Rules To Follow – Please Take Note

We all have things or people in our jobs that drive us “nuts.” Pet peeves, if you will.  Maybe it’s the coworker that always asks you stupid questions.  Filing your mileage chart.  Messing with the crappy copy machine.  Showering with your coworkers.  Wait, what? Yes, I have the distinct honor and joy of being able to shower with my coworkers (teammates) on a daily basis!  Well, after years of this wonderful opportunity, I, with the help of some teammates along the way, have come up with a few ground rules that need to be adhered to while showering with a large contingent of men. 

Note: These are in no particular order because, quite frankly, they are all pretty important!

1) No Manscaping

I mean, seriously? I never thought this would EVER be a problem, but the other day, it popped up (literally) while I was in the showers.  When a bunch of guys are showering in a single room together, things can be awkward enough.  Much less if one begins to groom himself.  I understand we all need to be trimmed up every now and then, but please, just do it in your own shower and on your own time.  Some things are better left in private.  Especially if you are adding designs.

2) Use your own stuff

When it comes to the showers, sharing is NOT caring.  Well maybe it’s just too much caring.  What exactly am I referring  to? Many guys bring their own loofas, shampoo, body wash, etc. into the showers.  While it may be nice to use the Old Spice that your friend brought instead of sticking with the industrial grade shampoo/conditioner/body wash/lotion/hair gel that your organization may provide, don’t ask him to use it.  Why? Because if you use it, then the next teammate might have the balls (see what I did there?) to ask next time.  And if I have to explain to you why you should NOT share loofas, then I definitely don’t want to be showering with you.

3) Invoke the Splash Radius Rule(http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Splash%20Radius%20Rule)

Click the link if you need clarification on the Splash Radius Rule.  I don’t have any problem showering directly next to another guy.  I’ve had to do it numerous times.  But, it is nice to have your own space.  You know, for when you have to reach over and clean your feet.  Basically, just give a man some space!

4) No Urinating

I can hear the mumbles as I type this.  “But the warm water helps me pee.” “Hey, would you try to dam the Nile River?” I get it.  Peeing in the shower is definitely a guy thing (maybe a girl thing, but I wouldn’t know. Or want to!).  But if 25 guys are all peeing in the shower, then are we really showering?  It’s just gross.  I don’t think it is gross when I am peeing in my OWN shower when I am by MYSELF.  Again, it’s one of those things that is better to do on your own time. 

5) No Meat-staring

I am not saying you have to keep your eyes locked onto the shower head, or when involved in conversation, staring into the other person’s eyes (because that can be awkward too).  It is perfectly fine to meat-gaze.  You just can’t meat-stare.  What is the difference?  Sometimes your eyes just wander.  Sometimes you just want to see how you measure up.  Whatever it is, you are looking at it.  It is socially acceptable to be caught looking at another man’s junk once in shower.  That is meat-gazing.  It is not acceptable to be making “eye” contact multiple times, aka meat-staring.  I mean, after all, one look and you should be good even if you aren’t blessed with a photographic memory.

 

 

True Life: My Teammate was Catfished

Sorry that this post has taken so long, but REAL life needed some attention.  Since my last post, there have been some interesting updates.  When my post circulated around twitter, I had two old teammates contact me about how they had been contacted by the one and only Hope Porter.  One was around the same time that I was contacted, and the other was about a year later.  Like me, they were confused about how she could have gotten their number, and even more perplexing is the motivation behind the contact.  What do these “catfishers” get out of it? Are they psychotic? Probably.  Depressed? Maybe.  I will never understand the desire to have a phone relationship, much less with numerous people.  I have a hard enough time keeping in touch with family and friends!  Nevertheless, I think you will find this next story just as interesting.

