Kyle’s Going Hollywood

Well, sorta. During most athletic seasons at the University of Dallas, most coaches put up profiles of their student-athletes. Thursday was Kyle’s turn. They asked him a few questions about likes, dislikes, etc., and wrote a few nice words about the boy before posting it to Instagram.

You can see it all above, and if it’s difficult to read, just click the photo.

The photo, taken at UD this season is great, but his favorite movie is even better.

Made It!

It took two days, but I’m currently in the Lone Star State. Kyle and I are packing his things – we’re bringing everything back in case classes don’t resume this semester – and will start our voyage home this afternoon.

Yesterday was awful near the end of the trip. I tore open a fingernail trying to clean with bugs off the windshield – don’t ask; I have no idea how it happened – I’m dealing with what looks like another eye infection (I think I’m done with contacts), and it stormed the moment I hit Texas.

A blurry eye, a downpour, and fourteen hours on the road did not make for a good mood. I’m writing this around midnight on Wednesday morning, and I plan on sleeping for a very long time. This will likely be the last post for the day, unless I get some free time later on.

The Last Train To Crossville

I’m writing this post at 12:28 Tennessee time – apparently they’re an hour behind the east, or I’m just too tired to know what time it is – after checking into a hotel in Crossville, Tennessee. Crossville is roughly halfway between Philly and Dallas, so I decided to crash here, get six or seven hours sleep, and continue the next twelve hours to Texas.

So here’s what happened.

The University of Dallas, in its infinite wisdom, decided to close the school until at least April 14th. They could have made this decision BEFORE Spring Break, which began yesterday, but no, they sent out the email yesterday at 11am. They also said everyone needs to be out of the dorms by 5pm Wednesday.

The airlines are a mess right now, and last minute tickets would cost a fortune, so I have two days to get to Dallas, pack up the boy’s things, and head home. We were given very little notice, and considering I wouldn’t be able to make the trip straight through, I packed bag and ran out of the house a.s.a.p. (This, an hour after my sergeant’s funeral services.)

Don’t get me wrong; I love driving long distances alone. It’s something I’ve loved since I got my license, but the longest trip I ever made straight through was nine hours to Ohio for a recruiting stay with Kyle. Yesterday I trekked through PA, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee. (Tennessee being the only one of those states I haven’t passed through.)

The trip was actually really nice. Western Maryland and Virginia are scenic, West Virginia was lovelier than I expected, and I can see why my Tennessee friends rave about their state. Tennessee is gorgeous, and I-81 is a nice ride for guys with a lead foot. Like me.

The first leg was more or less uneventful. A tractor trailer blew a tire in front of me and the pieces hit the car. I passed through MD, VA, and WV in a span of maybe a thousand feet – you hit all three states when crossing the Potomac – and I drove by Shenandoah College and James Madison University’s stadiums. Both are awesome.

Today I’ll be driving through Nashville, Memphis, and Arkansas en route to Dallas. I should arrive there around 11pm eastern.

There are posts set for today, and I’ll try to get something for tomorrow as well.

A Humble Request

It’s rare that I ask for any personal favors here – with the exception of tracking down Vica Kerekes’ phone number – but today is different.

You see, Kyle’s lacrosse team has just put out a fundraiser for their season-long expenses. Unlike Division I schools – and many Division II schools – the Division III athletic programs usually need to self-finance. Kyle gets a helmet, gloves, and a uniform, but his pads, cleats, and sticks are bought out of his own pocket. Many schools try to raise money once a year for things like transportation to and from games, food allowances on the road, and a few other minor perks.

This year, the team’s “Spring Break” will be spent in Michigan, and for a while, it looked as if they would be taking a bus there. Thankfully, some money came in from the area to pay for airfare.

Every player – there are only seventeen – was asked to raise $500 a piece to help out. Currently, Kyle’s page is close to $200, so if anyone could throw a few bucks his way, we would all greatly appreciate it. Kyle’s page can be found here, along with a photo or two of the boy.

If you can contribute, thank you. If not, that’s fine as well. Kyle sent out an email to our friends and relatives, so I wanted to mention it here on the blog as well.

UPDATE: The fundraiser lasts until March 17th in case you’d like to help out.

Pitter Patter Let’s Get At ‘Er

Yesterday was the unofficial start of Kyle’s college lacrosse career with a scrimmage versus TCU. The day began with Kyle making University of Dallas’ Sports Med posting this photo of him on Instagram.

Then, a half hour before the game, Erik found TCU’s YouTube channel, which was broadcasting the game! Since Kyle is the primary faceoff guy, the announcers mentioned him often.

(As a parent, there is no bigger thrill than hearing your son’s name mentioned during a live sports broadcast.)

TCU has a much larger pool to draw from, and they outnumbered UD by a good 10-15 players. They were also very physical, and Kyle got hit hard a few times, always popping back up.

The plus side is he played a ton, but unfortunately, it was not Dallas’ day, and they lost 18-4. Thankfully it was only a scrimmage.

Either way, I’m very proud of him, despite the score.

The video of the game is below the fold, if you want to hear the boy’s name. He wears #13, and he gets a nice talk-up at 56:05. He is also the first player you see, taking the faceoff in gray.

Continue reading “Pitter Patter Let’s Get At ‘Er”

A Blue Christmas In Texas

As part of the University of Dallas’ continuing charity efforts, the school’s athletic programs spent Thursday collecting donations for needy families in Irving. Many members of Kyle’s lacrosse team were involved.

The University of Dallas Athletics Department partnered with the Irving Police and Fire Department for the second annual Blue Christmas at the school. Erik Graton, the second-year head coach of the UD baseball team started the partnership last fall and invited other programs within the department to participate. It was such a great success in 2018 that the department planned to make it a reoccurring event to help the local community.

