20 Questions with Evan Strand

From sunny California, Evan Strand is here to share  his favorite things with his ZogSports friends. From his 3 wishes to his celebrity idol, Evan tells all.

1.        Sports You Ref? SoccerEvan

2.        When did you start working at ZogSports? Winter 2014

3.        Guilty Pleasure? Candy … I love Candy

4.        Hometown? Huntington Beach, CA

5.        Hidden Talent? Ballet, (18 years) Archery, Martial arts (10+ years), I can whistle like a cricket

6.        Favorite Sports Team? Bruce Lee

7.    What’s the last thing you ate? Tacos

8.     Last movie you saw? 12 Years a Slave

9.    If you could only bring three things with you to an island, what would they be? A Ball, soccer most likely, hunting equipment, and my best friend.

10.    Which celebrity would you love to meet? Why? Freddie Mercury if he was still with us. I just idolize him. Now, Tom Hanks because I want his career.

11.    What are you listening to right now? La Chute, Yann Tiersen

12.    Favorite Sneakers? Red Snake skin Supra’s with gold laces.

13.    If you had 3 wishes, what would you wish for? The ability to grow a mustache like Tom Sellek instantly, The Millennium Falcon, Dirty Harry’s .44 Magnum.

14.    How long could you go without talking? 4 days… had to. Had pharyngitis. Lost 20 pounds in that 4 days too.

15.    What’s your favorite joke? What do you call a fish without an eye? FSH.

16.    What’s on your fridge door? A magnet that says if older is better; I’m reaching magnificent

17.  Fav food? Ribs. They’re just so good.

18. What’s on your mouse pad? I have a Laptop… but check out my awesome background  by Elena Vizerskaya.

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19. Have you ever been in a newspaper or on TV? If so, where? Haha yes. I have stilts and had pants and a vest made and crash the HB 4th of July parade every year! Everyone ends up loving me… I’ve been kicked out once but make the front page every year!

20. Best vacation you’ve ever been on? Why? My trip to Thailand. We spent a week sitting on the beach, snorkeling, riding elephants, drinking weird cocktails, and just having a wonderful time. One of the few travels that actually felt like a ‘vacation’.

20 Questions with Christina Galente

Today we have ZogSportsNYC’s Christina Galente sharing some of her favorite things with the Zog family. From “Stepbrothers” to Italy, Christina reveals all.

1.       Sports You Ref? Field Manage for Football; Referee for CornholeChristina

2.        When did you start working at ZogSports? July 2011?

3.        Guilty Pleasure?  Watching Stepbrothers on a weekly basis

4.        Hidden Talent?  Whistling

5.        Favorite Sports Team? NY METS

6.        If you were a drink, what would it be? Why?  A Guinness.  I’m easy-going, can look heavy, but be deceptively light (in character), tasty, fun and Irish people love me.

7.        Funniest ZogSports Memory? Watching Adam Riff try to ref a football game in his roller blades (he bladed to the game and forgot his sneakers).

8.        If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?  DJ Clueless-ask Joey in the Zog office

9.    What’s the last thing you ate? Greek Yogurt-Chobani-Blueberry

10.    If you could only bring three things with you to an island, what would they be? A book (The Count of Monte Cristo or The Alchemist), sunblock & fresh water

11.    Best vacation you’ve ever been on? Why?  Italy…no explanation neededimages

12.    What are you listening to right now? Clueless Soundtrack

13.    If you had 3 wishes, what would you wish for? 1) Eternal happiness for myself, my friends and my family, 2) to eat anything I wanted and never worry about the consequences 3) know what I was meant to be

14.    What’s your favorite joke? Inappropriate,  it’s from the movie Boondock Saints and the punchline is, “I’ll have a coke.”

15.    What’s on your fridge door? A ton of save-the-dates, magnets with funny sayings and pictures of other people’s children.

16.  Fav food? PIZZA!Christina 3

17.  Last movie you saw? Dallas Buyers Club

18. Beer Pong or Flip Cup? Neither…Beirut

19. Have you ever been in a newspaper or on tv? If so, where? Sure, debuting my amazing volleyball skills in high school-The Poughkeepsie Journal

20. Which celebrity would you love to meet? Why?  Leo Di Caprio-so he can propose to me face-to-face

Capturing ZogSports One Zogger at a Time

Jon Michael Kondrath can be found either playing, refereeing or capturing photos during the ZogSportsLA season. Now he gives Zoggers a glimpse into his life as an ultimate Zogger:jon2

As a youngster in middle school and high school, I always loved playing sports and taking photos. I did both as hobbies and for fun; I didn’t like playing on varsity because it was too competitive and my photos went as far as yearbooks and school papers. After high school, I expected my sporting days were over and I fell out of photography for a time.

