San Diego State

New SDSU Commercial

I’m not an alumni of San Diego State. But I am a neighbor and fan. I love the winning attitude you feel when you walk around campus.

On a campus of 20,000 people it might not feel like you can make a difference. But 12 guys on the basketball court and 50 guys on the football field have helped bring a new level of pride on campus that wasn’t there 3 years ago when we moved in.

Winning changes everything. 

San Diego State

SDSU vs. Cal Poly

Had a great time with Megan last night. Good to hear the cannon go off a lot.

I think they proved that they could move the ball last night. 49 points with 42 of them coming from the offense. Ronnie Hillman is an amazing running back, 189 yards on 27 carries and 2 TDs. Ryan Lindley didn’t make many mistake with 4 TDs and a little over 200 yards. And while no star emerged among the receiving corp there were signs that they could get things done.

Looking forward to Army: The Aztec defense had little problem with the triple option last night. There were a couple long plays… one particularly on an option pass, but overall the defense held its ground against a fast-paced, hurry-up, triple option. They should give Army a run for their money.

Ticket sales! The ticket office has to be very happy. 34,000 for a home opener vs. a Football Championship team? Fantastic. And with the next home game against Washington State of the Pac-12, that might be 40,000+.

I was especially happy to see the student section packed. They even opened up 3 sections of overflow for all of the students.

San Diego Living Sports

Kawhi Leonard’s back story

It’s one thing to know about this young man’s power on the basketball court. It’s another thing to examine Kawhi Leonard’s story behind the drive, talent, and desire to succeed.

One amazing byproduct of this amazing season for SDSU is that stories like Kawhi’s get told. As the video above shows, he’s more than just a phenomenal NCAA basketball player. He’s a young man with a developing story of overcoming major life obstacles to now be just steps away from the pinnacle of college sports.

Bring on March Madness!

Bonus– Here’s a pre-game video of the student section:

San Diego Living Sports

Why you should watch SDSU vs. BYU on February 26th



Steve Fisher on Jim Rome

family San Diego Living Sports

Late night at SDSU vs. TCU

Paul pic, originally uploaded by mclanea.

We had a good time at the game last night. But a 7:30 PM tip off is just a little too late for a 7 year old.

Context: This picture was taken after everyone had left the sold out arena. We were seated directly next to the student section. They were loud and crazy from 30 minutes before tip off until the game was over. Like 100+ decibels.

Paul passed out at halftime. Yeah, right after Coach Steve Fisher caused the place to nearly explode by arguing to get the final play of the half reversed and SDSU to make a tip in basket. And he slept through the whole second half.

I carried him on my shoulders about a mile to our car. Through campus and rowdy students, over the bridge, and past all of the freshmen dorms. (Because I’m too cheap to pay to park in the lot.)

This morning, he was bewildered at how he got from the arena to the car. But I didn’t carry him because he can’t remember that.

I wouldn’t have traded time with him for the world.

Notre Dame San Diego Living Sports

Basketball fever

I’m an Indiana kid. Growing up, I played 21 from the time the neighbors driveway thawed until school started. Sometimes dozens of games per day. Not to sound like a John Cougar Mellencamp song, but we played until our fingers bled. Then we’d have lunch and play until it got dark.

Where I went to school everyone went to every high school basketball game. This culminated in 1994 with Clay High School making an improbable run to the state Final Four and winning it all in a come-from-behind thriller.

That love of the game carried on into college when I played endless games of pick-up basketball and even had a little stint as student sports information director for both men’s and women’s basketball teams. I’ve sat on the sidelines, keeping score, operating the shot clock… hundreds of games. I love it.

Not quite like my love for Notre Dame football. (Or cheddar cheese) But love nonetheless.

Finally, this year I have a lot to cheer about on the hardwood.

Notre Dame is very good. At 18-4, having beaten some very good teams, they are a lock for the NCAA tournament with 5 weeks to go. I’ve watched them play on TV a bunch. They might not be the most dynamic team in the Big East but I think they may be the most feared. No one wants to try to stop Ben Hansbrough. Because if you do he’ll just pass it off to someone else who will light you up. I’ve not seem them play better, top to bottom, in the Big East than with the squad they have this year. If they keep this up they would be a disappointment at anything less than a Sweet-16 berth.

San Diego State is ridiculous. I know that many people outside of the West Coast have been able to see them play yet. The Mountain West has a horrid TV deal with its own network which keeps them off of ESPN. But they are 22-1 and easily the best team in the west. I have kicked myself since November for not getting season tickets when I had the chance. But tonight will be my third game and I have another game next week to go to… but that’s it. They are sold out the rest of the way. The thing most people don’t understand is that SDSU has no star. They have 8 guys who could each start and one of them goes off to dominate each game. I’ve seen Billy White take over a game. I’ve seen Malcolm Thomas destroy teams. I’ve seen Kawhi Leonard make teams look silly. And D.J. Gay has ruined some teams from the point. It’s the craziest thing. But Coach Fisher has somehow kept the whole thing together, kept everyone focused, and been quick to remind his team that NO ONE outside of San Diego respects them. They barely even make it onto SportsCenter!

