It’s been a blur since I was asked to come up for an in-person interview at the University of Buffalo for a position within the Sports Information/Athletics department. Since accepting the position less than two weeks ago, there was a lot of things that had to happen logistically like buying a car, finding an apartment, and moving up to said apartment.
One of the benefits of living near Buffalo is being close to multiple family members. While it’s sad to move away from home and my home church, Hope Church, it’s exciting being close to relatives who I only usually see once a year. In addition, the area near my apartment and the UB campus itself are beautiful and scenic.
Two days in at my job and I’m already jumping in feet first and getting involved. With my first UB football game this weekend, it’s important to soak it all in and remember where things are for game day. The football team is coming off a big win and is now preparing to face Nevada in their second home game of the season.
When it comes to my job roles, my main role is being the media contact for cross country and track. This means that internal and external media requests go through me and i’m present at all interviews between the media and the players and/or coaches. Additionally, I help out as requested and work every home football game and basketball game.
Each day will be like other days, but at the same time I don’t do the same thing every day and that makes the job fun and interesting. One day I could be writing a press release about the XC team and the next day be designing a graphic in Photoshop. As my time at Buffalo progresses, my duties will also grow as well.
For now, that’s it as I head into day 3 of work at UB. As I spend more time within the Buffalo community, I look forward to making connections at both work, my apartment complex, and around town.
Those are just some of the words to describe my grandfather, Philip Kovalchuk. For me, he a grandfather that was down right awesome. From his always positive personality, to putting his family’s needs and wants before his own, to always show love for others, he was always there for his family and others.
Easter Sunday 2013 was a whirlwind day for my family. My aunt and uncle from my dad’s side were visiting for the extended weekend. It seemed like it was going to be a normal Easter celebrating and worshipping the resurrected King, Jesus. However, it didn’t end up that way.
As I was at church helping run the lights for three services, my dad texted me and said they weren’t going to make it because of my aunt’s headache. It seemed reasonable with her getting migraines and bad headaches regularly. Yet, when I got home I was blown away with emotion. In the end, my aunt didn’t have a headache, but something else happened.
“Grandpa passed away.”
To this day, I still remember where I was and when my dad told me this news. These three words hit me hard and still resonate inside me today.
I don’t really know why I took this news so hard. Maybe it is because I am named after my grandfather. Maybe it is because my Dad’s mother passed away the Sunday after Thanksgiving four months previously. Maybe it is because I didn’t make it to my grandmother’s funeral due to other obligations. Maybe it is just because losing a loved one hurts. This is especially true when the deceased loved one was very close to you.
For me, I had a close bond with my grandfather. I looked forward to my family’s yearly trip to see him and other family in Ohio. He taught me many things, including cards, cribbage, respecting others, and many other life lessons. His funny, sarcastic personally is a part of who I am today.
As a school teacher, coach, grandfather, father, friend and many other things, he left a legacy on Earth. This was shown during his calling hours a few days after he passed. Former students from 30 or so years ago came to pay their respects. To me, that showed me that my grandfather’s love and respect for people was not just reserved for his family and close friends. He treated everyone equally.
The world would be a better place if there were more Philip Kovalchuk’s in it today.
A year has gone by since my grandfather left planet Earth. Yet, a moment does not go by without thinking about the impact he had on the life of myself and family. Hopefully, I can learn from grandfather and be just as much as an impact as he was.
2014 is off to a fantastic start for myself. I know the same can’t be said about some of my friends, and I hope that whatever they are dealing with is resolved. On Thursday January 16th, I was given the opportunity to report live from the 2014 Major League Soccer SuperDraft at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Before I tell you what went down, let me flashback to who gave me this amazing opportunity and why.