Both sports and photography reentered my life several years ago, because of volleyball (finding a pickup game which lead into social sports and attending a USC volleyball game which lead into sports photography). Social sports brought back what I loved about playing sports when I was young, playing a game with friends.

Over the years, I’ve met many great people and good friends through social sports. I’ve played in different leagues and different sports. Some were great for a while and then fell apart, others didn’t feel like the right fit, and some sports I just wasn’t that into the league.

As one of the leagues I was previously in was slowly spiraling downward, I was introduced to Zog in its second season in LA. That season was a trial period, test out this new kid in town and see what it’s made of. I knew what a good social league could be and should be, so I had high expectations.

Although some of my teammates were skeptical of the league, I immediately fell in love with it. New people gathering for sports and for social interaction afterwards, a league that cares about its players and the greater community, and something I hadn’t seen before – photos posted of us playing. I’m used to taking photos for USC and posting those, because they are a big school with athletes who have dedicated their lives to a sport. But, here we are, social sports enthusiasts, with a chance of having a moment of glory captured and forever immortalized. jon3

In my next season, I immediately immersed myself in the league. I joined all four of the sports offered in Los Angeles and became a ref for beach volleyball (because who wouldn’t want to spend more time out on the beach?). During the beach volleyball season, I would bring my camera gear with me on occasion because I would have it for the weekend due to some sporting event I was shooting. I didn’t know who the Zogsports photographer was or if they would show up to our games, so I figured I would take some photos and share them with my teammates and the friends I was making. After posting some on Facebook, the LA General Manager asked if he could post them on the Zog Facebook page. I have no shame in admitting I love to see my photos posted up by others and seen by as many people as possible.

Enter season three with Zog, and I am now taking photos at as many of the games as I can. Some weekends my gear isn’t available or I may be too busy to take photos, but otherwise my camera is out capturing moments of athleticism, victory, and camaraderie. Every weekend, I meet new people who come up to me to say they saw a photo I took of them. Sometimes the comment is about the funny face they are making and to “next time get a photo when I’m looking better.” Other times it’s pure excitement for snapping the lucky moment of a game-winning play. Most of the time it’s to say thank you because they enjoyed looking at the photos. (I have no shame in admitting I love the Facebook likes and the positive comments of perfectly captured action, as well. So keep them coming!)

The reason I love photography, and social sports, is the sharing. Sure I love being complimented on a great photo or a great play on the field. But more importantly, I play sports and take photos for the interaction. Playing sports in a league where people show up and then go home, or only interact with their own team to practice and play in the game, is not fun for me. In a similar fashion, photography would not be enjoyable if I just took the photos and then kept them to myself. It’s the people that make both so precious to me: the people I play with, the people I socialize with on and off the field, and the people that are sharing and enjoying the photos. I am happy to have found ZogSports and its community of players and staff and I am proud to be able to contribute to the growth of the league in Los Angeles.jon1

20 Questions with Marvin Yates

Our next referee featured is ZogSportsDC’s very own, Marvin Yates. A dessert lover and wannabe comedian, Marvin reveals a few secrets to his fellow Zoggers.

1.        Sports You Ref? Basketball, Softball and Dodgeballunnamed

2.        When did you start working at ZogSports? December 2012

3.        Guilty Pleasure?  Sweets!!! I love cookies, cakes, donuts, and other desserts even though I shouldn’t be eating them lol

4.        Hometown? Detroit, MI

5.        Hidden Talent? I am secretly a comedian and have thought about doing stand-up.

6.        Favorite Sports Team? I don’t have just one lol…All Detroit Professional Teams (Pistons, Tigers, Lions), Lakers and Michigan State Basketball and Football

7.        If you were a drink, what would it be? Why? Cognac on the rocks, because I’m dark, strong, and smooth! lol

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8.        Funniest ZogSports Memory?  There was a rain-out during softball season. The field was muddy and unplayable, but the teams didn’t want to leave. So they stayed hung out, played a little (unofficially) and slid around in the mud for an hr or so.

9.        If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be? Why? Veni Vidi Vici (I came, I saw, I conquered). That would be the title because in everything I do, I try to be the best, takeover and leave a lasting impression!