My biggest fear is that these two teams will play in the 2nd round of the NCAA. Ideally, they will meet in an Elite 8 or (be still, heart) the Final Four. Both of them are that good. And neither would surprise me to be there.

Let’s go Irish!

S-D-S-U! Aztecs Fight!

San Diego State

SDSU: I believe that we will win

This is more fun in person.

As a good friend and SDSU alumni is quick to tell me, I joined the Aztecs fan-dome at just the right moment in history. It’s been amazing to see this school go from identifying itself as a party school to a campus full of pride for its athletics. (Baseball, football, and now basketball.)

Not many people outside of Southern California have noticed this transformation. But it is exhilarating.

When we moved into the college area almost three years ago I decided I would embrace the school… because it’s part of my neighborhood and some of our neighbors are students. Yet, as a person who grew up around a major university, I was shocked by how little people cared about SDSU. You’d rarely see non-students wearing SDSU gear, people didn’t care about the sports, and even the school itself was kind of a third or fourth choice place. Non-student neighbors didn’t take much pride in being in the college area. And, unlike in South Bend, there wasn’t a soul who had the school’s logo painted on their garage door or a school flag hanging from their flag pole.

Not anymore.

Yesterday was marked by three major things in the life of SDSU.

First, they welcomed 4100 brand new freshmen on campus. They had record applications.

Second, I rode the train home from work with a trolley car full of fans headed to the game…. this is two full hours before tip off! This is something you only see with the Charger or maybe the Padres if the Angels are in town.

Third, the national media has no choice but to pay attention. They were the first team to 20 wins and hold the longest win streak in the NCAA.

As I walked around the Viejas Arena last night before finding my seats I did an extra loop around the stadium because the buzz was palpable. Everyone was wearing SDSU gear, walking through campus I saw tons of visitors carrying bookstore bags… and I mumbled to myself, “This is what jumping on the bandwagon feels like.

family Film

Date night with the kids

Kristen hosted a girls night for the ladies of our community group. So Paul, Megan, and I disappeared and went to see Toy Story 3.

One thing I haven’t adjusted to about Southern California living is how expensive the movies are. I still grimace at paying $11.50 for an adult and $8.50 for a child when in Michigan it was a whole lot less. And a lot of the major theaters don’t even have matinees! Seriously, what is up with that?

To express my inner-cheapskate, we went to Rite-Aid in our neighborhood and bought movie snacks to eat on the way to Fashion Valley Mall. By the time we got to the movies we were hopped up on sugar and ready for the flick.

As for the movie– it was great. I don’t know how they managed to keep both the Toy Story (and Shrek) franchises going so strong. The plots and the quality of animation just keeps getting better.

I don’t think the movie was the point of the night any more than loading everyone up on sugar. It was just nice to get a few hours to relax and laugh with my kids.

I relish that.

In other news. A new round of college guys are moving in across the street. With school at SDSU about to kick off another year, people watching is back!

Church Leadership family management Marketing

Finding a church home: Kaleo Church

Our first stop on the search took us to Kaleo Church that meets at the AMC 20 in the Mission Valley Mall. Obviously, this being the first one we’ve visited it was pretty high on our list of places to explore.

And we weren’t disappointed. Parking is a non-issue obviously. The location is easy enough to get to and was just 1.4 miles from the hotel. I think this campus would be roughly 10 miles from our new house… so a little far for our liking. But they also do something closer to us on the campus of San Diego State University that we may want to check out as well.

I don’t really have a format to these “reviews,” so I am making it up.

First impressions. I kind of dig the movie theater thing. Reminds me of Granger when it first started. It’s informal and comfortable to me. I could see myself easily inviting people to a movie theater. We were greeted by a few official greeter people and since we were awkwardly early for SoCal (15 minutes before service) there was absolutely no one in the auditorium! Thankfully Kate [wicked good violinist] was uber friendly and showed us where to take the kids. Boy were the kids happy they didn’t have to sit through the whole service.

They seem pretty confident in their format. I like confidence. While it was odd there was no soft buffer music for those of us who came early, I was perfectly comfortable chilling with Kristen while the countdown clock was on.