On Thursday, December 12, 2019, the Irving Police and Fire Department arrived to the front parking circle near the bell tower on the Dallas campus. Student-athletes, coaches, and staff that could attend walked up donations to be placed inside the Blue Christmas trailer.

Blue Christmas was started in 1979 out of the then City Municipal Court building at 835 W. Irving Blvd. It started with 25 families and it has now grown to where we attempt to take care of 400+ families that live in Irving.

The event occurred right before finals, so it likely eased some of the stress the students are going through now. And yes, Kyle is wearing his ugly Christmas sweater, just because.

Oh, and if you’ll notice, Kyle is one of the only two in the top photo wearing a short-sleeved shirt. He continually tells his classmates “forty degrees isn’t cold.”

Shirty Dancing

After coming home for (a shortened) Thanksgiving, Kyle is now enjoying his last two weeks before Christmas break. While he was home, I asked him about his classes, and he said his grades “aren’t where I want them to be,” but he is not in academic trouble. He did have to drop Precalculus – and really, which college student hasn’t dropped a class – because it was entirely too difficult. Pre-Calc was not a requisite for his major – Business – so he’ll make up his math requirement with something less confusing.

An hour after he mentioned his grades, he sent me a text claiming he crushed his Business presentation. Kyle has never been good at public speaking – too shy shy, hush hush, eye to eye – but UD is getting him more comfortable with human interaction.

The next day he sent this, “Just call me John Wilkes Booth, because I’m assassinating my business classes!” He said he’s looking at a 95 in each presentation, and not only is he doing well in class, but he really enjoys his major. This eased me stress, grade-wise, especially with the colonoscopy prep this weekend.

Then on Sunday he sent the above photo. The University of Dallas held their Winter Cotillion last weekend, and Kyle had no idea. Two hours before the start, his friends (Chris, Dan, and Tim – you can see John peeking through on the bottom left) told him he had to go. Thankfully we sent him down with some nice clothes, and he apparently cleans up well.

Now, me being me, I asked if he danced with any girls, and he responded, “Duh, the soccer girls were there!” That’s all the information he sent, so I have no idea if he slow danced or not.

Rome If You Want To…

So, Kyle sent me and Mrs. Earp a text message saying, “I think I want to look into the Study Abroad program in Rome next fall.” When we visited the University of Dallas last year, the admissions counselor explained the program, and Kyle and I were both sold on it. A week or so after the visit, it kind of dropped off Kyle’s radar. Now, two of his lacrosse teammates are considering signing up, and Kyle think it may be something he would be interested in.

During their semester abroad, students make our Rome campus their “home base” while they travel to places like Florence, Venice, Assisi, Greece and, of course, Rome. They’ll read about Odysseus and Aeneas one day and walk in the footsteps of these ancient heroes the next. They’ll study the techniques used by Michelangelo while standing in front of the Pietà or gazing at the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. They’ll debate the words of Socrates and the works of Plato and Aristotle while walking the same hills the great philosophers trod many millennia ago, experiencing the kind of context that can’t be found in a book and the types of insights rarely found in the classroom.

UD has its own campus just outside Rome, with UD teachers, and thankfully, all speak English. One of the selling points for me – besides being a once-in-a-lifetime trip – is the students head to the “Hot Gates,” where the 300 Spartans took on the Persians in the Battle of Thermopylae.

Plus, they’re close to Rome and can see the Pope hold Sunday Mass; to which Kyle said, “I could go to that; it looks like it’s a party there.”

He wouldn’t have to make a decision until January, and he’d be with his friends, so that helps. The only issue is the trip is by no means cheap, so I’m going to have to try to find some overtime, or sell my blood. But honestly, how can I say no? It’s a terrific opportunity for Kyle to see the world, and maybe bring back some hot Italian girlfriend.

I Miss Texas Already

We arrived in Dallas on Friday at about 2:30pm, picked up out luggage – Love Field is crazy efficient, and it’s usually a breeze getting baggage quickly. We hopped the tram to the rental car place, received out VW Jetta – a really nice car – and headed to the hotel. Naturally, since I was involved, there was a snafu at the hotel which cost us another hour, and after calling Kyle, he said to take our time, as he was finishing a paper for class.

We finally arrived on campus at around 5pm, meet Kyle, and asked if he wanted to have dinner at school. (The dinner we paid for.) He looked at us and said, “I really don’t want to be on campus right now. I haven’t slept much this week, and I need to get away.” Okay, done.

He took us to Slim Chickens, a nice fast food place whose chicken is pretty fantastic. Kyle said he still loves Texas, loves his lacrosse team, and the work load is becoming more manageable. We sat talking for a while, and after dinner, went back to his residence hall. We even hit the lacrosse field and shot on the nets before the rain came. The missus and I headed out around 9pm and said we’d be on campus early Saturday morning…

Continue reading “I Miss Texas Already”

A Programming Note

Mrs. Earp is on Facebook, and she posted this photo of Erik and Kyle at Dover International Speedway in 2011. Erik was 7 and Kyle was 10. It popped up Wednesday on one of those flashbacks, so she sent it to me.

(You can click the photo to embiggen.)

I posted this because I’ll be scarce the next few days. Mrs. Earp and I will be headed to fabulous sunny Texas for the University of Dallas’ Parents Weekend.

I literally cannot wait to land in Dallas – our plane leaves at noon – and it’s quite possible I may stay there, quit my job over the phone, and abandon my house.

Unlike our recruiting visit a year ago, I’m leaving the laptop home, and while I’ll have posts set up for the weekend, I won’t be on much. Between the festivities and the kids’ demand for Texas souvenirs, we’ll be rather busy.

So enjoy your weekend – I know I will – and I’ll be back live Monday. God bless Texas!