Thursday, January 29, 2009


At the mention of this television program from the mid 90's several things might pop into your head, but the first thing that comes to my mind is slow motion running on the beach. Unfortunately, I felt like I was stuck in a slo-mo beach running scene for the vast majority of my first rugby practice in Perth (last night).

When I signed up with the Nedlands Rugby Football Club I knew that the first several weeks of pre-season practice would actually just be conditioning sessions. This was/ is not a problem, seeing as a) all sports need time to condition before the season begins and b) I am particularly out of shape (at least from a playing a competitive sport standpoint). The one factor I had not accounted for was the beach, or more specifically, the difficulty of running in sand.

Anyone who knows me knows that running in and of itself is not, nor has ever been a problem for me, especially short sprints. Rugby is similar to football in that there are short bursts with rests in between so I figured I would be in pretty good shape with our conditioning program. But, the agility drills and jogging we did on the beach was some of the hardest running I have ever done. After the running portion of the program, we switched to the strength side of things, which I also did not anticipate having trouble with; THIS was a mistake.

The coaches brought five metal pipes about two meters in length by three inches in diameter and assigned four people to each pipe. Two held the pipe on either end while one did various pull-ups and chin-ups and the fourth would sit behind doing abdominal exercises. We rotated through the different positions two or three times and my body had literally just shut down, the lactic acid had built up in my arms and I couldn't hold the pole, let alone do a pull up, so I had to sit out for a bit. Flat out embarrassing. A rookie, and an American gridder at that, couldn't take the work out.

I caught my wind a bit and joined the group a few minutes later to close out the session with wind sprints and more ab work. I walked away from the session, pretty exhausted, but armed with a new resolve to get fit and become a leader in this club. I took the first step (no pun intended) this morning as I went to the beach, jogged and ran sprints... in the sand. I intentionally ran in the unpacked loose sand further away from the water because that's what they had us running on at practice. I really have no idea how people get used to running in sand, but I guess I'm going to find out.

Outside of my rugby quest, life has been pretty ho hum. Still trying to find a job, haven't really moved into the place in Mandurah, and Cate's back at work so I've been watching a lot of the Australian Open and reading! Yay. Haha, but, whatever, it's just about the weekend now and I'm officially moving down to far, far, away Mandurah tomorrow and hopefully I'll have a job soon enough.

That about wraps it up, take care.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Australia Day!

I'd like to welcome you all to MY first Australia Day, haha! Today is the celebration of Australia's independence from Britain and we plan to celebrate by: kayaking on the river right alongside the city, bbq-ing, and finally watching the HUGE fireworks display (I'll post pictures sometime :)


I have been here for about a week and a half and it has been nearly that long since I have written on this blog, so there's a fair amount to recap.

1) God is SO good! I have been given several leads/ connections for jobs through people I met in church! The two most exciting prospects are a) a youth worker position with underprivileged high schoolers (almost identical to what I was doing with the Boys and Girls Club!) and b) Cate's friend's dad owns a Christian newspaper and they just happen to be looking for a sports writer RIGHT NOW! haha; so hopefully, one or both of those options works out, but I'm just so grateful that there are actually opportunities for me to do what I am passionate about while I'm here instead of potentially just working to make money.

2) God is SO good! haha, I am in Australia with Cate and she is not going back to work til tomorrow! But, the REASON she isn't going back to work until tomorrow lies deep within her mouth, or rather, it did about a week ago when her wisdom teeth were still firmly in their places. Her recovery has been pretty steady, but she still has a good deal of bruising on one side of her face and as the day progresses, so does the throbbing pain in her jaw. Medicine and ice packs only do so much, but Cate has been a real trooper because the only real limitation her surgery put on our activities was that we could not play basketball or run together. However, we went to the beach (Cate was FANtastically burnt; silly melanin deficient people, sunshine is for me!), walked around the city, walked around Fremantle (Freo) which is like SoHo in the sense that the area is funky, trendy, and filled with shopping and dining options, and have pretty much just hung out every way possible in the Perth metropolitan area.

