path that is best for us, even though that path might not seem terrific at the time. In the end the narrow road is worth the trials and tribulations, the heartache and sorrow. For the Lord was only growing and stretching us to becoming all that we could be to glorify Him.

Red Beards

**To the Ends of the Earth**

5Mar/12Off

Brain Injury Awareness Month 2012

     Have you ever hit your head hard enough to a lot of stars? Have you ever played a sport where you have 'rung your bell'? Have you ever been in a car accident where your head impacted any part of the car? If you answered yes to any of these question, then you have suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). According to the Center for Disease Control, 1.7 million people  each year sustain a TBI. Let us really look at that number, 1,700,000 people who actually go to the doctor. This number does not account for the people who refuse to go or who do not even know that anything has happened to their brain. Of these 1.7 million people: 1.36 million are treated and released from the doctor, 275,000 are hospitalized as a result of the injury to their brain, and unfortunately 52,000 people die each year from their brain injuries.

If you have been watching the national news lately, a ten year old girl was killed from a TBI. The girl sustained the TBI during a fist fight at school. We of course cannot forget the men and women of the Military. According the researching that is being done 20-30% of all injuring in from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom are TBI. The US Youth Soccer organization does not support kids wearing a padded helmet. Even though statistics show that in soccer, players are just a likely to get a concussion as in football. There are many ways to injury your brain, but many of the injuries can be prevented.

The human brain is not one of those repairable objects in the world. Once you have broken your brain, you just cannot turn back the clock and fix it. People take risk that they should not and will not listen. Yet this is one area of life that if you do not listen, there is no cleaning up the mess. We must only look at professional football players, professional soccer players, people who have been in car wrecks, and people who have served in the Military. To see the results of mild to severe TBI.  The Lord gave us a wonderful gift in the human brain, please do your best not to destroy it!

Red Beards

**To the Ends of the Earth**

25Feb/12Off

Is the Border War Really Over?

  How did the Border War even start? Well let's go back and look at history. Before the Civil War, men from Missouri would go across the state line into Kansas and tried to stop Kansas from becoming a Free State. The men from Missouri would try and stake a claim right before a city would take a vote, those men would vote for Kansas to become a Slave State, and then go back to Missouri after the vote was over. This tactic did not work though and Kansas became a Free State. And of course we all know about the blood shed between the Jayhawkers and Raiders. This sporting rivalry goes far deeper than just two school that do not like each other like most other schools.

The rivalry is ending this year with the University of Missouri moving to the Southeastern Conference. The Universities of Kansas, Kansas State, and Missouri have all been in the same conference for a very long time. The fans from all of these teams do not get along with each other. And this past year has been a great year of goodbyes. In football this year, each state claimed a win, KSU 24 v MU 17, MU 24 @ KU 10. Then of course is men's basketball, the state of Kansas 3 - the state of Missouri 1. (KSU 75 v MU 59, KSU 78 @ MU 68; MU 74 - KU 71, KU 87 - MU 86 OT). These six games will be the end of an era.

There has been high drama is the two KU v MU basketball games. These two games have been two of the best in the series. We as fans can only hope for a third match up this season in the Big 12 tourney. The outcome of each game was to be expected, each team won because of home-court advantage. Let us see a game on a neutral court, that will be the true test between these two teams. This is one of the best coached and hardest working MU basketball teams that I have seen in years. You also very rarely see a team shoot free-throws that well. MU fans, you have a found a great coach and have a lot of success to look forward too. KU has turned around their season very nicely. After their loset to UK early in the season, I said that KU would not win more than 23 games this season. I have been pleasantly surprised by the Jayhawks this season.

Now too address the raging fans as a result of today's game from Allen Field-house. I still hold and will always hold that every single college basketball game is officiated unevenly. One team will get more of the 50/50 calls than the other team. With this premise goes a couple of thoughts on how a team gets those calls: 1) one teams has more prestige than the other, 2) one team has higher national ranking, 3) the official likes one coach more than the other coach, 4) which team is at playing at home. These are what I feel are the main factors that affect those close calls. The officials are human and will make mistakes, they will get caught up in the moment of the game, will hold a grudge against a person, or have more respect for one person.

