Monday, November 21, 2011


Saturday morning I was awoken at 6am with a call from the vet.  As I was half asleep and prepared to hear how my dog, Kodi was doing, she stunned me by saying, "I'm sorry Mr McGugan, Kodi passed away last night."  As I lay in bed on the phone, Mrs. McGoo, who was getting ready for school, walked in and sat on the bed next to me.  She could tell in my voice and the conversation that the news wasn't good.  I got off the phone and immediately started tearing up.  We embraced and I got up and put on some clothes to go to the vet to see him and speak to the vet.

I had taken Kodi to the vet Thursday, November 10 because I came home from Tulsa and he was limping pretty bad.  They took an X-ray and discovered he had arthritis in his front right leg and it was extremely swollen.  They gave us some medicine to administer and told us to let them know how he was doing at the beginning of the following week.  The next day, Friday, he stopped eating and acted like he was zoned out.  So we stopped giving him the meds and on Sunday, he began to eat and act right again.  I called the vet on Monday to give her an update and she told me to try one and not the other to see if it was the meds that caused it.  So we did and he went back to not eating and acting strange.  The rest of the week was a tough one for him as he didn't eat anything and just didn't quite act like the Kodi I came to know and love.  You could tell something was wrong.  So I took him back to the vet on Friday and they told me he was really dehydrated.  They gave him an IV of fluids and said to stop giving him the meds all together.  When we walked outside to get in to the car, Kodi stumbled quite a bit and had a hard time getting in the car.  When he was in, he looked glazed over and started breathing heavily.  I immediately knew something was up and took him back inside to get a double check.  The vet ran some blood tests on him and discovered he had pancreatic issues.  She suggested that they keep him over night and give him an IV of meds and try and heal his pancreas.  She said it was treatable, but they would know more from him in the next couple of days.

So I sat with Kodi for 45 mins while they did some other things and got a chance to love on him for a while.  It was very evident he wasn't feeling well and I wanted to make sure he knew I was there.  After I got the call the next morning that he had passed, I went up to the vet to talk to her.  She told me that he slept through the night and, because he was still very warm, had just recently passed away.  He looked very peaceful as if he fell into a deep sleep and never woke up.  Later I found out from the autopsy that Kodi had the beginning stages of Liver cancer.  It had dehydrated him, raised the levels of nitrogen in his blood (which led to being spaced out), and was affecting his pancreas.  They told me this type of cancer was called the "Great Pretender" due to the fact that there are no external signs of it.  The only way they can find it is by an biopsy and even then there are no guarantees he can survive it.  So Kodi passed away at a good time.  It was sooner than I was ready for and would have liked, but he wasn't in pain and had lived a full life.  He was simply not feeling well and fell into a forever sleep.  

I got Kodi when he was two weeks old from the animal shelter in late July 1999.  He has been by my side ever since.  I never thought I would feel as bad as I do, but the honest truth is, I'm crushed.  See, Kodi was a dog I didn't have to do much for.  He was well trained, wasn't all in your business, and loved people.  The only thing I had to do for Kodi was open the door for bathroom breaks and fill up his bowl for food.    I didn't need to calm him down when people came in, he'd just sniff them and get to know them better by sitting next to them.  I didn't need to worry about my food around him because he wouldn't touch it.

Kodi loved crawling up in my lap when I sat in my chair.   He would sit there for hours if you let him, so long as you were petting him.  I didn't need a leash to walk him, he'd stay right by my side.  He would sit in the kitchen if you were in there making food.  He would sit in the bathroom if you were in the shower.  He would sit outside the bathroom if you were in there cleaning up.  He slept at the foot of the bed and stayed by the bed if you were sick.

I've had a couple of times in my life where I felt pretty alone in life.  Before I met my incredible wife and before I came back to a relationship with the Lord, I lived by myself.  I had a few years where I was a pretty lonely person and Kodi was who I came home to and played with.  Through it all he was a constant in my house.  Always there to greet me with a wagging tail no matter what kind of a day I had.  I'd put my worries away for the night and have my best friend to spend some time with. 

See a theme?  No matter what it was in life, Kodi was always by my side. 

