The one about celebrity worship

Pro Ultimate is a weird phenomenon. Scratch that. The entire sport is a weird phenomenon. It’s hard to explain to people that aren’t involved in the sport.

One of my favorite things about it is these “homegrown” stars, the guys at the top of the stat sheets, who everyday are pushing and pushing for this thing that they are passionate about, while juggling school, work, family problems, significant others, and myriad of other issues.

This weekend, we were up in Valpo for a scrimmage, and some of the guys on the other team were giving their captain grief for “being in love” with our captain. I mean who could blame him, Travis is a fantastic athlete. He’s a great guy and amazing at what he does. And I understand why people randomly come up to him (or us) at tournaments and say that they love his Callahan video, or they saw him at some tournament.

It’s so funny to see people like that, when its someone you actually know. Like, he can sky the crap out of anyone on the field, but NEVER follow him on a roadtrip cause he follows the GPS and still gets lost. His no-looks can shred a defense in a few seconds, but it takes him a good 30 seconds longer than anyone else to get a joke. He lays out fearlessly on defense and offense, and he is the most patient person I have ever met.

Playing with guys like Travis and Cameron Brock and Joey Cari, men who stand at the top of stat sheets, is such a humbling experience. Its so awesome to get to know them and their lives and struggles, and getting to share a passion with them is an incredible experience. I’m thankful for these moments and the chance I’ve had to get to know the men at the roots of (what we hope) is the next great worldwide sport.


No, this is Patrick!

I got to spend some quality time with a few of my teammates this weekend. Two or three of us spent basically the entire weekend together, going to Dirty Dan’s, watching Lord of the Rings, jamming to some sweet licks… It was a lot of fun. It’s funny, being part of a team like this, because you’re kind of obligated to hang out with each other when no-one else is around. Like, you do friend-type activities without actually being friends, but along the way you realize that these people are so awesome and you end up becoming best friends.

Then last night I did something stupid.

We had a couple of inside jokes after the weekend, and since I was around those people again, I brought up my favorite one. It’s directed at one of the guys and inherently embarrassing, but I had to go and make it worse. Another teammate and his girlfriend were with us at the time and neither of them knew what was going on and they started asking questions and yeah, it was a train wreck. At the time, I didn’t even realize how bad it was, but later, he mentioned how embarrassed he’d been.

So I texted him later and apologized for being insensitive and he replied and was honest about how he felt and forgave me. We’ve moved on. I felt so old and mature and still so foolish though. Foolish for what I did, but mature for how I handled it.

For a long time, I’ve been trying to get a handle on what maturity is. I think there’s a lot to be said for how well we maintain relationships. My teammate and I spoke honestly about what happened and moved on.

My sister and I had a phone conversation the other day, wherein we discussed something that we were both pretty passionate about. Opposing sides, of course. And we had to keep saying things like “No, you’re right, I should have worded that better,” or “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for that to make you feel that way.” Guys let me tell you, this is about a thousand times better than how we used to argue.

It’s been a while, but in one of my classes we talked about development and how kids can only see from one perspective. Empathy is a learned skill, and it takes a long time to acquire. I think even through our teen years, even when we ‘know’ how a person feels, we still don’t connect that to our actions. We have to come to the point of “My actions had this effect on you, and made you feel this way, which made you act this way.” Not to say that everything is our own fault, but the older we get, the more we see similarities between ‘their’ situation, and our situation.

I think the maturity looks different from day-to-day. Some days it means shutting the door and finishing a paper, and other days it means seeking and finding forgiveness. It’s putting an arm around a brother who is hurting, and also singing out loud if a song is stuck in your head. It’s recognizing when your sweet potato crepes didn’t turn out the way you planned and making something new up on the fly.

So I’m proud to announce that I’ve matured a little bit. Leveled up. Still not ready for the boss level, though.


“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”
Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet


A little bit of control

I’m not lazy, I swear I’m not. I just really appreciate what my brother says about music.

Music is so hard to capture. I suppose that’s part of its beauty and appeal. But it can be frustrating for me at times.

Let me explain.

When I get bored in a class, I often find myself writing down whatever is floating through my head. Sometimes it’s a saying I’ve heard recently. Sometimes it’s a memory. Sometimes (if it’s this one particular class and this one particular professor, and everybody else in that class knows exactly who I’m talking about) it’s a series of slightly snarky remarks about the class time that day.

