From January 2001 till July 2003, we lived in a nice town, Midland, Michigan, in the USA. On this site, I will share some pictures and stories of that very special period of my life. This page is written in English because our American friends who will look at this page will understand the comments. When you go through this page, you will understand how I started to skate and bike and what other sports I have done.
One of the best memories we have from Midland is the plaque we received as a present from the Midland speedskating club. It hangs on our wall in the kitchen in Bellem.
In Midland and Michigan it can be very cold in winter with much snow. When we arrived in January 2001, my brother and I could not play our favorite sport : "soccer". This is football in Belgium, but in America Football is American football, little like rugby. There are only a few small hills in Michigan but you can ski. So my brother, my mother and myself took lesson and skied during the weekend.
In our garden in Winter :
Ski in Apple Mountain with my brother Tim and my mother :
I continued playing a little bit soccer indoor on artificial grass. The indoor hall was owned by a player called "Drago". He was somebody from Croatie who lived in the USA. He learned kids to play soccer and then in then afterwards we played games. During one of the trainings, A Belgian saw my shirt of Fortis Anderlecht and came to talk to me. He had played with Anderlecht and now was a trainer for the recreational soccer in Midland. In the summer, I became a member of his team. Also his son, Benjamin, and another Belgian boy were in the team
Indoor soccer at Drago's :
As you can see I became fast Americanized ......... and had my own club in America :
My brother and I looked like the "Blues Brothers"
In summer vacation my grandpa and grandpa came and we went on vacation to Yellowstone Park. This is a very large Park with a lot of animals : buffalos, beers, deer, .... and with the largest amount of geisers in the world.
In Yellowstone :
In Months of September and October, the weather is still beautiful in Michigan and they call that period Indian Summer. The threes are then very beautiful. During that period they play also soccer.
Three in our street ; with my brother Tim
I was selected for the Midland Select Soccer team. The name of the team was the "Geckos" I also played in Spring and Fall of 2002 with the team. Our Colors were white and green. Below you see some pictures.
I started to think which sport I wanted to do in Winter. I wanted to play Ice hockey. This sport is very popular in the USA. But all clubs were full with players. In school, I learned to know a very good friend ; Ryan McPhillips. He is a very good speed skater and his mother was in her youth champion of the USA. She asked me to come to try speed skating.
With my friend Ryan : My first time on speedskates ....
You will find more pictures of my speedskating in Midland on another page.
Ryan, his brother Rob and his mother Dawn and father Mark became very good friends of us. In winter they took us to Nothern Michigan were for the first time I could ride a "snowmobile"
In summer, the temperature in Midland was often 30 degC and my brother and I rode Jet skis with Rob and Ryan on Sanford Lake which was like 10 km from where we lived. On the next picture you see us with our bikes at Sanford Lake.
In Summer of 2002, my cousines Nele and Hanne and their mother and father visited us and we went to Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Parks.
With Tim and Nele at Niagara Falls :
In the beginning of the new school season, there is always a 1 mile cross race for the 4th and 5th grade. I started then in 4th grade. I bet against my father for a Playstation 2 when I would win. There were almost 100 boys participating. I escaped with another boy but at the end of the race 2 other boys joined us. Then we started to sprint. I ended third .... so no Playstation 2.
1 Mile Cross : start
1 Mile Cross : Leading with 4
1 Mile Cross : Finish 3th Place, My friend ends 5th
In May of 2003, My cousin Nicolas and his mother and my cousine Nicky visited us, We went to Chicago and to an NBA basketball game : Detroit Pistons against San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs became the champions in 2003 and the Pistons became the champions in 2004.
With Nicolas, Nicky and Tim at the Pistons :
Also then I got my first race bike : A trek 1000.
I did not do official races but I went once to Ann Arbor where the Race Club organized club races and time trials. Below you see pictures of that.
Ann Arbor Race start
My brother and I learned to know 2 very good friends in Midland. Jonathan and Oscar. They are Autralian and played soccer and also Ice Hockey. Just before we came back to Belgium, we visited with them, their mother and my father "Cedar Point". Cedar Point is the largest Roller Coaster park in the world and has the largest and the 3th largest Roller Coster in the World. It is in Ohio, 5 hours driving from where we lived. The visit of the park was the best we while we were in Michigan. We stayed till midnight and were on all the rides.