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Nobody is perfect and everybody fails at some point in their life, because at the end of the day we are all humans. This season hasn't really gone according to plan and there are a number of excuses being made, but at the end of the day an excuse doesn't really solve anything. As a team, regardless if it is on the sports field, in the office or in the classroom, without trust and the willingness to make that sacrifice...we can't succeeed.

I am not a guy who screams, jumps around or goes crazy before a game, and I don't get superstitious about jersey numbers, winning coin tosses or what color socks I am wearing. However, something is not clicking for me at the moment, and I have no idea why. This video came to mind and reminded me a bit about what the game of football is truly about, and I am hoping and praying that with the right mindset and a little bit of luck the slump ends this weekend.

I think that this blog from Durrell is perfect. This is what it should be about, and I am so proud to call this guy a friend. I think he speaks for all of us imports!

Make sure to remember what is truly special in life, and thank your parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, guardians or whomever helped you get to the point you are at in life.

I am fortunate enough to have my mother in town for 3 weeks, and I know the first thing I am going to say to her in the morning is 'Thank you'. These two small words will go far beyond any material item we could ever buy.


Read more from Durrell by clicking here.

If My Mother Only Knew

"I hope everyone that is reading this is having a really good day. And if you are not, just know that in every new minute that passes you have an opportunity to change that."

I probably have one of the most protective moms in the world, maybe even overprotective and I'm just realizing how that's a good thing. As you grow up and begin to get that sense of independence, having a mother that wants to know your every move can become overwhelming at times. It took me years to realize that that's just the way she is, and how most mother's are. I can't change it, you can't change it. No type of rebellion will ever make her stop caring so much, if anything it will probably make her care more. As I got older I began to realize that having a mom that wants to know your every move isn't a bad thing, after all she did bring you into this world, albeit with the help of a man, God, and doctors, but still, she was your lifeline for 9 months, you lived and grew inside of her for 9 months .... take a moment and let that really sink in.

And then after the 9 months they nurture and raise you, try to teach you right from wrong, as well as being on call when you used to let out those early morning 4 AM baby cries. A mom's plate is never empty; her job is never done. She's a mom from the time she wakes up until the time she goes to sleep. There's no real way to list all of the duties a mom has. I'm not saying all situations that involve protective parents is as kosher and fortuitous as mine, but try to understand where your parents are  coming from instead of focusing on the destination.

 It's understandable that when I decided to come to Germany to play Football she wasn't the biggest fan of it. Everyone in my family was like "yeah, go, enjoy it." My mom was like "can't you just stay home." lol. Her concern for  my safety may overshadow her happiness for my opportunity, but I know she's extremely happy and proud.  She's the type to worry when I go to my cousins house, even though she knows the route and the people, well, mom, to help calm your nerves and to give a little insight to everyone reading

I'm with great people in a great city!

Germany is great and  Braunschweig is its undiscovered jewel. I love the energy I feel within this city. The people of the community are nice and wish ill will towards no one.

The place we live has a playground out front and it is usually occupied by little kids when it's time for us to go to practice, seeing the little kids run around and play keeps me young, makes me appreciate this part of my life even more as I reminisce about my childhood. There is a child that lives in our complex and he is so bad lol ..... He reminds me of myself back in my younger days, he'll turn out to be a great person, hopefully.

My teammates are awesome, we have people from all over the world. I'm being introduced to unique personalities and different cultures. It's fun hanging out with someone that grew up entirely different from you, yet you still find a common ground ... this interconnection. Life is so cool in all of its aspects.

The coaches are funny and laid back but they know football. The people that help/work for the organization are also very cool. From the financial people to the ladies that have snacks for us after practice, from the trainers to the equipment people, from the higher ups to the fans, everyone is awesome.

I'm learning from everyone and everyone is learning from me.

The food out here is great.

There are fun things to do.

Traveling is awesome.

 I now know how to drive stick, even though I don't drive often. But if the world was ending and there was only a stick shift left to escape the zombie apocalypse I'd be able to drive to safety.

I hope this blog helps my mother sleep at night. Don't be sad that I left the nest, be happy you taught me how to fly :)

 And to everyone else thanks for reading, I hope you liked it and found something worth noting. I'll elaborate on some of the things mentioned in my later blogs.

