The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

Coaching the Y Combinator

October20

So… as most of you know, I’ve been coaching my daughters in Soccer (and, it seems, everyone else’s sons in Lacrosse) for quite some time. In Georgia, the reputation of Shockers Nation has prevailed going on ten years now.

I sent the following to my Soccer parents this morning:

Shockers!

Some light reading for your hectic Sunday:

I’ll look for you, my hearty-and-ferocious Shockers all, later this afternoon at Bethesday Park as we march on Gerogia FC. This is a reminder to be at the fields no later than 430pm. Cheryl sent out special approach instructions earlier this morning.

Meanwhile, I’m going to share with you a long-standing theory of mine that has driven my coaching style for almost two decades. This takes my approach with “life lessons” to something of an extreme. However, I suspect the more technical amongst you might appreciate this, if just a bit

I’m certain you’ve noticed that we try to rotate our players through positions, and attempt to sub when practical, if not possible. The objective is to maintain good form, and keep the match interesting (this is how athletes learn best). That said, there are always a few players that play the entire match, or close to it. In the case of Soccer, it’s almost always a Stryker, our unique “Stopper”, and our Wing Defenders. For me, the variable, here, is Stopper. In any event, this consistent player formation is based upon the “Y Combinator” theory:

In computer science, a fixed-point combinator (or fixpoint combinator) is a higher-order function that computes a fixed point of other functions. If the effect of the other function is to advance a particular computation one step, or to do nothing if the computation is finished, then the fixed point will be a function that advances the same computation by as many steps as required to complete it. This can be used for anonymous recursion: to construct recursive anonymous functions.

Think about that for awhile, and you understand how this description elegantly applies itself to Soccer (and, Lacrosse), and helps explain why our Shockers can remain devastating against most other clubs despite our rotation (and, often because of it). It might also help you understand why you see me sub the way we do.

By the way… Thank you for having your dughters.

Who Wants The Ball!

– Coach Brian

honoring the Squirrel

April24

so…

my excuse(s) for not blogging much these days seat themselves squarely on Lacrosse.

yes… I still coach my Shockers (although Haley Anne is actually a Breaker). But, both Haley Anne and Emma Jo find themselves on undefeated Soccer teams this season (despite the coach), and these days are rich indeed.

Joanne often resents the time I spend blogging. but, I completely understand. blogging is genuinely a great exercise in self-absorption. but, I really do try and use myself as an example, most of the time, regardless if the result paints me in a good or poor light. I want it to be a worthy and noble effort through a life well-lived; an authentic life.

how many of you know that Haley Anne is named after my Mom, Barbara Anne, and Joanne? And, that Emma Jo is also meant to honor my wife? I look at my daughters and I see the women that both were, and remain, forces of nature and incredible influencers through my existence.

in any event, I still play Lacrosse. and, I hope to play a lot of it this summer for a couple of teams. however, I’m a bit frustrated by my achilles again. so, we’ll see. but, through all of that I have “my guys”. Coaching boys in Lacrosse is am amazing experience. …more on that later, though. this is about almost everything else; a bigger picture, if you will. I must.

coaching (sports and in business, for that matter), of any sort, is another form of self-absorption. back when I was a volunteer fire fighter in Lousiville, Colorado, I found myself being interviewed by the local paper over some harrowing event. and, the reporter asked me,

“why do you put yourself in harms way when you don’t even get paid?”.

I looked at her, and probably a bit askance, and I offered, “are you kidding? I get to wear cool gear, ride backwards on fire trucks – and, I’m a FIRE MAN!”. I actually feel selfish and self-absorbed that I get to do this”. I told her how, that morning after the fire, as we rolled-out, there was a small group of young boys watching us from a street corner. there was awe in their faces. awe, and admiration. I gave them a wink and a thumbs-up, and I really did feel like a hero.

Lacrosse makes me feel that way. so, another possible post is around the concept of Braveheart.

but, it was the events of that life-changing day (a cool Colorado evening with the great promise of a rich and full life, and the leering wake-up call of an ugly death) that led me to my current career, in fact. but, that’s another story. certainly for another time (but, I need to make a note of it. hopefully one of you will remind me).

mind you, I get similar questions from the parents of kids I coach. such as, “why do you give these kids so much time?”, and, “how do you do this?”

I’m going to discuss that in the next couple of weeks. because there is a lot of good-and-bad, trials-and-tribulations mixed with that – balanced by an incredible sense of accomplishment and self-worth.

I love Lacrosse. I love my family. I love life. I love giving of myself. and, everything I’ve done with my life has brought me to a point where I feel I can make a great difference in the lives of the people God surrounds me with. okay… that strikes me as another blog post idea.

are you beginning to wonder what the hell this has to do with a squirrel?

well… this might come as a shock to some, but not necessarily others. Joanne will tell you, in no uncertain terms, that I am not often as sympathetic or compassionate as she feels I ought to be. I believe that trait in myself is valid and that comes from being raised by a military officer (my Dad) and also a Mom (the ideal officers wife and Mother) that were both convinced that doing anything is worth giving it everything you can. that’s something I teach all of my players, and it’s a driving philosophy in terms of how I manage myself by the hour with a higher sense of purpose and accompanying standards. but, sometimes… okay, often… really ALWAYS… I come across as exacting, uncompromising, certainly demanding, and clearly seemingly unsympathetic.

that was until I faced the squirrel.