3) As I was mentioning earlier, I have only been to church twice here, but the people are pretty awesome. I'm not sure how much contact you all have had with Australian's or maybe you just haven't noticed, but they LOVE to abbreviate/ nickname; my favorites from Cate's friends at church are: Sezzy Bear (Sarah), Af (Aaron), Paddo (Daniel), and the best one yet, "The Bamboo Banger" (Rishi). I have two potential nicknames floating around, "Milo," which I can only assume has been foisted upon me because I am brown just like the popular Australian powdered malt mix, but I will get some clarification from Cate's sister's boyfriend when I see him. The second was created last night after church, "Sparky." Jordan-Jordin Sparks- Sparky. Definitely one of the better options put forth, especially in light of other nicknames I have had, or at least that people tried to give me, booyah, chilli, mister hot chocolate... haha, I'm just kidding about that last one. Or am I? To completely switch gears, the sermon at church last night was pretty good. The guy preaching (the church is waiting for their pastor to get his visa so he can move with his family to Australia; pretty interesting that there are at LEAST two thriving churches in Manhattan with Australian pastors and multiple churches in Perth that have looked outside of their own nation for preachers, but I digress) focused on Titus 2:11-14 and when he was illustrating verse 13 (you need to look up these verses because I don't want to just slap one or two up here and have it be out of context :) which talks about joyful anticipation for the triumphant return of Christ, the guy put up a picture of the crowd in Grant Park in Chicago on the night of November fourth as they waited for Obama to come out and make his acceptance speech. Now, I understand what the preacher was trying to do, he certainly was not making a direct parallel between the American president and Jesus, but to even put them in the same sentence like that (as happens quite often in secular circles) is pretty disturbing to me. I voted for Obama and I think he will be a great president who will affect a good deal of change, however, people really, REALLY need to lay off this whole savior business. He's just a guy, granted he's the president of the USA, but still, just a guy who has to work through the same bureaucracy of government that every other president has to; he's just a politician, not a transcendent earth moving force. I have very few problems with Obama himself, but I have a plethora of issues with the perceptions that people have created of/ around him. OK, that's my little American politics rant for the week, feel free to email me at if you have any questions or comments.

4) My semi- permanence here is more and more real each day. For starters, I bought my rugby boots and a ball... now I just have to find a club to start practicing/ playing with, but again, everyone and their mother seems to have a club that they recommend I join, so that won't be an issue; the real trouble segues into my next point beautifully. I just moved my stuff down to Mandurah (MAN- DRUH) where I will be living with Brett, Candace, and some other guy (sorry other guy, I'll learn/ know your name soon enough). This is a great living situation and a beautiful house that we are all renting together, BUT, this place is an hour drive from Cate's home and therefore even longer from her church, the job opportunities that I have found thusfar, and of course the rugby clubs that I have looked into joining. Clearly, being an hour away from Cate is much better than being on the other side of the world, but obviously I didn't come all this way just to see her a few times a week, so once I actually get a job and get some money flowing INTO my bank account, then I'm going to have to look into finding a place closer to Cate and all the action! But again, God is SO good! There's a guy we met at church who will be in need of a roommate in about 9-10 weeks and hopefully I'll be able to make that move and be only about 20 minutes from Cate. Back to the main topic: I now have a mobile phone (they don't call them cell phones here, they don't even call them mobile phones, just "mobiles," so I have a mobile.) and the icing on the "holy-crap-I'm-living-in-Australia-for-the-foreseeable-future" cake is that I have been driving quite a bit. Initially such a statement is not so significant to those of you who knew me before college because you most likely saw me driving all the time, but let me remind you that in Australia, they drive on the other side of the road! Haha, it really isn't that big of a deal to be entirely honest, but sometimes I do sorta slip back into American driving mode when I pull out of a parking spot, whatevs.

I'm sure that I have left out plenty of little things that I have done/seen/heard/ experienced in the past week and for that, I sincerely apologize. Haha, I will also try to update the blog more frequently, but I"m kinda busy trying to live my life, not document it! But with that said, I have taken tons of pictures that I will post here once I get my laptop up and firing!

Hope all is well in New York, India, Florida, California and anywhere else you might be reading this from... but especially in Saint Louis; let me tell you how depressing it has been trying to describe where exactly Saint Louis is... someone asked me to list off a few states around Missouri and I said, "Illinois, Arkansas, Kansas, and Iowa are to the East, South, West, and North." To which the individual responded, "I have never heard of any of those." Quickly prompting a discussion about how they didn't know all of the Australian states (there are seven; off the top of my head... 1) western australia 2) new south wales 3) victoria 4) queensland 5) the nothern territories 6) tasmania and 7) southern australia? maybe? i don't know) nor the American states and we should all learn a song with the state names and capitals, haha.