True Life: My Teammate was Catfished

Because I was not the victim in this story, I don’t know all the details, but I do have the generalities.  A female, let’s call her Sarah, sent me a friend request on Facebook.  She was an attractive girl who had some ‘Mutual Friends.’  She also had sent a friend request to some of my other teammates.  In fact, she had become friends with all of my teammates at the time (always a red flag, whether real or fake haha).  Nothing came of the friend request on my end, but my teammate, let’s call him Cornelius (I just like that name) had pursued it a bit.  Cornelius would say he was talking to this smoking hot girl Sarah who was pretty cool.  None of us had ever met Sarah but ‘knew’ her from Facebook.  From my understanding, he would try to meet up with her, but she would always end up bailing on him for some reason.  The Facebook wall posts and tweets began.  Cornelius began saying stuff like “I miss my @sarahIsAfakeHOTTIE” or “Looking forward to hangin’ with @sarahIsAfakeHOTTIE.”  That’s when the guys and I began looking at each other and asking what the hell was going on.  I mean, we ‘knew’ this chick from Facebook/Twitter, but no one had met her or seen her.  She had some of the other guys’ numbers and would text them when they were out.  She would send stuff like “Hey come to ‘This Fake Bar!!!’”  One of them would show up and text her, and she would respond and say, “Oh, I just left there. Sorry, come to ‘This Really Fake Pub.’” Something weird was obviously going on, yet Cornelius couldn’t see it.  Nor would he listen.

Eventually, Sarah sent a Facebook message to one of Cornelius’s close buds, let’s call him Abraham.  She spilled her guts.  She told Abraham that she had been involved in an internet relationship with Cornelius. She was not Sarah – a smoking hot 20something year old with brown hair and a tanned body – but instead a 46 year old married woman with no job.  She came clean because her husband had caught her in all her internet dealings.  He told her to stop it or he would leave.  She had recently told Cornelius she wasn’t real and felt that he had taken it very hard.  She wanted to make sure he would be ok, which was her main reason for contacting Abraham.  Looking for positives in this situation, thank goodness the real person behind the fake girl actually had somewhat of a heart to be concerned about Cornelius.  In fact, Cornelius had taken it pretty hard.  Most guys are pretty protective of their emotions, and if they give a girl some tweet/facebook space, then it is pretty serious!  Almost too serious in my opinion!

I am sure plenty of (male) athletes know many stories like this.  We are easy targets (and we all know why…).  It isn’t uncommon for girls to approach us, real or fake.  Hell, AJ McCarron and his hottie Katherine Webb met on twitter!  That is the world we are in right now.  Look at it from a media perspective.  There are tons of internet dating sites designed for people to meet online.  There are even more movies in which a relationship is struck up online.  Look at the movie ‘You’ve Got Mail,’ which was put out in 1998.  My generation has been brought up on the internet.  We grew up on AOL Instant Messenger, email, and text messaging.  This hasn’t just changed the way we interact with individuals; it has changed the way we date.  In my age group, dates are a thing of the past.  You hang out as a group.  You ask the girl to come over, and she hangs out with you around your friends or vice versa.  Maybe, and this is a big maybe, if you are seriously interested, will you then ask for a date.

Sorry, went off on a tangent.  The big question then is how do you protect yourself?  Well for me, I am very guarded now on who I accept as friends on Facebook.  Heck, I am guarded about who I let in for REAL LIFE friends, and I’m not even anybody special.  I am also somewhat wary about who I respond to on Twitter.  Just be careful.  Use logic.  Use the brain God blessed you with, and think!  Go meet hot girls while you are doing community service (schools usually have some good looking teachers, and hospitals have hot nurses), going to church (hard to go wrong here), studying (classmates and tutors) and hanging out with your friends.

Oh, and click the ‘Not Now’ button if she is Facebook friends with the entire baseball team, football team, and soccer team!

True Life: I Was a Target for a Catfisher

Wow.  Manti Te’o.  I don’t even know where to begin.  Was it a hoax? Well, we know it was a hoax.  But, choreographed by whom? Himself? His friends? Or was it someone else?  Either way, the term “Catfish” has sprung into the vocabulary of the masses, even those not tuned into the MTV series.  The question that follows is often, “How could someone let this happen? How can you be fooled like this?” Now that I have had time to digest the whole story and “catfishing,” I realize I have two examples in my life.

True Life: I Was a Target for a Catfisher

First, I’ll start with my own personal story because, obviously, I know all of the details.  After winning the 2010 College World Series at the end of June, I headed out to Sanford, Maine to play summer baseball in the NECBL (summer college league).  My third day in Maine, I got a random text message.  It said, “Are you the cute Michael I met?”  That was all.  So simple. Yet, interesting.  I responded with my normal assured self, “Well, I am Michael, and I am cute, but I don’t think I’ve met you.”  Ok… stop the hating now.  I was trying to be smooth haha.  Anyways, the conversation continued.  She asked me if I played baseball.  Of course, with my newfound “fame” and being on ESPN, I was like duh!!! I was letting my ego get the best of me.  I was thinking this random smoking hot babe (I hadn’t seen photos of her yet!) somehow got my number and wanted me.  I know, ladies, a guy’s mind just doesn’t make sense sometimes.  We really do stop thinking sometimes. When I asked her how she got my number, she said she got it from some guy in a Gamecocks shirt in Omaha.  Initially, I thought it was my brother so I called him.  He had no recollection of that.

