Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Dear Hodags,

2012 approaches, and it's time to take stock in where we are and where we want to be.

Our first tournament of the year is 5 weeks away. As short a time as 5 weeks is, it's even less when you consider that we won't be reunited for another 3 weeks at least. Any opportunity that you might get to throw a disc outdoors, take it. I played pick up yesterday and have this to share: outdoors is not the McClain. Not even close.

People have always touted sports as a way of understanding yourself better, and growing as a person. Repeated often enough and it becomes cliche, like any word repeated it loses is meaning to us. But the truth of the statement remains: playing for the Hodags will teach you a lot about your personal limits, about your capacity for dedication, organization, and sacrifice. In order for us to win the championship this year we will all need plenty of each.

Most of you are young, all of you younger than me, so please listen not to me, but to years of painful experience. You will reach your limits. You will question yourself. What this team demands from each of us will, at times, seem more than what you can give. This may happen at a tournament, a practice, a workout, a test, a class. The location, even the reason for your self-doubt, is unimportant. You will be pushed and will be given an opportunity to give up and stop trying.

The desire to accept that opportunity is natural. No creature willingly hurts itself. We are equipped with a strong sense of self-preservation, and for many thousands of years it helped us to survive from generation to generation. But our genetic code is millenia behind our new purposes and endeavors. We are privileged such that merely surviving is no longer enough. And each of you, by accepting the challenges of this team, have signaled that your goals in life are higher still: you want to explore your boundaries and push beyond them. You want to become your best self.

By definition, this is not easy. The artificial limits our brains place for us are a powerful illusion to overcome. But they can be overcome. Do not hide from your fears of failure - acknowledge them. With the support of our teammates, our wills will strengthen. Resolution is not a word to be paired with the coming of a new year, it is a skill to be practiced and honed. For these next 5 months we will do just that. This team has 27 talented people but zero champions. When Memorial Day ends, I do not want to measure this team on its capacity, but on its accomplishments. Get ready to work. Get ready to grow. Who you are today as you read this will be a shell of who you become in this next semester. Relish it.

Hhodag Love,