Although I simply wasn't ready for this day to be here, it makes me feel good that knowing the last few hours of his life were upon him, we were able to sit next to one another for a while.  I pet him and and loved on him, which in turn made him feel well enough to turn and give me a kiss.  In that room, I was able to do something for Kodi that he did for years, for me. 

Sit by his side.

By my side - Helping me capture a lizard

By my side - Making sure I didn't fall in

By her side - Giving "kisses" to Mamma

By my side - Content with a hug

By my side - Not liking the kiss

By my side - Dad, your hat looks dumb. Do I really have to take this picture?
Some people would say they've lost family pets.  I'm here to tell you, we lost a family member.

I miss you buddy.   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thankful for Wildcats, the Letter K, & Redemption

In this season of giving thanks, I thought I'd post something I'm thankful for: my hometown, childhood, and current favorite team - The University of Kentucky Wildcats

Sure, I could have grown up in another city where they say that basketball is king, but God knew exactly where he wanted to place me.  He knew where greatness exists and what kind of environment I needed to grow up in. In this day and age of what have you done for me lately, we tend to forget that you have to look at the full body of work for a program and when you do that, Kentucky basketball simply cannot be matched.  That being said, I do remember what we've done lately.  75-65 Win last night.

I am also thankful for the letter K.  The letter K was certainly the main emphasis throughout the night before, during, and after the game last night.  Before it was Kool-ade, which is what I was drinking (and some may argue been drinking for a long time) before the game.  During it was Kentucky.  After it was a butt Kickin'.  Aside from my name, there really wasn't any other K of consequence last night.

I am also thankful for my influence over friends and family.  Had it not been for me, some of my closest family members, who were unfortunately not placed in great locations, would have grown up thinking that other programs where the greatest all time.  Statistics aside (who uses those as a means of proof anyway), I couldn't let them go through life without knowing TRUTH.

Friends.  I am proud to tell you today, we have seen the results of that very truth.  Aside from the fact that statistics prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that UK is the greatest program of all time, we now have other visual proof that even the most stubborn of folks want to hold out on that belief.

Exhibit A: (click link)
Notice the declaration for their new found love of the team.  Notice the asterisk leaving him an out (which is common for anyone with lack of faith aka:haters).  Notice the dates have passed on the pending investigation and nothing found.

Exhibit B: (click link)
See all statements from Exhibit A.

Subject has clearly gone from, what his grandson would call, Delusional, to a fan of the University of Kentucky.  "The Guy" even went so far as going to bed early last night because he knew the game was in hand and a comeback by the other team was a wasted effort.

Sweet dreams UK fans.  Sweet, Redemptive Dreams

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Idol Worship?

I have been around the game of soccer for a long time.  I started playing when I was 5 years old and up until I joined the staff at the University of Memphis Men's Soccer team, I never took a season off.  Additionally, my childhood was comprised of other sports such as football, basketball, and baseball.  Needless to say, I spent a TON of time in my childhood playing sports.

Aspiring Wildcat to be
That being said, there were two days in particular which I hardly ever played or practiced.  Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights were always days/times reserved for church. Heck, even the youth leagues knew not to schedule games or practices during those times because people wouldn't show up.  When I got into coaching, much of this was still the same.  Sure there were times when I was playing or coaching that we would have a tournament or two that we had to be at and Sunday's might have a morning game with an afternoon one.  But this was not and every weekend situation.

I say all this because I have noticed a trend in youth sports nowadays.  There is never an off day or a day reserved for families to attend church.  Heck, now a lot of churches don't even schedule Wednesday night services because parents will be with their kids at games or practices.

My question is, when did this happen?

A friend of mine, who I admire and respect greatly asked me a while back to pray for him and his family.  Ok...nothing new there.  But what he asked me to pray about was the kicker.  He said, "Kelly,our son is playing youth soccer and is really good.  We're about to get to that point where people are going to start wanting him to play competitive ball and I'm a bit worried.  You and I both know how much fun it is and how much we enjoyed it and quite frankly, I enjoy watching him play.  Please pray that we do not make an idol out of our son playing athletics."  He went on to add that he wanted to instil in this son that being at church and worshiping our Lord and Savior means more than playing in a youth sporting event.