She eventually told me her name; Hope Porter, a blonde from Texas.  Born and raised in Austin and went to the University of Texas.  She brought up the College World Series, and how she had seen me pitch.  Another stroke to the ego.  She was playing it perfectly.  Drawing me in.  She sent me some pictures that day.   No, guys, not nudes.  All were pictures of her face, and she was very attractive.  The text conversation continued for the next few days.  My baseball guys understand, when you are on the road it gets lonely, and text messaging becomes your best friend. Then, the phone calls began.  She would call me all of the time.  Most of the time I didn’t answer because 1) I hate talking on the phone and 2) I was busy.  Some of you may be thinking, “Why didn’t I go and check Facebook immediately?”  And, that is wonderful question that I have an exceptional answer for!  I was staying with a host family that summer, and they had dial up internet.  YES, IN 2010 THEY HAD DIAL UP INTERNET!!! Also, I was not yet on the smartphone train.  So my ability to access the internet was limited.  Back to the phone calls.  I would talk to her.  It was definitely a girl.  She had a southern accent, which matched well with the Texas location.  Some of you are probably wondering what we would talk about?  Just basic stuff.  Like….what was her major and blah, blah, blah.  Soon, she would start to say stuff like, “I like talking to you” and then “I like you.”  I was like, “Uhh, you don’t even know me?!?!?!” I mean, my ego can be stroked, but then there is creepy stuff.   Eventually, I was able to hit up a Dunkin Donuts and get on some real internet.  I did some research.  Was this chick on Facebook? No.  Did she have a MySpace(it was still only 2010)? Nope. Was she a student at UT? Not that I could find.  She was nowhere.  Did not exist.  At least not on the internet.  The area code matched the Austin area, but other than that, I found nothing.

By this time, I figured she was probably some homely chick trying to pose as a hot girl. I mean, her story was interesting.  She went to Texas, and her parents were divorced.  She used to date a player on the baseball team (cleat chaser). The details go on and on.   All along, I knew something was up.  But, at the same time, I was intrigued and willing to play along.  After all, my girlfriend and I had just broken up, and again, I had 4 hour bus rides and time to kill.  I called my best friend Adam and filled him in.  Immediately, like me, he thought “dude, maybe she’s some hot girl!”  After the story began to unfold though, he was very skeptical.  We agreed I should continue to text her just to screw around.  Summer baseball ended, and I was back at school.  The text messaging waned.  I just couldn’t handle a phone relationship.  Too much commitment haha.  Upon my return to school, I told all of my roommates, and we decided to call her.  We called her on speaker phone and grilled her.  We were all so confused.  She had answers to everything.  The only one she couldn’t answer was how she got my number.  I tried to think of how she would have gotten my number off of the internet.  She claimed she couldn’t remember because she was drunk.  Once I had told all of my buddies, we found another guy who was going through the same exact thing.  The same girl was talking to him. Oddly enough, his name was Michael also.  So, Michael and I called Hope again to try and stump her, but this chick was a professional.  Nevertheless, the texting and calling dropped off considerably.  I had normal people to talk to, and being back at school, I was never bored.  Communication nearly stopped.  She called out of the blue one day and said she was coming to Columbia for a football game.  I was drawn back in.  I wanted to find out if this girl really existed.  Apparently, she knew some guy that played for Arkansas and that’s why she was making the trip.  Of course, something happened and she never showed up.   I wasn’t surprised,  but just interested in how crazy and weird this whole thing was.  I would get the occasional text and would just ignore it.  She would keep texting, and I would keep ignoring.  Did this girl not get the message?   I thought she was gone until the night before the opening game of the 2011 season when she texted me, “Good Luck!!! ;)”  I was thinking “WHAT?!?!?!?!?”  After the game, I got a “How did it go?”  We exchanged a few texts.  The same thing happened the next weekend.  And the next.  It was like clockwork. And, I was pitching well.  Because baseball players are superstitious, I stuck with it. It is shameful some of the things we will do to play well, isn’t it?  It continued throughout the season.  We made it back to the CWS, and she said she was coming.  This time Texas was actually in the CWS and she supposedly dated one of their pitchers. Seemed like a legit excuse, right?  Of course the CWS came and went, and she could never meet up.  Adam and I would literally sit in our hotel rooms talking about how weird this was and what could we say to catch her haha.  I know, I know…we are easily entertained.   I left for Spain, and clearly most of my communication was cut from those in the US.  I returned stateside in August for my senior year.  I had not talked to Hope, nor had she crossed my mind since she wanted to “meet” at the CWS.  Adam and I were driving down the street one day, and she called.  After two months of zero communication.  Finally, we lost it.  “Who the hell are you?” “How did you get my number?” “Why do you never show up when you say you do?” “What game are you playing?” She got mad because we weren’t exactly nice so she hung up and said she would never contact me again.  And, I was completely content with that.  A month goes by.  I was sitting in the business building library in between classes and my phone rang.  Sure enough, it was Hope.  I didn’t answer and went straight to Google.  I wanted this madness to end.  I googled her number and some awesome results popped up.  Why hadn’t I thought of that before? I have no clue.  I literally had never thought of googling her phone number.  The number was in a few chat rooms.  All of which had the same story.  Girl from Texas.  Hope Porter.  On and on.  Her number was tied to some man in Texas, but not with the last name of Porter.  The guys in the chat room said they had confronted her about it. She said it was her Uncle.  They pushed her further. Finally, she said she was initially doing a project to see if someone could fall in love over the phone.  She was supposed to end it after a few months, but after talking with them for a while, she enjoyed it so much that she just kept doing it.  Armed with this information, I made the phone call.  It was expertly rehearsed.  Same script.  With who knows how many people.  I told her to never call me or text me again.  And that was the end.  I have yet to hear from her since.  I wish I had kept the number and some of the pictures so I could post them up here.  Man, what an experience it was!  I was never emotionally involved whatsoever.  It was always a form of entertainment.  Like I tweeted earlier this week, I have fallen in love at the club before but never on twitter.  Or the phone. 

