Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

Inside Out

When you shared a heritage, or a culture. And then the attempt to pass on that culture. In the stories. The sense of belonging. The language which conveyed a sense of belonging. To a group of people. To pass on, in like the eggs.

The eggs had been forgotten at the Seder. I got a call from the hostess of the Seder dinner who mentioned one oversight last Tuesday. About the eggs.

The symbol of creation had been forgotten? Like a good teacher, she wanted me to know about the importance of the hard boiled eggs, at the Seder.

This week I had heard an author who was a winner of the 2009 National Book Award speak. The book was Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice. I never got to ask why the title, Twice Towards Justice. Phillip Hoose reminded me of the retired sixth grade teacher that I curl with. There was a sensitivity present in a voice that Hoose was trying to communicate. The morning after, I found an old interview where he told Willie Perdomo his purpose in writing is to go in search of a voice to be heard, which never really had been listened to before. Claudette Colvin, as a teen-ager was thrust into the spotlight of the “separate but equal” world of the American South. In an old interview, Hoose told a National Book Award interviewer, Willie Perdomo, that he had once heard complaints of a young student who objected that in the study of history there were no people her age in the stories which made her feel so “invisible,” as though she did not, would not, qualify as a real person.

As he discussed Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice, I recognized a Southern perspective from those times about just another carpetbagger, this one from Yale one hundred years later, telling a society about what was wrong with it, as he tried to profit as an author. What good was it for someone from New England to preach about racial intolerance in a part of the world that he was never a part of?

There was a sensitivity present in a voice, but it was more the perspective that interested me. The subject of the book had turned down his request four consecutive years to sit down and tell her tale. With a developed sensitivity to preserve habitats from his job on staff at The Nature Conservancy, Hoose said in a National Book Award interviewer that extinction often was on my mind, as he writes books. In the National Book Award interview, Hoose said that his motivation to write about Claudette Colvin, a complete stranger, involved a danger of her story being totally erased from history. Well, I was not so sure that there was a need for an eraser, since most of the people alive more than fifty years later never had heard the story which “often is told incompletely in unflattering comparison to Rosa Parks.” A more honest appraisal of his motivation seemed to be found in Hoose’s description of his youth in Indiana, a state where he said the Klu Klux Klan dominated the Republican Party. And life in Indiana, in his perspective, was never much different in those day from Alabama.

When you shared a heritage, or a culture: He wrote to inspire an audience to forestall species extinctions. The one with the echo of an inner hollowness of death. Or the aching involved to get out –of an egg. When your freedom was restricted. Or in the pain of childbirth. And then the pain of getting what was inside out for any child. And species extinction always involved fertility.

One of Hoose’s first books was about his cousin, Don Larsen, who had pitched a perfect game in the 1956 World Series for the New York Yankees. I was aware that Larsen had died in the past 12 to 24 months. I was about to read a few of Hoose’s books. To find more about his attempt to pass on that culture. In the stories allegedly about dealing with loss, to forestall species extinctions. The Claudette Colvin story was about an imperfect world, man-made, about a system set up to forestall the extinction of a way of life, in one part of the country. In his attempt to pass on a culture, in the stories which conveyed a sense of belonging –in the language which conveyed a sense of belonging — I am not so sure that the author yet understood how this opus fit into the shelf with his other books. Except about being invisible in a world, when the subject seemed to revere an invisibility with her move to New York City after living in the spotlight during her teen-age years. After having sacrificed her invisibility, over a way of life, which put her own life in jeopardy. Over a cause, until her own young pregnancy, to forestall species extinctions. Gravida One, as one response. One strong response, about the injustice in the world. When Rosa Parks had a “natural gravitas” and was an “inherently impressive person,” said David Garrow, the author of Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

About the eggs. Yeah, the eggs had been forgotten at the Seder. Maybe a bit like Claudette Colvin was forgotten. I am not sure the author grasped the whole story, with a bit of quiet fear in his one reference to her pregnancy, in the time after her arrest, in the conflict of public life with private life. Especially in those times. About the subject not wanting this book written until after she had retired from her job at a Catholic hospital. The story which somehow involved the eggs. The woman who, nine months before Rosa Parks, had been the real incubator of the protest over segregation on the Montgomery bus system.
Copyright © 2011.


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Holy Thursday

In the Judeo-Christian tradition the first part of the Great commandment was about knowing God.

