Out and About
David Dollase is the Director of Safety and Security at Sporting Park and received the 2012 National Sports Safety and Security Professional of the Year Award. He arrived in Guatemala on Saturday and will return to Kansas City on Feb. 17th. He will be providing updates, photos and more throughout the trip for SportingKC.com. Below is his fifth report; click here for Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV.
Once again we left at sunrise. The trip to today's town was only about an hour or so and there was much less to see on the road. When were turned off the main road, and I use this term loosely at best, it was a short winding downward spiral to our destination. Along the way we passed carts pulled by horses headed to the fields and loaded with farm tools that looked as though they were from he early 1800's. It is a way of life here that keeps these people busy from sun up to sun down doing hard labor.
When we arrived at our destination, everyone was told by the Policia Municipal to stay within our compound due to the somewhat hostile nature of the town. Unfortunately for me, I left the hotel without the hand pump I use to inflate the soccer balls. I helped the students and doctors set up and quietly snuck out with a sack of balls in search of a tire shop with a needle that would work. I surely stuck out as I walked the cobble streets and was about to give up when I spotted what I was looking for. After an agreement of five quetzales to inflate the four balls, it was short work and I was back on the street. It was an uneventful walk that allowed me to see much more of the city.
As I returned, I was greeted by a line out the door and down the street of a few hundred people that had come for the clinic. I took a moment to give away a used ball and the children that were waiting patiently were off and running with smiles on their faces playing soccer in the church courtyard.
A similar arrangement was made with the town mayor to show me the school that needed the most and at 11:00 we set off. I was a little surprised as I was ready for a long journey but the school was literally next door. There were hundreds of children and it was awesome giving them the shirts and balls to use. Many of the children put their shirts on right away, while others took great care to put them neatly away as they were prized possessions.
I stayed long enough for a few pictures and then headed back to the clinic. Today they saw over 500 people and I was put to work dispensing medications from the pharmacy. It was a true test of the little Spanish I thought I knew but it comes back quickly when you're forced to remember. Everyone was so incredibly thankful and wanted to hug you as they were leaving. Smiles come in many forms, some of which put a smile on your face while others are very humbling. Today was tiring yet fulfilling and I left with lots to think about.
David Dollase is the Director of Safety and Security at Sporting Park and received the 2012 National Sports Safety and Security Professional of the Year Award. He arrived in Guatemala on Saturday and will return to Kansas City on Feb. 17th. He will be providing updates, photos and more throughout the trip for SportingKC.com. Below is his fourth report; click here for Part I, Part II and Part III.
Today we loaded a traditional Guatemalan bus at 0630am. We placed large black boxes loaded with medical supplies and soccer balls on the roof and strapped them down. Leaving town at sunrise, we were in the shade of the mountains for the first hour of the trip. The light on the surrounding cliffs and forested areas hid the barrios and shanties precariously placed one on top of the other, spanning the entire side of a precipice. The long and winding road led us through tiny towns and up into the sun still trying to get high enough to melt the frost.
Once we reached the top, the sun was all around us. It didn't last long as the next hour was spent going down and back into the shade. By the time we were nearing our destination, the sun was high enough to make the ground all around us look as though it was hot and steaming.
We entered San Jose Paoquil around 0900am and set up shop in a municipal building that was also home to the mayor. Once we had the crates unloaded and the area of pharmacy, triage, OB/GYN, pediatrics, general medicine and Opthalmology all set to go, we opened the clinic. It started slow and only a handful of children arrived. I took the slow time to inflate some of the soccer balls in the trunk. I tossed one of the used ones to a boy the age of about 9 or 10 and it wasn't two minutes before there was a friendly being played in the street. I spoke with the mayor and explained that I had items that I wanted to give to a school. She said she knew of a school that could use it most and transportation was arranged for later in the day. I didn't have an idea of the number of children so I only took one trunk.
On the way to deliver the goods, it was obvious that soccer was played everywhere. There were makeshift goals on every plot of land that wasn't planted with a crop. In some areas they were the size of a tennis court and in others much smaller. The largest fields were the ones closest to the schools.
