This year’s “pre-season” began, very fittingly, with commencement. Surrounded by family and friends in the surprisingly crisp mid-May weather, I graduated as a member of the Davidson College Class of 2016. My fellow classmates and I had somehow found a way. It was a very happy time in my life, celebrating our hard work and sacrifice with loved ones who had been with us along the way.
Thereafter, while many of my friends were preparing for the next steps in their lives – applying for jobs, apartment hunting, traveling with friends, and the like – I continued to make efforts to set up the Wanderjahr ahead. Beginning with a trip to Seattle.
Not a week had passed since graduation when I flew out west to visit a former coach of mine and his fellow staff at Seattle Sounders FC’s development academy. During my five days in Seattle, I learned a great deal about what it means to contribute to a top-level academy, while having the opportunity to see a professional soccer match in one of the best environments in the United States. Another highlight was dancing and singing (screaming?) along to Billy Joel and his band during their concert in the Mariners’ stadium (highly recommend it, if you get the chance!)
Upon returning home, I spent the better part of two weeks working at Davidson. There, I worked with the terrific Alumni Relations staff and forty current Davidson students to help produce Reunion Weekend 2016. It was nice to be back on campus, as the short-term job proved to be a good transition into post-grad life. Additionally, I was able to visit with many Davidson people – friends, coaches, mentors – and watch from Brickhouse, the local tavern, our school’s favorite son Steph Curry regularly compete in the NBA Playoffs.
As Reunion Weekend wrapped up, it was time to get down to business back in Greensboro. I bought flights to South Africa, Ghana, and England for the coming year, applied for Visas, and began to make ever-fluctuating “to-do” lists with my mom. But luckily for me, it was not exclusively business from there on out.
Over the summer, I was fortunate enough to make fond memories on the road – a prequel for the year to come. My traveling partner Will T.J. and I explored part of the northeast, making stops to visit buddies in Washington DC, Easton, MD, New York City, and Hershey, PA (Hershey Park, another solid recommendation [see swing video at bottom of the page].)
I also had the pleasure of visiting with family on several different occasions. This included the PA part of the road trip, Father’s Day with my pops, grandfather and uncles, Forth of July at the lake, family birthdays in Richmond, and finally a Family Reunion at the soothing Cheat Mountain Club in the middle of nowhere, West Virginia, just days before my departure. It was the perfect send off.
With the preparations of “pre-season” behind me, I’m excited to proceed by putting my best foot forward. Thanks to the guidance of family and friends, I think I’ve done all that I possibly can to prepare (including packing and unpacking about ten times.) It’s bound to be a “season” unlike any other, and I can’t wait for the opening whistle.
Next stop: Cape Town, South Africa #Kickingallovertheworld