Those words really struck me then and continue to resonate in me now.  It got me talking with Mrs. McGoo about how we'll be as parents.  If you didn't know, she was quite an athlete as well and we very much want our children growing up in team sports.  The values that are taught and ingrained into kids during their developmental years is invaluable.  While we don't have kids, we know plenty of folks who do and I've noticed a trend that comes with having them.  Kids first, spouse second, the Lord gets what's left.

If that's not idol worship, I don't know what is?!?!  I had the opportunity to tell that to someone recently...that he's put his child first, wife second, and Lord third.  I cannot say it was the easiest thing to say, but it was completely spirit led.  I'm proud to say he took those words to heart and reflected on it and has made some alterations to how he went about his "worship."

So my hope is Mrs. McGoo and I continue to put the Lord first in our marriage as well as when kids come along. 


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Last Semester

One last semester down before I graduate in December.  All I have left is 14 hours to complete.  12 of those must be an internship (which I am still looking for) and 2 is racquetball. 

I've also gotten back to getting active.  I started playing kickball again and workout after my racquetball sessions three times a week.  Next week I start a 6 week boot camp that I bought on Groupon for $10 (regularly $210).  The only problem is my body isn't holding up.  Two games into kickball and I pulled my quad and my right toe is bothering me a lot because I have a bone spur on it.  Additionally, I have a torn rotator cuff in my right arm, which doesn't lead to much fun after 3x's a week of racquetball and once a week of kickball. 

This just in...I'm falling apart.  Maybe I should start a painting class or something...

Monday, July 25, 2011

London - Day 16 & 17

The past two days have been a bit uneventful. Everyone has left that I was in the program with and I am back at my cousin's flat just hanging out and enjoying some down time. Yesterday we went on a walk around the area and made our way to a really old cemetery. The headstones were really interesting to look at as a lot of them were from the 1800's.

Chapel roof was destroyed by fire in 1970's
Path leading into the cemetery

Someone enjoying a seat
Cool headstone

Look closely and you can see St. Paul's Cathedral. Bench was behind me where you could sit and see it

Can you see how many letters and hearts there are on the crust
Ally, my cousin Andrew's wife, saw that I posted a picture on facebook a while back that I enjoyed the Steak and Ale pie I had at a pub. So Ally took it upon herself to make me a pie last night.

It was delish.

This morning I woke up and took a walk around town.  Unlike the university I was staying at, where they live isn't the most easy place to get to downtown and back. 

So I basically spend my time walking about the area close to their flat.  It isn't all that bad though.  Less traffic and congestion, which is a good thing for someone who doesn't like large crowds. 

Today I walked to a place called "Lordship Lane" which seems a bit of a weird name for a place.  However, it seemed fitting once I got there.  It is all about consumerism and shopping.  Really expensive clothes and other items a person might desire.  So yeah, very fitting it is called "Lordship Lane." 

Tomorrow I head back to the states.  I am flying from London - Heathrow to Detroit and have a 6 hour layover there.  Hoping to catch up with my buddy Jeff and grab a bite with him.  Then I'll head back to Nashville where I am staying with another buddy until Wednesday when Mrs. McGoo can pick me up. 

Pray for safe travels as the Mrs. and I are both traveling. 

Oh, I got a little bored the other day and decided to make Mrs. McGoo a comic strip.  She got a kick out of it.  Let's see what you think?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

London - Day 13, 14, & 15

Apologies for the lack of updates the last few days.  Again, was a busy few days here in London.  Let's get right to it shall we?

Olympic Torch
Thursday - Day 13

Today, we had a little role reversal with our lectures and visit.  We went on our visit first, then had our lecture.  This was all due to our host visit, The British Olympic Association (BOA), being extremely busy getting ready for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

We had to be at the BOA for a 9am meeting and they are located across the city.  So we had to allow about 2 hrs for travel,which made for a early rise to get going.  Once we got there, we walked in and saw a interesting slide show and videos of the promotions they'll be doing once the games get closer.  One of the cooler things they had were torches from previous games on display.  I tried to take as many as I could, but there were so many, I couldn't get them all in the amount of time we were waiting around.  I kept looking for the Atlanta one, but couldn't find it.

