Archive for November, 2012

J is for the Jazz

Before confusion sets in let me say the Jazz is not Jazz music. While I do enjoy all types of music this is about a different kind of Jazz.

Jersey, Cleats and Nostalgia

I played for the Jazz from 1996-2002, ages 8 to 14. That is a lot of time in kid years. Soccer was my life when I was growing up. It was my identity.

There are many memories, some more vivid than others, that are stirred up as the fall weather makes its appearance. There were the countless hours I spent in my dad’s Saturn driving to games all over Jersey. The myriad of tournaments we played in, where often the highlight of the day was getting to eat junk food, a hot dog wrapped in tin foil and a can of coke. There was the breakaway on a rainy day where I shot the ball and promptly slipped on to my back in the mud. As I spun around and stared at the gray sky I remember hearing the cheers from the sidelines. As soon as I heard it I knew my shot had found the net. It was like a scene from a movie.

I’m thankful for all the things being on a team taught me. The value of practice, perseverance, responsibility, teamwork, self-control, graciously winning and losing, and the list goes on. I’m still learning many of those lessons.

I’m especially thankful that my father was the assistant coach for all those years. It didn’t occur to me until a few years after I played my last game how lucky I was to have him there (even when he drove me crazy). He sacrificed time and energy to be at all the games (and many practices). I wish I could tell him how much it means to me now but, I guess the best thing I can do is do the same for my own kids someday.


I is for Ithaka

Killarney National Park on Bike The first time I heard C.P. Cavafy’s Ithaka was at my father’s memorial service. My mom chose it, as I recall, because it was a poem my father admired. It was fitting for the man he was, a man who viewed life as a journey, whose reward was the journey itself. That is one lesson he passed on to me (and one I’m still trying to learn).

I come back to this poem often. It reminds me of the kind person I want to be, the kind of journey I wish to take and how at this very moment I am already on the road.

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

(Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard – Cavafy Archive)

Road to the Shore

H is for Home

Once again I am back at my 26 in 26 I started three years ago. I’m still working my way through the alphabet of things in my life that I am thankful for. Maybe by the time I’m 30 I’ll reach the end of the alphabet.

Sending Letters From Home

Home. If we are lucky home is a word associated with good feelings. Most of my life home has been a small suburb of New Jersey.

Jersey is home to the cul-de-sac I ran up and down during my childhood summers and distant memories of countless skinned knees and scars. It holds the foundations of  the schools whose halls I walked for 13 years. The lessons of the teachers that changed me. It is filled with the fields I played hours of soccer on and all the goals, fouls, wins and hard fought losses that go along with them. The bridge I had my first kiss and the cafeteria of my first dance. The roads I spent countless hours driving nowhere in particular with my friends. The final resting place of my father and the garden he grew.

I was very fortunate to grow up in a good home. With cousins who lived two houses down from me, best friends who lived three down and grandparents who lived  just a few more miles away.

Even though I live in Virginia now and consider it my home, Jersey will always be where it all began. Its soil holds the roots of my story.

Yellow & Red

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