More often than not, though, I’m writing down song lyrics. I like doing this, because I find that music, and particularly words set to music, communicates something beyond mere words that prose alone can’t carry.

But music also frustrates me at times. You see, there is no way to make music tangible. You hear a rhythm and a melody, and it captures your imagination. But what do you do with it?

I hear some of you going, ‘just sing the song! Duh, Noah!’ That makes sense. Except it doesn’t work when you’re sitting in the back of a classroom. There is simply no way to translate the sound, the effect, the feeling of music onto a sheet of paper. You try writing down the sensation of listening to the Hallelujah Chorus. It’s impossible.

… Music is good. Music is fun. Music provides a unique language. Have you ever been in a situation where you just couldn’t find the right words to describe something that you were feeling, but something about the way a certain song blended words and music communicated your feeling perfectly?

I’ve been in situations where I’ve felt like something is just too big for words. That’s where music comes in. Music bridges the gap between our mind and our spirit.

I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately, music of my own choosing. Not like when you’re road tripping and you listen to whoever’s phone is plugged in. Playlists that I’ve created for a certain mood or a certain time. I’ve slowly been discovering the magic that comes when I listen to MY own music. Sure, I like the music that everybody else plays, but choosing specific songs because of my mood lets me feel in control of at least some small things.

Some days, that’s all you need.

Last night I had my study music came on and I was skipping past a few songs that I’d heard already and I ran across some Enya and for the first time in my life, I was actually feeling like listening to some Enya. Yesterday was really stressful. The good kind of stressful, that comes from a balance of good things and bad things, and a strong deficit of sleep. And somehow in those moments, Twenty|One|Pilots is always the right answer. Always. I think there’s something about their music that doesn’t force me to be cheerful and happy, like a lot of pump-up music, but doesn’t let me wallow in the crap, either. It’s very realistic.

Music and writing both bridge the gap between my mind and my spirit. Sometimes, it just gets clogged up in our heads and takes us a while to get it out there.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” – Flannery O’Connor

An Average Wednesday Night

Sometimes writing is a huge leap of faith. Like tonight. I committed myself to blogging every week, and tonight, I haven’t a clue what to write about. But no matter, I have to open a blank page and see what comes out.

This is what the title of my blog refers to: when words just kind of come flying out and I take a step back to see if they make any sense, to see if there are any hidden patterns.

I got a test back yesterday that I did really well on. Like, really well. Almost aced it (thank you, gratuitous extra credit.) And I had a test today that I kind of didn’t study for and part of me was riding my emotional high from the test I’d gotten back and I convinced myself that I was invincible. That tests would never again be a problem for me. Just like in the story books, today’s test rolled around and was easy as pie. Seriously. Reinforcing my procrastination and infallibility are we, fates? Cool.

One of the strongest thoughts that I had today was that if the Minion movie doesn’t live up to the wildly high expectations I have of it, my life is going to be really hard for a few days.

A guy from IWU died in a terrible accident over the weekend, and the past few days have been pretty somber and quiet. It’s such a small school that everyone at least had “heard of” him, and many people had actually known the guy. I’d had class with him last semester and for our class final, we had to act out a script that someone else had written. He and I were the two leads of one of the skits and we won the extra credit prize for best performance. It’s such a weird and random connection.

There’s a lot of pain right now. Not in my life, but in the people around me. It’s hard to watch.

And then in other people’s lives, there have been new nieces and nephews and grand-kids and it’s so hard to understand. Sometimes, I don’t know if I believe that “all things work together for the good….” I don’t think God is watching us, going “Yup, you did that right, you love me. Okay, I’m going to make this all better for you.”

Maybe that’s a little contrived.

I think it’s more like its us living by the spiritual and natural laws that He created for us, that He imbued with Himself. I know it kind of sounds like simply following a formula, but I see beauty in that way of thinking. It seems more timeless and constant, not as arbitrary. It’s something I’m still deeply considering.

This short film is super cool, to me. I think it embodies the Spirit of the Game, something that people who don’t play or watch Ultimate don’t often pick up on. It’s not just a game; it’s about taking ownership of something important to you.

“And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” – Nick (Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald)