Sunday, March 1, 2009

Themes of Teams

It's been quite the unique experience this year -- one that encompassed the completion of a college head coaching season, and the fortune to view another very special program put it all together after years of maturation, sacrifice, and commitment. MIT clinched its first ever NCAA tournament berth with a conference tourney championship today, and I was able to witness the win in person. Knowing what the team has been through and understanding what it took to get to this historical point is extraordinary. Being a part of an exclusive club, one that is dedicated to the highest standards in academics and one that competes on the court, is truly incomparable.

I am very proud to be a piece of that precious moment -- to not only have been through battles alongside the same players, but to also share in the celebration. To have the seniors on the team call me out to the court to cut down a string of net symbolized noteworthy admiration and appreciation. A true team, a group of individuals who epitomize energy, excitement, and work ethic, is what was in Worcester this weekend. Fusion like that does not simply occur. It happens as the result of dedication, discipline, and a distinct understanding of how to maximize every player and coach.

As a spectator, one could recognize the trust and teamwork on the floor. Players were looking for each other, either to drive and kick or help out on defense or recover, box and board... play after play was picturesque from a team standpoint. Although not perfect, there was an overall sense of direction, as if every baller was connected to the same soul. The three seniors commanded competitiveness and underclassmen stepped up in their roles. There was no way the team was to be denied.

Understand that the process was not instant -- it took years of team building and imagining ways to enhance the culture of the program. Unparalleled off season practice, senior leadership, and an unwavering collaborative effort produced a team that otherwise could have been flaky and shaken. Development was apparent and devotion dominated.

Recently, there have been other stories of team building:

Joe Girardi is advanced and aware. He is not afraid to put away the bats and take in some pool.

Kenyon College created a sensational swimming program, one that is both creative and conventional.

The championship run of Trinity College's squash teams is unbelievable -- both in numbers and know how.

In all of these examples, it is shown that a program is in constant construction -- in setting new foundations and constructing stronger ones from what is already solid.

Sometimes, it's amazing how quickly a hired crew can assemble a building -- yet it's more astounding to comprehend the actual time it took to communicate the overall vision and locate the ground to dig.


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