Transcript of David Gaynesí interview with Pete Kohn

July 3rd, 2002 Vail, Colorado

 

30:13 I'm Peter Kohn
30:21 I'm a field manager for
Middlebury College in Vermont
30:47 My original name was Myron G. Kohn.
32:25 I was not able to work much when I was younger. and my going into club lacrosse I had something to do every spring.
33:40 I'm very humble.
33:45 over the many years that I've worked, you do get to meet many people.
34:26 so many people have done so much for me. More than anyone would ever believe; so many people would do so much for one person. I'm stunned.
34:49 I was away from home for 9 years as a kid because I needed help.
34:59 I wouldn't be here today, but for her beautiful self-sacrifice and determination that no leaf would be unturned for her two sons.
Talks about
New Mexico
Talks about the
Todd School; couldn't graduate, was 1/4 credit short.Wanted to go to Park School
Spent summer working as an errand boy, lost the job
39:38 This 4th of a credit was one of the real turning points in my life, if I go to (unclear).
Talks about the fight to get into Park School
40:35 I could've graduated in a half year, but they wanted me to get more out of it. and they were right.
40:54 I had a wonderful opportunity it was a great year and a half; I did theatre there in the Sara A Putnam playhouse that we had.
41:13, at the end of that semester, Mr. (unclear) Myron Hendon.
41:23 came to me and said the school wanted me to do something in athletics and they wanted know if I would manage in the fall.
Tells about how he didn't take it immediately, thought about it over the summer
42:20 and the spring sport was lacrosse, that's how I got into lacrosse.
42:28 when I went back there the year before, I had to ask what lacrosse was all about, I didn't know.  The second year, I was managing!
42:55 After that, I stayed there 17 years.  (in club lacrosse) Managed
University of Baltimore soccer team and they won the league championship; didn't do well at UB.
Talks about a trainer he respected; managing basketball team.
44:55 Well I managed lacrosse one year at
University of Baltimore.
45:10 Then in 60's, I would say 61.
Talks about going to Baltimore Community College
46:28 although I didn't graduate, I believe 2 years of college were valuable to me. I didn't flunk out there.
46:39 when I came to Middlebury it made a big difference in my life. Youíll see why.
46:50 I went right from there to Club Lacrosse. I stayed with that team under 4 different names for 17 years.
Talks about the different names/sponsorships of the club team
48:16 I grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family. so we didn't have hard shell crabs..
48:22 My mother was reform, but my father was Orthodox so the house was orthodox.
Keeps going on about the changes to the lacrosse club over time.
49:20 The Good will games came in '67.
Gets into involvement with national lacrosse
49:52 and it was in '77 at the tryouts at Rutgers that I met Jim Grube; I was at camp at Hobart, doing a lacrosse camp, and someone asked me 'are you going to tryouts?'  My dear friend Jerry ? was a coach on that team, I said I didn't have any plans, no one spoke to me about it, but they said 'let us call down there they might want you." and I finally let them do that and when they called they were told that they had been looking for me and didn't know where I was!
50:25 so I did go to tryouts and it was my great fortune because I met Jim Grube there.
51:15 Jim was there on the committee to pick the team, and he understood me so well, I was still coming up, even though I was 46-47 years old, so I needed people that would understand me and put up with me, to put it lightly, and he did, and I wanted to work with him.
Talks about Jim getting him a job at Middlebury
51:58 that was another one of my great fortunes!
52:08 I don't drive.
Tells story of Duane Ford and the U-Haul
First job as equipment manager
53:26 we had to get out equipment, had to keep records of what we gave out. worked in the equipment room to keep everything in order.
53:47 I had an inside job, so I couldn't go on every trip, I couldn't be there full time, so as much as I could I did work with them. (the lacrosse team)
Talks about the cage and the early years
55:16 it was my first real. one of my early jobs where I was working with people who were tops in the game [referencing his club managing career]
56:10 I enjoyed being there to a certain extent, but I was fighting myself for success that I hadn't had yet.
56:24 I wasn't in a position like Jim Grube, who had made it to the top who had everything he could hope for, or a lot of it.
56:35 I was fighting to get ahead and one of the things they didn't want to give me or agree with me on, things that wouldn't happen today.
57:23 I wanted these things, I thought I had the ability to do more, but other people didn't. they thought I wasn't ready probably, so I didn't get it.  I wanted to serve on a committee, I couldn't do it.  I wanted to be like the coaches and I wanted to be a on a good level, in spite of my late age, I wasn't ready for it.
57:54 the club team kept me for 17 years, and Middlebury kept me for 7 difficult years in the equipment room, let me stay there and do something else. These are miracles.  That one guy could be that fortunate when many people would be let out under those conditions and I know that.Not like other folks.