10.    What’s on your mouse pad? I don’t have a mouse pad, maybe I should get one. (calling IT now to get one brought to my office)

11.    If you could only bring three things with you to an island, what would they be? A woman (my girlfriend if Beyonce wasn’t available jk), a bottle of my liquor, and a boat so when we are ready to leave the island we can!

12.    Which celebrity would you love to meet? Why? Jay Z. I appreciate, respect and admire his grind. To grow from an inner-city impoverished youth, to a successful entertainer and business man with his hand in a number of different ventures. And on top of all of that he’s married to Beyonce, has to be great!

13.    Favorite Sneakers? I have a few: Jordan Retro X’s (all colors), Gucci Brown Leather GG Canvas Sneakers, Prada All Black Patent Leather Low-Top America Cup Sneakers… I love shoes!!!

14.    If you had 3 wishes, what would you wish for? Wish 1: To be rich, Wish 2: To be happily successful, Wish 3: An unlimited amount of wishes

15.    What’s your favorite joke? Why did the chicken cross the road?

16.    What’s the worst present you’ve ever received? All white briefs (underwear) for Christmas

17.  Fav food? Chicken… any kind of chicken!!!

18. Beer Pong or Flip Cup? Beer Pong, but with liquor instead of beer

19. Have you ever been in a newspaper or on tv? If so, where? Was in the newspaper all the time back in Detroit in high school for sports. Was on TV and in the newspaper in East Lansing and the state of Michigan for my efforts as a student at Michigan State trying to get a piece of legislation called “Medical Amnesty” supported passed in the State of Michigan

20. Best vacation you’ve ever been on? Why? Carnival Cruise 2 years ago to Key West, Oho Rios and Grand Cayman. Cruises are the best types of vacation if you just want to relax, see a bunch of different places briefly, and eat and drink until you are ready to explode!

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Featured Zogger: Dalila Castillo

This week, we’re featuring the founder of the Young Professionals Committee and an NYC Zogger, Dalila Castillo. After recently discovering her Cerebral Palsy diagnosis, Dalila has quickly become a leading voice for young adults in the CP community.

DCJust about a year and a half ago, Dalila Castillo learned she was born with a mild case of Cerebral Palsy (CP). CP is a brain disorder that causes a wide range of developmental disabilities. People living with CP suffer impairments with body movement, posture and balance and some people with CP also have problems with hearing, vision, speech, and swallowing.

Upon discovering her CP diagnosis, Dalila noticed that many of her peers were not aware that CP affects people on a wide spectrum, just like autism and any other brain disorder. She realized that she had the opportunity to be an advocate and a voice on behalf of the CP community and thus, decided to start the Young Professionals Committee (YPC) within the Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation (CPIRF). You can read more about Dalila’s discovery of her diagnosis, and her decision to start the YPC here.

The YPC members are leaders who seek to impact the development of cutting edge research related to discovering a cause, prevention, and treatment for CP; empower young people with the ability to educate their community about CP; create an established network of young professionals committed to their social responsibility, and encourage an upcoming generation of philanthropic leaders.

Although the YPC was founded merely months ago, in July 2013, it has already been successful in increasing awareness and impacting CP research. The YPC’s cocktail party and happy hour fundraisers have successfully raised nearly $9,000 for CPIRF to date. Also, members of the YPC (New Balls on the Block) participated in ZogSports’ dodgeball league this past winter to spread their message to a wider audience. Many YPC members came out to support Dalila and the team, and during the season, they shared Dalila’s story and have continued momentum.

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“I’ve learned that my CP can be a positive impetus. I have chosen to view my recent discovery of the diagnosis as an opportunity –- an opportunity to share my story, to let people know what it means to have CP, and ultimately, to make an impact and empower others.… I am pleased and excited to help educate and inform younger generations about CP and CPIRF as the founding Chairperson of the Young Professional Committee (YPC).  The YPC will be raising awareness and funds for CPIRF’s research programs through fun social events.”  Dalila C. Castillo, Founder, YPC

To stay updated on CPIRF’s YPC, please email cpirf.ypc@gmail.com

 