After the visit, we headed back for a long, 3 hour lecture from one of the professors.  I really enjoyed the lecture, but got very irritated because we did not get any sort of break and I'm of the mindset that after an hour, one needs some kind of break to give your mind a rest for a few minutes.
View of Craven Cottage

After the lecture, I went back to the room to get cleaned up and try to catch Mrs. McGoo online.  No such luck as she was away from the desk, thus went another day were I wasn't able to chat with her.  (side note, it has been very difficult to catch each other online while I've been here - so there have been multiple days where we weren't able to talk)

The night was the best part as we were able to watch a Europa Qualifying match with Fulham vs the Crusaders (small Northern Island team) at Craven Cottage.  What is really interesting about London is the amount of Premier League teams they have.  Just in London alone there are Fulham, Chelsea, Arsenal, & Tottenham (not accounting for West Ham who have been in the Premier League for years but saw them relegated last season).  Also there are a bevy of other clubs in London such as Millwall and other lower division teams.  To put it like this, imagine New York City having four or five teams in the NFL.  You would think that those teams would have a hard time generating revenue and fans.

One thing about London is that it is very tribal with fans of their teams.  The fans are generally surrounding the areas where the stadium is located.  So I wouldn't dare walk around Tottenham with an Arsenal jersey on and vice versa.  So I looked up some of the colours of the Crusaders to make sure no one from our trip wore them to the game.  Red is their dominate colour and Fulham are White and Navy/Black.  Check.  Don't wear Red.  I told everyone, so everyone went with neutral and I went with good old fashion blue U of M soccer gear.  When we get there, the Crusaders are wearing blue kits.  Ugh.  I immediately start getting looks as I am sitting in a Fulham supporters area.  I don't generally like zipping my jackets up all the way but in this instance, I took my zipper on my black jacket as far up as it went.

Great match, great time.

Friday - Day 14

After finishing up all of our visits, today was the last day for our program.  We had been told earlier in the week that we had a presentation we were in charge to deliver to the class about our organization our groups were in charge of hosting (Mine was Tottenham).  Here was what we were given.

"Identify the key strategic issue that your organization currently faces. You are required to identify some recommendations to the CEO of the organization, including specific steps that will be needed to achieve the ultimate goal (e.g., a marketing plan, television strategy, change in brand identity….)
You will need to identify the key contextual issues that effect (and are effected by) the organization. Think about the global-local/something-nothing dimensions discussed by Dr. Andrews, and the various political, economic, technological and cultural inter-connectivities that have been discussed throughout the program that should be subsumed within such informed decision-making."
We were told we had 7 mins to present and would have 3 mins of questions from the audience.  We were given this slide at the beginning of our program, but told it would be emailed out to us - so naturally, I didn't copy it down.  We got it on Tuesday and haven't had a day to work on it.  The one day we had was Thursday after our lecture, but it ran long, so we didn't have much time at all - and I was brain dead from the 3 hour lecture.  We woke up and met at 8am to work on this presentation to be delivered by 10am (talk about last minute).
I unfortunately had two people that know nothing about Tottenham and what they are trying to do, so I devised a marketing strategy to build a stadium and all that goes with it - naming rights, luxury suits, community center and shopping areas where the old stadium would be.  Tottenham has just signed a multi-year deal with Under Armour, who are looking to globalize their brand and I took the approach that both Tottenham and UA both have the same agenda - they currently want to be the best and have a dominant company(s) in front of them (Nike, adidas, Manchester United, Arsenal).  
We devised a 5 year plan for building the arena and developing the local area, which is currently pretty run down around the current stadium.  We would partner with Under Armour and called the promotion "Protect this House."  (Not bad if I do say so myself).  So we presented this and faced off with some heavy questions, which I handled and fended off easily - I'm good at debating, just as Mrs. McGoo.
Once all the presentations were finished, we were asked to vote on the top four groups and were not allowed to vote for ourselves.  The top four moved on to a second round and were given a question and had 10 mins to go outside and develop the strategy to address the issue/question.  You were given 3 mins to present your idea and then faced 2 mins of questioning.  

At Fulham
We made it to the top four and thus devised our plan.  The question was basically saying it was 2050 and the government had taken over all sporting events and programs.  They were forcing your organization to come up with programs that were to ENHANCE, EDUCATE, and ENTERTAIN the local community.  I came back and delivered this speech.