I’m that guy that finds himself driving down a road and unconcerned if a squirrel frantically tries to evade tires. that’s an ugly image. but, it’s an obvious and practical reality. Joanne, on the other hand, will throw her car into another lane to save a squirrel, duck, dog, or deer.

but, about two weeks ago, as I was driving home from Lacrosse practice, as providence would have it, a hapless squirrel skittered across my path. I steeled myself and surprisingly managed to evade him, and found myself pleased by the result as I took a peak in my rear view mirror. “off to home and hearth, little fellow”, thought I.

not but a few days later was I facing the same challenge. and, the thought did, indeed, cross my mind that this could well be that same damn squirrel. I really did try to avoid the critter, but I felt the awful and final “thump” under my truck tire. instantly I was, myself, genuinely distraught. as I looked in the rear view mirror, to my horror I saw the squirrel flailing in the street. with my heart in my throat and a cold sweat on the back of my neck I slowed down. numbly I backed-up knowing I had to put the stricken creature out of it’s misery. and, the horror I experienced was comparable to Sarajevo.

when I got home Joanne and Haley Anne were in the midst of a fifteen-year-old-girl-issue. and, evidently Joanne was having a rowe with her own Mom and one of her sisters. as I listened to to the details of all that I found myself uncharacteristically engaged with a softening heart. there is a lot more going-on in my head and heart relative to all manner of venture, adventures and efforts. but, four days ago I told Joanne that a lens I wanted to start looking through life with in terms of how I related to people, ironically, would going to be about “honoring the squirrel”.

so, God has a whacky sense of humor, to be sure. he gave me and all my Southern California, Lacrosse-playing buddies daughters, for one thing. and, he throws us a curve-ball (some times they may look like a squirrel), to change-up our view(s) of the world. but, I don’t want to look back on my life and miss an opportunity to make sure that everyone I meet and know; that’s in my life, feels loved, valued – and there is compassion, possibly the option for compromise.

that’s it. you, collectively know, even the simplest of maxims’s must needs have its vociferous story attached (or affixed?) to it.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

 

stands to Reason

February8

I was talking to an older fellow here in town Thursday. He leads a Bible study group and, regardless of mitigating factors, can often be quite close-minded. I savor that delicious irony. I do!

Just to be clear, I understand, and will also submit that this is not a view limited to Christians (not even those whom profile as Christian-esque or Christian-ish [see Atlanta-based MSA Mafia]).

In any event, we find ourselves outside of Starbucks, often engaged in friendly debate around all manner of topics. Thursday he was explaining to me that God “gave” man woman. Husbands, in his view (and, he isnsists the Bible is clear on this), “own” their wives.

I shared one of my own maxims with him as we were parting:

“Behind every great man there stands a woman rolling her eyes”.

He did not like that. This was greatly evident in his body language – and, his face turning an alarming shade of purple. And, he grimly warned me, in his own not uncertain terms,  that: “you don’t get it”.

Correct. Albeit relative to context.

This fellow, and he’s a good man, in my estimation, believes I have some how failed (his version of) God.

However…

I have two daughters (and, I coach and otherwise influence many more daughters).

Me? I’m teaching them to be forthright, self-aware, leaders with positive self-image. Other earthly fathers trust me with their daughters when I coach them in soccer, and hang out at our home. They don’t have to be second class citizens if there is a son in the house.

[pause for effect]… …how many readers out there have such a situation in their home? Sons being favored over daughters, to be more clear. It needs to be a veritable elephant in the room (often crowded with another form of idolatry).

In any event, I’m seeing good results. I think I’m on the right path. And, if not, in terms of wanting to facilitate my daughters contributing to society in a meaningful and multi-faceted way, then God can smite me now.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

On Executive Parity…

August2

So… I Coach several members of both the House of Representatives (U.S. Congress) and the Senate.

I really do respect these people. And, when they read this BLOG entry, I know they won’t be offended when they read it. But, the more I learn about the average Congressman or Senator, I realize that as they “mature” in their positions, it appears to be more about staying in office than serving their constituents.

Congressmen and Senators enjoy many of the same medical, dental, vision and retirement benefits as that of the President of the United States. /1 Their constituents don’t. It is interesting that members of the United Kingdom’s Parliamentary System, consisting of the House of Commons and House of Lords (or, the Upper House) rely upon the country’s primary benefits program and typically support themselves. This obviously reduces bias and the potential for corporate influence.

This is a VERY LARGE topic. And, I will be working on a significant series around this issue.

But, one solution I am proposing is for members of the House and Senate be required to utilize the same benefits currently available to their constituents. I also think it might be appropriate for Congressmen and Senators to be paid based on the medium income of their respective constituents./2 It occurs to me that if they want to raise the standards for their constituents, having skin in the game (perhaps literally) themselves would be an incentive.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

___________________________________________________________________
1/ Members of Congress enjoy such facilities as a gym, barbers, and dining areas.
2/ As of 2006 rank and file Congressmen received a yearly salary of $165,200.

Members elected since 1984 are covered by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS). Those elected prior to 1984 were covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). In 1984 all members were given the option of remaining with CSRS or switching for FERS. As it is for all other federal employees, congressional retirement is funded through taxes and the participants’ contributions. Members of Congress under FERS contribute 1.3 percent of their salary into the FERS retirement plan and pay 6.2 percent of their salary in Social Security taxes. The amount of a Congress person’s pension depends on the years of service and the average of the highest 3 years of his or her salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary. Average annual pension was $35,952 in 2006.

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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