"Trying still to see who I am
And what in life I've done,
Do I matter, When I exist,
Will I be the one?"
In his verse above as in his life, Jason Kosmann is not satisfied with asking the right questions. He is driven to find the answers, all of them. Emboldened by every challenge, beholden to his own high standards and motivated by a fear of inaction, Kosmann is a teenager in motion.
Not even Monday night's drubbing at the hands of Loudoun Valley, which brought the surprising five-game win streak of the Loudoun County boys' soccer team to a sudden halt, could sap the spirit and sense of personal responsibility of the Raiders' warrior-poet and leading scorer. His team was undermanned and overwhelmed in the 5-1 loss, yet Kosmann still was searching for an answer.
"He believes in himself in a very positive way," Loudoun County Coach Brion Bell said. "He's never self defeated. He came off the field and said, 'What can I do? Do you want me to play midfield? Do you want me to go play defense? I can play defense if it will help.' "
If the game is going well, the match unfolds systematically, predictably. Then the aspiring engineer, dance instructor, club president, waiter, poet, boyfriend, older brother and rising soccer star can read the game and find where he needs to be.
He stands only 5 feet 8, but his speed, touch and desire have lifted him to the top of the county's scoring list. Kosmann has 11 goals in six games, including hat tricks in victories over Liberty and Heritage and both goals in a gritty 2-0 victory at Sherando.
Loudoun County started the season with questions. When would the Raiders, who revolved in the past around the now-graduated John Libby, find a new identity? Who would lead? Who would score? Could they compete in the talented and balanced Dulles District?
Kosmann, who scored only occasionally as a supporting role player a year ago, has very quickly provided the answers.
"I like engineering because I like the whole idea that we have a problem here, and you need a solution, and this is what you have to work with," said Kosmann, a National Honor Society member who has been offered admission to Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
"I like having the challenge, and I like using the different areas I've learned about and using that all-around knowledge to pull something together, to come up with an answer."
Kosmann said he is "in a whole other world" on the soccer field. "I can just relax. A lot of kids need to have a [ticked] off attitude to play, but when I play my soccer, I'm in a good mood. It's my release from all the pressure."
Still, he does put some on himself. He practiced penalty kicks alone for as long as 30 minutes before practices after missing one this season with his club team. He berated himself last month after the match referee warned him to stop asking noisy Sherando fans to "keep their comments to themselves."
"I'm a perfectionist," Kosmann said. "It's good and bad."
He demands even more of himself in his life away from soccer.
He balances advanced placement and honors classes with a busy social life, several jobs and two after-school clubs. His load has lightened a bit now that his cotillion classes have ended -- Kosmann has been teaching ballroom dance, table manners and respect for one's elders since he was in eighth grade.
But it will increase again when he starts working at Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club. Kosmann is convinced that it was his deference to the club pro during a chance meeting that landed the job.
Kosmann keeps track of everything on his new, color personal digital assistant, which he can check while driving in the relatively new Honda he just finished paying for.
"He's the busiest person I know," said Nathan Tobler, a friend and teammate. "I think he likes to have a lot going on. He's really well-rounded, so he can do anything he wants. I think if he concentrated on one thing, he easily could be a great soccer player, but I think he would rather be good at everything."
When Tobler was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in 2001, Kosmann wrote him a poem that hangs framed in Tobler's home.
The Raiders' early-season success has Kosmann and company thinking of other lasting keepsakes.
"I seriously think we can win our district and have a good shot at states," Kosmann said. "We have such good chemistry and such a good vibe. A million things could happen. You never know. I'm going to do as much as I can, work as hard as I can. If I keep scoring, I keep scoring. If I don't, it doesn't mean I'm not going to try harder and keep pushing myself."
"As it rolls, under, over
And patient as the earth,
You will have your chance
As will every other dreamer . . . ."