"Because we built a community center 35 years ago, we are going to put in a vocational program for adults that could use specific skills to better the surrounding areas and their families. We also will have a satellite campus for universities where adults and youth and go to for day or night classes.  We will offer youth academy's for kids to develop their sporting skills and child care for those adults who wish to utilize the vocational program and/or college courses."

Our questions were targeted at facilities being old and funding - to which my reply was since this was something the government was requiring, so we'd get money from them for the necessary upgrades and funding.  "Anything further?"

After everyone went, they told us that the first round winner was a landslide winner and everyone else from 2nd -8th were close.  They announced our group as winners of both the first and second round.  My reward?  A size medium adidas shirt with the London Olympics logo on it.  Who says I don't come back with gifts for my wife?!?!
Five Living Legends

I then headed to my happy place - Emirates Stadium - Home of The Arsenal Gunners.  It was a thing of beauty.  

We then headed out for a dinner celebration put on by the professors where they rented out an upstairs room at a restaurant and we enjoyed a good night of laughs.

Saturday - Day 15
Not much to say for this day other than most everyone was leaving and I slept in.  Went and grabbed a bite to eat with by buddies Tony and Keith, who were staying an extra day.  We went to Piccadilly Circus to exchange a few things and then headed back to pack up.  
They came with me to my cousin's house and we went out to see a movie, grab a bite to eat, and show them a great view of the city from an "underground" rooftop party.  

My New Buddy Bob - GREAT Guy
Old Torch
U of M Colours for the bad guys
My Happy Place
Emirates Stadium

The upstairs room they rented out
Arsenal's Newest Signing
 All in all a great time.  Only four more days until I see my beautiful bride aka my Furbaby-Mamma.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

London Day 13

My Two Hotties - Kelsey and Mrs. McGoo
First things first, I need to say Happy Belated Birthday to my favorite Non-Married Sister - Freckles (And let's hope it stays that way for a while) - Aka Kelsey.  She turned 21 yesterday and while I did send her a text to wish her happy birthday, I forgot to put it in my blog.

That being said, I'll say it in a way she'll understand. 

Happy Birfday Kelwsey. You're smart, beautiful, and doggonit, you're speshal.

Really short blog today, as we have a large assignment due on Friday and we haven't been given much time to get the task finished.

The official trophies - they never leave Wimbledon
We made our way to Wimbledon All England Lawn Tennis Club (That's a mouth full) today.  We first got a tour of the museum then headed up for a lecture on how the museum markets itself as a different entity than the tournament.  Once that lecture was over, the marketing manager for Wimbledon gave us a presentation of how they market the tournament. 

One thing that is very evident with a lot of places we go to here in London - marketing "Englishness" or "Britishness" is of a high priority for these companies.  The markets they are targeting - South East Asia and India - are very much interested in the "Britishness" of it all.  Funny thing is that is completely opposite of how the London Olympic Committee marketed themselves to the IOC.

Anyway, we took a tour of the facilities after the lectures.  Very interesting to find out that the grass they use for their tournament is killed off after the tournament is over.  So the pictures you'll see are of the courts after they have killed the grass.  When they re-seed the grass, they keep it cut to 8mm long.  They cut it twice a day, which is fascinating.  I told the tour guide that I knew of a guy in Kansas City that loves to cut grass and would be perfect for a job if they were ever looking for help. 

Centre Court
Today (Thursday) is our last tour - London Olympic Committee.  We are also heading to watch Fulham football match.  Probably will be the highlight of my time here in London, so I'm really looking forward to that. 

The Longest Match was played last year at Wimbledon

The court the longest match was played on
The Longest Match Documented
Front of Wimbledon
John McEnroe Display

Court One

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

London - Day 11 & 12

Wow.  What a busy few days it has been since I last blogged.  I caught some heat from Mrs. McGoo about my lack of blogging over the weekend and promised to do better and yet I skip a day.  I think she understands now as I was able to discuss with her what a normal day here looks like. Here's a taste of how a normal day goes here.