During this past summer, I worked at Messiah College, while interning with USL-PDL side Reading United, who are the Philadelphia Union’s USL-PDL affiliate. Throughout my time with the team, my focus was on writing game recaps, articles highlighting players, and anything else asked of me. My immediate boss Sean Doyle runs the social media and internet side of Reading United. In the short two or three month period, Sean taught me a lot and my writing improved tremendously.
Of the many great things the program accomplishes, one of them is player development. Year after year, former Reading players are drafted and find success on MLS squads. This year’s draft was no different.
Fast forward back to January 2014. Sean asked me to come cover the draft for Reading. While the original plan had myself, Sean, and Trey Madara, the guy in charge of making videos, all covering the draft, MLS only granted us two press passes. Long story short, Sean and the Reading front office trusted myself and Trey to cover the draft and interview each Reading player taken that day.
Overall, five Reading players were taken that day and three of them were present. Of the three, which included Steve Neumann, Damion Lowe, and Jimmy Ockford. The latter two both landed on the Seattle Sounders.
After the second round ended, it was time to head into high gear and write out what happened for the team’s website. That can be seen here. As an aside, rounds 3 and 4 took place Tuesday, and two more Reading alums were drafted.
While it was great to cover the draft, it was possible I wasn’t going to do. Sean and the Reading Front office could have easily not trusted in me. However, they did and it paid off. My summer experience and now the draft representing them have been great teaching moments. It seems like I may be heading back up to Reading this Summer, but the retails are in the works.
My time with Reading has revealed some things as well. Among them, it showed that I have a burning passion for sports, specifically soccer, and that I love sharing this passion through the many stories I write.
All in all, Sean, Reading GM Art Auchenbach, and the rest of the front office deserve my thanks for allowing myself, their intern, to bring the news to their valuable fans. As an aspiring sports writer, the connections I am making now will help me in the future as I try to find a job out of college. Lastly, as Reading United develops their players on the field, Sean and Art are helping to improve and develop my writing skills.
For more coverage on Reading’s player being drafted:
It’s been a very long time since I have blogged, but I think it is very important to get back into the swing of it.
Community is a big part of Messiah College’s philosophy and mission for its student. There’s a class called Created and Call for Community (CCC) that all first-years and transfers must take. While a portion of the student body didn’t like the class and joke around about how the word community is used often at Messiah, there is a good reason why it is.
Each floor, each dorm hall, each class, each sports team, each student organization is a micro community within the larger community of the macro community of Messiah College. Towards the end of August, the Messiah fall athletic programs moved back in early for a week or so of pre-season training. In case you didn’t know, I worked on campus all summer cleaning up after the various Summer visitors. Anyway I decided to go watch the men’s soccer team (MMS) run their mile run. In short the team ran the mile in two groups. While the one ran, the other group cheered on the running group.
That’s what really struck me. The other group could have just stood there silently preparing to run their mile next. But that’s not what happened. They cheered and encouraged each other as their teammates aimed to run the expected mile time. Moreover, when both groups ran and completed their mile, the team didn’t just walk off alone and disappear, but they hugged and high-fived each other in celebration.
This event directly relates to their team Bible verse. MMS’ team verse is Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” In my two years going on three years, I’ve seen the team live authentic lives on and off the soccer pitch. Personally some of these players and I have grown spiritually and in friendship together. Additionally, they have been some of my biggest supporters and encouragers. While I don’t play soccer like they do, they still care about me.
MMS values the importance of community within their own athletic team and among others in the student body. To them, Proverbs 27:17 isn’t just printed on their shirt, but a verse that is printed on their life.
We mess up and we will fail. However, living amongst a community of believers and together as one in Christ, we can grow, fall, and learn together about God and ourselves.
On that Friday night, I learned a lot not just about myself, but my fellow peers on the soccer team. No matter whether they are on the practice field, the classroom, the lunchroom, running the mile, or match day, this team is an authentic example of true Christian community.
It’s an inspiring example to see and be inspired by. On that Friday night, I was inspired by community.
If there is any way I can pray for you or encourage you, feel free to comment below.
