Monday, May 16, 2011

Departure: the Trip Begins

Final Preparations

            As we prepare for lift off it all of the sudden becomes real: Practices to get our heads right, meetings to fill out some paperwork, the list goes on and on with the necessary t crossing and i doting. But in no less than 8 hours we will be on the road to history.
            Some sad news; in the practices this week 2 of our players got concussions. They will still travel with the team and most likely participate in the game but the task of climbing the mountain leers overhead as something that is too dangerous for the recently concussed.
            Some not so sad news, in fact some amazing news, we were just this last week visited by two very monumental speakers. The first speaker is an advocate for the traveling impact of students. She articulated beautifully the power that every student carries into the international interactions. “Every Citizen a Diplomat” is tabbed onto the pins that she presented us. The representative gave us a presentation on the power of what we were taking, as students and Americans, to Tanzania.
            Which leads me to the next speaker, who, as an athlete has a name loaded with bravado in the sports world. Dr. Lapchick, son of the 3 time NBA hall of famer, advocate of sports power in the world community, contender of racial prejudices including ringleadering the boycott of South Africa that lead to the apartheid against the people of Africa to be abolished. A man whose hand had shaken nearly every sports hero in recent memory including but not limited to Muhammad Ali, and Kareem Abdul Jabir was standing before us; taking a long flight to spend an hour in Des Moines, to tell our team how big of a deal our trip was. He used words like: unprecedented, something that will change every person in this rooms life forever, powerful, and many other extreme ideas to tell us about the way our trip would impact us and those a part of it.
            It is amazing the gains, already that this trip has put into our team. We have learned a lot about the impact of sport, community, and family and leading into the trip I imagine we are going to learn an amazing amount about ourselves through the introduction of these two diverse cultures. We have heard an extraordinary number of jaw dropping speeches about the world we are going to be living in a short time.
            The diary of the trip will begin tomorrow with the departure from Des Moines. I am not finitely sure how much access we will have to internet and computers on the trip but rest assured the trip will be well documented and updated to the best of our ability. And I will be writing no less than daily on each day of our trip and the fruits of that labor will be posted here as soon as possible. Thanks for reading, and until next time tupanda killalani.

Eugene “97” Walter

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Finals week, The Story Behind the Story.

The school year is drawing to a close and the trip is coming fast. It is hard to believe in only a matter of weeks I will be on my way to Africa. It seems surreal. The time flew by. I can still remember the feeling of being told of this great experience for the first time.
            When coach Creighton began the story none of us (the players) knew where he was going with it. “ Guys, I have been thinking about something. I have been day-dreaming about it. It has been in my head for a long time. It is huge! And now, we are going to make it happen. I have been on the phone, calling all around the country, and finally got approval from the NCAA and (the athletic department director) Sandy and we are going to play, what I believe is the first football game on the continent of Africa.” The team was fluttering and confused. We were excited but skeptical of such a trip. But when coach told us all the big plans he had; the camps, the service, the climb and the game, we knew it was not just hot air. One major problem, we had to find a team to play and we had to raise the money to get there.
            According to NCAA rules we had to play a team from outside the United States and many of the players (myself included) were ignorant to the existence of competitive American Football leagues outside of the US. 
            Before we left for our summer vacation, Patrick came in, from Global football, and told us the European and Japanese teams were not funded enough to attempt such a trip. Meanwhile, we began our incredulous task of raising $200,000 to fund what many people perceived as a “free vacation”. This task was especially hard because we could not finitely say that the trip was happening. We had to find an opponent before we could collect any real money but if collecting pledges was what we had to do then we'd do our best. 
            It was not long after we returned from summer that we found our opponent, but they were not just interested in a football game. They wanted everything; the trip, the climb, the service, to meet and compete with the Drake football team and share in the experience of something historic. That was when it all became real, and even more so it became about something other than football. We were going to make an impact and be impacted. The trip has become as much about learning as it was about teaching; as much about experiencing as it was about sharing; as much about the world as it was about our small campus in Iowa.
            It has been a long and bumpy road to get us here but it is real, it is unwavering, and it is only 2 weeks from reality.
Check in for frequent updates two weeks from now, while we are there, where I and our other bloggers will give a first hand account of all the things this trip has to offer.

Thank you for reading,

Eugene “EJ” Walter

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Thank you and Looking Past the Peak.

First, I need to thank you to those that have made this trip possible. Our Drake community’s support has been building as we make our final push toward Africa. I have to thank those people from my mother’s work who gave donations for my trip and my mom for covering the expenses of what money we couldn’t raise for me to go on the trip. I need to send thanks to my grandparents and my aunts and uncles for their support, both financial and otherwise.