When we arrived there was an immediate interest in our small van. When I opened the trunk and pulled out a sleeve of soccer caps they went crazy. I gave out some items outside and then closed the trunk and went in. The mayor introduced us to the principal and I presented her with used children's cleats, some shirts and a brand new MLS adidas soccer ball. They were incredibly grateful. On the way out I couldn't resist tossing a used ball onto the courtyard to the remaining boys and girls. What ensued was pure fun. They were still playing after we left.
Tomorrow will come early again and the drive to the next town should be shorter. I have sorted the gear and it's ready to go. It has been a fulfilling day of giving back and I look forward to tomorrow's smiles and laughter.
David Dollase is the Director of Safety and Security at Sporting Park and received the 2012 National Sports Safety and Security Professional of the Year Award. He arrived in Guatemala on Saturday and will return to Kansas City on Feb. 17th. He will be providing updates, photos and more throughout the trip for SportingKC.com. Below is his third report; click here for Part I and Part II.
Sunday was a day of rest and preparation, spent sorting the donated soccer items to give to the schools that we will visit tomorrow on the medical mission and deciding on how much and what is best.
For the sake of security, I will only say that tomorrow's trip out of Antigua will take at least two hours by bus into the mountains. Many of the medical students from KCUMB spent the day working on their medical terminology in the local language.
The city was much more quiet than Saturday and the sidewalks were easier to navigate. A little exploring and you discover just how much of the city has been damaged beyond repair over the years from being only four miles from an active volcano that has erupted as recently as only a few months ago.
It's early to bed and early to rise. The buses head out at 0630 hours sharp to maximize the amount of time the medical students will have on location. It will be late when we return to Antigua but with luck I will have some great pictures and a touching story of how generosity and soccer help to make an amazing difference.
Until tomorrow evening,
David Dollase is the Director of Safety and Security at Sporting Park and received the 2012 National Sports Safety and Security Professional of the Year Award. He arrived in Guatemala on Saturday and will return to Kansas City on Feb. 17th. He will be providing updates, photos and more throughout the trip for SportingKC.com. Below is his second report; click here for Part I.
Today started early, with my flight leaving at 0500 hours. I watched the sunrise from the window of my plane. I arrived in Guatemala City, the capitol, and had to go back through bag searches on this end. I guess a guy with so many very large bags may be a little suspicious.
However, after the Guatemalan security guard opened the first trunk and saw all the brand new soccer balls, socks, and gear, he looked at me puzzled and asked what it was all for. I simply stated for "los ninos," or the children. He smiled, closed the first crate and said you are free to go without looking any further at the rest of my bags. From the frying pan to the fryer is an understatement.
The traffic leaving the national capitol was horrendous to say the least and took forever. And just when you thought it was getting better, the road went nuts like some kind of bad track in a video game with switchbacks at angles that made you feel like you were pulling G's in the 1980 Mitsubishi Micro Bus, who would have thought it was possible.
Antigua is rustic and quaint. It's full of tourists from all over the world. But this is only base camp. I can't wait to see the kids that get this gear, they are going to smile from ear to ear and that alone make it all worth it.
David Dollase is the Director of Safety and Security at Sporting Park and received the 2012 National Sports Safety and Security Professional of the Year Award. He departs for Guatemala on Saturday and will return to Kansas City on Feb. 17th. He will be providing updates, photos and more throughout the trip for SportingKC.com. Below is his first report ahead of the adventure...
Last year, Sporting KC donated soccer gear to supplement the items given out by the medical mission trip at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (Missouri's largest medical school). After hearing all of the stories of how those contributions of soccer balls, shirts and jerseys made an impact on the lives of those in need, I decided to do it again but bigger.
Throughout the year, by coordinating with the KC Cauldron, Sporting KC representatives and leadership we tripled the amount of donated gear from last year. Follow along as we take those items to the clinic sites and schools where KCUMB's 26 students, four faculty, two staff and several of their alumni will be serving over 3,000 people.
These items are going out to some of the poorest villages in remote locations where schools are rarely supplied with gear for students and the classrooms are all still one big room. I want to thank all of the contributors in advance for their generous and heartfelt donations.