After seeing the Messiah College Christ Preeminent sign as you come onto campus, the next thing most see are the words see anew. You will in fact see it around campus. “See Anew” is a part of the ad campaign and is talked about at every Messiah College Open House.
Anew is defined as a new form or manner, so seeing anew would be seeing things in a new manner or developing a new opinion. Over my almost two years at Messiah, I have definitely seen anew. I have grown as a person spiritually, intellectually, and physically. It has been a great time of discussing faith, Christianity, among other topics. Discussion and conversation is great when it is not filled with judgment, hatred, or provincial thoughts, but rather support, openness, and honesty. My friends and I might not agree eye to eye on each theological point or belief, but that does not mean we can discuss peacefully and learn from each other.
So far as my sophomore year comes to an end, I am reminded of the great times I have had seeing anew. Messiah has been a great place for me to learn from other students, professors and other staff members. Respectful discussion about Jesus, the Church, Christianity, and what it means to be a true follower of Christ are great. Let us always remember that we don’t have all the answers, and we can learn about Jesus, God and other things from others.
We all wrestle and struggle with different things at different points in our lives, but having discussion allows us to see anew like Messiah advertises. I have seen anew, and I know others around me have as well.
Currently in my Christian Spirituality class we are reading Doug Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz. In the author’s note, Miller talks about Jazz Music. “I never liked Jazz Music because it never resolved…I saw a man playing saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes. After that I liked Jazz Music. Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It as if they are showing you the way.”
By having conversation about our faith and seeing anew, I hope that my love for Jesus and being a true follower is evident in those I have conversations with. I hope this is the same for you that your actions show your love of God to others and others start to see your love of God and others. Through Christ we can share God’s love and help see anew.
Lately in my life with the interactions that I have had with others, it seems like people have forgotten about one of the most important things about Jesus and the Church. That being grace. They might not be forgetting that God’s grace is enough and He loves us no matter what.
Personally what I haven’t seen and what I haven’t seen lately is God’s Grace in our own actions. Lately I’ve seen very judgmental people who think they are better than someone else because of a mistake that person. In reality, we are all sinners, we all mess up, and we all need God’s grace.
What if we chose to live our love out by showing God’s grace in our own actions? Personally I think it would arch more enjoyable place where we feel more free to make a mistake and not be chewed out and judged for it. Proverbs 22:11 says it well.
Onewho loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. (Proverbs 22:11 NIV)
Let’s try to show more grace to others, which is unconditional and doesn’t depend on something else. That’s my challenge for you, myself and the Church. Let it transform you and allow you to show God’s grace and love through your actions.
It has been a month or so since I’ve blogged last. Honestly I forgot about my blog for awhile and fall semester has been crazy busy and crazy fun.
Among 17 credits this semester I still have my work study job filming athletic events on the live stream, serve at Grantham BIC with the youth group, and joined Student Government this semester serving the students and their needs.
Amongst the busyness of life I’ve at times have forgotten to spend time with the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. It’s easy for us and myself to just go trough the motions of life and forget the reason we are here on Earth: God. God loves us and wants to spend time with his children of God.
For me it’s just something I need to get into my daily life. For me I will just need to make it a habit of reading a devotional before bed, seeking God and listening for Him, or praying at different points during the day. I encourage you too to spend more time with God.
God speaks to us through many avenues including songs, scripture, stories etc. God has some awesome things in store for your life and my life. If we don’t spend time with God, how will He tell us what he wants to speak into our lives?
I urge you to find time to spend time with God. Go for a walk and adore his creation and listen for Him. God has something to tell you, spend time with Him and His Word today.
Are you struggling, stressed overwhelmed? Have a prayer or praise you’d like me to know about and be praying about it? Let me know. Just comment below.
