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ArenaFan at the AFL All-Star Games in Hawaii/Beijing Blog
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AFLGuru
Ironman

Joined: 28 Dec 2005
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:37 pm    Post subject: ArenaFan at the AFL All-Star Games in Hawaii/Beijing Blog Reply with quote

It seems to be an odd time of year to be blogging about something involving arena football, but alas, I'm on my way for what is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It's sort of surreal to think that by this time tomorrow, I'll be just a couple hours away from landing in Honolulu. I've been a lot of places in my life, but Hawaii and China aren't amongst them at this point.

This whole situation is still shocking to me in a way. It was only a few months ago that we had the chance to meet with David Niu and some of the AFL China people, and when they said that they wanted one of us to cover the games for them and help them out overseas, I think all four of us that were there ArenaBowl weekend were a bit pessimistic that it was ever going to happen. Alas, here we all, through all of the trials and tribulations that have seemed to come with it.

Though I have been relatively quiet for the majority of the time leading up to this game about the dispute between the AFLPU and the AFL China guys, I did go off a few nights ago. It still upsets me that there ever even was the remotest of possibilities as to whether or not any members of the AFLPU were going to go to these games or not, and at least as of this hour, I'm really not 100% sure whether any or all of the players that are on the roster are really going to be playing in Honolulu and Beijing or not.

I understand that it's not my body on the line, and it's easy for me to say this, but though not all agree, I think that it is truly an honor to be going on this trip, and I do think that everyone else should feel that way as well. We all have a chance to have our hands in what might be a truly monumental two weeks in the history of the game that we all love so much. If AFL China really works, not only is there a good chance that the game is going to become an international sensation, but there is a good chance that it could be the shot in the arm that the AFL needs in the United States to survive as well.

Part of it is a monkey see, monkey do thing. If the Chinese embrace this game and it starts to get big over in the biggest cities in their country, Americans might look more favorably upon the sport. The bigger impact though, is clearly monetary. It's no secret that there has to be some money going from the AFL China to the AFL for the use of the players and the logos and all of that, and though I don't know what that is either from a flat amount of money or a percentage of the profits, I can only imagine that selling out 20 games a year in China plus all of the franchise fees that are collected from it will make the franchises in AFL China something that the mass majority of franchises in the AFL aren't: Profitable.

Even if each team only got a small amount of money from the profit of China, that paired with the fact that there are no more teams to bail out (at least for the time being) should make a lot of franchises a lot more stable.

And who knows? Maybe sometime in our lifetimes there is Olympic Football, and maybe all of the best athletes from across the world will be playing our great game.

It's a pipe dream for the time being, sure. But I can only imagine watching the Olympics 50 years from now and being able tell my grandkid, "You know this game that they're all playing? I was a part of that very first game that was ever played in China."

And if it doesn't all work out, though it would be disappointing for sure, I will surely still be able to look back at these two weeks and count myself amongst the lucky ones who had the chance to experience culture and see sights from the other side of the world that most never get a chance to even dream about.

This dream is becoming a reality.

____________________________________

As is the case for all of my travel blogs, feel free to chime in with any comments you've got. We'll have photos up all over Facebook and Instagram and all of that from this trip so I can bring you all as close to the action as possible. I'll be blogging away for two weeks here in this thread, and I'm really looking forward to what this trip brings.

Ni hao and Aloha!
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VooDooNut
Ironman

Joined: 12 Mar 2011
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is fantastic!

Above all, enjoy the trip

Very Happy
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ajsims42598
ArenaFan Staff

Joined: 02 Feb 2004
PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:20 am    Post subject: Re: ArenaFan at the AFL All-Star Games in Hawaii/Beijing Blo Reply with quote

AFLGuru wrote:
It was only a few months ago that we had the chance to meet with David Niu and some of the AFL China people, and when they said that they wanted one of us to cover the games for them and help them out overseas, I think all four of us that were there ArenaBowl weekend were a bit pessimistic that it was ever going to happen.