Enjoy your life, it's yours. 

I want to start by apologizing for the long has been quite chaotic lately, however the blog will be picking up momentum again and come the end of July it will be back to full speed! So without further ado here is the first real blog in a while for y'all and I can't think of a better guy to start it back up with! 
Durrell came down with James Peterson (QB New Yorker Lions) this past weekend to help me celebrate my birthday....nothing else will be said about that! But I can tell you that Durrell is a class A guy. Glad to call him a friend and can't wait for the burgers and chili dogs in Braunschweig! See you soooooonnnn MONICA!

Enough from me..enjoy the read.

Check out Durrell's blog below:
Durrell's Blog

To the person reading this I just want to say thanks, your presence on my blog is greatly appreciated. For years I have started blogs just to see them sit dormant after a few weeks. It wasn't that I lacked content, I lacked commitment. I hope to change that with this blog.

If you don't know exactly who I am let me give you a little insight. My name is Durrell Anthony Givens, born and raised in Long Beach, California. I have two older brothers Donovan and Reggie who have taught me so much. I wouldn't trade them for anything. I'm the son of Guy and Deborah and they are the best parents in the world, that statement may be a little biased. They have showed me what true love is while molding me into a great young man. I have a big family and I want to say that I love them all, but I also have to take time and give my Grandma, Cleda, a personal shoutout for being so cool, yet so strict and helping me grow into the man that I have become even though there's still some growing to do. I have a dog named Kozi and she would make a great model/comedian. Had one before her named Kobe and he would have made a great serial killer, R.I.P. I love white chocolate and oatmeal raisin cookies, if you combine those I'll go crazy and turn into a new age cookie monster.

I can sum up why I'm starting this blog into three reasons:
1. I fancy myself as some sort of writer.
2. I have recently moved to Germany and I'm sure my family and friends as well as other people would like to see what I'm seeing and/or feel what I'm feeling.
3. Sue suggested I make one. She's a great friend of mine and has accomplished so much in her life that her suggestions are pretty much signs from above. I hope to be as accomplished as she is when it is all said and done.


How'd I end up in Germany you may wonder, well let me tell you. It all started when I was 9, the first time I played tackle football at Silverado Park in Long Beach, California (my mom was originally against the whole idea of me playing tackle football, she liked me on the basketball court and I was/am extremely good there too, I thank Coach Johnny for convincing her to let me play tackle football) . You may see this as a stretch, but everything happens for a reason and each step leads to the next, since I'm in Germany playing American football I see the first time I played American Football as being directly related. But without my philosophical ramblings here's how it happened.

I took a year and a half off after I graduated high school, I worked at McDonalds, a nursing home as a waiter, and at a Temp agency, not all at the same time. After that I decided to go back to school. I went to Chaffey Community College in Rancho Cucamonga, California for two years. Iowa State liked what I had accomplished at Chaffey so they offered me a scholarship. After a very successful collegiate career at Iowa State University I found myself preparing for Pro Day. I had sprained my ankle a few weeks before, but I was nearing 100 percent. There were talks about me being drafted from the so called experts, my friends and family were telling me I'll get drafted as well. I'm just trying to stay level-headed and make it through the process. During training I re-aggravated my ankle injury. I thought about sitting pro day out, but the competitor in me wouldn't allow it. Pro Day comes and I run a slow 40 as well as a slow 3 cone due to my sore ankle.

My agent, the scouts and myself were all dissatisfied with my results. Now the draft is here, still talks of me maybe being drafted despite my slow numbers. I get some calls during the draft saying "we might pick you." but none of them do. After the draft ends my family is disappointed and sad, they ask if I'm feeling the same way and I'm like "No, everything happens for a reason." After the draft I get a call from the Kansas City Chiefs and the Washington Redskins both inviting me to their 3 day Rookie Mini Camps, which is pretty much a tryout. I had fun at both places and made some great plays, but didn't get signed. I felt as if they brought me in as a just in case... just in case someone gets hurt, just in case someone isn't who they thought they were as a player. Nevertheless I had a great time and met some cool people, definitely an experience most people will never have. I'm thankful for that.