I’d like to Lear you with part of the lyrics from one of my favorite songs 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman and a verse from the Psalms.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name”
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (Psalms 100:4, 5 KJV)”
Tuesday I officially begin my sophomore year at Messiah College. For those who haven’t notice or don’t remember, I loved Messiah my first year. It’s a great community to worship the God of the Earth while growing and being stretch in your faith.
This year I have an awesome roommate Chris Lyell or as many of us call him “Lyell”. Last Sunday was the first week I led a Bible study for this year. It was amazing to just worship together with others, talk about trusting with God, and praying and giving our worries to God.
Lately I have been dwelling on Jeremiah 29:11-13.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
This summer I was in the same routine for most of it. Wake up, go to my internship with Messiah Athletics, and work 3rd shift and repeat. The routine was a great experience,but I didn’t spend much time in His Word and seeking him. One of my intentions of the Bible study was to be intentional about seeking Him and sharing what God was speaking to me with others. Also Jeremiah 29:11 reminds me that God has a plan for all of us and that we should not worrying about different things, because God does indeed have a plan for us! I can not wait to see what God has planned as I seek Him more and His plan for me in my life.
Lastly, one of the songs that has been speaking to me lately is “10000 Reasons” by Matt Redman.
It has been a long time since I have blogged on here. I apologize for that. The spring semester was very busy. I was working at Messiah sporting events doing live stats or live video, while taking a full load of classes. I survived though. I had a great first year at Messiah College. I’m looking forward to the next three years at Messiah.
This summer I am working at Messiah College, and interning with the Sports Information Director(SID) at Messiah. The job on campus I am working is third shift(7pm-3am) campus events, and then interning in the afternoon. Basically I clean different buildings on campus. It’s a nice summer job and is a guaranteed 40 hours of work each week.
I am excited to be interning with the SID at Messiah. He was my boss during all the sporting events this past year. In case you haven’t have heard, I am going to minor in Sports Management, and I will still be majoring in youth ministry.
It was sad to say goodbye to the Class of 2012. I have gotten to know many of them, and have formed some great relationships. I am excited to welcome the Class of 2016 to campus in August.
In two weeks I will be going home for vacation. During this week of vacation, I will be back home helping out with VBS. It’s always a great time at VBS at my church, and I can’t wait to serve among the 200 kids, who are there each day.
That is it for now. My intentions are to post more throughout the summer. I’d love to hear from you!
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
~ James 1:12, NLT
No one can deny that New York City is a busy place! It was awesome though to be able to worship at Fellowship Chapel with their congregants. Michelle, the worship leader and wife of Pastor Lou, has an amazing voice and has a heart for God. She isn’t the only one at the church with a heart for God. The church is small, and only had about 5 congregants there minus the 9 of us that were there. The whole church service was moving from the worship to the message to the prayer.
It was very inspiring to be able to be able to worship along side of them. They say amen and other things during prayer, which I am usually not used to, but it was from the heart. It was very genuine, and came from inside. The group that I am a part of led two worship songs, Hakuna Wakaita and In Christ Alone, and Michelle loved Hakuna Wakaita so much, that there will be an encore next Sunday when we return to Fellowship Chapel.
After church, we returned to our residence for the week, and then we set off on the AmazingGrace scavenger hunt. The point of this “hunt” was to get acclimated to the surrounding area and the New York City public transportation. On this adventure we went to Central Park, Times Square, and Grand Central Station. It was a nice opportunity to be able to start bonding with the team. It was a plus that the weather was beautiful.
We then returned home to another delicious dinner provided by Bonnie, and then debriefed about our day.
Today the team served at a World Vision warehouse in the Bronx and an after-school program at Manhattan Bible. At World Vision we swept part of the floor and then picked out toys for an event coming up for teachers. The teachers will be able to pick out toys for their classroom. All of these toys were brand new and donated from different companies. I encourage you to learn about what World Vision does around the world and in the United States here. I will give you one fact: World Vision is on the ground and making an impact in 100 countries!