With the officiating in mind, let us move to the game. When the Jayhawks and Tigers played in Columbia. MU was the team that was getting those close calls. Yet when the game was played in Lawrence, KU was the team that was getting the 50/50 calls. Although, just getting calls by the officials will not win a basketball game. At the end of both games, the team that won made the plays down the stretch. Fans from the losing teams both went crazy after each game and blamed the officiating. Yet, you do not want to claim victory thanks to the officiating. But at the same time people do not blame a loss on the officiating either.

When you blame the officials, you sound like a kid who loses at video games and blames the controller. Or the golfer who says his high handicap is because of his golf clubs. Our favorite teams lose games and will lose more games in the future. There has never been a team and will never been a team that goes unbeaten throughout the team's existence. Now, I am not saying to accept losing like David Glass. But these are just sports teams and they are just playing a game. If you want to rage over something, rage about the lack of coverage for our troops! Those men and women are awesome and do not get enough coverage from us.

Red Beards

*To the Ends of the Earth**

24Feb/12Off

Day 3 of 40 without Soccer

   Well day number 2 was not an eventful day, because I had a migraine headache. Although, I did discover I had to navigate through the television chanels very carefully. I forgot about all the lesser known channels that could possible have soccer. So to not cause my self to slip, I just decided to watch Season 2 of 'Boy Meets World'. That was a very nice distraction for the day and helped me to pass the time. I did not make any mistakes in day number 2. Although, one of my good friends decided to mention me on his Twitter account. If he keeps this up, I might not be able to us my email.

I am a huge Kansas Jayhawks fan and am looking forward to the basketball game with Missouri this Saturday. Yet, I am not for sure that I will be able to watch the game. I know that I cannot listen to the game on the radio, but I do not know if CBS covers soccer. This will be the last time the Jayhawks and the Tigers play for awhile.  I will also be missing the Daytona 500 this Sunday.  I cannot go to my favorite cigar store, The Outlaw Cigar Company. The Outlaw has three huge televisions and sports on all the time in the smoking lounge.

Why am I doing this? Why did I go all in? Because without much being required, much cannot be given. If I did not go all, what was I really giving up? And truly what reward would I be able to reap? I am only able to reap what I sow. So if I give up and dedicate myself, then I have even more to gain. There is no lottery to play and hit a jackpot, there are no lucky numbers. There is only hard-work and long-suffering, too reap the benefits of the harvest.

Red Beards

**To the Ends of the Earth**

22Feb/12Off

Day 1 of 40 without Soccer.

Today starts my 40 day fast from anything soccer. I was not awake for two hours before making my first mistake and forgetting not to look at Twitter. I realized also that more of the local news stations have a sports crawl line at the bottom of the screen. Which means that I will not be able to watch the local news, because I will be gettting soccer information there. While I was picking out clothes this morning, I had to pass a lot of soccer jerseys. I do not think I fully understand the challenge that I have set up for myself. Nor do I fully understand the rewards that I have to find along the journey.

Today, I have found myself searching for alternative activities that I would not normally do. I have had to be open to new things, because I have told myself 'no' to the old ones. One of the best quotes that I have ever heard in my life is, "you can not steal second, with your foot on first base." I do not know who said these words, but the quote is brilliant. The very of concept of you not being able to achieve your dreams until your leave the place where you are at. For if your are afraid to go, where will you have ever been?

 

 

Red Beards

**To the Ends of the Earth**

20Feb/12Off

40 Days of Dedication!

    The 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday is going to be a trying time for this individual. I am huge soccer fan. I follow Sporting KC, Manchester United, and Bayern Munich. I have coached my daughters soccer teams for the past three seasons. I have to the ability to wear a different soccer t-shirt or jersey on each of the day week. For those 40 days, I am going to give up soccer to bring balance to my life. I will be giving up all things related to soccer, except for this website. This website will be a place for me to chronicle my adventure. I will be giving up wearing soccer t-shirts and jerseys, watching soccer shows or games (which also means not being able to get information on the sports tracker; so no Fox Soccer Channel, GOLTv, or ESPN channels), no soccer video games, no soccer web-sites or web-sites with soccer information (Facebook and twitter, included). I have a feeling that is going to be very hard.