I arrive home and the disappointment of the people around me is still in the air, but not as thick. At least I had a shot somewhere and spent time around NFL legends. Thoughts of the Canadian Football League cross my mind, but I figured it'd be best if I got my ankle right. It was June, I decided I'd rest up while figuring out who I was as a person, football had been so much of my life that without it I felt incomplete. Some people have trouble coping with this feeling, but for me the transition was smooth.

I began writing more, which is probably my truest passion. I decided staying in shape is something any human should do so I maintained a pretty challenging workout schedule. I started to appreciate the small things even more than I previously did. Writing music, working on scripts, writing poetry and working on a novel kept me occupied in-between the workouts and parties.

Around September I decided I wanted to get my Masters In Teaching English, USC had an online program I had taking a liking to. Being a teacher of English has been a dream of mine for a longtime so when I felt that football wasn't working out it felt right to pursue this course of action. I began getting my recommendation letters ready, as well as answering the personal essay questions. Enrollment was in May so I had some time to kill. And then I got a message on Facebook from an Agent in Germany, telling me there was a team interested in me.

We began to talk and I was still in playing shape so I took this opportunity under heavy consideration. I did some research on the New Yorker Lions and began to like the idea even more. Once I talked to Coach Likins and Coach Tomlin I was pretty much sold on the idea of playing in Germany, I could always teach later.

As I'm talking to the Coaches and they're trying to figure out exactly what they want to do I began talking to an agent in the states. He wanted to represent me when I came out of college, but I decided to go a different route. There were arena league teams that wanted me to sign ASAP, like they were ready for me to sign that day. He also told me he had some Canadian Football League tryouts lined up for me. All of that sounded good, but I had grown fond of the New Yorker Lions organization and the idea of playing in Braunschweig, Germany.

My next conversation with the coaches involved me telling them about these other opportunities and that they were still at the top of my list, but if they were going to go in a different direction I may take advantage of theses options so I needed to know ASAP. A few days later the contract was in the mail and I was so excited.

Now I'm living in Germany and playing American Football, and I'm so happy I made this decision. I've been here for 3 months and I've had so many great experiences (soon to be written about). The hardest part was putting this much distance between my family and I, but life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

If you read this whole things I thank you once again, if you skipped down here thanks to you too. I wish I could tell you what to expect from this blog, but I'm not even sure yet. We'll find out together.

"Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us."

New Product review video up from our equipment partner

The Play-makers blog can be seen here: Playmakers Blog

I will give a quick summary for those of you who can't speak German:

The video features Playmakers owner Pascal Heck (L) and German National Team/Dresden Monarchs WR Jan Hilgenfeldt (R). They are reviewing the Cutters X40 Solid Football Gloves.

Jan begins by saying that the gloves fit well and that they are made of a high quality material. He then goes on to say that the grip from the gloves are very strong and that he is very pleased with them.

On the top side of the gloves there is a bit of padding, which helps with blocking in comparison to gloves from Nike and Reebok. 

The two then go on to discuss the style of the gloves, and they both are fans of the solid one color gloves, and I would have to agree. I am a huge fan of Cutters gloves.

Jan wraps it up with giving his approval of the gloves, saying that 'He would for sure buy these gloves.'

Check back later for more updates and product reviews from!

Make sure to go check out James' Blog...Click here!

Hallo! Ich hoffe, dasse alle gut geht!
My Deutsch is coming along... BUT I am really good at Google translate... if that is something someone can actually be good at. That being said, I just wanted to give another quick update, in English, because things are starting to get interesting around here.
Here is what to expect from my fun filled and exciting new post
- Quick update life. Including a mini trip to Berlin.
- My reaction to our first REAL game and it happened to be a Big6 game, which is a BIG deal
- Some upcoming cool things. Things I can express excitement for now. Then explain in retrospect with my next post.
- Finally, I included a few pictures. Due to public demand and dissatisfied readers.. needy people...

Easter Fires

The first thing I would like to mention is a great tradition that I have never seen before. In Germany, probably other places too but I am talking about Germany, the Saturday night before Easter they have community bonfires. But this is no typical bonfire, at least from my perspective. Everyone in the community gets together in a field, drinks some beer, eats great food and socializes, around the largest fire I have ever seen! There were so many of these fires, the air was filled with smoke, even on the autobahn.

