Elevating the Standard: Exclusivity in Excellence
Upon my high school graduation, I held the prestigious title of 1st Team All-State. My athletic journey continued at Widener University, where the prior year’s team had only achieved three wins. The prevailing culture was lacking, the players were aware, yet a reluctance to instigate change persisted.
My foundation was a high school team that upheld a rigorous standard. Over four years, one could not exceed three absences. Any deviation required a direct, personal call to the head coach or a voicemail 24 hours before a workout or practice. At the time, it seemed commonplace – a reflection of a commitment to consistency. Attendance was not just a personal commitment; it was a demonstration of pride and tradition.
Entering college, I found it challenging to reconcile with the lower standards. Teammates skipped training sessions, missed practices, partied all weekend, and wondered why we consistently got our asses kicked. There was a lack of heart, a lack of purpose – merely donning the team jersey was considered sufficient. I loathed being part of a losing team and arrived my freshman year with a determined attitude. I was there to win, not to endure four years of defeats.
During my college tenure, I played a pivotal role in elevating the standard. I practiced diligently, holding others accountable through my actions. I never missed a weight training session, engaged in discussions with coaches about game plans, and sacrificed the indulgence of summer travels to maintain consistent workouts. I relinquished playing two sports to focus on winning in one and abstained from parties and alcohol. Winning was my singular focus.
In my sophomore year, I willingly switched positions from quarterback to safety, recognizing the need for a change after a subpar freshman year. I played the subsequent three seasons as a safety, contributing to a 9-2 record in our sophomore year and a victorious bowl game. A winning appetite permeated our team, with the standard escalating in every aspect of our training and practices. Non-compliance was not tolerated.
This winning culture persisted through my junior and senior seasons, propelling us to the national semifinal. The elimination of the culture of partying, missed practices, and laxity in training became a distant memory. A positive culture naturally sifts out those unwilling to adhere. Our success during those two years left an indelible mark, shaping my approach to life.
This experience set the tone for my life. I resolved from a young age not to be part of a mediocre culture, preferring to surround myself with individuals committed to bringing their best each day. This commitment continues to resonate with me, driving my desire to be in environments that constantly challenge me and encourage the pursuit of goals beyond perceived attainability.
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