UWSLoves: One Zogger Makes A Difference

After safely riding out Sandy in her apartment on the UWS, Zogger Amanda Bickerstaff wanted to help any way she could. After spending a few days volunteering at Red Cross shelters all around Long Island, she returned back to her UWS home and realized she wanted to do even more. As she was busy cooking in her kitchen, she thought of the perfect idea to continue helping out. That was when she decided to form her very own organization, UWSLoves. Amanda spent the next three weeks feeding 1,500 people hot food, baking for over 1,500 people, and making over 3,000 sandwiches right out of her home. Through the help of friends and volunteers, they were able to help communities in Rockaway, Coney Island and Brooklyn.  As the recovery went on, she joined forces with Do Your Part, a 501(c)3 charity that has been integral in disaster relief since Hurricane Katrina. Through her efforts they have raised over $30,000 in monetary and in kind donations, hosted a group of volunteers from Vermont, hosted a Children’s Festival in Rockaway, and helped out hundreds of families. Biscuts

A year later, the communities are still in need, so UWSLoves is hosting a fundraiser on October 26th at No Idea Bar to raise additional money. All donations will go towards families, like the one of a volunteer firefighter in Gerristen Beach that has spent so much time helping others that she has neglected her own recovery and must now completely rebuild her home. Click here to purchase tickets for the event.

Hope to see you there Zoggers!

5 Awesome Reasons To Work At Home

Ever wanted to know what ZogSports GMs are up to in their ‘free time’? Luckily, San Fran’s GM, Nick Cruit, has brought us right into the comfort of his own home…

For those of you who play ZogSports in NYC or NJ you’ve probably heard about or been to the Zog headquarters offices. I’ve had an opportunity to spend a few weeks at HQ and there’s never a dull moment to say the least – YouTube videos being shared, balls flying around, and sometimes even refrigerators falling apart. fridge

But for those of us who run ZogSports in other cities our co-workers consist of me, myself and I. When I tell people I work from home by myself I get, “Oh my god I could never do that!” or, “how do you get anything done?” or my favorite, “aren’t you lonely?” Well maybe I’m crazy but I LOVE working from home. Here are my top 5 reasons why working from home as a ZogSports GM in SF is awesome!

That's me on the bottom right!

That’s me on the bottom right!

1) No distractions: Most days I wake up around 8 am, pour myself a cup of coffee, and before I know it it’s 1 pm and I have to remind myself to eat lunch. That time warp has a lot to do with the demand of managing all the aspects of our co ed social sports leagues, but another huge part of it is that I can get into a solid work zone with very little distractions, which is something I haven’t had with any other job. Don’t get me wrong, I miss hanging out with co-workers and talking about the latest pics we’ve seen on Reddit, but there’s something about having peace and quiet during the critically busy parts of my day that makes this job so much more manageable. It also helps that part of my job is to meet new people, play sports, and play bar games every week!

2) Video meetings: To give you guys a little insight into our workflow, all of the GM’s get together every day via video conference to chat about what our priorities are and other interesting things going on in our respective cities. I hated these at first but have now come to enjoy them quite a bit. Most internal meetings in past jobs had a tendency to linger on, but for whatever reason video meetings are quick and to the point – most times. The funny part about video chats is that when the remote general managers end up getting together in person, which we do a few times a year in NYC, we joke about how nice it is to see each other from the shoulders down. We also joke that none of us wear pants during the video chats, kind of like news anchors do.

3) Saving money: The other great thing about my job is that I save a ton of money (and a few inches on the waistline) by not eating out. There are plenty of days where I lazily graze on whatever snacks I have around the house, but having the option to fire up the grill and make a solid home-cooked meal during work is awesome. I also spend way less on food than I used to, which gives me more cash to spend at the happy hours! Now more than ever I’m understanding the importance of the latte factor.

4) Flexibility: After nearly a year working out of my house I’ve realized an important fact about myself: Working at my own pace makes me way more productive. I work most days within the same hours I would if I had to go to an office, but there are those special occasions where I’ll take an hour or two in the morning or afternoon when I get stuck in a rut or am not feeling productive. Just having the flexibility to step away when I need to clear my mind is such a big bonus of this job and has increased my productivity ten-fold.

5) Naps: I can’t lie to you guys; I occasionally take naps during the day. Where I’d normally rely on a strong cup of coffee to push through that period when my brain just wants to shut down, now I close my eyes for 20-30 minutes and have way more energy than I would if I try to force down a 5 Hour Energy.

Well, there you have it, a little insight into my life and why I love my job.  Am I crazy for loving to work from home? Sound off if you have any comments or similar stories. I’m curious to hear what you have to say!