Coach Creighton has made this trip possible, with the help of Sandy Hatfield Clubb our Athletic director; his vision and her support along with Global Football and ISIS are putting an amazing trip together. I also want to thank you, our blog readers, for being a part of the trip and allowing us to share our experience with you.

Thank you for reading

Eugene “EJ” Walter 97

Raising money for the trip was by far going to be the hardest part of the Africa trip. Four thousand dollars is a ton of money that no college kid has had in his bank account at any time. I'm so blessed to have had some money in my account, and to have my parents giving me money as well. My parents aren't the only ones I can thank. I rallied the troops in my family, and asked for donations for my trip. God has been good to my family, and many people have made generous donations for my cause. Specials thanks to: ISK Industries(Jim and Don Cashmore-UNCLES), Cathy Hemberger(Grandmother), Kim Cashmore(Aunt). I hope I didn't forget anyone!! I'd like to also give all the guys a shout out who didn't have the family support I did. Paddy O'Connell is just one of the many examples who raised more money to help teammates go to Africa. We had so many guys going to churches, schools, neighbors, business, any type of resource we could use. I know put their time and effort to have this time of their life. I'm just so impressed by the effort our team put in for the lift-a-thon and fundraising. Truly awesome! 

I'm a marketing and management major, and have a 3.14 accumulative GPA. Senior year has provided the most projects and papers I have had in my entire college career.

This is the first year that I don't have any tests for my finals week. I have had the busiest week this first week in May though. I had about 11 pages of writing due in poetry, a project in a management class, a paper in another management class, and another paper due in accounting. Now I can finally take a big breath because I'm done with 90% of my classes. I have two papers left in two different classes, and than done for the semester. Finals is such a hectic week, and I can only imagine the stress that is going on for the other guys on the team.

I plan on going into either college football coaching or working with non profit organizations. Things will work their ways out.

Thanks for reading,

Pat Cashmore #30...12 DAYS!!!!

Hello bloggers, Thanks for checking in again! This week I want to talk a little about school and what my plans are for the future. I am currently a double major in Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management. I am almost done so next semester, I only need to take two classes to finish both of my majors. Drake has helped me in so many ways. I think that the majors I have chosen have very concentrated courses but the teachers do an excellent job of helping us be well rounded people. They have taught us to know about all aspects of business instead of just marketing student. Also, what I find unique about Drake is the fact that my teachers know who I am and I can go talk to them personally if I have any questions. I have used them to my advantage quite a few times. I am from the suburbs of Chicago and I plan to move back into the city when I graduate next fall. I have had quite a change of heart and plan on going to graduate school in the city for high school counseling. I have a lot of connections back there and I feel that, like I said earlier, Drake has made me a very well rounded person and prepared me for life after graduation no matter what I do. So that is something that is far in the future but also something that I am very excited about. Anyways, we depart for Africa in 14 days and I could not be more excited. Our team made some huge strides over spring ball and I am looking forward to putting it all together for our game during our trip! Thanks for checking in everyone and as always, GO BULLDOGS!

Jim Nelson, #13

Jim Nelson

Drake University

Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management

Drake Football

Pi Kappa Alpha

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Photos: Drake Recap

Leading up to the big trip, alot has happened with our football program these past 2 weeks.
Check out some photos below of the events!! All photos are courtesy of Drake Athletics and Chris Donahue.

Drake Youth Day (4/22/11)
Group Picture - What a day to be a Bulldog!


"Sign us up Coach Creighton!"

Drake Spring Game (4/23/11)

Coach C & the offense came ready to play

B-Seegs (#22) Returned the opening kickoff for 67 yards

This is what I like to see, Defense destroying blocks!

Drake Athletics Award Ceremony (5/2/11)

We were honored with the Director's Award (Team of the Year)

Former player Andrew Asbell was awarded the Comeback Player of the Year
and the Strength and Conditioning Award.

Only TWO WEEKS until Africa!
Hope all is well Bulldog Fans. Keep checking back with us, Tupande!

-Cameron Good, #4? 12?...(TBD in Africa!)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

the End of Spring Football and Youth day

What an exciting time for our football program. We just hosted our 4th annual Youth Day Clinic at Drake Stadium. Cam Goode and Anthony Ginaris talked to schools all over the Des Moines about the clinic that the bulldogs were putting on. It was a completely free event, and the players were ecstatic for the day's events. Unfortunately the weather did not corporate with us, but that didn't stop us and the kids from having an absolute blast. Players were so excited about the outcome, and really were enthusiastic about playing with the kids. It was quite an opportunity for the players to teach kids techniques, and more importantly end zone dances. Youth day is a way to get Des Moines interested in the Drake community, but also to consider football the sport that they want to play. All it takes is one camp/player to influence a child's decision.

