Lax

After being around the game for 25 years, and coaching for the past 7…I think the lacrosse community is in need of a reality check. Nearly every parent I meet has no clue what the odds of their son playing at the next level are. 

You Are “Here”

A Statistical Analysis of The Odds of Playing at The Next Level

By: Taylor Richard Cook

06/12/18

 

As of 2016, there were 292,695 male players at the youth level. Approximately 61% of those players (180,399) went on to play in high school. Of those 180,399 players, 7.5% (13,446) went on to play at the college level: 1.7% (3,139) went on to play Division 1, 1.3% (2,504) went on to play Division 2, and 4.3% (7,803) went on to play at the Division 3 level. Of those 13,446 college players, only 2% (270) went on to play at the professional level. Essentially if you played youth lacrosse in 2016, you had a 4.5% chance to play in college (1% Division 1), and a .0009% chance of playing at the professional level. Approximately 50,000 more youth players have joined the lacrosse ranks since 2016, with the game growing at the high school ranks at a tremendous clip as well. With so many parents with delusions of grandeur, the numbers need to be displayed more prominently in order for a more realistic approach to be taken by the lacrosse community.

 

2016 Males Participation % players to next level
Youth 292,695 61%
High School 180,399 7.50%
College 19,089 2%
Division 1 3,139 1.7% H.S. players
Division 2 2,504 1.3% H.S. players
Division 3 7,803 4.3% H.S. players
Professional 270 .0009% chance from youth

Authorship

How can I read and write for a living? I ask myself that fairly regularly, and the answer is pretty simple. Read constantly, and write 6-8 hours a day…right? I wish it were that easy. Unless you are a savant, it is a profession which requires a high level of creativity and technical proficiency gained through years of practice. I am realizing that I need to read more books about the creative process, writing techniques, and step-by-step guides to writing publishable works.

Despite my egotistical belief that I can sit down and pump out works worthy of widespread publication, that’s just not the case. I have a long way to go in many facets concerning my writing abilities which are still in their infancy. Indecisiveness stemming from a knowledge of my shortcomings seems to be a key factor concerning my lack of tangible progress. Although I do enjoy posting my thoughts, writing poems, and reading for fun, I feel like I am ready to make the leap into taking it a little more seriously.

Not only finding the necessary tools but applying the knowledge will be critical. My father recently handed me a book to get me started, and I have a few more books in mind that should give me a proper introduction. Taking it one step at a time seems to be key, and I need to constantly remind myself to be patient. Becoming an excellent writer is just like any other endeavor or pursuit; sweat, blood, and tears must be expelled in order to make legitimate progress. It is certainly the path less traveled, but I really do feel as if I can find my way.

The flipside of this pursuit is the necessity of funding my campaign and supporting my family. Many critics and authors agree that a job that pays the bills is not only a necessity but indeed fuels the creative writing process. I would love to teach during the day and spend my evenings with my nose buried in books, and my fingers pounding on keys. The longer I sit here and type out this blog post, the more I realize that I am still procrastinating on writing something worthwhile. What’s the next step? What can I do today that will allow me to advance a career in literature?

I think I will begin with the book my dad gave me this evening, which I believe will turn into a cresting wave that will wash me onto a shoreline covered with the tools that I will need. Much of life is that way. Once you commit, the first step tends to lead to all of the others steps that must be completed. Each action leads to another tool or resource that will allow you to make progress to your end goal. Seek and ye shall find. Ask and you shall receive. Leap and the ledge will appear. People throughout history have known this to be true. Nothing new. I’m going to take the first step this evening and see where it takes me.

Goals

Why is it that it took me almost 30 years to come face-to-face with my own mortality? Why did I feel invincible, immortal, and impervious to the inevitable? Is it some evolutionary trait for young males to ignore their fragility and run headlong into the fray in order to survive, protect, impress, and earn mating rights for so many thousands of years? If so, the hardwiring truly works.

I can’t begin to describe how much my mindset has shifted in the past five years. I believe much of it has to do with a reprieve of concussive hits, a refrain from self-medication, and a drastic change in setting, scenery, and cast of characters. A healthy blend of all of those components is the more likely scenario. I am lucky to be alive considering the path that I was on until recently. Zero appreciation for life. A self-loathing, self-deprecating nihilist to an extreme. I had no meaning, and nor was I doing my best to search for it.

The tunnel-vision of athletic, academic, and military pursuits had worn off, and I was surrounded by an overwhelming panorama of reality. Bullshit. All of it. A beautiful web of imagined realities which I had fallen for hook, line, and sinker. Left with constructing my own meaning, life, and reality…I was at a total loss. I had always been eating what was fed to me by others; my family, friends, society, and my subconscious. I was never taught meditation, deep-breathing, or the inner-workings of the brain.

My single biggest regret in life is not knowing these methods from a very young age. They truly have the capability to rewire the brain, relieve stress, sharpen your perspective, clarify the meaning of life, and allow you to supersede the general meaninglessness that we are surrounded with. I truly believe that if  I had been taught these things, and been told that life has no meaning and that the true meaning of life was to make/find your own meaning, I would be a much better person, and in a much better place than I am today.

I cannot reverse time, and I must accept my current, but I am thankful and hopeful for my life moving forward. I have the knowledge, capability, and freedom to transform my life into everything I want it to be, I must only take consistent action to make it so. What meaning do I want out of life? Or better yet, what do I want my life to mean?

First, and foremost, I want to be a successful protector and provider for my family. Aside from the most basic biological functions of my being, I would like to have a lasting impact on those who I come into contact with. It sounds cheesy, but I really do want to make the world a better place. The primary premise is based on the fact that there are so many things that I wish someone had told me during various phases of my life. I would like to teach, mentor, and develop the talents of both my successors, peers, and elders if possible.

College professorship is the end-goal, but I would like to become an accredited teacher, get a master’s degree in secondary education, and eventually get a doctorate in a subject of my choice. To be perfectly honest, I think a life in academia, filled with multiple degrees, and 30-40 years of successful teaching would provide more meaning than I could possibly ask for. I am more than likely romanticizing a lifestyle which I am unfamiliar with, but for right now, it is the only path that I deem worthy to take.

On top of professorship, I would like to be a successful author, an innovator in multiple fields, and assist in providing guidance and mentorship to anyone whose ears are open, willing to learn, and disciplined enough to take action. And if they aren’t, I would like to assist them in doing all three. The road ahead will be long, arduous, and full of potholes, but I truly believe that I can make all of my goals happen. I will have to be patient, persistent, and remain vigilant despite setbacks, distractions, and mishaps. It will all be worth it in the end…right? As long as I think so I suppose.

Olyn

My son is now seven weeks old. He is beginning to roll over, grasp at objects, and produce a cacophony of baby sounds. He is the perfect blend of my wife and I. He looks like Hitler’s wet dream: a beautiful blend of a Scandinavian and an American w.a.s.p. gene pool of a bygone era. Blonde hair, ice-blue eyes, fair skin, and in the top 1% for height and weight. I sometimes have to convince myself that I didn’t sell my soul for the creation of this little creature.

He is the epitome of how inexplicably complex life is. His mother moved from Norway to the United States when she was 8 years old. She was the daughter of a Norwegian father, and an American mother from Illinois, who met by chance in the Caribbean. My parents are both of Northwestern European stock, whose families have been living in the U.S. since the early 19th century. They met at the same small college in southern Maryland which I too attended for my undergraduate degree. Kat and I met through a social media app, I moved across the country, we were engaged in the Coliseum in Rome, married in my favorite city of Annapolis, gave birth to this beautiful boy, and the rest is history.

That brief recap is the tip of the iceberg, of whose depth exceeds the realm of calculable probabilities. Countless generations of both sides of our families, with innumerable life-happenings, survival,  and successful reproduction, which took place in order for Kat and I to exist, meet, and procreate. It is the most beautiful sequence of random events that I can ponder, and I do so quite often. It is strikingly easy to fantasize about how many trials and tribulations our ancestors must have hurdled in order to pass on their genes. We are so unbelievably lucky to be alive and to have such a happy, healthy baby.

I often picture Olyn in my shoes, and myself in my father’s, and so on until I reach Olyn’s great-grandfather. He lives next door to my father, is approaching 90 years old, and is one of four generations that meets on a regular basis. I can only hope that I will survive to see the same sequence of events take place in my own life. The successful rearing, assistance, and support of Olyn, his children, and his children’s children. How much joy, companionship, and love he must have been, and indeed still is the witness of. Fascinating doesn’t begin to describe how incredible his life must be to bear witness to those happenings.

I can only hope to live as purely, be as reliable, sustainably supportive, and a role model for my successors. Olyn is just the start, and we may have more children, and he may or may not have children of his own. For the time being, I feel as if I have fulfilled my biological responsibility to pass on my genes, and indeed the next generation is in good hands to do the same. Isn’t that the whole point of life? To pass on your genes so that your offspring can enjoy the same sensational existence that both you, and your long line of ancestors were gifted with? I am so unbelievably grateful that by chance, or providence, or both, that my genes and my gene pool will not dry up with my passing. It sounds selfish upon review, but I’m pretty sure that’s a hardwired evolutionary trait. Sorry, I’m not sorry.

 

 

June Thoughts

Waking up early and catching the sunrise: I can’t name a time of day that I enjoy more. There is a tranquility which resonates in my soul, but everything is in a state of flux, which contradicts the peacefulness. Nature and her creatures are just beginning to yawn, stretch their limbs, and carry out their daily rituals of eating and being eaten. The dim light illumines the horizon with minimal effort, slowly magnifying itself until our closest star blasts us with cosmic rays; revealing the spectacular spectrum of colors in which we are always immersed. The green leaves of the waving treetops shuffled by cool breezes tickle the bright blue sky as hues of orange, yellow, and red are absorbed by the sun as it ascends. Masterful strokes of artistic brilliance carried out on a cosmic scale.

I sometimes grow impatient with the sun. I want it to breach the treetops with haste, landing on me with its full force rather than a massaging of heat and light with gradual intensity before reaching a climax around noon. I must laugh when I catch myself begging the sun to hurry. How could I possibly forget? The sun never moves. At least, not for us. We eternally spin towards and away from our source of life, like a ball on the tip of the universe’s finger. ‘Round and around we go, when we’ll stop, nobody knows. This is inevitably followed by my persistent attempt to break free from the shackles of the industrial timeframes with which I have been indoctrinated, and clearly, am all too familiar with.

“A new day.” “A fresh start.” Call it what you will, but life, time, and indeed our place in the cosmos are a part of the same continuum. They never stop because you left work, or fell asleep, or because it is a particular day of the week. The sands of time fall at the same speed regardless of your perception, or your superficial ability to dissect your hours, days, weeks and life into planned, manageable chunks.  This surgical dissection of our time may make us feel in control, or that we are the masters of our time and therefore our lives, but in reality, we are merely giving units of measure to what will already happen. “I am the captain of my fate. I am the master of my soul,” is an illusion. A beautifully standardized and magnificently deeply-brainwashed illusion.

What time is it? No, the year…well, according to calendars, carbon dating, or whichever method you prefer, it is a designated number; in the thousands or billions depending on your preference. The eternal rhythm of our planet, solar system, galaxy, and indeed our universe, echoes with an unparalleled consistency (although there may be an infinite number of parallel earths/universes depending on if you believe in string theory or not). Quantum mechanics aside, I am here; for as many spins as I have been gifted with. Nobody knows how long they will live, and neither do I.

Am I afraid of not seeing the visible spectrum of light, of never hearing music again, no longer feeling the pleasant caresses of my wife and child, and ceasing to experience the sensational life around me? I wouldn’t say I am afraid, as much as I am desperate to make the most of the time I do have. I will die. My life will end. And all the things I know and love will remain, and maybe not. Perhaps I am the creator of my own universe, and I am merely making it up as I go along…I am more afraid of that possibility than I am of dancing to the tune of the piper in the distance with no control of my life or actions.

I like to think that life is a perfect blend of free-will and destiny, the consistency of which we will never know. I don’t think we are meant to know, or at least, we are certainly not biologically capable of knowing. I like to think that my thoughts, words, actions, and experiences mold my life, even if only to a negligible degree. It makes me feel that I still have a finger on the reins. Without this, my life is already predetermined, as are the orbit of our planet, our sun, and the rest of the cosmic bodies in the known universe, and nothing that I think, say, or do can change this. I am just along for the ride. Hold on tight and try to have a clear, and positive perception of what’s zipping by…I tell myself.

These are the existential thoughts that dawn showers on me. It is a reminder that while everything is in flux, some things remain obscenely consistent. Although, their consistency lies in their continual and regimented “change.” The sun, the moon, the tides, and the weather. Through their constant motion, we are gifted with movement, colors, and patterns which enable us to experience sensations on an immeasurable scale. So much, to taste, smell, touch, see and hear…that we actually take them for granted, ignore them, or lose our ability to notice them whatsoever…if you can believe it. We become so accustomed to this inexplicably intricate symphony, of which there is no comparison, that we treat it as if it were an old song.

We turn it down, drown it out, and do our best to find a new song. The problem is that it is all the same song, and in our attempts to remix it, only end up with the original version. The treetops swaying in the wind, the warmth of the sun on our skin, the crack of thunder, the smell of the soil after a spring rain, the taste of honey, and even our increased pulse when we are excited, and indeed our entire range of emotional states that continually make us feel alive…are set to such an incredible rhythm, tone, and pitch, that we truly take them for granted. They are a given. Just as I breathe, so should the tides change, the earth spin, the sun illumine, the planets orbit, and the universe continue to exist. But, I guess that is the whole point. I wouldn’t exist, orbit, illumine, spin, or change if it were not for all of those other pieces to the puzzle.

After all of these ponderings, I am left with what I am always left with…”I think, therefore I am” and that’s all I really know. No matter how simplistic, or how complex I try to make my life…I am thinking, and typing, and breathing,..at least for the time being.