The key word to focus on in this statement alone is ‘grit.’ We will not be able to win on talent alone. He did not say we are never going to win a game.
If this were the case we may as well all toss in the towel and never look back. The conversation was started with the obvious intention to figure out what we need to do to take games from teams who physically outmatch us, because it is possible.
The trick is to accept that it is not possible to win if we continue on the same path, while keeping faith that if we commit to making change, we can and will win.
B1G ten volleyball teams are built to be larger than life girls who are great jumpers, with powerful swings, and heavy serves. Winning teams in the B1G ten get the top physical recruits in the nation. We don’t happen to be that team. We’re not going to magically jump touch a foot higher than we do now to match the teams we are playing against.
None of us are going to grow five inches either. These are all things we know to be true. But we went neck and neck with a lot of these teams, falling short time and time again by tiny margins. So what tips the scale in our favor? Every uphill battle to ever exist has been won at the fighting fists of people who not only possess but understand and live their lives through one principle; grit.
For the uphill battle winners, the saying, “Success comes to those who wait.” is a load of crap. They live their lives knowing that the hill is conquered by those who outwork yesterday’s best today. They continue to strive for this day after day. Yet through this grueling and time consuming process they still possess a level of passion to warrant patience while climbing. Patience is essential for the climb; waiting is not. The reality of the situation is we can no longer wait and stare up in awe from the bottom of the hill at teams who have reached the top. We need a direction to go, preferably up.
In the book Good to Great, by Jim Collins, to become a great team, the right people have to be “on the bus.” I believe the right people are. We’ve done the grueling practices, and long days in the gym, exhausting traveling weekends, staying up until the early hours of the morning in the hotel lobby finishing schoolwork.
However, so have the teams we compete against. Beyond this I am confident the right people are on our bus because above all else, those of us who remain have chosen to stay on board. Our past competition season was the ultimate test. The players struggled, the coaches struggled, some people left the bus, and others were kicked off.
For that reason alone the remaining members of this team possess the grit and faith that we need to win. The piece of the puzzle we were missing is now staring us in the face. We will not win on talent alone. Confronted with this truth, we keep the faith that we will win, go back to the drawing board, and figure out how to begin the climb. The only direction left to go is up.