Sporting KC is getting ready to start the season and I am super excited about that. I would love to go to the first game and get the limited edition scarf. Or Keep track of both ManU and Bayern as they compete for titles down the stretch run of the season. Yet, I think that this is about finding balance for myself and becoming healthy. A person just needs to have the ability say 'no' sometimes, and not overload. I am looking for that in this coming 40 days and will be posting all about it. You too have the ability to take some time to walk away from something that is taking control of your life. There is no time like the present to take back control of your life.

 

Red Beards

**To the Ends of the Earth**

16Feb/12Off

WPSLKC Fundraising Tournament

COLOR_wpsl_logo

The idea of this midsummer tournament is to help bring awareness to the KC metro area about the WPSL (Women's Premier Soccer League) and that we are trying to form a WPSLKC team/league. The other purpose of this tournament is to help raise funds to run such a team/league for the following summer. I am sure that of the main people that will be involved in running the team and league I was not the only one that ever thought about starting something like this up, but speaking from experience of starting up a league it is easier to do with more than just one person. After the WPS suspended the 2012 season a few people came out speaking about women soccer as did I and expressing how there was a severe lack of Women's soccer in the Kansas City area after the High School level. I mean there are a few colleges, but it seems that you better be really damn good or have a large amount of money set aside to attend school. It even appears that somewhat local bigger universities (Kansas, K-State, and MU) don't even really have women's teams.

So the question was brought up about what if we could form our own league? Which is the idea that I had been toying around with for a little while as I had quite a few friends that I had come across in the last year and half that were of college age, but really didn't have anywhere to play as only two of the local community colleges had any form of soccer teams, and I think that only one of those had a women's team. I came across a person on twitter that just so happened to already be looking into the rules of the WPSL and more specifically how to run such a thing. Well I had recently been to the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) convention a couple weeks prior and learned a bit more about the WPSL and got to see a map of where all the teams were. I must say there was a lot, but I also noticed that there was what appeared to me like a void circle any where near the KC area. Since I had been playing with the idea of forming a college aged women's league before hand not knowing anything about the WPSL at the time, I thought that this would be a great opporutunity to hook up with this other individual and we started talking about the ideas. Well it seems like that we haven't had any problems getting our group to grow and even getting support for our cause. No cash money support yet, but it seems to me that it probably won't be a problem to get it started. Although I see how the final push to meet our exact goal that we set could be a problem.

As I started this I had mentioned that the idea of a tournament was to bring awareness and fundraising. This was an idea I had for this immediete summer (2012) because I knew that we would need a lot of funds to get everything kick started plus it was also clear to me that as we were discussing all this in the month of January at the time that there was no way to get a full WPSL team ready for this summer let alone a whole league which is what we are utlimately aiming for. I figured that it wouldn't not be beneficial for us to just wait to get everything ready for the 2013 summer and that we should have a small round robin type tournament to, as I keep repeating myself, bring awarness to the KC area.

My idea is to have at least 3 teams that would all play each other once in the span of a Saturday. With the MLS season in full swing at that point and Sporting KC getting a huge following of support this last season, I don't want to have to fight with that, so the best time would be June 30th, July 14th or July 28th, possibly August 4th but that one seems a bit late. We also have to take any sort of youth soccer tournament schedules into consideration, but I think that the best possible day would be June 30th.