Knowing God. It was April. When the clash of systems was all around. Of winter with spring. Of death with life.

The restlessness theme. About trying to do something. Like a baby trying to communicate something. Or like King Lear. At the end of life. Somehow restless to communicate something to my God. The restlessness was not about a low battery. I was not tired. Sleep issues could be a factor in underlying health issues, which might involve the human soul.

Restless discomfort. In restless April.

I once was seated on an airplane bound for someplace in the Dakotas, next to a man who claimed to have been reborn. I had a feeling of restlessness, listening to him try to explain his own internal weather pattern. I was fortunate enough to have been born into a tradition which I had always accepted as my own. But if somehow you were Rip Van Winkle and had slept through the past twenty years, you might have missed some of the pain of the institutions carrying God. If you were of the Irish Catholic tradition, that beast of burden, carrying God. With all the clash.

I am trying to enjoy my worship in English in the present, of this special liturgical year. For the last time, as I witnessed a certain death of the words of Vatican II, at the hands of the man in charge of the Congregation of Divine Worship. Though mostly I am in awe of the selections chosen week in and week out, the combination of the Old Testament reading with the Gospel, chosen by someone in the Congregation of Divine Worship. I was struck however by the translations provided in the reading this week, which to my ear sounded as a wrong note. Maybe because of my own growing distrust of the man in charge of the Congregation of Divine Worship who will be changing the way my own congregation prays come December. In the English translations. So maybe that was what caused my ear to question the translation. For example: “And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?”

And the crowds replied: “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

There was the repetitive theme, as mentioned in the Gospel of Mark: “Then Jesus said to them: ‘”All of you will have your faith shaken…”

The pain. Generation after generation, viewing your own family deal with their relationships. With the screaming fear. Over me. A father, viewing your own progeny deal with relationships, like the one I once had. In Asia. At the time with the 1.5 billion people of Asia, where one billion lived in poverty. That April in the Philippines. It took me a few years to discover the unstated distrust of me. When a westerner stayed in western hotels. When a young Asian women tried to explain her distrust of people who lived lavish lives. When so many people were suffering. And because of this, she had wanted no part of me. When so many other deceitful relationships abound in a nation torn apart by all the pain. Of poverty. When illness of one was a financial setback for everyone. In a world without a safety net, of life insurance, of health insurance. And then I recently saw a rebroadcast of an old interview with Amy Chua on C-span. She was born in the Philippines but of Chinese lineage, in a family for that part of the world quite well-off. In the book she was promoting, she told the story of how the Filipino driver of her aunt opened fire, killing her aunt. The Filipino maids in the house knew of his intent but never stopped him. It was the divide in this culture of the native born poor, with the ethnic Chinese of some wealth. It was the same April clash.

After an afternoon an evening of great restlessness, as I searched yesterday online for the right tires to purchase as I planned to remove my snow tires this week, I went to bed last night . I happen to start a new day with thought about this restlessness. A restlessness, not unilike a baby’s, but in no way connected to issues of sleep. Or even about tires. With so much uncertainty about the world. An inner restlessness like that found between the lines of Shakespeare’s King Lear. At life’s end. Like I had witnessed in the April of my grandfather’s eighty-eighth year. When a child or an old man was still trying to communicate something. Trying to get traction. Maybe about a spiritual direction.

I have this friend in the pest control business who likes to call me in the first hour when I get up, on his way to work. During what happens to be a sacred part of my day. Morning after morning, of late, I get up on fire, ready to write. With passion. And calls about the world and its problems extinguish my own inner fires.

On Palm Sunday, there is pain and discomfort in most of the readings. With the key roles played by a servant of the high priest who gets his ear cut off — with mention in ordinary time of the three times the voice of God was heard instructing the people to “Hear him,” when it came to Jesus. Before the blessing of the palms, the Gospel is read at the start of Mass, with a description of a beast of burden, carrying God, much like a religion has provided the transport in my own life. Mostly there is the discomfort in the reading from Isaiah: “The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary, a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning, he opens my ear that I may hear.”

All the pain in the readings, about Passover. The readings on Palm Sunday, Psalm 22, a psalm of David. The reading of Isaiah, about a land with so many other forgotten prophets – the one before the translation of the Passion in the Gospel of Matthew which seemed to me to miss the traditional words. That beast of burden, carrying God. The reading focused on, with recognition of, the beast of burden — and only that beast of burden, carrying God.

