formerly Kamera To My Eye

28 January 2018

is this thing on?

is this thing working?

28 August 2012

Maine teachings.

I am a product of my own luck.

I am a product of the family I did not choose, but love ever more for.

I am a product of the teachers who molded me, mindlessly or deliberately.

I am a product of the friends who supported me, without doubt.

I am a product of the mountain I love, tall and proud and beautiful.

I am a product of the love that I sow, certain only in it's means.

I am a product of the professors who rejected my second best, but showed me my best.

I am a product of the science I know to be truth, in harmony with the natural world.

I am a product of my alma-mater, tried and true and of its own.

I am a product of chance and happenstance, and knowing when to leap.

I am a product of sacrificing nothing worth keeping, and keeping nothing worth sacrificing.

I am a product of today and yesterday, and tomorrow will be better for it.

I am a product of a chance roll, and a calculated move.

I am a product of my own luck, and nothing else.

03 March 2012

I want it so bad, it's the first thing I see when I wake.

My Morning Jacket is playing in my headphones. I'm so excited for tomorrow. I haven't looked forward to a day as much as this in a very long time. That nervous, sick-to-your-stomach feeling I get just before I arrive is addictive. How it disappears as soon as I see that smile. Those eyes. Oh my. Those eyes.

Tomorrow is special because its another day where I get to be luckier than I deserve, luckier than I could imagine.

The scenic route isnt always the right route, but sometimes it's your route. I think we'll take the scenic route tomorrow. No need to rush, no need to take the expected road. I'm long since done with the highway masses. The journey is the destination. At least it is for me. I could not care less what's in store at the end--in the middle of Ohio. I only care about the puzzle pieces, the the building blueprints, the GPS' constant "recalculating"'s time to switch it up. Change the pitch up.

How you gonna throw a shut-out if all you do is bitch?

Onward and upward and toward.

17 January 2012

the future is fine by me

some land holds a home
some of my years only hold me to Rome
but I tell myself its true
you see a home you see a man
you see it too

and I say don't you know you have her
go on kiss her now you boy

I got wise and I got old 
not once, not once did I fall 
so dont you now

I got wise and I got old 
not once, not once did I fall 
so dont you now

blind pilot - new york

04 January 2012

where the grass is dyed

joe was born in new york city, son of paul and catherine
always down and always out,
but his 'morrows always seemed just fine
there will be bigotry and there will be open minds
there will be days of peace; you'll never have the time
as long as you keep a straight face,
i will be there when you die
i was born in east kentucky, home of where the grass is dyed
always down and always out,
but my 'morrows always seemed just fine
there will be bigotry and there will be open minds
there will be days of peace you'll never have the time
as long as you keep a straight face,
i will be there when you die.

06 November 2011

My Beautiful Game

If I could go back. That's an interesting question posed to me the other day. It turned into a long and well-visited topic, and at the end I had a unintended, unexpected satisfaction. It wasn't necessarily about any one thing at first, but all the little things in life that would have changed not only who you are but what you'd become. It ended up not really being about education, science or medicine. It was about a game.

The Beautiful Game Was My Calling Afterall.

I tell people all the time when they ask, "yeah, I played for 16 years. I loved it, but I just fell out of love with the game". Is that true though? How does the one thing you spent doing in your life the very most just fall by the way-side? I'm pretty sure it doesn't. Well, not really anyways. I obsessed over soccer when I was a kid. I stopped playing baseball, as a perennial All-Star in my league since it couldn't quench my thirst quite like soccer. I was the only 12 year old I knew who actually knew what the EPL and a league table were. Who knew that the Spurs were an awful, terrible atrocity and that being a Gooner was a divine-right. That Thierry Henry was magical and I didn't think anyone could be as incredible as that Frenchman. Except for Dennis Bergkamp of course; but that goes without saying.

I played Y-league as a kid, ventured into regional clubs in middle school, played for the middle school team (god, we were awful) where I reinforced the friendship of my longest and most important friendship of my life and made one of the most important friendships, both of which are still so important to me. From there I played high school football where I met my first true test as not only a player, but as a person when I was benched and downtrodden my first season. My ass was kicked in practice, in training in being coached about every little detail of my game. Rarely seeing playing time, but putting out as much effort in not only practice but training I became very frustrated in the lack of respect and acknowledgment. I was young and dumb. I should reiterate that: I was dumb. I was young. I was young and dumb. It all culminated in the Regional's. Playing against arch-rivals Ashland Independent, we had imploded in the game and were down 6-0 with (I'm pretty sure less than this, but I'm being conservative) 40 seconds left on the clock. My coach turned to myself and a few others and said we were going in. It was a cold, rainy miserable October night and I was warm, angry and young and dumb. I told him, "No."

