A Conversation
About Lacrosse

Albert Einstein died in Princeton, New Jersey in 1955. The German-born US physicist formulated the theories of relativity 100 years ago. He was a pioneer in radiation physics and thermodynamics while capturing the world's affection with the humanity of his wisdom before most of us were born. He was a man before his time, so we resurrected his spirit through his words and interviewed him posthumously about lacrosse and his favorite team, the Princeton Tigers.

E-Lacrosse: Do you have any predictions for the game of lacrosse in 2004?

Einstein: I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.

E-Lacrosse: Ok! I hear one of your pet peeves is that every team plays at the same time on the same day so you can't catch multiple games on a Saturday in the spring?

Einstein: The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.

E-Lacrosse: Agreed! I guess it DOES take a genius to figure that out. You aught to be the Scheduling Czar, my brother. Ok. Multi-sport athletes versus single-sport concentration is a big issue in 2004. What's your take on that?

Einstein: Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.

E-Lacrosse: OK. Your team is the Tigers, of course. Princeton's in a rebuilding year. The team is young and may start some freshmen at key positions. If you were a coach, would you play freshmen?

Einstein: Yes. Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Princeton's Bill Tierney

E-Lacrosse: But they may take their lumps against that rough schedule. Right?

Einstein: Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

E-Lacrosse: Princeton's been criticized for having a down recruiting year here and there. Do you think that criticism is valid?

Einstein: Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex... It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction.

E-Lacrosse: Ok. Ok. You're a fan. But as the world's smartest man, don't you just pick apart the coaches' mistakes in your mind as you watch the games?

Einstein: Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.

E-Lacrosse: True. Ok. But, if you could give Bill Tierney any words of wisdom at all, what would they be?

Einstein: Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

E-Lacrosse: Wow. Even I get that. OK. I hear the loss to Syracuse in the 2000 final really had you in a mood for weeks?

Einstein: I have a sign hanging in my office at Princeton that says "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts."

E-Lacrosse: Uh huh. Sounds like denial to me, man. But, everyone IS stealing Tierney's defense these days. Am I right?

Einstein: The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.

E-Lacrosse: Well that's probably true. What advice would you give the next generation of coaches who have to devise offenses to defeat the Princeton-style defense.

Einstein: We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

E-Lacrosse: Hey! There's a good place to start. OK. You've picked Ryan Boyle to win player of the year over the likes of Mike Powell and Tillman Johnson. On what do you base this prediction?

Einstein: The only real valuable thing is intuition.

E-Lacrosse: Will Princeton ever go back to the day of never breaking into the top 20?

Einstein: God is subtle but he is not malicious.

Princeton All-American Ryan Boyle

E-Lacrosse: Who's gonna win it all in 2004?

Einstein: The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed...

E-Lacrosse: Ok. Wow. A bit heavy for our crowd dude. Let's switch gears. You're a big genius. How do you explain the success of smaller athletes in lacrosse. Is it the importance of speed in the game.

Einstein: Well... The faster you go, the shorter you are.

E-Lacrosse: Um... Ok. Are you serious?

Einstein: The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

E-Lacrosse: Ok. So I went to the University of Maryland, long before they doubled the tuition, but I think I know when a genius is making fun of me.

Einstein: Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

E-Lacrosse: Um... Well. Apology accepted then. Ok. So last but not least, what does relativity have to do with lacrosse?

Einstein: Get beat on by a defender for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Revel in a championship victory for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity.

E-Lacrosse: Now THAT'S genius! Thank you, sir.

Einstein: No problem. I'm a regular reader.

February 19, 2004

All quotes but the last two are attributed to Albert Einstein. They are used here, of course, in an unintended context. Duh.