Friday, October 26, 2007

The win column, the loss column, and the FIGHT column...

Great leaders set great expectations for themselves. Not only do they bear the weight of their own expectations, they often carry their team's with them. The media, the fans, and the commentators come second to only 'the team.' This is important to remember when all that is expected is not met. The standards at Michigan are high, and whether you are captain of the soccer team, project manager of the solar car team, or leading the football team, you strive to meet and exceed them. Those expectations are often rooted in victory, but some things cannot be measured by the win and loss column.

Now, don't get me wrong. The first question my dad asked me every time I came home from a game was, "Did you win?" If the answer was 'no', he would stop and look me in the eye. The second question came after some silence. "Did you try your best?" My answer was always the same and my father's response never altered. "Yes, I tried my best." My father would look up, nod, and say, "At the end of the day, it's not about whether you win or lose. It's about how you practice, how you lead, and how classy your program is. It's about what you left out there." Now, I don't completely agree. It's definitely about winning or losing; if it weren't, then I wouldn't be an alumnus of the University of Michigan. However, I stand by his emphasis on leadership and character. It's not enough to play; it's not even enough to win. It's about leading a team and playing in a dignified manner.

This becomes most difficult when the expectations a leader sets for her/himself are not met. It takes true leadership to keep Fighting, to keep playing, and to win when the ultimate expectation is not possible. We have seen other leaders and programs falter when the car crashes, when the goals weren't scored, or when the kick was blocked. However, at the University of Michigan, we are not afraid to aim as high as possible and then continue to Fight when that expectation is out of reach. That takes character, that takes class, and I am humbled to be surrounded by the great leaders that have continued to Fight regardless of the stakes. Thank you for continuing to drive, thank you for continuing to play the game with such Fire, and thank you for continuing to inspire me.

1 comment:

Ashish said...

Well said. I couldn't agree more