One last thing, G'Day Mate. So cliche, yet classically Australian and I cannot bring myself to say it because it sounds SO forced coming from my lips. Even just, "mate," sounds awkward, haha. The other day I went out to run and I said,"good morning," to a man with whom I crossed paths and he smiled and wanted to say, "G'Day!" SO badly, but because I caught him off guard with MY greeting, he just kinda spat out, "Good morning." Haha, the struggles of my life.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

FANtastic Voyage

I have flown from St. Louis, Missouri to Los Angeles, California to Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and finally reaching my destination in Perth, Western Australia, Australia. I left my hometown at 7pm on January 14th and arrived in Cate's at 4pm on January 16th.

The trip started about as well as it could have. I had a six seat row all to myself! I planned to stay awake for the four hour duration of this flight to better prepare myself for the oncoming jetlag, but, of course, I fell asleep shortly after takeoff. Thankfully (sort of), a very special child in the row in front of me decided he would single-handedly assist me in my quest to regulate my internal clock. Naturally, this was no ordinary child. From my estimations he was at least 40% banshee and about 30% coyote. This little boy of six or seven literally yelled, screamed, hyperventilated, and seized in and out of his parents arms and their row for AT LEAST 40 minutes straight. I was not even mad, just in a state of disbelief! After about ten minutes the boy yelped, "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" Yet the boy's self-induced asphyxiation was not enough to end his reign of terror. His parents seemed utterly powerless to control this most magnificent of temper tantrums, even the unsolicited stares and help of motherly and grandmotherly strangers did nothing to quell the fury. I just put my headphones in and before I knew it, the child had stopped yelling and the plane was on the ground in L.A.

After waiting for a bit in the airport I was all settled in for the longest chunk of the journey, 13 hours and 25 minutes in the air and because we would be crossing the international date line, this one flight spanned three separate (yet very muddled) days. Even though I spent so much time on that plane, I honestly do not know how I passed all of those hours. I know I watched, "The Dark Knight" and an Australian movie, "Newcastle" but aside from reading and attempting to sleep, the rest of that leg is quite blurry in my mind. However, one thing that does stick out is the food. Perhaps Qantas airlines serves legitimately good food, or maybe the fact that I was stuck tens of thousands of feet in the airplane with no other options biased my thoughts, but I genuinely enjoyed the food I consumed on my Qantas flights. Mediterranean chicken breast for dinner, egg frittata for breakfast, and then lemongrass Halibut for lunch. ANYway... clearly nothing exciting happened here and my journaling stopped once I landed in Sydney and I anxiously prepared to board the four hour flight to Perth. To Cate.

Knowing that I was a mere five or six hours away from Cate allowed me to actually begin to get excited, but almost as if on cue from some sort of diabolical stage director in the play of my life (I do not actually believe that this happened, just to clarify for anyone who might be furrowing their brow; rest assured, I do not see God as some sort of cruel puppet master... in case anyone was curious :) my flight was delayed. The crew was attempting to restore our in-flight-entertainment system, sadly they did not succeed and I would be left to somehow stop myself from going crazy on this final and most adrenaline pumped leg. Qantas Airlines must have read my mind and gave every person on the flight a $20 voucher to one of the book/magazine shops in the airport. Unfortunately, nearly every single person from my flight crammed into one little shop and I was too afraid to venture far away from my gate because our flight was meant to board at any minute, so I just decided to be content with what I had. Unfortunately, no one else shared my sentiment of not wanting to hold up the plane. Once the flight seemed to be fully boarded the captain told us that we were being forced to wait on some of the people who were still shopping in the bookstore. Great. But, that issue was handled and we all thought we were about to taxi away from the gate when the captain informed us that we were being held at the gate because a young lady who mistakenly had her bag checked through to Perth was actually staying in Sydney. Airlines cannot carry luggage for people who are not aboard said flights for security purposes, so security officials went into the cargo bay and checked through all of the luggage to find her bag and finally we took off, just an hour late!