I never planned on typing this much so Part Two: True Life: My Teammate was Catfished will be published soon.  Be on the lookout.

Why I Don’t Have a Girlfriend

Relationships are a fundamental part of our lives.  As a Christian, our lives are supposed to be focused on our relationship with Jesus.  We have close relationships with friends, business relationships, family relationships, and even amorous relationships(I guess that SHOULD be singular).  Maintaining a relationship is one of the most important things a person can do in their life.  So why do I bring this up? Because maintaining a relationship is not easy.  In fact it’s so hard that when people are asked what the most annoying part of their job is, they respond with, “dealing with people.”  It doesn’t matter what type of relationship, it takes work.  For example, I had some really close friends in high school like we all did.  That is a very critical point in our lives where we are growing up and experience a lot together.  But like many people, a lot of my close friends from high school are no longer close.  We didn’t go to college together and thus distance (I’ll come back to this) and life just caused us to drift away.  When we run into each other, we can always enjoy each other’s presence and reminisce about our stupidity from high school but we have both formed other relationships.  We have put more work and nurtured our relationships that we made in college.  So you guys are all probably wondering what the hell is he talking about? How does this even coincide with the title, why he doesn’t have a girlfriend?  I guess my main point is that a relationship is hard and takes a lot of work.  Just continue reading…

Recently, I have been asked a lot about whether I am single or not.  My normal response which makes plenty of sense to me is that I am 22 years old!!! I thought that was a great answer but when I look around (and I mean, when I get on Facebook) I notice that friends are getting engaged/married.  My roommate from my freshman year has been married for almost a year already! So I guess I understand why everyone asks me if I am involved with someone.  Even my mom drives me up the wall asking me about my “love life” whenever I see her.  My mom was already married at my age and furthermore almost pregnant with my hellion brother.  Now when I think of the possibility of me being in that situation (she wanted to be in that situation, was not an accident!), I cringe.  Not because I am anti-relationship (maybe after you read this you may say I am) or because I am scarred from a previous relationship (still crying myself to sleep).  But, I am just not ready.  And trust me; I have passed up some good opportunities.  One girl I was interested was like my ideal wife.  But I ended up ruining it, possibly subconsciously, because I was not ready.  My friends still call me an idiot for that one (I do too sometimes).  Anyways, not ready because:

