Cardinal Gymnastics: The Smyth Report

Feb. 9, 2005

'It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog...GAME ON'

SWG 2005

There are definitely moments that push a team to look at itself, really look at itself. They are moments that can inspire a team to choose to improve. This weekend was an awakening for a young team for whom talent is just a word. What this weekend revealed was that we haven't been detail oriented enough and we haven't done the little things each day to prepare us to succeed on Friday nights.

My hat goes off to the Central Michigan University team as they had this meet won before it began. They were a team from the minute they entered the arena. They took pride in their approach and exhibited confidence in their work. I think our team learned a great deal from this experience.

Some of the lessons: We need to work harder in and out of the gym. Hard work is what gives us the peace of mind to not let down, to not look for excuses or crumble under pressure. It gives us the right as a program to hope for success and it is the cornerstone of every great program. Bottom line, we haven't worked hard enough, we haven't committed ourselves enough and we haven't held ourselves accountable to each other or to this program. Last weekend was simply the manifestation of bad habits.

We spent most of our Sunday practice talking and watching video. We renewed our commitment to each other. I have faith that our team will dig down deep and strive to reach our potential.

It is well chronicled that we are a young and talented team that has been challenged early with bumps in the road. A lot of times bad luck finds the unfocused team. Our ankle injuries have come by way of walking on campus, jumping off the rope climb during our daily conditioning, stretching, a front tuck on the tumble track, and running with the band (a freshman tradition at Stanford). It is clear that we need to be present in our own lives, practices, and goals as well as those of our team.

It's no secret that a successful season requires hard work and commitment in and out of the gym. Talent, health, and a good dose of luck along the way, but a successful program requires much more than that. Teaching this is the biggest challenge with a young team, and we'll continue to work at it. If leadership and desire infects our locker room, the sky's the limit.

Our mantra for this week is: Awareness--being conscious of your actions and words and how they affect everyone around you. Responsibility--own your gymnastics and your team, take action recognize your reponsibility to the program. Devotion--commitment, love for your sport, everything you do do it with a big heart.

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