Soccer is the international sport that crosses boundaries and touches lives all over the world. Realize now that what you gave is doing the same and will have the potential to impact children’s lives for the better, and who knows, one of these kids may be playing an international game right here at Sporting Park someday, giving back to us.
Sporting Kansas City and Sports Radio 810 WHB announced a two-year extension to their current broadcast partnership on Tuesday night at the 810 Zone in Leawood. Sports Radio 810 WHB will continue to be the official radio partner of Sporting Kansas City, including postgame shows, a weekly radio show and select broadcasts for home matches.
Sporting Kansas City outside backs Seth Sinovic and Chance Myers attended the event to mingle with fans, sign autographs and pose for photo opps. The players were greeted by a packed house including a long line of fans cashing in on the food and drink specials.
Check out a photo gallery of the event below:
Club representatives and team members, including Blues captain Conner Smith, will be in attendance to answer all inquiries pertaining to the boys in blue.
"Each year we host this event for the mutual benefits it provides both the Blues organization and our supporters. Rugby is an underdeveloped sport in the American culture and events like this give us a forum to enlighten those in the community of the opportunities the Blues provide," said Smith. "We are always on the lookout to find the best athletes in the city and to then give them an opportunity to continue their athletic career despite their previous infamiliarity with our sport."
The Blues offer a variety of options for varying levels of talent and understanding, including a Division 1 side for experienced rugby players and high-level athletes as well as a Division 3 side which provides a chance for individuals to develop raw athleticism into a rugby specific skillset.
Follow the Blues on Twitter (@KCBluesRugby) and make sure to like them on Facebook for all the latest updates with the club. For more information on how to sign up for the best rugby team in the city, please contact Kansas City Blues Recruitment Chair Chris George at (913) 626-1069.
Sporting Kansas City recently joined up with Make-A-Wish Missouri to sponsor the KC Kids For Wish Kids program. Kids For Wish Kids is a program run by kids for kids. Wish Kid Connor, who suffers from Chronic Myelogeneous Leukemia, is the "face" of the KC Kids For Wish Kids program.
Connor attends Raymore Elementary School and his peers have made a pledge to support Connor and Make-A-Wish. Each year, student ambassadors select an organization to build awareness around and to partake in fundraising to support. For 2013, the fourth grade ambassadors from Raymore Elementary selected Make-A-Wish and have committed to adopting Connor's wish. The students of Raymore Elementary gathered in an assembly last Friday and discussed Connor's condition. Connor came out on stage and addressed his classmates himself with the help of Sporting Kansas City's mascot Blue. The two tossed out some Sporting Kansas City goodies into the crowd as they introduced the partnership.
Sporting Kansas City has donated fan packs, player appearances and 100+ tickets to serve as prizes for the top fundraising schools and students in the district throughout the next couple of months. The goal is to raise $5,000 within the district which will then send Connor to Disney World, his wish destination. Once Connor's wish has been satisfied, Raymore Elementary plans to contiuing their fundraising efforts with the hopes to adopt a new wish kid. To kick off the fundraising, school representives announced that the students can wear Sporting Kansas City apparel, including hats which are not typically permitted on school campus, with the donation of $1 per day.
Check out a few photos from the assembly in the slideshow below:
Sporting Kansas City striker Kei Kamara and Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman attended the end of the year wrap-up party for the Goals for Gillis campaign that was launched at the beginning of the 2012 season. Sporting Kansas City and its supporters raised money by making monetary donations each time Sporting KC scored a goal last season.
Gillis is an organization designed to nurture at-risk youth while helping restore order and self-sufficiency to families in Kansas City. The 501(c)3 organization hosted a celebratory event Wednesday night with their most prominent donors, who were then joined by the children in both their residency and shelter programs.
Heineman addressed the donors and the Gillis staff to open the evening, thanking everyone for their generous donations of time and financial support. Local NBC affiliate 41 Action News covered the event, including an exclusive interview with Heineman which aired last night on Action News at 10.
Once the residents arrived, Kamara took the reigns by leading an autograph session and a Q&A that provided insights on the commitment and dedication it takes to become a professional athlete.