If  I had a nickle for every time someone looked at me like I was crazy, implied I was crazy, or actually straight up said I was crazy, I still wouldn’t be a rich man – but I would probably try to get more people to think I was nuts, just so I could make a bit more change.

Is there a right way? That's crazy!

Is there a right way? That’s crazy!

In my travels, people often ask me what I am doing. It’s a fair question.

It’s when I answer that people, more often than not, are a little puzzled. Why would you come here of all places? Why don’t you just play footie back in the states? Well, then, what do you do for a living…like actually?

Most frequently people think I’m here to study. I’ll tell them I am here just to play soccer and a few weeks later they ask me what or where I’m studying again. “Ah yes!” I say, “I am a student of the game.”

I’ve created a few different tailored stories that try to make my exploits sound a bit more feasible and, well, normal. Even then, I know many people still leave with the impression that I’m crazy. Alright let’s face it, people thought that well before I came to England.

Yea, maybe there's something to it!

Yea, maybe there’s something to it!

I was thinking about it the other day and I’ve come to the conclusion that I may have already embraced the notion. The idea of insanity has always been intriguing to me. I have always been drawn toward things that involve a theme of craziness.

Take music, for instance; a few years ago a song came out by Gnarls Barkley called “Crazy”. Loved it! To this day, it’s still one of my favorites.

A few weeks ago, I hopped on Netflix and a movie popped up called “Seven Psychopaths“. Had to watch it. Probably wasn’t a classic and not everyone’s cup of tea, but personally, I couldn’t help but enjoy it.

There was a book as well that I kept coming across called “The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry“. Had to read it. No surprise, I found it fascinating. I would actually recommend this one, it’s a fun read. You’ll be labeling all your friends and family only a few chapters in.

If you experience something crazy, you want to share it with people. Who wakes up in the morning and comes to breakfast with wonder in their eyes and says “I had the most normal dream last night”…and then proceeds to tell you about it (alright, we all have that friend).

What is it that draws me to this stuff? Curiously, it’s probably a quest for a thread of sanity. There is a certain peace in doing something crazy. Knowing that experienced something a little out of the ordinary is strangely relieving and calming.

I’ve been thinking about it and came to the conclusion that I should embrace a little bit of craziness in my life. So, I created a little motto in my head that would fit that lifestyle: “Do something crazy everyday”. The goal of this motto is to challenge myself to do something unknown, challenging, embarrassing, kind, or even bizarre that I wouldn’t normally do.

Examples might include; singing in public, going on a walk in the rain, just to get wet, chatting with a beggar instead of just dropping loose change in his cup, trying an outrageous trick in training, complimenting a stranger out of the blue, volunteering for a day, making someone a meal for no reason, trying to cook something new, wearing some funky clothes, etc and so on. It doesn’t have to be actually insane, but just something that feels a little crazy and out of the ordinary for me.

Some people don't get crazy, they give it.

Some people don’t get crazy, they give it.

If I’m honest, I haven’t completely adopted this practice yet, its hard to commit to…and let’s face it, it’s a bit crazy. It’s also a challenge because you have to be very creative in your crazy act for the day. Sometimes you could plan ahead, or other times you could be inspired in a moment. However, you can’t just keep repeating the same things, because then it ceases to be crazy for you.

For the record, there’s no denying that there are levels of crazy that go beyond reason and rationale and lead to destruction. Despite the fact that I find them fascinating, I don’t care to personally experience those echelons of insanity. I simply wonder at them from a safe distance.

Live update: I’m currently sitting in a coffee shop trying to finish up this post and I’m coincidentally observing a pretty curious scene. It’s like the crazy is coming to me as I write! Aside from the Barista and I, there is an old man and a young couple in love. For some reason, in an empty, but spacious cafe, the couple and the old man are sitting on the same wall bench about 8 feet apart. The old man – who could easily play the part of the prophet of doom in some creepy thriller – is alternating between napping, reading the paper, and then snoring; seemingly unfazed by the glaring affection of the young couple nearby. Side by side and in a constant state of awkward embrace, they loudly whisper sweet nothings in one another’s ear. In the midst of this scene, I can’t help but wonder; who’s the crazy one here?

Changing tangents completely from that special moment, I’d like to mention something from my mission trip in St. Lucia. The priest in charge of our mission, the wonderful Fr. Gerry, gave a homily one day that had a curious twist. His preaching style was very exuberant, charismatic, inspiring, and quite entertaining at times.

In this particular homily, Fr. Gerry put his hands out as if on the cross and stated “Jesus is crazy!” We all looked back at him with a look that surely gave the impression that we believed him to be the crazy one. However, as he explained himself – merely by recounting the things Jesus did that were out of the ordinary…you know like charity and sacrifice – it became clear what he meant. It’s that kind of crazy, we can strive toward.

When ordered towards the good, crazy can be inspirational, crazy can be revolutionary, crazy can work wonders!

So, maybe I am crazy, but if crazy can change me, if crazy can make a better, kinder, stronger, smarter, more fascinated, more appreciative, more helpful, and maybe even more revolutionary, then I don’t mind at all.

At the end of the day, the struggle is making sure that I can order my craziness toward the greater good. Crazy is no good when it’s primary purpose is to put the self on a pedestal. That kind of crazy will score you high on the “Psychopath Test”. Crazy is good when it can make the world a brighter, more hopeful and more joyful place to live.

Go ahead then, take the risk and do something crazy today. If you feel like it, tell me about it, I could use some support here!

It's tiring being good at crazy

It’s tiring being good at crazy

For now, I’m still developing my special brand of crazy both on and off the field. On the field, I’ve had a break in games – which is driving me crazy – and so there is not much to report, but I’m crazy enough to keep on going. I’ve actually been really enjoying the work I’ve been putting in on the field recently and I’m confident it will pay off!