Wake up around 7am and get cleaned up and read a bit of "Radical" which is the book I'm currently reading.  Head to breakfast at 8 and then to lecture at 8:30.  We'll have lecture, with a small 10 min break, until 11:30.  Then get back and get dressed for our program visit and head to the buses/trains/tubes to grab lunch and travel in order to make it to our destination by 1:45 (It can take anywhere from 30 mins to 2 hours to get to a location).  Our visit starts at 2pm and we'll likely get out between 5 and 5:30.  Once we are through, we'll try and see some sights around the area and then come back to get cleaned up for dinner.  Head to dinner around 7:30 or 8 and depending on where we go, will normally get back around 10:45 or 11.  Once I'm here, I try and catch up with Mrs. McGoo online, but as she can attest, hasn't been all that easy to do.  Either way, I'm now pushing midnight to try and get the blogging in or some general homework done (We specific people that present material for the lecture the next day - mine is this morning).

So as you see, we don't get a ton of down time while we're here.  I wouldn't change it for the world, but at least you can see how it can be hard for me to sit down and blog here and there.

Sky Sports News
Monday - Day 11

Today we started off with a lecture from our very own Dr. Amis (Our Memphis professor) about sport sponsorship and how necessary it is in the global market.  Sport is the one thing in the world that breaks cultural barriers and religions. 

After our lecture, we cleaned up and jumped on a train to head to Sky.  Sky is owned by Rupert Murdock, who owns News Corp, which owns tons of media entities such as Fox, The Wall St Journal, The New York Post, The Sun, as well as Sky.  The closest thing I can associate to Sky is Fox.  They have news, entertainment, sports, and other channels that are all driven by consumer interest.  Sky Sports however is the ESPN of the UK.  They show 150 sports and obviously football (soccer) is the most popular. 
Panoramic of Sky Sports News Center
We got to hear all about their processes and how they are being innovative (sounded a bit like ESPN) with their 3D channel, Sky-Go mobile app) and their 4 channels plus Sky Sports 24 hr news channel.  Sound familiar?  Then we took a tour of the facilities and saw where they host their shows, news room, and control centers.  I got a cook panoramic of the news room that I kinda liked. 

They were the first ones of all our tours to actually present us with gifts.  We all got bags with tons of goodies in them - usb drives, pens, t-shirts, towels, and other stuff.  Not bad Sky Sports News, not bad at all.

Tuesday - Day 12

White Heart Lane
Gives you an idea how BIG that trophy is
Every day, we have a group that is selected to play "host" to our guest lecturers and visits.  Today, was my group's responsibility and our visit was at Tottenham Hotspurs Football ClubRight up my ally right?  Yep, however, they are the bitter rival to the team I support, Arsenal.  However, I didn't let that ruin my day, but it did amount to some good fun.

After our morning lecture on Sport Tourism, we headed out to Tottenham, which is located on the other side of the city.  Our appt was scheduled for 2pm, with us making sure we were there at 1:45.  We left at noon to make sure we had enough time.  Not a chance.  We after multiple train stops (literally stopping in the middle of the black tunnels) we made it to White Heart Lane (where their field is) at 2:10.  So we got a late start to our visit. 

We toured their facilities and I was very impressed with their history and stadium, just not their locker rooms.  They were a dump.  The U of M soccer teams have nicer locker rooms and that is no joke.  Walking around the stadium was really cool though, as you get the feel of being right on the pitch.  Oh, and the pitch was in fantastic shape.  They wouldn't let us walk on it because they are four weeks away from their first match. 

We then headed up to lecture where the lady speaking asked us in the room if any of us were football fans and a few of us raised our hands.  She pointed to me and said, "so, who is your favorite team."  "I'd rather not say at this point in time nor in this particular area of town."  "Ahhh, you must be an Arsenal fan."  Cue the laughter in the room by everyone.  She then proceeded to show a highlight video of the previous season and how they fared.  Half of the highlight video was of Tottenham coming from 2 nil down to beat Arsenal 3-2 in one of the final games of the year.  She looked right at me and said, "You see this game?"  To which I nodded and everyone laughed.  Fun times...

Visitors Locker Room
Overall a good visit.  Tottenham are currently looking to build a larger stadium and upgrade their facilities.  The problem they face is the area they are located in is a rougher part of town.  Basically, not the London we have been touring around and seeing.  It was like the rough parts of a city vs the suburbs and Tottenham was in the rough parts. 

Today we head to Wimbledon.  But first, I have to present to the class how the visit went and talk about how Tottenham can extend its brand globally.  Should be fun.  Wish me luck (actually, I'll have already presented by the time you read this).