I met Matt Eyler during my freshman year of college. He was a sophomore transfer from Carroll community college. I cannot recall the first time we actually met, but It had to be through pick-up soccer. I was on the school team at the time, but we started organizing pick-up games for some of the kids that were not playing on the team. At least, that was the goal. Eventually some players from the soccer team, mostly unsatisfied junior varsity players, were joining us. Matt was on the JV team, that must've been how wet met. .
Matt was not the first European American friend I made in the United States. In the 8th grade I met a Jewish/Russian classmate named Michael Ellis. He eventually became one of my closest friend from the next 2 years. So I was somewhat exposed to a different culture that was based in Europe before I met Matt Eyler. It was not until I came to college that I was extensively exposed to different white cultures, attitudes, and practices. Some of my EA friends, including Matt, always claimed to not have a particular type of culture. He often claimed that he had German ancestors, but never expressed any embrace for the culture. .
During my sophomore year of college Matt invited me to his house. We were in the middle of a conversation when he mentioned that he was going home for the weekend, I jokingly invited myself. He knew I was joking, but was excited about the idea. He offered that I spend the weekend at his house. I hesitated when I realized he was being serious. He was leaving the next day, so I promised that I'd let him know later in the day. I was anxious to spend the weekend at his place for many reasons. For one, it was not the type of invitation you received from college friends. We often keep our college and home lives separate. I was set back by how welcoming he was of the idea. He did not seem worried. I was also anxious about how his parents would react to him bringing an African American friend to their home in Thurmont, a small conservative town in Maryland.