Stay crazy my friends!




The Process

I feel like I need to introduce myself again, it’s been that long. So, first I should apologize for staying away so long. I have had plenty to tell you, but never the inspiration.

There have been numerous other attempts to start blogging again; posts with titles such as “Square One” and “The Return”. However, they never really got past the introduction phase. In recent weeks, though, I have been on a quest to resurrect my creative writing urges. Where did they go? I’m not really sure, but I’d like to think they are there somewhere. So, in writing this post, I’m really just playing hide and seek with my inner author.

The first thing I had to do was commit to staying off of other sites while I write this post. I was going to go down to the local coffee shop with no wifi, so I wouldn’t even be tempted, but I’m weak, so I’m at the one that has wifi because I have a loyalty card here and God forbid I have to get 10 coffees before I get my free one as opposed to the usual 9.

Anyway, I really am going to have to push through this first post. I won’t be able to go into much detail because I’ve done quite a bit, but I will try to give you a good update of where I am and hopefully reignite my writing bug for the future.

It’s hard to admit, but if I really look at it, I think I haven’t been writing because of my own perceived failures. I haven’t really been achieving the success or consistency I had hoped to upon my return to the UK, which was back in July. In preseason I was all over; training with 4 different teams and ultimately living in 4 different places.

I won’t bore you with details, but it has landed my in Southern England about an hour west of London in  a little town called Newbury. I moved here to play with an ambitious team called Hungerford Town. I came down during preseason and did well in training and a few practice games (including a great goal in one – if I may say so myself). I was looking forward to the new start after the lack of opportunity and progress I made at Guiseley last year.

The Newbury Train Station - my link to the outside world

The Newbury Train Station – my link to the outside world

Unfortunately, things haven’t quite gone as planned on a personal level. First of all, it took a number of weeks for me to get my international clearance (because I had played in an American League over the summer). Then once it came through and I was eligible to play, Hungerford immediately started a turn around from a dreadful start to the season and have won every league game since losing 4 out of their first 5. This made it hard for the manager to change too many things in regards to personnel and tactics.

Hungerford Town ground - Bulpit Lane

Hungerford Town ground – Bulpit Lane

Since I wasn’t playing as much as I would have liked, I spoke with the Manager about the possibility of going out on loan for a short period with any other local team to maintain fitness and sharpness. He immediately helped set me up with another team in the division below called Thatcham Town FC. I played a game a few days later, which was great…except we lost. We managed to lose the next two games as well, which was painful and not the biggest confidence boost. However, I was getting good and fit and starting to improve, and playing is always better than not playing.

Thatcham's Ground - Waterside Park (located by the side of the Kennet River)

Thatcham’s Ground – Waterside Park (located by the side of the Kennet River)

Timing, however, was not the best, because, due to scheduling changes we only had 3 games in a period where we could have had up to 5 or 6. To add to that, the poor run in form meant that the manager of Thatcham Town, quite a friendly bloke, was shown the door. Meaning, I don’t know where I stand with the changes at hand and I will probably be going back to Hungerford, without any guarantee of time, despite the work I put in.

So many great and wonderful stories in life have a “right place at the right time” element – mine seems to have a persistent “wrong place at the wrong time” theme.

Deep down, I find myself fighting my own self-pity. What gives? I ask myself. Of course, this is really pathetic, and when I really think about it, I’m embarrassed at the very thought of pitying myself. I’m blessed beyond what I deserve. I know that, but I’ll still find excuses and injustices against me like Sherlock finds the crook. It’s a special gift.

All that moaning and complaining has, thankfully, led me to an improved outlook. As so often happens, this change came about originally from the unlikeliest of sources. An English player named Joey Barton, who is quite an entertaining, but also controversial character over here, was in an interview and mentioned the importance of the process. He was talking about developing players and he said something in the vein of “no one appreciates the process anymore”.

Essentially meaning that we all just want the outcome. For footballers that’s making a good living as a professional for a big club team, or for your country and making plenty of money. However, no one wants to think about putting the work in every day behind the scenes; there is a lack of appreciation for the blood, sweat and tears that no one sees.

This made me think about things and a few days later, I was talking with my sister, Clare, and Barton’s comment tied in with our conversation, so I brought it up. Clare and I chatted about it and I suddenly came to this realization that the story is always in the process; never in the outcome.

So, here I was, not blogging because I wanted to blog about the big outcomes! I wanted to blog about the great step I was making here or there. I wanted to blog about achievements. That is probably precisely why I haven’t been inspired to blog. There is no story in the outcome. The story is in the process.

I’d like to think that I’ve always appreciated the process of anything. I’m never afraid to put in the work and I will always continue to do so. Yet, I never realized until recently that there is no story in the achievement itself. The achievements are what we put on a resume and that’s why they are only a few pages of lists. Stories lie in creating that achievement and that’s what we find in the intricacies of a journey well told.

I recently read a book called “A Long Way Gone“, about a young man who had been a boy soldier in the Sierra Leone Civil War. He survived this ordeal and eventually made his way to the USA where he has recovered and now works to fight worldwide injustice. In a nutshell, that last sentence was his achievement so far, but it’s not the story itself. That lies within the pages of the book and in the depths of his heart and soul.

Having said that, the process of the last 5 or 6 months has plenty to say for itself. I’ve been all over the place, I’ve got to explore a new part of England, including the ever intriguing city of London. I’ve even managed to get home once for a wedding, which was an incredible blessing for me. I haven’t even had the chance to blog about my incredible mission trip to St. Lucia, all the way back in May.

I’ll save all that and more for another day in the process of pursing my dream one mistake at a time.

Until them enjoy the process of life!