You certainly are not kidding! That was an interesting day (also an awesome day) to say the least. There were a lot of questions after that day and now obviously a lot of them have been answered.
I know I had my chance to say yes to this trip, but unfortunately health circumstances kept me back.
Still it is great to know and truly fitting that we (the ArenaFan staff) are sending our best (and probably most passionate) person on this trip.
You should enjoy this to the fullest because who knows if it will ever happen again!! Enjoy this experience. It should be AWESOME.
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Firstnten.net
Ironman

Joined: 23 Jun 2011
PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Though I have been relatively quiet for the majority of the time leading up to this game about the dispute between the AFLPU and the AFL China guys, I did go off a few nights ago


where? On facebook? I was wondering how this was going to pan out with Soto and the AFLPU circus act. AFL china shedding the shackles of Kurz's wacky rule interpretations and playoff hypocrisy but sadly inheriting Jerry's parasites.
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AFLGuru
Ironman

Joined: 28 Dec 2005
PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Firstnten.net wrote:
Quote:
Though I have been relatively quiet for the majority of the time leading up to this game about the dispute between the AFLPU and the AFL China guys, I did go off a few nights ago


where? On facebook? I was wondering how this was going to pan out with Soto and the AFLPU circus act. AFL china shedding the shackles of Kurz's wacky rule interpretations and playoff hypocrisy but sadly inheriting Jerry's parasites.


Twitter. And I'm here in Hawaii and can confirm that this stuff STILL isn't worked out, and the players are supposed to be flying over on Wednesday.
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AFLGuru
Ironman

Joined: 28 Dec 2005
PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a quicky blog post here, and I'll get to more of this tonight. I'm here in Honolulu, and I'm going to be not just working for ArenaFan, but working with Gameday Ops as well. I'm rooming with Joe Krause, the guy who does a lot of the gameday stuff for the Soul, and we have already started to form a great bond. It's quiet here for the time being, knowing that just the AFL China staff and the support staff for the game are here, but come Wednesday when the players all get here, it's going to be in-freaking-sane.

Aloha!
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Firstnten.net
Ironman

Joined: 23 Jun 2011
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to ask. What issues do the AFLPU have? And is it the mouth piece Soto yapping away in public? The proverbial turd in the punch bowl.
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AFLGuru
Ironman

Joined: 28 Dec 2005
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Firstnten.net wrote:
I have to ask. What issues do the AFLPU have? And is it the mouth piece Soto yapping away in public? The proverbial turd in the punch bowl.


Yeah. We still really aren't 100% sure if the players are really showing up. I know that at least a couple aren't that were on the original roster. Don't know if they are being replaced or not.

Soto wants workers' comp (or better workers' comp as the case may have it) for the players, and he wants his guys to be paid in American dollars instead of Chinese money while in China. He's also got a complaint about the name of the organization paying the players.

I'm fairly certain that there was no "bargaining" that ended up actually getting worked out. We'll see who shows up tomorrow.
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AFLGuru
Ironman

Joined: 28 Dec 2005
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aloha from the Ohana East Hotel in Waikiki Beach!

Yesterday was a bit of a hectic day, as six of us ended up getting into town on the same flight. Not too far behind were some others. Right now at the hotel, we have Dan Raudabaugh, Clint Dolezel, Kevin Guy, Cecil Doggette, Phil Bogle, the TV guys, the team doctor (from Cleveland), and all of the AFL China guys. I'm rooming with Joe Krause, who I will be working with on some Game Day Ops stuff come the time of the actual game.

We have a strategy meeting this afternoon at 1:00 (so I guess that's "this evening" to all of you back home), and that's when we are going to go over a lot of the ins and outs of the trip and will figure out a lot more of the details and I'll have some more to report.

