Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Day Two: Oy Vey

The guys definitely have talent, but almost none of them have put it all together into a well-polished presentation. There are whole levels of concentration, determination, and drive that are completely unknown to them. They have some skills and are able to put together a routine, but they don't know how to achieve excellence. They don't even know that they're supposed to be achieving excellence.

Myself and all the gymnasts that came before me had upperclass leaders to look up to, to learn from, to emulate. The expectation of excellence and the ability to pursue it were passed down from year-to-year-to-year. But what happens when that chain is broken? Is an understanding of excellence such a tenuous, slippery thing?

Struggling pro sports teams always talk about bringing in a new player who "knows how to win". It's the same idea. I saw one kid with some of that razor-sharp focus and determination. Some of it. And only the one.

The varsity team lost the meet. Their team score was terrible. They have realized so little of their potential that it's almost appalling.

The coaches gathered at a local bar after the meet and talked it over. They cleared the way for me to step in and do some full hands-on, intense coaching tomorrow. Now that I know exactly what we're dealing with I can actually get some work done. I came in expecting to be an extra coach in the gym and that starts tomorrow in earnest.


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