In Judaism, the first commandment was simply, “I am the Lord, your God.”

With all the ensuing prophets who suffer for what they know. David asking his question, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

In a world with the always present innate Fear of the Lord, the pain and suffering which went with being God. The pain of being Father. The pain and suffering of being the Messiah. And the pain of being chosen. In a relationship.

Like in springtime. When the clash of systems was all around. Of winter with spring. An acceptance of pain, with a few days left of consideration of some self-inflicted pain in genuine alms-giving. When the conflict in the story was over the perception of a Messiah by the religious leaders at the time. The clash of power, of the human with the divine. And my own growing distrust of the man in charge of the Congregation of Divine Worship, and about his boss.

Generation after generation, the pain, the loneliness in being God. All the Jewish participants in the story of my own tradition….Peter, James, John, Judas. Every single one of them , with their differing points of view in the story, concerning the proper way to respond. To such speed of the unraveling. The painful witness which all began “riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”

When Judaism had been what had always been the transport of the one-true God, with some human expectation of a messiah.

The Seder

Tuesday this goy was invited to a Seder dinner, as a family tries to comprehend their own tradition and its meaning in their own lives, in the reality show called daily life, with the movement in the story – the movement in the story of Passover and Jews. What did it mean, this Jewish identity? With your DNA, within this creation, you were related to Him, in your image and likeness?

How can you know God, without understanding Judaism? Tuesday night I learned about the customs of a Seder dinner, in removing all leaven from a home – and maybe all the other things which inflate the egos in the rest of the year – in preparation for this day. That preparation had taken the host’s father seven days, in the old days, in removing the leaven from his home. Recognizing an underlying spirituality, about the ego in the story of Moses, about being Chosen People – perhaps because of the issues of inflation and bubbles of our times – I recognized the underlying spirituality about Chosen People, taming their egos, sharing so much with the rest of the world. Part of the ritual of the dinner was to read of the origin of Jewish women and people “like us,” not, as told in Greek myth or like the story of Romulus and Remus in Rome, as a people descended from on high. And no Jew today believes the “When A Man Falls From the Sky” story. The first time. Someone choose your name. Look for all the humility in the story of shepherds, without the arrogance of Eve who thought, based upon where she landed, could ignore the law. In the “When A Man Falls From the Sky” story, like so many of the political leaders around the world, with the DNA of only Adam, the first human, like through the Inheritance. From the start, there was this sprinkled blood on the doorstep, as you let your God into your HOME … or in this case, a guest had dropped a bottle of red wine there, unexpectedly. When you married within the culture, with a tradition of blood in animal sacrifice.

With the always present issue of blood, in a living arrangement, as you marry someone within your tradition and passed a tradition on. You come to realize the continued existence of the tradition – your tradition – was up to you. As you made the discovery that the institution was somehow you. When you had somehow become the school, the temple…. the Chosen. You discovered the social meaning, in the age of social networking, when the conflict in the story was over more than shared belief, but shared blood.

The conflict in the story. With all of the movement in the stories comes the fear. And the primary fear was over fertility. Every fear concerning the next generation, about survival… and maybe the survival of tradition. Like the Passover story. When you go in Exodus, a bit uncertain when it came to your direction, after four hundred and some years in Egypt, and trying to get traction in the sand. In a certain involuntary cognitive state, and with high emotions over the intense unfairness in a system of slavery. But commanded with your life to know your God. With all the unknowns about would happen to the tradition, being caught in the desert. And all the emotions over survival… In Exodus.

The emotions of life over survival. Over the Promise Land, and your loved ones. In the Age of Divorce. Surrounded by other clans, which had such difficulty with concepts of union, in the your present day lives. And the primary fear was over fertility. In the earlier chapter.

Sarai. The laughter of Sarai, who needed a new name after the circumcision of Abram, in a scene which only Bob Newhart could try to explain. Over the phone. So because I always wanted to be a comedy writer:

Abraham, coming home after a long day at work, explaining circumcision to Sarah, at the age of 99 or 100. Like a Bob Newhart script, as Abram undresses.

“Uh, Abram. What’s eating you? You are moving kinda slow.”

“Well, I had minor surgery for something that had been causing me some trouble. “

“What is this word ‘surgery?’