The service. It was very chill, but not overly chill in that the people up front came across as unprepared. The service order was very simple. 2-3 songs at the beginning, a message, 1-2 songs at the end with communion pretty much ending things. There were some short announcements at the beginning. But other than that it was a very basic service. Did I miss an offering? If they did it I didn’t notice. The lack of lighting, video, or even mics at times was both cool and different. For this group simplicity worked.
Environmentally I don’t think they take full advantage of the space… but that’s OK and wasn’t annoying. I think their simple style reflects their values without coming across as bland.

I really liked the style of the band though I’d never heard any of the songs. I gathered that a husband/wife team lead the band and we sang originals. Stylistically, I can’t quite label it… Hawaiian maybe? Very cool and raw sound. No production elements whatsoever for worship times. For my comfort level I could have dealt with a little Tomlin or Crowder mixed in, but the worship was… worshipful. So that’s good.

The message. Yikes, I have to admit I wasn’t prepared for the depth. I had listened to parts of a couple of recent messages so I knew I would like the style of the primary preaching elder, David (I think that’s his name.) I liked that the message was designed in a way that acknowledged my intelligence and yet made me think. It was conversational, he even stopped a few times to ask for thoughts. It was very personal to the audience, a few moments he directed certain portions to individuals in the church that a segment applied to. If I had to find something negative it is that it felt a little like a college lecture. I don’t know if that’s a bad thing at all… just an observation.

It was a tough passage (one I’ve always shied away from preaching) so I am not certain if that led to the length of the message… maybe 50 minutes? (Matthew 13) If I were designing the service I’d shoot for a little less preaching, but it seemed like he preached until he was done. The message only felt long at the end when he prayed… FOREVER! (Take that with a grain of salt as I’m trying to be “picky” here. How can you rush prayer?)

I can’t really compare the message to anyone else I’ve heard. Definitely not “feel good, one big idea” like Andy Stanley and not quite “holy cow that’s a lot of stuff” like John Piper. But more leaning towards Piper than Stanley. If I knew more about Mark Driscoll I’d guess it was more like him.

The church. One thing Kristen and I strongly identify with Kaleo is its mission. They are seemingly passionate about reaching the community. I noticed on their website they have a new ministry to exotic dancers as well as a homeless outreach and several other community projects. I liked feeling as though I could likely contribute something to Kaleo if God wanted us to partner with them.

One thing I like is that Kaleo is a church plant of the Acts 29 network. While I don’t think we’re 100% exactly matching their theology… it is quite solid. If we proceed I’m going to really understand their position on women [not] in ministry as well as a couple other positional differences. But no deal breakers that I know of. But I know a couple other Acts 29 planters and a little bit of networking goes a long way to gaining credibility in my world.

Kids ministry. Being selfish parents… kids ministry is pretty important to us. It was a big deal that the kids both wanted to go back. Megan asked several times throughout the day if we could go back to that church. “I know we want to look at a few churches before we decide, but I really liked the people there.” Megan even told me “it was awesome” during lunch. She is a pretty shy girl, so she must have really connected with the leaders and kids to say that.

Paul… he was bored and hungry when we picked him up. It’s no surprise he was hungry as he’s always hungry. And I don’t think he was really all that bored. When I asked him later in the day if he’d like to go back to the “movie theater church” he asked if he could go back and told me he really liked it there. One thing they both liked was that the kids got to come into “big church” for the worship portion of the service. I also noticed that most of the parents seemed to go get their kids and bring them to the end of the service with them… we’d probably do that again.

Overall. Kristen and I really liked what we saw. From a first impression standpoint we really dug the service and it made us curious about the church. We will definitely come back when we move out in a few weeks and give it a second look. I’d be quite interested to see how school starting effects both the attendance and demographics of the congregation. I think there were about 100-150 people in the service this morning. (I could have been WAY off too as Kristen and I sat about 5 rows to the front.) Age wise, we’re in our early 30s with kids… and we felt a little high on the age radar. I felt like we could definitely connect with some of the other couples, maybe even get involved somehow in mentoring the engaged/young marrieds. The young demographic is not a bad thing at all! It was also noticeable that they don’t have any student ministry of any kind. 10 years as a youth pastor and that stuck out like a sore thumb. At the same time, if you aren’t ready for student ministry it’s best to just allow someone who is to do that. With that said my mind started to wander and wonder… “I bet they could do a service at the same time for high schoolers.”

As Kristen and I made our way to the food court after church we both agreed, Kaleo’s service was definitely heartfelt and decidedly not fake. That’s a great impression to leave on two “battle tested” church staffers. We’ve been inside the walls enough at church to smell fake.

Follow-up. I filled out the card and talked to someone after the service. Actually, I thought it was cool that a couple of other new people introduced themselves to us. They just moved here from Texas and have been going to Kaleo about a month… that conversation awkwardly died… but yeah, it was cool new people said hello to newer people. So I’ll just wait and see if/what we get for follow-up.