58:32 I'm not?  In what way?
58:49 I was always contrary. as a kid my mother and father couldn't handle me.
59:11 I finally had to leave home and Helene could handle me, which made the difference in my life.
59:24 because of that, my mother's goal was reached that (I cut him off) I would be a useful and valuable person.
Talks about father being a homebody at age 45 when Pete was 10.  Father was inadequate.
1:00:13 for a long time I felt I though 'I'm the one who's handicapped' not realizing that other people have problems too.  I had to learn that! **
1:00:32 it took a long time for me to find myself because I wasn't reaching the same goals as quickly as other people do. I wasn't able to work, I wasn't able to. Things I wanted I couldn't get.
1:00:48 I did not realize where I stood, I do now.
1:01:01 I was no longer fighting myself; I had finally been accepted as a whole person and began seeing my dreams come true.  I was no longer fighting myself and it was a real relief what I was doing.

Tape 12

00:20 Jim wouldn't let me in to the year end meetings; he said they had things to talk about and it wasn't my place. It wasn't till a lot later that he finally invited me and that's when it dawned on me that the reason he didn't invite me was that I had too much to say and meetings and so on and you have to learn to when you can say something and when you can't, by that time he thought I could handle it, he was right, I could..
00:55  I knew when he left in '91 that I was OK, I wouldn't have to leave because I wouldn't have his mentorship; as much as I missed it and wanted him to stay, I knew I had made it to the extent that I could stay if I wanted to and go on.
2:04 the relationship that I had with the athletic students was a beautiful thing, I was so luck that that could happen.
2:26 we all have skills.
2:37 but unless you get into a position where you can use it, where you can call your own shots, you're not going to be able to do it.  At Middlebury, I was, and I was able to bring out..
3:11 I had to be in a position for that to happen and before I got to Middlebury, it didn't happen.
3:21 I wasn't in a position working all year working with young people where that could come out.  My best strength is understanding and working with young people.  It wasn't in the equipment room with the equipment itself.
4:04 if you don't have that team properly prepared, even in my particular work, and you don't help the team properly on the sidelines, you could cost the team the game.
4:39 I have to get everything out to the field, the balls, the water, the towels, that's all my responsibility.
5:31 you got to make sure you have water all throughout the practice or the game you have to fill the bottles or the cups, every time they're empty you have to refill it, if it's a hot day, you really have to do it.
5:50 Back up the goals you chase the balls, otherwise you lose the balls.
6:10 At Middlebury, I work with the bench; I take care of that bench.

