The Coach and the Freshman – lessons in life.

 

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Unaware of the professional aspect of this game, I had played recklessly as a child, adolescent, teenager and young adult.  Walking down King Blvd to the liquor store – ironically named Sunshine Market in one of the darkest areas of the city.  Enquiring those older than me to assist with getting my equipment.  Midnight walks through my new neighborhood with my closest friend, bottles bats and gloves in hand – always playing.   At Temple, off-campus, religiously at the state store, preparing for the weekends.

 

Always used as an escape from reality, any excuse would be suffice to hit the field, have a good time and play.  My father took this route after playing in the minor league, hurt his knee and retired into this lifestyle.  My environment dictated that I would perpetuate this cycle.

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I’ve watched players before me, ushered onto the field, with various social titles, well-dressed and groomed, relished by their own cheerleaders,  only to have these same fans abandon them during their slumps; bodies worn out, retired, well past their prime from abuse trying to get back on their feet through anonymous programs.

It took decades for me to realize this was a professional industry, I turned to that channel by accident.  Realizing I had been playing this game, after several doubts and hesitation, I decided to go for try-outs to secure a spot on the varsity team, taking my name from one box with a glass ceiling and placing it in another which was as vast as the fields and vineyards on earth, only restricted by my own abilities.

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I entered this athletic program about two years ago, thinking that the third season would be my final before retirement, changing focus and starting again.  The coach, articulate, yet humble, provided me with a different perspective on the same game.  The same game, that I’ve always known, with an altered view of the field, the equipment, the rules and the players.

 

His role, inspiration that lead to motivation, unlike others is humbly whispered from experience – a participant, a student always learning – instructor – teacher – Master of his craft, the Wine.

Understanding that this league is much different than where I came from – empty lots, broken glass, tattered fields surrounded by concrete, sprayed with numbers and names marking the potential of those that came before, with and after me.  An uneven playing field where we always practiced with the cheapest makeshift equipment, due to our ignorance and lack of foresight into the outside world.

 

A lottery that permits an unlimited number of tickets to be registered and entered by a single player, whereas improvement to gain an edge is permitted and commonly accepted.  Eventually hoping to be selected, the honor of having a jersey with my name – a representation of the niche within a sub-group in which I aspire to belong.  Not entering the hall of fame among the masses, but bringing the knowledge to the common man; the peoples champ, one with an ability to diversify and widen the game, bringing in more spectators and participants into every level.

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Dedicated to the unknown, even if it meant just remaining at the far end of the bench, and honor to be in the presence of greatness, ill soak up as much knowledge as I can from reading play books, videos and observations.

 

 

Looking at the scrimmage lineup, practice jerseys on the field.  An all-star team at the summer camp during the off-season, before the pre-season, displaying their best talent, trying to their names known amongst the media.

 

I sit, eyes wide, determining my best approach, trying to familiarize myself with the field, the scent of dew on freshly cut grass, chocolate / toffee brown powdered dirt, and the wood that constitutes the composure of the bat. Reflecting on the past, my pallet tainted from years of liver turning hard working abuse.

Actions demonstrate better than books, however, the play book assists in giving me the technical knowledge to manifest my own routes…understanding the rules, I’ve created my own game. Time to take the bruises and failures that are bound to occur in the big league during each game on the way to my ultimate goal.  Time to lace up and prepare to enter the arena.

 

A former student that inspired, instructed, taught, and eventually mastered the skill set of the selected few.  Thank you MP, MW

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TWA -Advanced Tasting Class, conducted by M.P. MW – in preparation for the J-Presence WSET diploma course – Unit 1 the following week

Robert Mondavi Vineyard – The Tree & The Sun

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In a state of depression so deep that my soul hurts, knowing that my spirit is breaking.  Fatigued, exhausted and worn out from merely existing – the monastic existence called life, struggling to live.   My own elements tearing at one another, diseased – a virus feasting on a physically healthy host from within.

 

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Dark clouds blocking the horizon, albeit, it is known that there is a horizon that has yet to be seen.  Not faith but rather, self-manifestation of a non-existent reality.  Looking forward, looking back, then looking forward again – a vine, a noose a playground – swinging…cautious steps in crossing the street, looking forward, never forgetting to look back.  Reflections from the future, timeless traveling – from tomorrow, living in the best years today, yet feeling as if they are the worst.