"Are you serious?" He said with an anger I'd never seen. "What you don't want to get dirty?"

"Nope." I said, and he sent someone else in my stead.

I knew it was fruitless, I knew I could make absolutely no difference and the simple fact that he told me to go in and play was more an insult that said, "I'm putting you in just to say I put you in, but you're not worthy to play". But I couldn't have been further from the truth. Some of my teammates lauded me (the coach was a real hardass--but a great coach nonetheless), others didn't say anything. I felt vindicated, but I know years later I was furthest from being on that team the moment I said no. I was a bystander. Selfish and inward looking, I wanted to put on the pitch, not to have to earn it.

The next year, that coach was gone and I was excited to start the season with the assistant coach taking the maestro seat. I had a good relationship with him. Jorge Serrano. He had played in the minor league in Mexico and had a tremendous amount of respect from all of us on the team, never mind his genuine and caring report he had with us. He nitpicked, he pushed, he had the format to get us all into shape and win. That season, sure enough, I made first-team and officially started in my favorite position. Sweeper. I loved it more than center back, full back and even midfield. I was the last line of defense literally to protect my Keeper. I relished it. We did alright that year and the next, but it was never any marquee moments like we had in beating Russell in Districts my first year. I remember another drawn out period of boneheadedness from myself my Junior year where I had gotten "clever" so I thought, and taken a simple, but effective trick from watching pros, in which you use the outside of your foot as your primary passing tool. Instead of the fundamental upper inside 2/5ths of the boot, I would hit a ball from the upper 1/3rd of my outside foot. It was quick, defenders and strikers couldn't react as quickly, and I'll be damned if my passing was better than 40% those first few games. But, I knew it worked. Well, would work with more experience. It culminated in practice where after imploring my to stop, and being patient, my coach said, "if you use your outside one more time you're going to run 20 laps for each pass". At the end of practice we'd always scrimmage. We'd be worn out, tired and huffing to put in game-worthy effort as that was what coach expected from us. I honestly don't know what happened, I don't remember feeling rebellious--I think I was genuinely doing it out of habit, I used my outside and it was a perfect pass that led to a goal not 5 minutes after the final warning from coach. I was ecstatic! It's a perfect technique! "AARON! 20 LAPS AND YOU BETTER HUSTLE. GO!"

WHAT!? But I just had a beautiful assist. Imagine that in the game!

Needless to say, that was the last time I ever had to do 20 laps for an outside boot pass. I learned right then that coach is chief and if he doesn't think I am capable then he knows better than me. I remember my senior year, he spent time with me at the beginning of the season to teach me clever, quick and efficient passing moves. One of which was proper outside boot passing. I just wasn't ready the year previous.

Probably three-fourths of the way through my Junior season, coach elected to move me to center-back. We played an effective diamond defense. A sweeper in front of keeper (my beloved position), a right and left fullback who played in tandem, and a stopper who, in my case, was expected to play a more defensive midfielder role. I won't lie, at first I was very excited. I wanted to play midfield. For all my love of defense, I wanted to play box-to-box, to have goal scoring opportunities...I wanted what deflecting a certain goal out of your own net couldn't give you. Deflecting a certain goal into the other teams net. So I took it as a promotion. That's what it was meant to be, he knew I wanted midfield action. Here's the thing. When you play sweeper--defense in general--for the better part of 10 years you have some...let's say...growing pains when you move to a more offensive role, even as a defensive midfielder. I couldn't grasp that unlike a sweeper in which you play the middle 25-30 yards centered right in front of keeper and never going further up than your fullbacks, and how fullbacks play the same 25-30 yards but on their respective "halves", a stopper--a midfielding stopper--plays the full width of the pitch. Providing support, passing lanes and pressure for your full-backs, midfielders and pushing all the way up to the opposition box. So for what felt like 10 games straight, my coach would yell at me and only me from the sideline, "AARON! GET OVER HERE!", "AARON! HELP TYLER!", "AARON! GET BACK! GET BACK!", "AARON! CLOSE HIM DOWN!" I was frustrated. No I was helpless. I couldn't understand where I should be, when I should be there and what I should be doing. Should I be pressing the offense? Running for the defense? I literally learned by trial and error and endured plenty of benchings in that period while my coach would stand next to me and explain where I should be running and on what cues. I finally got it, and I when I got it, I really got it. I never got a goal, but I did have chances. I was just glad to be learning. It felt good to finally let yourself be coached.

