The summer is going well so far at Ryerson, events happening at the Mattamy Athletic Centre such as the Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship, World Pride Toronto right up the street on Church St and a steady flow of student-athletes frequenting the beautiful training facilities we have at the MAC. Being a university supporting varsity teams in downtown Toronto has its perks, as a group of about 7-8 of our players who live in the GTA are able to train together throughout the week. There is a lot of work being put in by this team with the prospect of a new leaf to turn in the fall. From the inside out the girls have decided to embrace our 4th year in the CIS with a relentless team-first game both on and off the ice.
Team sport is a funny thing. It watches as individuals work in teams and their success depends not on the individual, but how the individual parts work as a team. When tournaments like the World Cup or the Olympics take place, it is fun to watch teams you know nothing about as a spectator. There seems to be a clear picture, if not, feeling of whether a team is going to be successful and more often than not it has to do with their commitment and attitude towards team play.
Sport is a place where human emotion, talent and psyche is presented in a dance between what the team playing the sport believes is possible and what they are willing to do make it reality. When looking at the game at hand the equation looks like this, Belief + Will = Reality. For example, the statement, “Team Canada believed it was possible to come back from a 2-0 deficit to win the Olympic Gold Medal in Ice Hockey at Sochi and did so by scoring the game-tying goal, and the over-time winner.” (Boy oh boy, I wouldn’t have wanted to be an American hockey fan on that evening. I remember sitting with my jaw in my hands unknowing of whether to laugh or cry at what I just witnessed and the prospect of my home country overcoming such adversity and such pressure to get the job done.)
In actuality, when you dig down in to the details the outcome of the Olympic final was not so surprising. Additionally, there was a piece of the equation that I failed to mention. I think like a great chef the Team Canada staff and its players added the simplest yet most critical ingredient to their high-pressure masterpiece months before that game even took place. I’ll give you a hint; it starts with a “P” (and it’s not “pasta”). Ready for this trade secret? The magical word is Preparation.
The belief in your ability to achieve comes from preparation and willingness to execute, which leads to reality. In this way the true equation is Preparation + Willingness = Belief = Reality. The National Team went through adversity all year with a grueling training schedule, a coaching change and loss after loss in their pre-tournament schedule. They were beaten before, they were tired before, they were uncertain before and all of those things created through the preparation of a year of training contributed to their belief that the game wasn’t over and ultimately lead to their success in a seemingly improbable outcome.
We’ve had some key ingredients at Ryerson for some years, impeccable coaching, an outstanding training facility, a fun team atmosphere, and a world of support from our athletic department, families and fans. What we lack in skill we make up in grit, which the National Team calls “sandpaper.”
We have faced adversity for the past three years, but something that some may not have considered is that it has all served as preparation for this team and for ultimate success over the next five seasons and beyond. The blueprints have been made (the architect, of course our coach Lisa Haley) and now the foundation of preparation is finally set. The builders themselves have been discussing the best way to continue to move forward as individuals contributing to the team. We continue to build our house with the grit of sandpaper, and the relentlessness of hammers and nails. Undoubtedly, we will do it together, weathering any storm that comes our way.
Needless to say we’re looking forward to the fall. See you Oct 11 U of T.