Probably the best location would be the newer Overland Park soccer complex as it has a larger set of bleechers that would allow for the selling of tickets and could sit quite a lot of people. I don't know the exact amount, but definitely a significant amount of tickets could be sold. Other possible options would be the Blue Valley athlectic complex right across the street from the OP fields. The idea of High School fields was also brought up, but I really think that some of the High Schools during the summer would probably be less inclined to allow something like that on their fields unless it was turf. So it comes to that we would have to find High School fields that were turf and had soccer lines on them. The other thought is that with the few colleges around that we could probably approach them about hosting such a tournament. My thought also with that is that it could be like a preseason style tournament for that college team as well and allow them to possibly particpate in the tournament. That last part is still up for debate and probably wouldn't actually work, but maybe could. Guess it depends on the school.

The purpose of this tournament is to help raise money to help the WPSLKC get off the ground and so the idea is to have admission to the tournament. Honestly I am not 100% sure what we should charge and there is even the thought that we could just ask for donations and that could possibly wield better results because some people might feel compelled to give us what would amount to several possible admission tickets. There is also the thought that we could just do both, charge admission to possibly even include a pre-sale price. I would also look at possibly getting some special items and what not hopefully donated that we could then auction off or do like a raffle and that would further help increase the amount of money that we receive. I highly doubt that a single tournament like this would get us the full $50K+ that we would need for start up in 2013, but I think that it would give us a good jump of point. Especially with us planning on selling shares.

One of the most important things is the all important concession stand. A place where people can go to get food and beverages. This is obviously a necessity and will have to be figured out. This could be something that is very simple or could be a real pain in the ass if not done the right way or even ran the right way. Hopefully where ever we go we would be able to run the stand entirely on our own and not have to share any profit with some other organization. The problem with that though is if we buy too much stuff, then we have to try and figure out how to get rid of it, but I even think I have an idea for that, especially with it being the middle of the MLS season. The best thing to probably do is to hopefully buy everything up front so that we don't possibly owe any body any payment and then possibly come up short. There is probably also a good possibility of being able to get a lot of the stuff donated and thus cost us even less. We will moderately price everything so that people are encouraged to actually buy stuff from the concession stand. With the tournament being in the middle of summer I think that it would be a wise idea to provide water for free in some sort of aspect, but could still sell bottled water and probably for really cheap. I think another really popular thing would be to have candy items because that is what kids always want and with it usually being a cheaper item the parents tend to get that type of stuff for their kids.

Another possible concession that passed through my mind, but would probably be really difficult to do is the selling of beer. Again I highly doubt that we would be able to pull this off for a small tournament like this, but I do think it is something to be considered since it is technically an adult tournament and can be viewed more along the lines of a professional event rather than just some youth soccer tournament. Plus it is always a good money grab for the most part.

Something else that is a huge part of any soccer event unless you're just playing a pick up game is officiating. Well if you have ever had to deal with some thing like this then you will sometimes find out that it can be expensive. I have two ideas to potentially help lower the cost if not get rid of it completely. The first idea is that if we have three teams playing in this tournament that we could have that third team for every match serve as officials and ball people. The second is to find High School level students with experience and give them a small amount to possibly officiate the games for us. There is also that other idea that could go along with the HS student officials and that is to figure out how to pay them by giving them service credit. Like if they have to do community service to graduate or something like that. There is one other idea and that is to just try to find people that would possibly do it for free, which isn't unlikely, but I'm sure any body would prefer to get paid in some aspect.

That pretty much sums up my plan for the tournament, but I did want to make sure to bring up a few other items that crossed my mind while working on this post and that I jotted down on my notes. Putting them here will help us not forget them.
- Can could potentially be like a college showcase as well for some of the players that are looking to possibly still go to college, but haven't or left for whatever reason.
- Waivers. I am not sure with something like this if we should go ahead and have some sort of a waiver for the players and really anybody that helps us sign so that the tournament is not liable for anything that could happen.
- Fees. Something that we could also look at doing is having the players give us a small fee that would ensure that they get to play, and this would also become a significant amount that would allow us to get uniform, concessions, field space, et cetera.
- Uniforms. I was thinking that we would probably have to buy uniforms, but thinking about it more I am almost convinced that we could possibly get companies that do apparel and/or uniforms to possibly donate uniforms that would have their logos or what not on them and it would be free advertising for them.