Saturday's spring game was a hard fought battle, but both teams knew that they needed to do their respected assignments. We met up at the bulldog at 11:15 where we were accompanied by friends, parents,incoming recruits, and future potential recruits. This is the most packed I had seen the Bulldog in my time at Drake. There had to be close to 300 people there. The energy was there, and it was the players job to mentally prepare. I like that we include friends and family in the team walk because it provides them some insight into what players are feeling before game, and what we do to prepare. As we walk down the tunnel onto the field, each player quiets down and listens to his own thoughts, or his iPod. After a quick pep talk, we went into the locker room to get ready for the game.

I felt that the offense had a lot to prove this off-season. The defense has ultimately carried this football team for the time I have been here, and as a unit, we want to prove that we are just as good as them. It helps that there is so much continuity on our offense with only losing one senior. Mike Piatowski understand the offense, and has stepped more into a role of a leader on the field. The offense ended up winning the game, but has much to improve. The defense looks impressive for having its third defensive coordinator in the last three years. The defense did well learning their rules, and I expect they make big leaps in the summer.

Africa is quickly approaching us, and everyone is EXCITED!

Until next time,

Pat Cashmore #30

Academic Standards

As finals week approaches the academic school year is drawing to a close and I am finding myself buried in papers and tests to write and study for. As a student athlete it gets difficult to balance the workloads of the school and the team, especially having taken an extra course to coincide with our Africa trip. But despite the difficulty balancing these things, Drake as a school and football team holds us to a higher academic standard, rather than the NCAA mandated 1.8 average g.p.a. We require a 2.2. We honor each semester’s academic top ten, the kids with the highest g.p.a.’s per their hours being taken. They each get a headshot framed and hung in the players’ lounge where our pioneer league championship trophies sit. I feel this represents the nature of our team, we are student first-athlete second. Even the most basic achievement of good grades is put on par (or above) the greatest achievement our football team can reach.
            I personally have only once had a chance to make the academic wall top ten. Not because I have had a bad college academic career, quite the contrary in fact, but the standards are so high for the players on the team that for a vast majority of the semesters the only way to break the top ten is to score a perfect 4.0 and even then you are not guaranteed to make it. Another aspect of the academic commitment of this team is the committed to excellence awards. Considered a high honor in our football program, it is a series of higher standards that, amongst other things monitors attendance in classes, grades, and progress in the academic realm of our student athlete responsibilities. It is an award I have made my personal goal to win all four years and have succeeded up to this point, although the standards are high and it is continuing to be very hard to accomplish.
            In total we spend approximately as many hours a day as we do participating in football related events each week. We are in essence playing two sports. We are playing football and we are playing our position in the classroom. The acuteness of the metaphor assimilating the nature of Saturday football games to a test is perfect. Each week we take steps to reaching that next higher standard, to learn something, to practice it, and to implement it.  Just as in football, the classroom requires us to build ourselves up so that eventually we can help our team whether that is through a play on the football field or leading a team of workers to get a big account, you set high goals and you achieve them. It is what Drake football does. 19,400 feet, that is our goal now.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Community Service

Hello bloggers! This week I just want to talk a little about our community service that we do as a team. One of our five team goals is being Impact Men. This is something that we take very serious and it involves us giving back to the community we represent. Every week during winter workouts and the fall season, we have players visiting Blank's Childrens Hospital to try and make a difference in the lives of young children who are not as blessed as we are. Going there has a huge impact in our lives and theirs. We also have players go to different elementary schools around Des Moines and read to kids and stress the importance reading will have in their lives. Other than that, if there is anything we can do just to help people around our community, we are always glad to help. None of this is mandatory, we all do it as strictly volunteer events because we believe we need to give back to our community because of the people with less than us and to show our thanks for their support. Anyways, spring ball is getting ready to end with our spring game next weekend and everyone has improved greatly. Thanks for following and your continued support. As always, GO BULLDOGS!

Jim Nelson

Drake University

Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management

Drake Football

Pi Kappa Alpha


Community service is a huge part of our program. I have positive memories of every community service project. It is a way to give our time to help people. Our program focuses on not being selfish, but being selfless. How can we better someone's life? I think its amazing how our football team contributes to local clubs, hospitals, and school. This experience has been positive for me, and has made me very blessed.

I have mainly worked with Boys and Girls Club and the Wilkie House. Both are after school programs to help kids with homework, and to keep them busy. I enjoy learning about the kids, and they do a great job of making me laugh. It is always fun when you return a week later, and a child remembers your name. I always try to beat the kids in basketball and pool. I also have been to the Blank Children's Hospital. We always meet some tough children who are battling for their lives. Africa is going to be a great opportunity to give back to this orphanage. I think this will be a life changing event for the entire team. It may be the first time that our athletes witness poverty. Its important that we enjoy the kids at the orphanage as well. They are going to want to play, and I think our players will have blast with them. I can't imagine what they will do when they see a football.