I want to thank our Dr. Meier for for sharing this night with Tommi, Durrell and I. I also would like to thank the Holtz Family for having us over for dinner that night too. That was my first dinner in a German home and it definitely did not disappoint! I hope we can come back!

Quick Berlin Trip

Well we started the weekend with a nice early Saturday morning practice following a late Friday night practice, That's always fun. But after that we were on a 3 hour trip to Kiel to to watch them play Dresden. It was a great game, definitely worth the drive. From Kiel, Tommi, Durrell and I drove another 3 hours to Berlin. There was another game worth watching on Sunday over there. We figured we would spend the night in Berlin, wake up early, see the sights, watch the game and head home.  The lack of cell phone service definitely made it interesting for using a GPS or finding a place to stay, this should have been an indicator of how our night would go...

Long story short. We arrived at 11pm. We walked and walked and walked some more and checked 1,364 hostels, roughly.. But all were full. Apparently, east-side Berlin was the place to be that weekend. So we gave up. Changed in the car and went out to meet some friends. Which included a lot more walking by the way.

At a certain point in the night we realized that miraculously nothing had worked itself out. So we concluded the smartest thing was to bunk up in the car for a few hours. By  few, I mean a couple. And that might be stretching the truth some. But we rested! From there we did go out and enjoy some of the history Berlin had to offer. A nice little walk down a part of the wall, saw the holocaust memorial and went to the place Hitler committed suicide. These were all cool things to take in and understand for a second that history was a little more than just words in a textbook. Definitely more interesting than the blowout of a game. I look forward to going back and experiencing the rest.

Dresden, Big 6 

It is crazy to think. This was our first true test as a team, this was my first test as the team's quarterback and this is a playoff game. For those of you that do not know. The Big 6 tournament is basically used to determine who the best team in Europe is. Teams qualify based on their previous season. Because the Lions won the German Bowl in 2013 over The Dresden Monarchs, they naturally qualified to play in the tournament. It just so happens that Dresden ended up being our first Big 6 game in 2014 as well! And this was a must win if we wanted a chance to win it all.

We had the honor to play in The Dresden Dynamo SOCCER stadium which was a cool experience but led to some hearing difficulties on the field. I am not sure of the attendance of the game, but it was by far the loudest game I have ever played in. Pretty sure their announcer helped them quite a bit too... There were many other factors that played into it, but lets just say our offense was not firing on all cylinders to begin with. Thankfully our defense was kicking ass. Score at halftime was 3-0, Dresden had the lead. This was not okay, and we knew it. But we made the appropriate strategical changes and came out in the second half a different team. We were able to put the Monarchs away with a final score of 17-10. And we looked forward to playing Vienna for our next Big 6 game.

At this moment though, I was so proud to be a Lion. Our team is full of winners, that know how to win, whatever it takes. That is something special.. We overcame adversity, fought through tough conditions but never lost trust in each other or our coaches and we managed to win the battle.

I CAN'T WAIT to play in front of our home fans again, just sayin.

What's Upcoming!

-In less than 24 hours my uncle Rance will be here. I am so pumped to be able to share some of this experience with him! He is the main reason I got into football and he taught me everything I know about football! Except how to play QB... and other stuff. But still, The next 11 days will be a blast.

- Dusseldorf Panthers - Our first GFL game of the season is this Saturday and it is AT HOME!!

-Berlin round 2. Heading back to Berlin for two days with Rance. Hopefully see a little more of the city and take a whole lot more pictures!

-Vienna Vikings Big 6 - This is another big game. Not trying to get ahead of myself. But Vienna was recently named by the EFAF #1 team in Europe.. We will put that to the test, I promise you. Plus winning that game automatically puts us in the championship!

- Following that game, there is a large break in our season. I will take that time to travel some more. There are no set plans yet... but Amsterdam, Belgium, France, Cologne, Munich and Prague are definitely on the list.. I guess we will see!

To conclude I would like thank everyone again. Family, friends, coaches, teammates, Patrick Ihl for being Patrick Ihl, The New Yorker Lions organization and the Lord, for all the opportunities of this day.