Cheers,

Nick Cruit

ZogSportsSF GM

Behind the Scenes In DC

Whether you’re camping out to hear your favorite band or waiting to buy the newest smart phone, it feels like you have to wait in a long line for EVERYTHING!  From NYC to LA, there are lines wrapped around movie theaters, malls, sneaker stores and even Chick-fil-A!  Since ZogSports loves to keep up with the latest trends, camping out has become a monthly activity for the GM of ZogSportsDC.  No, Kendra is not getting a new pair of kicks! This camp out one of a kind and happens rain or shine on the first of the month promptly at 3 am! Sounds crazy…but crazy is our middle name. It’s time to let you in on a little secret– We’re headed behind the scenes in DC!

Many DC Zoggers have the privilege of playing volleyball at the Lincoln Memorial Sand Courts, but little did you know that these volleyball courts are in extremely high demand. You’re about to learn what goes on in order to acquire this high value space for every month of our DC sand volleyball season.

As the clock strikes 3:00 am, the DC crew wakes up and prepares to camp out. With charged phones and iPads, camping chairs and food, they set up shop. Some try to sleep until their alarm goes off at 6, while others engage in the friendly argument of, “Who was here first!?”

Of course, you must understand that when camped out, there is a list of unwritten rules that everyone must follow:

  • The First: No saving spots! First come, first served is the motto of this permit-procurement process.
  • The Second: One person can only reserve one court. While there are some lone soldiers out on these streets, ZogSportsDC needs to secure enough courts for all of our players! So, Kendra and her crew are there to get permits for all of our leagues!
  • The Third: Be prepared to walk away with nothing. With only 30 spots to play volleyball throughout the week, sometimes failure is an option. (That’s why we offer a number of other great beach volleyball leagues!)
  • The Fourth: Bring rain gear!
  • The Fifth: 7 am = Starbucks time! Even if you and your neighbor didn’t speak all night, once the process is done, everyone deserves some caffeinated brew.

Now that you have a glimpse of what it’s like to stake out, anyone interested in joining ZogSportsDC on their next permit-procurement mission?

No? Alright… then just enjoy the leagues.1005574_641165505913079_948975179_n

#HelloJersey

As many of you know, New Jersey has been going through a loss.  With the Nets moving to Brooklyn and not having a Garden State Football team, responsibility of pulling  Jersey through to the professional sport arena falls solely on the Devils and the Red Bulls. So with only two team to follow this coming year, ZogSportsNJ has some exciting news to share with our sisters and brethren in Jersey. While the Nets aren’t coming home anytime soon, we do have some equally exciting news for you Jersey Zoggers. This fall season, ZogSportsNJ is introducing a 23 league season!

Let’s go over the basics:

#HelloNewLeagues: With a brand new Bocce League in Hoboken, ZogSportsNJ is bringing more social to the field.  Thursday nights will now be filled with making new friends in Zog style. This old school game is bringing back the good ole days of calm and casual fun.

#HelloLongerSeason: Bring your ball- rolling skills to the lanes. Our co-ed bowling league in Union City is back! Socializing while you play and enjoying happy hour at the lanes is what Zog does best. This fall, ZogSportsNJ is offering a 10 game regular season in addition to the regular 6 game league. Wednesday nights in Union City will never be the same.That's right Jersey, we are back!

#HelloMontclair: We are happy to be back in Montclair this fall and want to formally welcome back our Dodgeball and Volleyball Leagues. With Volleyball on Mondays and Dodgeball on Tuesdays, your weeknights in Montclair will be filled with sports, friends and beer.

#HelloJerseyFootball: Even though the Jets and Giants play in Jersey, they are still known as New York teams. WTF, NFL? Thankfully, Zog is here to bring you some real New Jersey football this fall. While you watch your NFL team this fall, you can also play co-ed football with Jersey pride. Games will be held on Thursday and Sunday in Hoboken and Saturday in Montclair.

#HelloBergenCounty: Blue Law blues? Say no more! This fall season you can spend your Sunday with the Hackensack Soccer League. Weeknights will also be packed in Paramus with our Volleyball League.

Last but certainly not least:

#HelloFREEkickball: Yes, you heard it here first. ZogSportsNJ is offering the people of Montclair a preview of what is to come on in our kickball league this fall. Join us on Sunday, August 18th for a day of kicking and Zogging. Zoggers will then head on over to Just Jake’s to celebrate Kickball’s arrival in Montclair.

With a lot to look forward to this fall in the ZogSportsNJ world, we’re excited to say #HelloZoggers!  We’re back.