Luke Taylor and the Path Less Traveled

  • Written by Derek Johnson

Luke Taylor looked out a window from the 50th floor of the MetLife Building in New York City. The 26-year old Woodinville grad was on the phone last week with a reporter. “I’m overlooking Grand Central and it’s nighttime in the city,” Taylor said. “I can see all of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn in the distance. Incredible view! I wish I could say it was my office-- but I’m in a conference room.”

Since graduating from Woodinville High School in 2010, Taylor has traversed the country. His travels have taken him through minor league baseball, Trinity College and finally to a job at the law firm in New York City.

The journey began when the Seattle Mariners drafted Taylor in the 9th round of the 2010 draft. The 6’6” 200 pound pitcher played four seasons in the organization. He started in Arizona and then played for the Pulaski (VA) Mariners in 2011. His final season was 2013, when he pitched briefly for the Everett Aqua Sox. A torn labrum brought his baseball dreams to an end. 

LukeWoodinville native Luke Taylor rowing for Trinity College (Courtesy photo)“My fastball dropped velocity,” Taylor said. “So I took a medical release and moved to Brooklyn.”

Why Brooklyn? Taylor said his decision didn’t stem from a childhood watching reruns of Welcome Back Kotter and Spike Lee movies.

“I didn’t want to stay at home for the sole reason of getting stuck into the same routine where I was too comfortable,” Taylor said. “If I stayed I would have probably gone to UW, who knows. I wanted to get out and experience a part of the country I hadn’t been yet. Which was New England, because I had pretty much been everywhere else thanks to baseball.”

Taylor’s brother was also living in Brooklyn, which eased the transition. Taylor got a job as a doorman and contemplated his next move. “It was a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take,” he said. “There were really no stakes involved. If I hated it I could come back home. If I loved it, I could find a school out here and make a life here. I had nothing to lose, so why not?”

His contract with the Mariners stipulated that he go to college within two years, in order to receive financial assistance. So he applied to several and was accepted into Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Founded in 1823, Trinity had an enrollment of 2,350 students.  

During Taylor’s freshman year, he walked onto the rowing team. The irony was that he’d never rowed before.

Four years later, in the fall of 2017, Taylor was captaining the Trinity team. He’d awaken at 4:30 a.m., and be out upon the waters of the Connecticut River by 6 a.m. 

“Rowing is a grueling sport,” Taylor said. “The constant testing of self. Seeing how much you can handle. To break your own PR. It’s not like baseball where you can go out and hit a thousand balls or play catch and work on a change-up. Baseball is fun, it’s always fun. With rowing, you’re on a machine. It’s in winter and it’s snowing outside. You have to go as hard as you can go… Guys are throwing up and its absolute chaos, right? My memorable moments are with the guys who trained hard and really cared about making the team better.”

Taylor capped his rowing career by being named to the National Invitational Rowing Championships All-Academic Team.

Now, in July 2018, he looked out from the 50th floor of the MetLife Building. “I’m with a firm called Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher,” Taylor said. “I’m a litigation paralegal. The next step is to do this for at least two years, if not longer. Then to study the LSAT and go to law school. That’s the plan.”

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