Talks about screws, chin straps, stick string.
7:26 you've got to be able to repair or have the necessary things to repair anything that can go wrong during the game on a stick a helmet, a pair of gloves, anything that you use. **
8:23 When you're out there, you can't do without water.
8:31 you're going to lose a certain amount of sugar from your system, you've got to replace it.
9:21 I do it extemporaneously because that's how I feel it should be done.It's just something that's a part of me.
10:06 I want to make them ready to play, but I want them to realize what it is to have dedication, what I call Middlebury dedication, but regular dedication, what it means to put your heart and soul and love into what you do.
10:26 We all, including myself have the ability as human beings we cannot reach out to God and Jesus on their level.
10:40 We can do so much more than we ever believed we could
10:43 I don't think people come close to their abilities of what they can do in their lives.
11:07 I think it is how you play the game.
11:08 You want to win, but it's what you put into it that you will get out of it.  It's character building, it's what you give to make everyone else on the team better. it helps build that teamwork.
11:32 I don't think winning is the chief thing, although you're out there to win and you should play as hard as you can to win.. but that's not the reason you're out there.  It's to have a great time, to have great competition, to build a great fraternity in what you are doing and to learn and be part of an organization where you have to do your little bit along with everyone else.
12:38 I often wish the other teams good luck. I have friends who sometimes coach against Middlebury and I try to be wonderful to them because they're wonderful to me.
13:16 be good to everybody, it's not a war, it's strictly a game.
14:13 you have the same responsibility to give more than you think you can give no matter what you're doing, whether it's lacrosse, whether it's a business job.
14:30 whatever you do, whether you're a doctor, it's the same thing. You have to give yourself.
15:09 I always try to give my best.
Talks about how things came late to him
16:55 I always was very slow, maybe it was medical, I don't know. I couldn't keep up with the kids, I had to go to a special school where I could keep up with other kids, some people are that way.
17:47 she took me to a psychiatrist and he wanted to put me in a hospital for kids who needed help; my mother said no, I found out later 'my son is not going to a hospital', she would never do that.
18:00 I found out later, that my mother she said it herself, that she was warned by some of her family that  (unclear), she said "no, I will leave no stone unturned (breaks up)... for my son." And because she did, we made it. We both made it.
18:30 It took so many years, but I look at it. some people never make it, we made it.  My brother made it earlier than I did, but if I made it late, but I look at it this way: some people never make it, and I did, and I'm very thankful for that.
18:52 I'd rather have made it as late as I did than not at all.
19:15 But I realized that. I wanted things before I was ready; it took me longer than most, but when the time was ready, things worked out for me.
19:30 you have to work hard many years to get what you want, I had to learn that.
20:07 My coordination wasn't good, my mother was told that.
20:11 But I had a very good mind, they all knew that.
20:31 I think we can always do better. As long as we're well and healthy, no matter how, what place in life we are age-wise, you can never stop thinking you'll do better, if you do then you're lose, there's nothing left.
20:56 I've slowed up a little bit now, my legs aren't as good as they used to be.
21:09 I'm not sure I want to work until I can't work anymore or somebody has to tell me you have to leave because you can't keep up your work.
21:18 This will be good for me to have vacation time and do other things.
21:35 I think I want to take a rest and be able to do other things;
21:47 But I hope to continue with my summer work, even when I retire, not to give it up completely.
22:00 I think it will be hard for a while.
22:08 I've had such a wonderful career, a terrific career, there's nothing more for me, my dreams have come true. Like Cal Ripken, I can't compare myself to what he's done, but his dreams came true and my have also.
22:25 there's no need for me to stay in terms of any dreams; if I stay it would be to work with the young people.
22:54 I want to take some trips and so on and I think I'll have a better chance when I retire to do that.
23:04 next year will mark 50 years in managing.
23:34 God gives us all gifts and that's the gift he gave me is understanding young people.. and I've enjoyed very much doing it.
23:43 I had it difficult as a kid; (unclear). so they won't have it as hard as I had it, and they can enjoy the things I wasn't able to enjoy so well when I was a kid.  I don't want them to be without the things I was without as a kid, I don't want that for anybody.
Talks about his father wanting to have daughters (says I should maybe edit that out)
Talks about the department store and the family didn't have as much money as people thought they did.
Talks about the sacrifices his mother made
27:20 she did not live to see my best years, I wish she had. But I have to accept that she did not live to see my best years, but I try not to forget her as I go day to day in my present life.
Talks about the ranch and the close connection to Helene
30:48 I want them to have a wonderful experience with me.
30:54 I felt I have a special gift from God and I wanted to use it with the kind of (unclear) to see if I could be successful with that.
31:04 I have a lot to give if I could be successful and that's the opportunity that Middlebury gave me.
31:19 That gift made it possible to have a wonderful relationship with kids.
32:29 They kept me. they gave me the time I needed to mature, and make something of myself.
32:40 I owe so much of a debt because they kept me through very difficult times.
33:00 I think you find out as you go through life.
33:07 if wonderful experiences don't end, there's no meaning to them. They just become a nothing when they go on and on and on.
33:24 You realize what you had and what you're missing, if you had it, a wonderful experience and you move on.
33:33 This experience here at Vail will be much more valuable to me, now that we move onto something else, than if I had it 12 months of the year, it wouldn't hold up.
Talks about Bobo's contribution; the love of contribution in life.
35:50 If I retire next year, I will have the same obligations.
36:01 to give to others to share with others. You have to give the ultimate of the full meaning of life as long as you life, not just in the working world, it must be as long as you live.
Talks a little about photos
36:53 People like them, they enjoy seeing them.
37:55 you want to get a good overview of the event you're working at. You don't want to just take regular pictures. if there's really something special, you want to take that.
38:12 Sometimes with the college guys, they make funny faces and they want funny pictures, so you take that.
38:20 Anything we do, the kid might be patting the dog, I'll take a picture of the dog, they're part of our group.
38:30 Iíll take still life of food if (unclear)
38:40 You take it of every little thing that happens.
39:30 I'm planning to give some of them away to Middlebury College and I got to get busy and organize that so they will be preserved.
39:47 I'd like to see them enjoyed.
40:09 I've been through 25 or 30 cameras the 3 or 4 days we've been here. Is that too many?  It may well be that it was.
40:44 when I see the 70 or 80 books that I have, it's quite a lot. did I do the right thing? It's not for me to say.
Goes on and on about the intricacies of picture taking
45:22 I'm stunned that one person particularly starting late could have thecareer I've had.
45:52 I've had far more than anyone can possibly believe.
Talks a lot about Jesus and making people happy
Talks about giving the stands in his mother's memory
48:19 That's why after the college named the field for me.
48:24 I gave stands in her memory.
48:33 When I see that little plaque that says (unclear) 'for her unselfish devotion to her children.'  Erin came up with it and that's perfect, wonderful.
48:45 with the stands and the field next to each other, my mother and I are now together, which is what she wanted.
49:07 I've paid my debt to my mother who sacrificed her life for her sons.