“Well, I went under the knife.’


“Just outside Hebron. Away from the crowd. In a need for privacy.”

“No…I mean WHERE. Oh my God…. who did this to you?”

“I… um…. got circumcised yesterday.”

“You did what?”

“I am calling it a circumcision.”

“Really? Are you crazy? And who exactly did this for you?”

“I did it myself.”

“You? You? You can’t even fix the latrine. Why, in God’s name, did you do that? You know, we are gonna need new names after this, Abram. Both of us. New names.”

There had to be a reason for Sarai’s infertility…and Abram thought it was due to him? So with a certain pagan view of the world, he took extreme measures? Maybe to remove something that was coming between him and his wife. To live and communicate now unconditionally. When you knew something and wanted to leave to the world this knowledge. The knowledge that took if not a lifetime to acquire, at least 99 years.  When something had been missing.  Maybe when you were fertile.  Maybe missing in your own childhood, or in your own neighbors.  When something had been missing, and the plan then was to try it over.  This time with maybe some spiritual direction.  And maybe change, Norman Borlaug-like, the world.

The developing bonds. The lifelong challenge in the bond of a relationship. With the anguish that came to those who spent time trying to know, taking it to the deepest level within. And then creating something out of that knowledge. Before you died. Stories about the different levels of comfort, in relationship. When you wake up one day and hear that your wife wanted more in the relationship? And you did not have a clue what the heck she meant.

The movement in the unsettling stories. About Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The stories about the different levels of comfort, in relationship. Emotional stories about life and death. Over the Promise Land, and your loved ones. Stories generation after generation about fertility,about leaving and coming back, and death. Did you ever note the ages of Adam, Noah, or Seth? To recognize the anguish which came out of the search for God, and the attempt to get comfortable with each other. For eternity. When prophets climbed mountains, with all of the emotions in a relationship. Or in one dimensional relationships. Over the quality of union. Or not. When perhaps God had not been ready quite yet to be around Adam, Noah, Seth, forever.

Union. Enhancing connectedness. To this world. Developing a common point of view. Union. When there had been something missing in the union, if not my life. About an overall aim of the relationship, with a delicate balance between separate identity and a connectedness– when the going gets rough, to stay together.

Fertility. The emotions. Fear. Death. God. Coming to an acceptance of God, like the acceptance level a couple reaches with each other. “Lord, let me get on with my business. Because I am not fertile.”

And so the fertility of Sarah, at the age of 89 or 90. “Laughing” was the meaning of the name of her first born son. Like Eve, nothing ever belonged to Sarah of this creation until she had kids. And so the battle within for any woman, over pride, when she was yet to have kids, with a man who wanted the the old world back, after the banishment.

Like a nomad, navigating closeness, with a degree of cognitive love, beyond the involuntary cognitive and emotional state of intense romantic desire, when you were just for the most part unconscious … or really just trying to figure it all out. With American men too often just numb. When those neurons just did not feel the things we were supposed to, about the hard questions, beyond the involuntary cognitive and emotional state of intense romantic desire. For men too often just numb, about the hard questions, like greed. All men had it … some women. People throughout the world wanted to live like I had lived, like they saw in the movies. Greed fueled by media, for money and modern conveniences. Where It seemed there was not enough to be fairly divided.

SO after the public spectacle, for Eve and the apple, there was need for a wider audience. For Eve and her wider perspective about creation? Was there a need all along she felt to get out of the Garden? When nothing ever belonged to you of this creation until you had you firstborn child?

Passover. The unsettling story really more about the descendants of Sarai. With all of the work that went into this commemoration. The discomfort in the story about fertility. With the developing concept of sacrifice, of the best animal of the flock. Concepts over shared blood. Maybe why the blood of animals had been used in worship. To hear the story in Exodus, one year later, where the lamb was sacrificed and the people were to eat, “in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it.”

Keeping kosher. The anguish of keeping kosher. To recall the time during those four hundred and some years when virtually every aspect of daily life was connected to your life being a slave. With the sprinkled blood on the doorstep, when you let your God into your home. When you tried to keep things somehow sacred. With the always present blood, and issues of orders, when you marry someone within your tradition. With an origin of Jewish people “like us,” not, as told in Greek myth or like the story of Romulus and Remus in Rome, as a people descended from on high. With the tradition of blood in animal sacrifice, the so very personal commemoration of Passover as a vehicle to celebrate the very nature of God, and His work in the world. Through fertility.. . shared.