1) I am selfish.  I like doing my own thing and not having to answer to anyone (other than God).  But for example, I can focus on what I want to do and not how it will affect my “other half.”  This leads to my next point…

2) I am all over.  I have no clue where I will be in 6 months.  OK all the females are saying, “Lame excuse Michael.”  But I’m serious.  I have an idea but I could be in Arizona, Utah, Iowa, or California.  And if I get released, I’ll probably head straight overseas! So what does that have to do with a girlfriend?  DISTANCE(I came back to it).  Distance can ruin a relationship.   Some people can do it.  And that is awesome.  They are better than me but I just can’t do it.  I don’t want to be missing “her” and all that sappiness.  Because the second I start focusing on what isn’t there, a girl, then I will not be focused on what is there, my job and more importantly, my dream.  Which leads to my third and final point….

3) I am chasing a dream.  Ever since I have picked up a baseball, I have wanted to play professional baseball.  One girl that I liked in middle school told me I would not play in the MLB so naturally I didn’t like her anymore.  So how does that correlate? Well, I guess quite frankly I don’t want to fall in love and do something crazy.  I mean let’s be honest, we all know love makes you do CRAZY things.  I was only dating a girl and made some questionable calls all in “the name of love.”  So what possibly could I do that would be that crazy?  I don’t want to lose my dream.  My dream of playing professional baseball.  I may end up hating baseball next year.  But I will know it’s because I just don’t like it anymore.  I have heard stories all the time where a player becomes involved with a girl, either back home or where they are playing and sure enough within time, they lose the dream.

I probably just killed my chances with a bunch of girls but hey, I don’t want to lose my dream.  Not yet.

Long Week, Part 2

After I grabbed a quick nap to recover from my long night of traveling, I had to get back to work. It was time to prepare for my next event, which would come bright and early at 8am the next day. I spent a couple of hours preparing, and then I got to relax a little bit by attending a Ronald McDonald House Charities event. One of my friends works for RMHC of Columbia and was a major influence in coordinating the event. She invited some of our friends and me to go and support not only her, but RMHC as well. They were auctioning off my last cleats worn as a Gamecock so I was excited to be able to support a friend AND a great cause. The event was a lot of fun, and I met a lot of great people. I also got several compliments on my Garnet blazer! It was such a special night for all those who worked hard on making the event successful.

The Jacket

Looking good in the blazer

The next morning, my alarm went off at 6:45 am! I have been waking up early since I got home from Utah, but I am still not used to that. Man, did that annoying beeping sound come early. It still makes me shudder to think about getting up at that time. I went from waking up around 10:30/11 during the season to before 7am! I guess it’s a habit I will have to get used to. Anyway, it was time to get moving. Thankfully, the coffee is brewed within a few minutes and that’s when I am ready to roll. My morning routine? I literally roll out of bed and stumble to the Keurig. While I wait for my coffee, I check twitter. I have to check twitter! It’s my primary news source. Some may call it addicted. I call it the most useful tool of my era…but that’s for another blog.

After a quick breakfast and a shower, I got dressed and reviewed my material, still trying to wake up. Little did I know, I was going to be awake very quickly. I arrived at Hammond School, and they took me to the lower school first(preschool-4th grade). Every Friday, they have a mini assembly for the lower school called “Friday at the Kiva.” They pack about 400 kids in a room and sing the Hammond Fight song, go over school news, and finish with the YMCA. I cannot even begin to describe how loud those kids sang that Hammond fight song. They were belting out lyrics at the top of their lungs. You can’t help but smile and love the enthusiasm they were showing at 8:15am. Nobody could have been in a bad mood after the Hammond fight song. After their announcements, I was introduced and gave a short talk to the kids. I then had the pleasure to dance the YMCA along with them! Sidenote: One of my buddies in pro ball was charting pitches in the stands, and in between innings, the YMCA came on. He proceeded to dance the whole song without knowing that our manager was watching the entire thing. It was epic.

