Wikipedia defines coolness as: “An aesthetic of attitude, behavior, comportment, appearance and style which is generally admired. Because of the varied and changing connotations of cool, as well as its subjective nature, the word has no single meaning.”
I’ve never thought of myself as cool. I have been fortunate to have been able to do cool things throughout my life. Its hard to pin down one year as coolness. I have hiked the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, Masada, been to the Grand Canyon, Final Four, US Open in Tennis and the Orange Bowl game amongst many other things.
Three years of my life stand out as maximum coolness over all the others.
In 1994 I volunteered for the FIFA World Cup. I was able to volunteer for two games working as a photo runner on the field. Remember film? Before the advent of digital camera’s and cell phones I ran the professional photographers completed rolls of film back to their tents.
The six weeks of volunteering was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I met numerous people that are still friends 22 years later.
I began volunteering for the World Cup about two months before the games began. Because of my early work I was asked to be the volunteer coordinator of our deparmtent. I turned it down because I didn’t feel ready to handle so much responsibility. It is one of the biggest mistakes and regrets of my life.
One of the two games I worked as a photo runner was for the opening game between defending champion Germany and Bolivia. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the Bolivian President and President Clinton were all at the game. Amazingly I had a better view that all three of them.
I also got to see the opening ceremonies from field level. It was a brutally hot day. The temperature was about 95 degrees and extremely humid. Diana Ross was about 15 feet from me and her dress did not leave a lot to the imagination.
Oprah Winfrey was the emcee and Jon Secada also performed. He nearly fell through a hole in stage, but nothing serious happened.
My other memory from that summer was going out with my fellow volunteers and wathing the OJ SImpson chase at a local bar.
My second year of coolness was the first year my ex and I dated. We went on five trips during the first seven months we dated. They were all amazing. The two best were going to the Final Four in Minneapolis and a trip to Florida.
We laughed all weekend in the Twin Cities, especially at the Mall of America. The trip to Florida, especially South Beach was incredibly romantic. I made a gesture at a restaurants on Ocean Drive about it being a perfect time and place to propose even though I did not intend to do so.
My ex and I spent our entire lives wanting children. Having a child and begining a family was a year of maximum coolness very different than the first two.
I remember when her water broke I asked if she was sure. It was blatently obvious what had happened and we looked at each other like is this really happening? Are we really about to become parents?
The drive to the hospital is as vivid as if it was filmed. After nearly eight hours, our first child was born. We loved having a child in our lives.
Four and a half years later were back in Florida on his first birthday. We went to the cafe at Joe Stone Crab and had lunch just the three of us. I remember her joking that we were getting only the best for our son.
Each experience was amazing. I got to accomplish and experience cool things in three very different stages of my life. One was doing something on my own, the second was with the love of my life and the third was co-creating and nuturing a life.