With all of the anguish. Maybe like childbirth. Or in the 613 orders related to keeping kosher. With all of the dishes and pots and pans. The sacrifice that comes trying to maintain a tradition. With a certain amount of discomfort if not pain. When you work all week and came home to prepare the Seder. The anguish in being Chosen People, generation after generation.

Passing it on.  The work of deliverance of the next generation. Nietsche wrote that the meaning in life, the memory of loved ones, is conveyed only through real stories about palpable heart-beating pain. Stories of deep love, of deep hate, with layers of suffering that would lie in memory forever. Great literature of a civilization was based upon such stories carrying a people, somewhere.

The unstated part of Passover, in the setting, if you were lucky enough to have inherited a tradition, is in this unsettling.The Call to leave!

The carrying, of a people, like the ones you were related to by blood. Measuring the progress, one generation to the next. Passover was the paramount generational thing, THE family thing, not just a family thing. In the beginning. The movement in the great unsettling story. With all of the first born dead, and the blood on the doorstep saved you. On the original Passover. After Moses asked the the Pharaoh, at the Lord’s stated request. “Let my people go to worship me.” With all of the firstborn dead, concerned about the unraveling of the next generation – the one which seemed to be losing hope, or looking to the identity of the dominant culture, like in the Egyptian world.

For Chosen People, and the fertility part of the story. Generation after generation, in stories about this inheritance, carrying a family somewhere — with a way of life –not so much as protection from the plagues, but about the solemnity of worship. To be deeply moved by worship by this God to whom you somehow were related. When children ask questions, to get things moving. To try and do right, generation after generation. With a certain anguish over knowing God. And to then try and do right, in virtually every aspect of daily life. Somehow carrying a burden of God, in a living tradition, with food. With a degree of anguish in being Chosen People, in trying to remain kosher, in the ever changing world. Not a story of survival, Passover was the story of freedom and salvation: how a people, in a story of first-borns for a people whose identity was repeated in the story of the first born sons of Abraham, of Isaac, were saved for history.

Passover. “And you shall tell your child,” …..about Passover and then this issue of inheritance. The reason why this night is different. Looking for meaning in it all.

The underlying tempo of movement, in all of these sacred stories, of the unsettling movement toward a freedom potentially as vast as all the stars in the solar system, against a conspiracy of the systems of the world they were born into. Children gradually learning to recognize a shame in living unquestioning lives. With memory of Passover conveying only through the personal anguish, the reason your were different. At one home defining Passover, the significance of a visible God and the significance – in bloodlines- of a Chosen People, to their God. And in the unsettling sacrifices freely given to this God.
Copyright © 2011.

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Looking for Meaning in Art

Tying it all together. Art. The power of art. The stated beauty in art. Like in the Pieta. With an intent to pass something on. Without words. To somehow move humanity forward, without words.

When you lost a generation. The excitement in recognizing the conflict in the story. To recognize the anguish which came out of the search. Wrestling with identity. TO move humanity forward.

Using words to try and get your arms around something. With the power of art.

Books and language and the future. Trying to understand each other. Telling stories, with such great themes. Through books and language and spirit and wisdom. On Opening Day, I was standing in Barnes and Nobles, grasping at the combination of sounds, into sentences, into paragraphs. Surrounded by all these books, not unlike all the stars in the sky, in the promise made by God to Abraham. About his descendants, and the stories thereof. The stories about the children of prophets. Stories of fertility and infertility. The parents who always thought and worried over their children and the choices of their children. If they had been blessed with children. On issues of birth, death, and fertility by the descendants of nomads. Because those children would one day have to go in search themselves. The movement in each story. The effort and study habits. That conflict written about in Genesis, which started in Chapter 2. About knowing God. The new struggle to know God. Once Eve and Adam had bit the apple. The struggle to keep in touch with God. For each generation. To move humanity forward. When we all were essentially cave men and cave women, going though different stages of learning. With all the the different stages of eating devices, and fire, and language. While learning a common tongue, to pass on whatever mental sharpness we had come to recognize on earth.