After my time in the Kiva with the lower school, I was rocking and ready to go. I think I could have climbed a mountain. This was great because I had two more presentations to give! Next up was the middle school group. One kid really stood out in that group. I had asked a question and was fishing around the room for some answers. One kid raised his hand and politely said, “I really don’t like you because I’m a Clemson fan.” It was the most honest thing any of those kids could have said, and I loved it. It showed a lot of confidence for a kid to be able to say that in front of a large crowd and be that up front and honest! There was one downside to my presentation. I was talking to the group about time management and went over my allotted 30 minutes, not leaving any time for questions! Way to go, Michael! But my presentation to the high school group was right on time. Live and learn! The high school kids were the quietest group out of the three. They are at that age where they don’t want to speak out and sound stupid or not be “cool.” But, during the time for questioning, I was impressed again. One girl raised her hand and asked if I was going to the UGA game. She then invited me to her family’s tailgate! Another very gutsy move by a student!! By the time I got in my car to head home, I was completely wiped out. I was surprised by how much talking in front of people for an extended time can wear you out! But, my work day was finished! I was able to head home and grab a quick power nap before getting some other things done.

My first week as a businessman was a fun one! I got to deliver two different messages to two very different audiences. Children of all ages all the way to grown in businessmen and women. I learned a great deal and met a lot of new faces. It was an awesome first full week of business. I’m hoping there are many more to come!

I’m baaaaack!

Ok, ok, I know it has been forever.  A lot of people have been pressuring me to update my blog, with me being the major proponent!  I’ve just been so busy.  Moving back to Columbia, taking off for Germany, visiting Oktoberfest, speaking engagements and football games!  It’s been a whirlwind of a month, but I will finally get back to blogging because I really do have a ton of stuff I want to get out there! 

First, I am fresh off my first official week of being a businessman!  Last week, I had a very full week involving traveling, speaking, a charity event, and an unbelievable football game.  Recently, I was asked to speak at Learning.com, a company based in Portland, Oregon.  So, Tuesday afternoon, I took off west.  I had a connection through WashingtonDullesAirport and had one of the best days of traveling one could ask for.  On my flight from Columbia to Washington, not only did I have an exit row seat, but I also had no seat partner.  This was all sorts of awesome because I was able to grab a quick nap and stretch out the legs!  Having nobody to sit next to on those short flights makes them fly by that much quicker (ha, no pun intended). 

I landed in Dulles.  This was probably the worst part of the travel.  That airport kind of sucks.  I had to walk pretty far, then jump on the shuttle to get to my gate, and then my terminal didn’t even have any good food (I ended up making up for it later) so I was forced to get Wendy’s.  Not ideal, but who wouldn’t want to try the finger chili that they specialize in?  So, that’s exactly what I got.  Spicy chicken sandwich and the Finger Chili®.  I then hopped on my flight to Portland.  This was a long one.  Five and a half hours.  I was looking forward to it because I needed to get some work done.  I still had some work to do on my presentation for the following day.  I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous.  I wanted to make sure my first official gig was a hit and thus prepared and prepared and prepared some more.  My seat was at the front of the plane (not first class.  I’m working towards that.) and it was one of those planes that has three seats on each side.  Up until five minutes before the door shut, I had the entire row to myself with my seat being the aisle seat.  I ended up having a seat partner, but he took the window seat with no one in between us.  I have never been through an entire trip with an empty seat next to me like I was on my trip to Portland!  I enjoy the little things, I guess! 

I ended up getting a lot of work done on the trip, and after about an hour and half, I started talking with the guy next to me.  You know, standard plane talk.  “So is Portland home?  Are you traveling for business or pleasure?”  Definitely the standard pickup line for a plane.  Haha.  Ends up he was a business owner of http://www.sportsciencewear.com/.  Their products are a big hit in the outdoor industry.  If you want to check some out around SC, you can find them at a Mast General Store and Half Moon.  We shared ideas and talked business.  A lot of stuff most people probably find boring, but interesting to me.  The conversation circled back to me and why I was traveling to Portland.  I told him about my speaking business, and he very kindly asked, “Who the hell are you that they would want to hear you talk?”  Ok, maybe not quite like that, but I figure that was probably what he was thinking.  It was a very valuable moment for me because it prepared me for my presentation the next day.  I knew I would be speaking in front of people that likely had not heard my story either.  They were just going to be seeing some incredibly handsome 22-year-old up there speaking and they were going to ask themselves that very same question when I stood up!  So, I had to qualify myself to my newfound buddy on the plane, and I would have to do the same in front of the sales group.  God has a funny way of setting things up to prepare you sometimes!  Anyway, we swapped business cards.  Maybe if I become famous enough one day, I can endorse his products! Haha.

