Do you want a cookie?

Written by Valts Rozentāls

“We who are profoundly joined in soul can only but heal the ruptures of the cosmos.”
Peter Høeg from ‘Elephant Keepers’ Children’

Sometimes we are so excessively spellbound in our own reality that it takes a special kind of shift in our surroundings to make us think about seemingly daily occurrences in a different kind of light. They say the devil is in the details – I do not know about the devil, but our thinking patterns and perception of the world definitely are. It has been an interesting experience to observe how our youth takes on the daily challenges in Bögöz and the seemingly mundane, simple things of everyday life. The outcome is different opinions, change of perspective and stimulation of thinking about how they perceive different kinds of cultures, people and themselves in different environments. Growth.

If there is one certain thing in our daily lives in Bögöz then it is the beep of the alarm clock every morning. Well, for the Coaches anyways, the youth always get nice and polite “Rise and shine!” to start their day. Today it was thirty minutes earlier. We got to get to the neighbouring town for the game day. There are two games planned – one for the boys team and one for the girls. Our Teams are built off of a mix of Hellenen and Bögöz youth and we are playing against a local team called ‘Vendor’. We start off with the boys and the game is balanced from the start on till the third quarter where “Hellgöz” start to make costly mistakes in defence and allow the opposing home team to score easy points on fast breaks as a result of many turnovers. On the other end we can’t find the right offensive tactic which results in many crazy individual plays and shots which are out of position. This leads to the loss for Hellgöz with around -30 points and many lessons learned. For the boys that means going a step back to drawing tactics on the board.

The game of the girls’ Team went differently – they started very well and it was obvious that the “Hellgöz” girls team was superior to the Vendor girls and it also resulted in a strong win. Nevertheless there were teaching points and much needed game experience for the Bögöz girls. Altogether it was a successful game day to practice basics of basketball and reach over the knowledge.

After hard work it was time for some fun, so we went to an open public swimming pool together. Although today the weather was not as hot as the previous days, the water did feel very refreshing and even allowed us to play some pass and catch in the water – very simple and fun making it easy for everybody to engage. Activities in the water always result in hunger which we satisfied with some Lángos – a traditional Hungarian dish of fried bread and the classic topping of crème fraîche (mixed with garlic) and grated cheese. I, myself, did not participate in the next part, so this will be written as a story of others.

The train passes by two or three times a day as it makes its way between two bigger cities. There is a high possibility that another time schedule is not even possible as there is only one railroad – which makes it impossible for two trains to pass each other in opposing directions. Speed is also very slow for the simple reason that the railway has many curves and crossings without any safety measures. It could well be that if the train had to stop very quickly in a short period of time while going at high speed it would not be able to slow down in time and would lead to casualties.

The first impression is the train station – just some concrete plates and for most stops not even a shelter to hide from the weather. Also – everything is built on the ground level but the train is much higher – so for older people it is hard to get on the train and for people with some kind of disability it’s almost impossible to get on the train. It was packed – not everyone could get a seat and the first thing one would notice was the strong smell of sweat. For those who are used to controleurs in uniforms and undying following of the rules – the picture here was somehow different. No uniform in sight, shirt with some upper buttons open (easy to understand with the hot weather) and a nice golden chain around the neck. Somehow he did not even want to have anything for the ride and just let the whole group ride for free for the three stations.

As short as the train ride was from a distance, as already mentioned, it was also equally slow. This would allow a few observations to be made and brought up in discussions. One of them would be the family who seemingly felt very comfortable – almost too comfortable – on the train – they had their belongings all over the place. One kid was resting on the floor next to a watermelon (or even eating it?), a baby on the seat without much attention and from the observer point of view – a little bit too dangerous if the train had come to a full stop – we could assume that baby would be found at least one row further down the train.

Some man wanted to inquire where we were from, but unfortunately he may have had one beer too many nevertheless he was successful in asking the question, yet he was unable to comprehend the answer. It did not seem to bother him that much as he had just finished his current can and simply opened another one. Then he proceeded to tell a story of his love life and even give some tips to boys on how to be gentlemen and that they should offer their seats to the girls. Well, thank you sir.

In the evening – another practice. This time we splitted the groups as we had to work on focus and discipline of the kids of Bögöz. Everytime one works with a team where the focus and discipline is not present, one asks the question – why are we even here? The philosophy is very simple – things that are easy to do are also easy not to do. The challenge here is to get the individuals to focus and be disciplined enough so that the team of 12+ can function properly. The ‘why’ is another question though. ‘Why’ is an internal question, which can only be answered by each individual themselves. If the ‘why’ – the motivation and the drive – is clear, then the focus and discipline are the easy part, it comes naturally without pressure. This brings us back to the start as this is our individual journey, but most of the time it’s something we bring back into the world for all to see. With our work and every person we meet in our lives we touch a string that will vibrate forever. This is the divine conversation we have with ourselves when we are alone. Why do we do this? And if we cannot answer this question for ourselves, we cannot move others to answer it for themselves. Sandy put it nicely – most of the time we have to search within us, what is the damage that has been done to us? More often than not, this is the sole reason that keeps us going forward. The reason we want to make the world better and repair the damage done to others as we understand it ourselves.

With some luck and time, we all are able to find our inner ‘why’ and that would give us the hope that we can bring it into the world with our creative work and others would be able to learn and also have the inner conversations with themselves which would bring the focus and discipline to learn and develop themselves for happier and more fulfilling lives. As Jocko Willink put it – discipline equals freedom, but we can only find discipline if we are brave enough to search in ourselves and find the answer to our ‘why’.

P.S. Do you want a cookie?