Dealing with insignificance, in a world with 7 billion people and you did not really know anyone. Because of the language barrier. The world with seven billion people, with one billion ideas per person. And the language of sex. The imperialism of the English language, imposed on another culture. Like the Irish. Or like Russian had been imposed in Czechoslovakia. Stealing something along the way. About the uniqueness about this part of the globe. Through the rag-and-bone shop of the heart. The emotions. Tying it all together.

Information. In the age of information, you could not get directory assistance at many companies. So more and more are headed in the wrong direction. In a world of domination and power. It was as if those alive had survived, based upon only their acuity and sharpness. Because of the greatness, for some, of the knowledge of past ancestors.

Language. Fertility and the future. The language of sex. Trying to understand each other. Trying to understand fertility, amid a population bubble. In the struggle to know someone. And the conflict in the story with other people and their one billion ideas.

Having to work to keep what your always had had. The artist taking something from the world outside, taking it to the deepest level within, and creating something out of it. When formal education was over. When my activity now, in my leisure or in my work, was somehow about finding my own goodness? To move humanity forward.

Attempting to grasp meaning. Over birthright and inheritance. Having sex. Again and again. When you were lucky, if you still were in a relationship. In a struggle of communication, with an authentic lover, over the deepest part of your being. Through the universal language of sex.

The choices of Chosen People. The anguish that came to those who spent time trying to know, taking it to the deepest level within, God. And then creating something out of it. To recognize the anguish which came out of the search for God. When you began, after a while, to recognize...God, beyond the beginnings and the ends.

The conflict in the story which started in Chapter 2. The excitement recognizing the conflict in the story. Over knowing God. Eve. Adam. Cain and Able. The conflict over who knew God the best. In a relationship. And the witnessing the same struggle in your kids.

To know, love, and serve. With passion. Measuring it all. Recognizing it all. When you poured your heart into everything, at a price.

Noah ibn Lamik ibn Mitoshilkh ibn Enoch ibn Yard ibn Mahlabil ibn Qinan ibn Anoush ibn Seth ibn', “‘'We see you but a man like ourselves.' " [Al-Qur'an 11:27]

The power of art. With an awareness of. The stated beauty, taking it to the deepest level, in art. When I prove my holiness through a medium. Like you. The descendants of Noah, these pastoral semitic-people with their related languages, dealing with significance, living in community. With all the ideas about immigration and population control. And this new kind of climate change. Church and state, in union with my neighbor – or not – trying to maintain authority to regulate goodness and evil, in which everyone had a stake.

“I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you.”


The Frozen Four

The Frozen Four. This week, as spring bloomed in North America, Saint Paul was sponsoring the NCAA Hockey Tournament. With moral relativism in sports on display.

Tradition. When what was left after the National Hockey League started signing your best young players, the American College Coaches’ Association changed the rules. About skating with a man advantage before the penalized team controlled the puck, and if a goal was scored, the penalty still would be assessed.

Moral relativism. When American college coaches changed the rules, to increase scoring. Highly creative people taught by new methods who had always tested better on “executive function” – with ability to adapt to changing and more complex problems. Why did the level of play seem lower than the last two times the tournament was here?

The lingering smell of past sports now which did not smell so good. Looking for the source of the bad smells. How did it get here? Where were you taking us?

Moral relativism, for future life success. Student-athletes, with unused eligibility, who had turned pro. Adapting to the changing world with changes in the rules. When the bigger, stronger, faster players signed early because of the new collective bargaining agreement of the NHL. There no longer were signing bonuses, so a kid had better turn pro now to get the three years of service to become eligible for free agency. Like number 25 on the Wolverine team who had not been to class in four weeks, because he was ready to sign a professional contract but his team had kept winning.

As institutions of high learning tried to contend with change. In online-learning. In online skating. Listening to the ‘Hail to the Victors’ fight song, the hymn song by present day students and alumni from one hundred years ago about what an institution meant, thinking about the rules changes. And the resulting fear among the American college coaches over what would be left of their game? Over what was left of this bigger, stronger, faster generation in college that could not score? But were not the best goalies also going pro?

As another season came to a close and the coaches headed for their meetings to address their “executive function” – about an ability to adapt to changing and more complex problems. Because the job of coaching in college has never been tougher. And where had T. S. Elliot done research to arrive at his conclusion that April was the cruelest month? Because it was not so easy to win a national championship. Even more so as the NHL took your best players early, like a war had once taken young soldiers lives.