My senior year was truly special. The most fun I ever had playing the game and truly the most inspired year I ever played. There were 10 of us seniors that year, and we were all first-team. 10 seniors, and a sophomore keeper. We had it all. I was best friends with the entire team and our chemistry was such that I don't think many teams anywhere could hope to have. We returned our best player who had burnt out the previous year, added players who had never played but were well deserved to be on the pitch. I remember that game of my life well. It was without a doubt a man of the match performance. We were hosting South Point. They were good. Not great, but they would threaten strongly even at home. I was playing Sweeper to start the game and from the early minutes had found my match-up in a bright-blonde haired jerk-off. He was physical and I found myself being pushed, knocked and ribbed the entire game. In the first half, there were two completely wide-open net shots by South Point, one by the jerk-off in which the Keep hadn't come far off his line to deflect the ball. I remained in the goal to play a half-keeper in those situations. Twice the ball was either far to my right or nearly above my head, but I was able to deflect both of those certain goals. I remember the elation from my Keeper--thanking me for saving what he couldn't. I was jacked-up. I was pumped. As the game progressed, that blonde-haired asshole stepped up his game and ribbings. I was moved to midfield to match up with him better. After all the pushing my coach began to tell me to give it back to him if the ref wasn't going to call anything. So I did. I pushed, I knocked, I played as dirty as he had set the bar, but no further. Finally, we were jarring at each other. Mouthing off, calling each other names, getting in each others heads. It was truly a duel. I wasn't letting him score, not even taking a shot. Nearing the end, I had the ball and the field in front was open on their half. I ran with it, looking for a pass. Sure enough, he was on me, kicking my ankles but no calls and eventually he wrestled the ball after I couldn't take another shot to the shin or ankle. I ran after him and in return for a knock a few minutes earlier that sent me literally flying, I took aim off a tackle on the ball and slammed into him like hockey player slamming another into the wall. He flew. Like a graceful sack of shit he was. He yelled, pleaded the ref. The ref extended both arms. "Play on."

Game, set, match. Me. We won the game. And just like every other player you hated after a game in high school, we ignored each other in the post-match shake. I was proud of myself. For what, though? Well, for starters, serving an asshole his own medicine. That game on I was a different player. I had confidence, strength and much thicker skin.

Was it a successful year? Sure. We won. We won a lot, but we failed to even move past Districts. I remember my final game. I remember the final whistle vividly. Walking back to the bench--no, dragging myself to the bench--I sat by my bag. Looked at everything around me and thought, "it's finally over". I had become burnt out on the game. I had no plans of playing into college. No plans. When I went to college that next year on academics only, I happened to meet the men's team coach and he struck up conversation with me. He took a liking to me, I told him what I played, if I thought I was any good ("Oh, I'm alright, but nothing great at all." I undersell myself a lot) and he pleaded with me to come out to practice. "Just come out and see if you like it, no pressure. You might like the guys." Truth is, I regret not putting more effort into it in high school, really learning to play midfield in addition to defense as I wanted, getting a scholarship somewhere bigger and better where I'd have to earn it all over again and maybe, just maybe, making a career out of it. As Andy Gray always says after a missed shot, "You won't win the raffle if you don't buy a ticket."

So, did I ever go?

"Nope." Maybe I didn't want to get dirty. Maybe I just made the wrong choice. Either way, though, I'm in as good of a position that I could have ever hoped. Wrong choices don't lead to wrong outcomes, they only lead to a regret. After all, it's impossible to avoid those. And maybe I don't really regret it since one should have no regrets. Maybe I just miss soccer on a real team outside of playing the occasional game. I'll always have soccer. That's my one true passion.

11 September 2011

No Children

photo Aaron Fidler

And I hope when you think of me years down the line
You can't find one good thing to say
And I'd hope that if I found the strength to walk out
You'd stay the hell out of my way