 

Depression – a sensation that has contributed to creating the most beautiful forms of art throughout modern history.  A sensation that every human incurs, yet is never embraced.  An intricate unwanted portion of life, in its absence, we  would never truly know or have value.  An internal struggle that enhances endurance and mental stamina.  Uniquely triggered, and consequently uniquely resolved, unlike an ailment, internalized, masked, never to be seen by outsiders.

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Fiat currency, milled from the yet to develop leaves of a still young trunk – the Mastodon xylem tissue.  When the foundation is solid, the branches will spread, the leaves will come into their own, the fruit will blossom, eventually departing to create their own.  Then the soil will be nourishing, but the tree will not be as it once was from the beginning.

Unrealistically searching for a chemical solution, I found myself staring at empty bottles, consumed with locating the Djin – a spirit that could give me three wishes.

Yet never pondering what these wishes would be:

Aspirations for wealth?  Although I had never defined wealth.  Eternal life?  Yet I had never defined what form of life it would be, an existence in the scientific age: cloned, artificially birthed, alloy implanted? or Traditionally Timeless: books, poetry, art, sculptures or writing.  The latter, novels, chapters and pages, full with you…and them.

Perhaps the depression is rooted in the unknown, and being human, all is unknown, therefore the depression will never truly dissipate.  I find joy in the essence of those that contain my heart, under The Sun, shaded by The Tree.

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Robert Mondavi Vineyard – Napa Valley, California

King Block Dean (ElSinSey)

Yoichi Distillery – Final Trimester

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From the comfort of a warm tropical, humid climate, similar to the nurturing atmosphere a womb provides a fetus – a nomadic essence, transcending realms, departing from one tangible location to another, I departed through the tunnel of darkness, destined for terrior intelligence.

 

 

P1010325Exiting the final train of thought, an awakening of the senses in a brisk environment that must be rapidly adapted to enhance our ability to adapt and survive.  Helplessly carried and cradled – nestled in the bosom of a bus for what seemed and eternity. Barely able to focus my eyes through the haze of sterile humanity.

 

Untouched nature, coastal views opposite the golden coast of the pacific, parallel to the PCH prior to the migration of the stars, a time when things were still wild.  Drearily crawling from the bassinet, still in a state of shock and fatigue from the journey.  We found ourselves standing at the gates of our temporary nursery.

 

Our Journey to Yoichi Distillery – King Block Dean (El.Sin.Say)

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The Transit – Taiwan —> Tokyo —> Sapporo train —> bus —> distillery = 7,000 JPY

The Artisan – Hong Kong

The Artisan – Hong Kong   24 hours in the spirits realm….

A glance at a thumbnail in an online article was attached to a hand that grasped my subconscious heart; intrigued, as I it were a spiritual connection from my soul to this piece of literature.  It wasn’t necessarily the words that were substantial, but rather, the idea and accompanying images which spoke a million words.  I saw the combination of two life long hobbies that have created the initial chapters of what would shape the foundation for the subsequent novels that would be titled “my life,” there peering at me from a thumbnail, formulated in a glass vessel.

The heart pondered the ridiculous notion of venturing to another country for a matter of hours, or what could easily be viewed as seconds in eternity, to become acquainted with the creator, although the rational mind rejected it.  The duality of existence was at odds with each other once again; satisfaction vs responsibility, wealth vs knowledge, death vs life.  My rib cast her vote, similar to Chinese wishing stones, and I lost my mind – we chose life.

Dredging lost through the dark pathways in this unfamiliar realm, I found myself at the entrance of a glass gate, encased in shiny gold lettering, standing before the throne.  One unlike any I had seen constructed by man, seeded from the most valuable elements in the materialistic physical realm – gold and currency suspended in air.   Receiving confirmation of what has always been known, “material is a method to obtaining continued knowledge, those that perceive it as an end goal will remain ignorant.”

Petrified in awe, I uprooted myself deeper into the wilderness of this field.  The branches shook as the faint idea of learning from the architect softly wrestled in my mind.  Already being acquainted with my name, as if he heard me speaking through our virtual connection, he asked me to sit in his place of work and handed me his book of life – his creations, the things that drew me from there to here.

Upon inquiring trivial questions pertaining to his existence and subsequent work, for the next several hours, I was cast out, returning dredging dark pathways of Osiris’s underworld until I was able to return to my celestial vessel, only to reunite my heart, mind and rib 24 hours later.

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King Block Dean & Raj “Rush”