After we served at World Vision, we went to Manhattan Bible to help out with their after-school program. The first thing we did was travel to a local park and play around with them. I ended up playing tag, and it reminded me of my elementary school days. I ended up bonding with a couple of the kids. After “recess” we went back and had large group assembly, then I helped a couple students do their homework, and then we had praise and worship time.
This kids were so energetic when it came to praying and worshiping among everything else.This kids from pre-k to about 8th grade were hungry to worship God and pray. There prayers while simple were very profound. It really struck me when many of the kids who prayed thanked God for the volunteers there today, and that they would behave for us. These kids were very respectful and I was impressed. They inspired me to be energetic and excited about everything I do in life. The group gets to serve all week there. I am looking forward to going back!
We had a nice spaghetti dinner with pudding as a dessert. Once again thanks to Bonnie for cooking again.
My group returned to World Vision to work again. My group finished putting toys out for a teachers events tomorrow, and then helped restock shelves. After we served there we went back to Manhattan Bible’s after school program. Everyday this kids continued to inspire myself as well as the tutors who work at the program. The way the kids prayed blew me away. They said it as it was and prayed that they would behave for the volunteers and tutors. The prayers were very powerful! Afterwards we took the BX12 select service bus and the BX 55 back to the apartment. Bonnie once again made a delicious dinner!
Today we had the challenge of making 200 sandwiches for the homeless and the day workers. The group of 8 went very fast and used the assembly line method to get them all done. Tuna and PB+J sandwiches all made, and we had extras so that turned into our lunch too. I don’t want to see another sandwich for awhile. The people at the LivingRoom, a place where homeless stay until they find a house, and the day workers at a gas station were very grateful for the food we had for them.
Especially at the gas station, the day workers were very suprised when we said they could have more than one sandwich. I can’t imagine waiting at a gas station all day to see if anyone stops and hires you to paint their house or do similar tasks. Also, if they come home without money, and have to say I didn’t get to work today, I wonder how the family feels.
We did some sight seeing and then had another great day with the kids and tutors at Manhattan Bible. Another great day of playing tag, helping with homework, and just bonding with the kids.
It was our last day at Manhattan Bible. It was hard saying good bye to the kids and especially the tutors. The kids have a huge heart for God, and many of them got some great dance moves. I really got to connect with the kids. I can not wait to go back again to Manhattan Bible so I can see them again. Also a shout out to the tutors who spend their whole year with them investing in the kids lives.
We also went to Chinatown and some of the people haggled and bought some items. I did not.
The group served with the Manna of Life Ministries at the LivingRoom and got to chat with some of the people who live there. I got to talk to Frank a very nice man. He also told me he was a Giants fan before they were good in the 2011-12 season. He didn’t want me to think he jumped on a bandwagon. After serving at the LivingRoom, we ate lunch and then got on the D train to go to Battery Park. We then went to Wall St. While we were in Manhattan, it happened to be the six month anniversary of Occupy Wall St. They were occupying the park in Wall St. We were praying for Ground Zero, the families who were affected by 9/11, Wall St, and NYC in general. Once we said amen, the demonstration was getting louder. All of a sudden there were “Occupyers” running towards us and down the next block. A scuffle broke out, but one of the men was an undercover cop and sat on the guy who threw a punch. Then many cop vans drove to the incident to restore the piece. Don’t mess with New York City cops.
After seeing Ground Zero progress since my J-term trip, we headed to Times Square. We ate dinner at Dallas BBQ. It was very delicious. After dinner we explored Times SQ. I bought some M&M’s at the M&M store.
We once again worshiped at Fellowship Chapel. Another great service with Pastor Lou, Sister Michelle, and the rest of their small but full of spirit congregation. We also took communion. Afterwards we headed back to the apartment, ate lunch, and went back to Messiah College
It was a great experience. I love that Messiah values service in the community and around the nation. I look forward to going on many more service trips.