I'm baaaaack. After a protracted absence from the blog-o-sphere, I've returned to drop some knowledge and wisdom on the people long parched from the lack of the sweet sweet nectar that is my writing.
No, but seriously, I'm back with a quick rundown of my life so far. (Dre, here you go).
Over the past month and a half I've been in Lancaster, California, Frisco, Texas and Barboursville, West Virginia for the USYSA (US Youth Soccer Association) Regional Championships. I spent about a week and a half at each venue (with the exception of Lancaster, where I only spent around 3 or 4 days) with my coworkers as we partnered with Adidas to run their retail tents at each event. At each event, we arrived around 4 days before the tournament start, checked into our hotels and for the next couple days slowly started to click into gear. The first couple days involved small tasks like picking up supplies like snacks, water, etc for when we're working in the tent, picking up the 26' truck to store our merchandise in and other logistical details.
In the days before the tourney starts we completely set up the Adidas retail tent by folding thousands of t-shirts, hanging shorts, jackets, jerseys and other clothing as well as setting up all the miscellaneous merchandise (balls, shinguards, boots, etc.) Once that's completely done, we put all the clothing on racks and place them and the boxes of extra clothing on the truck for safekeeping.
When the tournament starts, we typically arrive on site around 6:15 or 6:30 for an 8 AM or 8:30 first kickoff. We take all the boxes of merchandise off the truck and put them in the back of the tent for easy access when gear needs restocking. We then hang all the clothing and put the t-shirts into a t-shirt wall to be ready for open at around 7:30.
Once we open, we work throughout the day with only short breaks until around 6 or 6:30 PM when the games end and we close up shop. We then turn the heat presses (for putting the tournament logo on gear) off and put all the merchandise back on the truck for the next day.
The whole process can be grueling, but the interaction with players, parents and coworkers makes the job fun and the day goes by quicker than expected. That being said, it can get incredibly boring at times if business is slow, and it can be a madhouse when business picks up.
The sites I've visited so far have proved a mixed bag. In Lancaster, CA (in Southeastern Cali)there is absolutely NOTHING to do but watch tumbleweeds (literally), eat Mexican food and go to the movies from time to time. Frisco, Texas was much better despite the constant 100+ temperatures. The city is a vast expanse of suburbia with a large mall and plenty of excellent restaurants in the vicinity, so I much preferred it to Lancaster and Barboursville. Ahh, Barboursville. I'd never been to West Virginia, and Barboursville was everything and more I expected of quite possibly the worst state in the Union. I'd rather not go into detail about how much I disliked it, but perhaps I'll delve deeper next year when I return for the Region 1 Championships again.
Now I'm back in Chapel hill for the next week and a half before I head to Lancaster, Massachusetts for the National Championships and then to Foxboro, Mass on the 26th for the AC Milan-Inter Milan match (!!!!!!!) where I'll be able to see the game and probably meet the players.
I'll return to post more of my normal sneaker/soccer/nonsense fare in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled.