The More It Changes…The More It Stays The Same

What could be more monotonous than constant change? It never stops. Never ceases. Why is it that time never pauses, fast-forwards, rewinds, or stops for eternity? I suppose, in certain ways, it does all of those things. There are moments when time seems to “stands still.” There are moments that we realize that the past week, month, year, or decade has “flown by.” We are always capable of rewinding our life through our mind’s eye with our memory, in order that we may “stroll down memory lane.” And at some point (maybe?) our entire experience in space and time will cease altogether.

So maybe the constant flow of time isn’t as constant as we think it is. Or, maybe it is, and it is only our perception of the hypnotic motion of the cosmos that changes. I am unsure of which option is true, however, I also realize that there are numerous other possibilities and explanations for the topic. I am not an astrophysicist, and nor will I try to act as if I am. These are my own personal thoughts on the matter, based on limited research and discussions. To me, I don’t think we’ll ever truly understand the origin, nature, essence, or purpose of the constant stirring of the universal soup and all of the ingredients held within. We are not meant to know. The unknown is what keeps us constantly striving to survive.

We’ll do whatever it takes to continue this sensational existential experience. Even if we are unhappy, unhealthy, or both, we will still innately cling to every bit of experiential data that we can get our hands on. Even if only one of our senses remains adequate, we will maximize all of the energy, emotion, and feeling that we can possibly pull from it. Sensational experience is all we have. Without it, the world would seem cold, meaningless, harsh, and barbaric (maybe it is?).

Well, after this routine cyclical thought process where I end up in the exact same place as when I started, I think I’ll use my time to prep for the week, to make sure that I’m maximizing my efficiency and “using my time wisely.” Sometimes, I think I’m just along for the ride and my perception is the only thing that determines how I experience reality. I’m really not sure. Anyway, time to do some housework and get ready for a “new week.” Onwards and upwards. – Taylor R Cook

An Old Friend

I ran into an old friend today. Quite literally. I had not seen him in over a year. We crossed paths on a boardwalk in a surreal moment of chance. We both performed a double and then a triple take to ensure that we were both indeed seeing the same thing. The encounter brought a smile and then a laugh. We greeted each other and began a conversation as if we had run into each other just yesterday in the exact same spot.

He and I have known each other for almost twenty-one years. I can’t begin to describe how difficult it is to type out that length of time. It doesn’t seem possible. It seems like last month we were playing youth lacrosse together, and just last week that we were roommates in an apartment near St. Mary’s College. Oh, the memories. The ups and downs of decades of friendship. Life sometimes seems like the rides at county fairs that spin and pass other cars for their duration.

You’re both spinning frantically about, in a massive amusement park. You part ways and sample all the park has to offer. You spend a little bit of time apart in different areas of the park. You ride different rides and sample preferential foods and drinks. Then you pass each other and catch up. You may even grab some food or a ride together before carrying on your separate way.

Some times you will both find aspects of the park that seem ideal and you will not see each other for a long time. You will stay on certain rides in certain areas of the park for years and years. One day, on purpose, or by chance, you will run into each other again. Old friends are like that. You both understand that life pulls everyone into their own unique situations, but, no matter what, you will always be able to find common ground.

You will always have those unbroken ties of friendship that are bound by time, promises, oaths, plans, and activities that cannot be undone. So much has been invested into the relationship by both parties, that there is an unspoken bond that has formed with the passing of time. There are very few people who I would drive 500 miles for, but the friend I ran into today is one of them. Some of my most cherished memories are intertwined with him in some way, shape, or form. I would not be the man I am today without him, and I am sure the same is true for him. I am so grateful that I was able to see him again. You never know when people come into or out of your life.

Make sure to stay present in every moment, and with whoever you are surrounded by. Time is like a flowing river, in the sense that we will never feel the same water ever again after it passes. We must continually seek to be fully present in each and every moment. The good and the bad. We must fully immerse ourselves into the deepest depths of experiences. Maximize our sensations in order to someday bypass them, with the complete understanding that they are all one and the same in this infinitely variable symphony of life. Tell the people that you love that you truly do today. You never know…this might be the last chance you get to. Onwards and upwards. – Taylor Richard Cook

17-0 Barnburner

17-0 in lacrosse is the approximate equivalent to losing by 70 in basketball, 7 in soccer, 5 in hockey, or 10 in baseball. Approximately. Blowout. Annihilation. Drubbing. Worked. Crushed. Trampled. Routed. Defeated. Lost. We lost. We lost 17-0. And to be honest, it doesn’t bother me in the least bit. Because at the end of the day, every minute of lacrosse at the JV level is practice.

JV games are glorified practices. They’re essentially scrimmages. The record doesn’t count, nobody’s program is judged by their junior varsity, and essentially, as long as the players are getting better, then the time/interaction was valuable. Being on JV is the high school equivalent of a redshirt year in college. Nobody cares what you do until you’re on the big stage and competing. That’s what matters most. What can you do for our varsity over the course of the next four years?

I’ve already evaluated most, if not all of the players on our junior varsity. It’s a mixed bag. There are those who I could see making an impact in a year or two. There are those that may end up on varsity by the end of this spring. There are those that should end their career at the end of this season. Basically, my sole job for the year is to get them ready for varsity. The scores are meanningless, and our record is null and void. Developmental coaching is going to become the mantra for the season.

Overall, I think I stayed positive and it was a good learning experience for the team as a whole, including myself. We have a long way to go, but I’m going to do my best to make sure that each and every player has a fair shot at making the varsity squad during his career at Ryken. The program needs to return to its historic greatness, but, I’m not sure if we have the horses in the stables to do it. Only time will tell, and in reality, it’s only a game. I’m excited for the rest of the season. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Onwards and upwards. -Taylor Richard Cook

17% of 2019 has Vanished

And just like that, the first two months of 2019 are gone. March is here and struggling to bring Spring along with it. The birds sing of Spring’s approach, but the weather still whispers winter. A wintry mix precipitated into a cold, rainy morning, and as always my mental state mirrored it as would an opal. Our first scrimmage is this afternoon at home against Mount St. Joseph’s of Baltimore. It will be our first real test as a team, and I am interested to see how it plays out. I am a firm believer that 95% of games are won and lost before they begin…maybe even 99-100% depending upon whether or not you believe in free will or destiny.

My only hope is that we play hard, play fast, play smart, and play together. If we do those things, it will be a good day. I would love to push the tempo and play as fast as possible, but, it will largely depend on our ability to catch and throw and play efficiently. At the end of the day, it’s just a game in a long career of many games, and I have resolved to remain as calm, and emotionally evenly-keeled as possible this year. Yelling, screaming, and body language are theatrics, and theatrics only in my book. They change very little, and may actually be counterproductive.

I am going to be as enthusiastic, encouraging, and motivating as I possibly can be this season. To me, if I can manage to do that, and the kids get better and have a lot of fun while doing it, then I have done my job and the season has been a success. I’m looking forward to an exciting Spring of lacrosse, and I can’t wait to spend some time in balmy weather with friends and family. Winter has played itself out, and Mother Nature needs to give the people what they want. Give us Spring, and give it to us fast and with full-force. Thanks. Make sure you’re making the most of your time this year. It may be your last. Onwards and upwards. – Taylor R Cook