March 26, 2010
Growing and Rowing Together
Louisville, Kentucky -- Another journey begins today. We've managed the initial part of the season relatively well. At 12-5 in our pre-conference slate, we have beaten some good clubs, and have generally played well. Today, not far from the banks of the Ohio River, we'll take our first step into the 2010 Big East schedule with a 6 pm start against Louisville.
Dez finished his run before I began mine this morning. He wanted to beat the downtown traffic and headed out before dawn. When we met up at breakfast in the Spring Hill Suites downtown, he told me he found a marker on the river near the location from which William Clark embarked with nine young Kentuckians to meet Meriwether Lewis on the Mississippi in St. Louis. From there, they'd begin their dangerous and exciting exploration of the Louisiana Purchase.
We'll take nine young Huskies onto the field at the Cardinals' beautiful Jim Patterson Stadium today. Our muskets and bayonets will be in the forms of bats and gloves, and we'll all need to be "rowing" in the same direction if we're to have success against the 7th ranked Cardinals, who come into the conference debut with an impressive 18-2 mark.
Like the folks on the famous expedition over two hundred years ago, we'll be tested as we head not to the Pacific Northwest, but through Morgantown, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, and Tampa. We'll undoubtedly encounter resistance from opponents, and challenges amongst ourselves. There have already been unexpected twists and turns, and so far, our guys have exhibited good resilience. I'm very much looking forward to seeing how they fare on our dangerous and exciting Big East expedition.
This week has provided a harbinger of the tests on the horizon. We're going to be without three players this weekend due to three separate violations of team policy. While our team will certainly miss their play this weekend, our program is bigger than all of us and more important than this series. While we constantly communicate our team goals, and the processes by which we'll reach them, occasionally, the lines of communication get crossed and we need to reiterate the message. Correcting that communication and our processes was essential to our continued growth (as well as theirs) this week. We'll need each of those guys to reach our goals this season and beyond, and we have total faith that they'll rebound and help the expedition again soon.
Communication really is everything. It is almost impossible to function without it. Two-year-old Charlie is being encouraged, cajoled, and pleaded with to make the Penders house a diaper-free zone. He has had varying degrees of success in getting the message, but is beginning to get the sense that "big boy" pants are cool and diapers are so-2009. However, occasionally, a waft of full Pampers will indicate that his Fruit of the Loom indoctrination is going to have to wait a little longer. Brooke will ask him, "Charlie, are you stinky?" While the imp has a relatively extensive vocabulary for a two-year old, he struggles with the "s-t sound" at the beginning of a word, so his response is, "No, Mommy, you skanky?" Uh, no, Charles, your mother is not skanky, or stinky, for that matter, and get over here so I can change your drawers.
Charlie knows what his parents are after, and he's getting the message. His process, not to mention his diction, is just a bit flawed.
Just like encouraging the potty every 20 minutes or so at home, we're going to persuade our guys to be present in the moment, and think about what's important now. We'll hope that our communication is clear, and the processes of see ball, hit ball, repeating mechanics, quality preparation, going to class, avoiding distractions, and rowing in the same direction will get us to where we're going.