Again, I do not really remember what I did on this four hour flight, but I do remember that it seemed to take about eight hours! But at last, our plane circled over the brown summer vegetation of Perth and the captain made my day when he told us that it was 38 degrees outside (100 Fahrenheit)! I jumped out of my seat when he turned off the seatbelt light, dodged and juked my way through the crowds only to be forced to wait another 20 minutes to see my luggage snake around the carousal. Cate had also been traveling the past day and a half or so and was waiting for me in Perth's international terminal so I took a fifteen minute cab ride that, again, felt like it took six times longer and finally I hopped out of the cab (unthinkingly tipping the cab driver 11 dollars; this was unthinkable because a) my fare was 24 dollars but more importantly b) salaries in Australia are actually reasonable so people in service industries are not dependent upon tips like they are in America, therefore NO ONE tips except for actual exceptional service... but I was pretty amazingly excited at this point so I was not thinking about ANY of this at the time) and dragged my luggage into the arrival terminal and started frantically looking around for Cate (who had been expecting me thirty minutes earlier) and I caught a blur out of the corner of my eye and turned just in time to see my beautiful girlfriend planting to jump into my arms.


And then we lived happily ever after. The end.

Haha, now the REAL journey begins.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


First of all, ten days til I depart for Perth! These might be the longest ten days of my life, haha, but it will all be worth it when Cate is in my arms again :)

Maybe the little title-intro at the top of this blog gave enough background for my story, but in case it didn't... I played wide receiver on the Columbia University football team for the first two years of college then I quit because the coaches wanted football to be the number one priority in my life. I could not do this. My relationships with Cate, the people in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and being in New York City had all become more important to me than football... heck, maybe they had been all along and I was just dividing up my time and not throwing myself fully into either of those spheres. But to make a long story short, I stopped playing football and started a very different phase of college.

During the second half of my time in New York I immersed myself in the relationships I was developing and doing it all in the context of the largest city in America; pretty amazing. But while I was enjoying being a normal college student, my passion for football never really died, I watched our team have their best season for the first time in ten years or so. I ached to be back in the action with them, but I knew that I had made my decision and needed to move forward.

Basketball was my first avenue of an attempted athletic renaissance. I had fun playing pickup and intramurals whenever I got the chance, but there were two problems. One, basketball is just not physical enough (this is a good time to mention that when I stopped playing football I weighed 195 pounds... the combination of little cardio because I was trying to rehab some nagging knee injuries, continued heavy lifting in an attempt to, "stay sexy," and terrible eating habits led me to weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 225 pounds heading into the winter of my junior year right before I started playing basketball regularly) and two, I suck at basketball.

Dating an Australia and seeing the high rate of football-rugby attrition got me thinking about joining Columbia's rugby club, but I didn't until mid-spring of junior year. I practiced with the squad several times, learned the basics of the game and was preparing to play my first contest... and then sprained my left ankle the day before.

That summer, I went down to Australia and fell even deeper in love with rugby and set my mind on playing that fall. Sadly, rehabbing that summer was painfully slow because of all my added weight (probably hovering around 225/230lbs at this point) and lingering ankle problems which limited running activities. Coming into senior year, I promptly sprained my right ankle and got pretty close to 240lbs and realized it was time for some changes.

I rested and healed my ankle and then started running. Little bits at first, but I worked my way up; bought ankle braces, kept playing basketball with no ankle injuries. I even joined up with the rugby team again in the spring of my senior year, practiced for a couple weeks, even got in a game. But, as a result of my "enjoying being a regular college student" I was taking 23 credits my final semester of college and decided it was probably a better idea to, you know, try to graduate on time as opposed to pursuing rugby at that time. Haha, I did not graduate on time. I took my final course at home this past summer and for the first time in my life dedicated myself to exercise just to get in shape (as opposed to lifting/running to prepare myself to be better at football).

So, after a summer/fall/early winter of running and light lifting I have whittled myself down to 205 pounds and several miles (or should that be kilometers now? haha) behind being excited about going to Australia for Cate, I am incredibly ready to join a rugby club in Perth. I'm not really here to toot my own horn, but in a way isn't that what a blog is inherently? I feel as good athletically as I have since my sophomore year of college. I have certainly lost a step, but I have gained a wealth of stamina AND explosion. I clearly have no idea how this third stab at rugby will go for me, but I am very excited to see how it turns out.

10 days left; man, this has been a LONG time coming :)