We landed in Portland, and I took off for the taxis to take me to the heart of the city.  It was close to 8 pm, and I was ready to grab some dinner!  I checked into my hotel, and it was awesome. It wasn’t like any of the hotels I had to stay in this past summer.  IT WAS FREAKING AWESOME!  I had a huge king bed and a big bathroom with a shower (with two heads?) and a big bath tub!  The marketing team for Learning.com had even put together a gift bag full of goodies!  Business life was off to a great start!  My contact through the company advised me to go to Wildwood.  When I asked the server what they were famous for, he said it was a typical northwestern restaurant.  Let’s be honest, I had no clue what that even meant.  “Uh, well, I’m from the east coast so that means nothing to me; please explain.”  I ended up getting some oysters for an appetizer and braised pork for my meal.  It was really good.  If there is a way to get close to my heart, it’s through food. 

After a full stomach and with the time change, I was ready for bed.  Jumped into my huge king size bed and zonked out.  But, I woke up at 6:30am.  Time zones.  They are killing me!  I’ve been across 9 time zones in all of September.  Talk about a busy month.  I grabbed some coffee, hit the gym (had to work off that food!), and then grabbed some breakfast.  Had an awesome breakfast at another local restaurant and got lost walking back to the hotel.  I’m mad I am even admitting this because I usually have a great sense of direction, but I guess my subconscious just wanted a quick tour of the city!  After breakfast and my tour, it was time to prepare a bit more.  I don’t just wing presentations.  There is a good amount of work that goes into preparing and trying to tailor each presentation to the given group. 

So, let’s just get straight to it.  I walked into the room about 1:45 that afternoon to get a feel for the room and listen in on the conversations.  I was supposed to speak around 2ish.  I didn’t end up speaking until about 2:30.  By the time I stood up, I could tell their faces were melting, they were cross-eyed, and they were ready to get out of there.  They had been there all day and were tired of sitting in the same seat all day.  I mean, it’s a sales team.  These people aren’t used to staying in one spot for more than a few hours, if that.  And to add to it, it was some guy they had never heard of and a 22-year-old!  Some were probably ready to flip out of their chair.  That said, I had to keep calm and carry on.  I went through the presentation, and they were great.  I know they probably didn’t want to listen at all, but they seemed engaged, and it was a good start to mtrE.  I attended a dinner party with the entire company, then took off for the airport to catch the red-eye back to the east coast.  I was smart (or was I?) and grabbed a NeuroSleep drink.  I used it before to pass out on the bus during pro ball this past summer so I was looking for the same result.  It didn’t work.  I had my window seat all ready to go, set to pass out for 5 hours.  Well, whoever designed that plane clearly didn’t want people to lean their head on the window.  It was the most uncomfortable window ever.  I got maybe 2 hours of crappy sleep and had the rest of the ride to kill.  It was miserable.   I was so relieved to finally arrive in Charlotte.  Caught a quick flight to Columbia and was back in my bed by 9am!

All in all, mtrE is off to a great start, and my trip to Portland was awesome!  It was a very cool city and very different from any city in the south.  I wish I could have stayed a bit longer but other things were calling!

Announcing mtrE!

Well, folks, I know I have been absent from this blog for a while, but no worries. I have been very busy working to get my business set up. And, this whole baseball thing takes up quite a bit of time too. I mean, seriously!!

So, let me tell you what I’ve been working on. I have started my own company, michael t. roth enterprises (mtrE).  mtrE improves personal and professional development by bringing my unique take on some of life’s challenges to your organization, university, group, or team. The concept was born about a year ago after winning our 2nd national championship. During my time as a student-athlete at South Carolina, I was able to get involved in the community and speak at some local schools and even some university events. Being the egotistical narcissist that I am, I loved hearing myself speak! But, I also really enjoyed sharing my experiences and the knowledge that I have gained from those experiences. Over the years, I have learned a great deal about success and failure, teamwork, competition, social media, attitude, time management, etc. And these lessons aren’t only useful to an athlete; they’re applicable to everyone! In today’s tough economy, it is imperative that teams work seamlessly and competitively in order to maximize profits and efficiency. Also, with today’s social media maelstrom, it is important for people to understand their digital impact and reputation. So, there you go – there are just two examples where mtrE can make an impact! Hopefully this offseason is just the beginning of michael t. roth enterprises!

Please feel free to visit my website, and as always, your comments are welcome!