Last night, we ended up getting back to the hotel and heading pretty much straight out to dinner after we got back from the airport and settled in. Had a great time last night BSing with Coach Guy and Coach Dolezel. Those guys have a ton of respect for one another, as they should, knowing that they have met in the last two ArenaBowls as coaches (though obviously, Dolezel was the OC for the Soul team two years ago).

As far as this morning goes, I've got some work to take care of for my American clients back home, but once that's said and done with, I've got nothing but free time on my hands until 1:00 and am looking forward to getting out and doing some sightseeing. Really haven't had the chance to take in yet the fact that I really am in Hawaii, but I intend on doing here in a few hours. You know it's going to be good when the beach is two blocks away pretty much any direction that you walk around here.

Aloha!
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Firstnten.net
Ironman

Joined: 23 Jun 2011
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AFLGuru wrote:
Firstnten.net wrote:
I have to ask. What issues do the AFLPU have? And is it the mouth piece Soto yapping away in public? The proverbial turd in the punch bowl.


Yeah. We still really aren't 100% sure if the players are really showing up. I know that at least a couple aren't that were on the original roster. Don't know if they are being replaced or not.

Soto wants workers' comp (or better workers' comp as the case may have it) for the players, and he wants his guys to be paid in American dollars instead of Chinese money while in China. He's also got a complaint about the name of the organization paying the players.

I'm fairly certain that there was no "bargaining" that ended up actually getting worked out. We'll see who shows up tomorrow.


I got a laugh out of that. I guess Soto isn't smart enough to use an online currency converter to count AFLPU's cut if they get paid in Yen. Maybe they should not have billed this game an AFL all star game.

IF they players are getting paid by "AFL China" and agree to whatever terms offered I would suspect there is nothing Soto or his shyster lawyers can do.

I don;t know how the multi year contracts work and the information given by the league on the matter is a joke. But it was my impression that players could play for another league whenever they want. Meaning they could break the contract and goto the NFL or CFL midseason. So my question would be this: would that be applicable if they went to another indoor league? Meaning would it have to be what they (the league) consider a "step up"? Just curious.
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AFLGuru
Ironman

Joined: 28 Dec 2005
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not a matter of that. The players CAN do whatever they want. They're being advised not to go unless there is a collectively bargained agreement in place between AFL China and the AFLPU. I expect to see Soto here at some point to continue talks with the AFL China guys, though I don't know how much more talking there really is to be done at this point. The players are either going to play, or they're not going to play. It sounds like most are, but some might not show up. We'll have to see how it pans out tomorrow when the players get here. I know that Raudabaugh is already here and Joe Goosby is on an early flight on Wednesday, but that's all that I definitively know thus far.
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AFLGuru
Ironman

Joined: 28 Dec 2005
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rodney Gnat just tweeted that Marco Thomas is definitively coming as well tomorrow. I expect that most of the players on the roster are going to be here, as I would assume that all of the guys with the player bios on them (which I think so far of the notables are Mario Urrutia and Markee White) will be here.
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AFLGuru
Ironman

Joined: 28 Dec 2005
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ArenaFan is going to have its own Facebook photo album when we start having "official" events, but if you want to look in on what I'm up to and see some scenary shots, here's the link to the album.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10103719825656413.1073741827.5233036&type=1&l=bd29f73dd5
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Firstnten.net
Ironman

Joined: 23 Jun 2011
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AFLGuru wrote:
It's not a matter of that. The players CAN do whatever they want. They're being advised not to go unless there is a collectively bargained agreement in place between AFL China and the AFLPU. I expect to see Soto here at some point to continue talks with the AFL China guys, though I don't know how much more talking there really is to be done at this point. The players are either going to play, or they're not going to play. It sounds like most are, but some might not show up. We'll have to see how it pans out tomorrow when the players get here. I know that Raudabaugh is already here and Joe Goosby is on an early flight on Wednesday, but that's all that I definitively know thus far.


All expense trip to HI and a paycheck. I think the only guys not showing are ones with family obligations or other reasons not AFLPU related.
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AFLGuru
Ironman

Joined: 28 Dec 2005
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Firstnten.net wrote:
All expense trip to HI and a paycheck. I think the only guys not showing are ones with family obligations or other reasons not AFLPU related.


And China.

I understand certain guys not wanting to go for other reasons. Family. Better paying jobs. Health reasons. Not having a passport. Not qualifying for a visa. I get all of that, and it's all completely viable.

Soto now is endorsing going to the game publically for those who signed contracts... whatever that means.
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Firstnten.net
Ironman

Joined: 23 Jun 2011
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AFLGuru wrote:
Firstnten.net wrote:
All expense trip to HI and a paycheck. I think the only guys not showing are ones with family obligations or other reasons not AFLPU related.


And China.

I understand certain guys not wanting to go for other reasons. Family. Better paying jobs. Health reasons. Not having a passport. Not qualifying for a visa. I get all of that, and it's all completely viable.

Soto now is endorsing going to the game publically for those who signed contracts... whatever that means.


Sounds like he's was telling guys to break a contract only to find out there where repercussions for this. Like maybe reimbursements of hotel and travel expenses. As a casual observer of the AFLPU's actions the circumstantial evidence that Soto is a complete and total shyster are almost overwhelming.
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SabrCatFan
MVP

Joined: 01 Jan 2001
Location: San Jose, CA
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The AFLPU has been taking "pointers" from the other PUs for quite some time now... Its just a bunch of PU, enough said...
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SabrCatFan
MVP

Joined: 01 Jan 2001
Location: San Jose, CA
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Adam, if you get a chance to head over to Pearl, check out the Submariner Museum (near the defunct ferry to Ford Island), they have an old MYTR (Missile Test and Readiness Equipment) setup, I spent way too many hours doing drill after drill after drill in front of that very one in the late 60s - early 70s... I know all about China and the Eastern USSR I had 16 targets I got to know really really really well with "urban renewal" just a push button away... I guess the Chinese won't give ME a visa anytime soon!!!!!!!

Last edited by SabrCatFan on Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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AFLGuru
Ironman

Joined: 28 Dec 2005
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's getting pretty late on Tuesday, and we're still setting up all of the stuff for the grand entry of the players tomorrow, who will start arriving in about 11 hours or so. Most will be on airplanes in the next few hours, and we are excited to have them here.

I'll tell ya, it was a really great day here on Waikiki Beach. I had the chance to walk around some and take in some of what the island has to offer, and the sights here are just breathtaking. It literally is paradise. I've got some pictures posted on my own Facebook page (link below), or you can now check out the ArenaFan Facebook page (or the front page of our site) to see some of the pics for the events that we have had and will have here.

It was certainly an eventful day. The whole day could sort of be summed up by Lou Tilley, who helped start our strategy meeting this afternoon by stating that we were going to be reaching around a billion people in China next week at this time. It was the first time that it really set in what we were trying to accomplish here in Honolulu first, and eventually in Beijing next week. I've got a lot of this that will be detailed when I can get this article I've been working on for a good chunk of the day posted.

After the strategy meeting, we all started to get the room setup for health assessments, passing out uniforms, and a bunch of other paperwork... You know, the necessarily stuff.

Dinner tonight was at the Red Lobster, and I was lucky enough to get the chance to talk to Kevin Guy, Phil Bogle, and Dan Raudabaugh a lot about the good old days. Lots of stories about the AFL of yesterday and today, and there isn't much in life that I like more than talking about this league. The level of excitement of all of the men and women that are helping with this project clearly has risen all day long. This isn't a vacation by any stretch of the imagination, but in spite of the fact that there are hours and hours of work to do, everyone seems to be happy to do it, knowing that this could be the start of something big.

More coming tomorrow as the players start to roll in!
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AFLGuru
Ironman

Joined: 28 Dec 2005
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love kickers. They make me look the size of a real football player! A LOT more pictures are being posted to both my Facebook page and the ArenaFan Facebook and Twitter feeds

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