The 2008 Secret Society has been named the Secret Society of the Black and Blue L T. The letters L and T have the most important significance because we as a staff feel that LEADERSHIP and TEAM are the two factors that will determine our success this upcoming season. As you are aware we have tried a few different things this off-season in an effort to maximize team chemistry and accountability. As with any new idea one will always have to learn from the experience and find ways to improve on it with the hope that it will eventually bring forth the desired results.
Our 2008 training groups were a positive step in the right direction. It was our hope that the creation of the training groups would generate positive leadership on the part of selected team members and that it would provide us with more accountability in regards to not only physical training but also general classroom achievement from both an academic and citizenship standpoint. Although we still have much work to do it is safe to say that we certainly had better accountability than ever before. Of course not everyone was able to handle the responsibility that athletes assume in this type of group competition, but this was not totally unexpected. Coaches that have instituted similar programs pointed out that there will be athletes who will not be able to fulfill their responsibilities from a leadership standpoint and others who will be unable to make the team and their group a priority over any personal interests. One look at our group standings as we finish our summer training certainly reflects this point.
We have spoken to you often about the need to come together as a team and start to work toward a common goal. A team does not come together overnight nor does it magically appear on August 14th at 8:30 a.m. One of the big challenges that we have at La Jolla is playing a number of teams that train and work together for an entire eight months prior to taking the field in the fall. Many of these teams are fortunate enough to have first period or last period athletic classes where they train as a team within the scope of the regular school day. It basically amounts to a half year of spring football type activities. In addition our summer passing league visits to schools such as Helix and Point Loma provided us an opportunity to see programs that have been able to enhance their team chemistry and bonding by training together over prolonged periods of time.
The easiest part of high school football is probably the actual playing of the game. The most difficult thing is without a doubt the preparation and mental toughness that is required to prepare for competition. We are certain that a great many of you have now come to this realization. Getting to the weight room at six in the morning is not the easiest thing to do for most of you and for some of you it is simply impossible. In addition, getting there and bringing a good attitude and a willingness to work hard can also be problematic at times. We ask you to make this small sacrifice for two basic reasons. First we want to build some team chemistry and start to bond together as a team in an effort to not only improve our play on game night, but also to do some catching up on our opponents who have had a head start in this regard. Secondly we want to evaluate our players to see who will exhibit the mental toughness needed to compete against the caliber of opponents that we will face in the following months. In this regard all we can say is that your actions speak a lot louder than your words. Those of you who made the effort to meet these responsibilities have shown that you are quite willing to put the interests of the TEAM first and this is the first step required in the team building process. There are others who have tried to put the team first but they still need to improve in this regard and hopefully we will be able to get them to develop into a team player as the season progresses.
The 2008 pin is quite simple in many regards. We have acknowledged our group captains on it and we have highlighted each one of our upcoming opponents. As you can see the directions to our ultimate destination are there to see as well as the directions to the site of one of our biggest games. There are a number of important dates as well as a number of special reminders such as the time and the magic number. But most important of all are the concepts of TEAM, LEADERSHIP, UNITY and TRUST. Without these four elements our ability to win games and reach personal goals and records becomes greatly diminished.
Our job now is to get to work and become a TEAM. Perhaps you do not realize this but Thursday August the 14th will be the first time that all 53 of you will be together working toward a common goal. It didnít happen during the spring semester because we have no lifting and conditioning class at La Jolla. It didnít happen during spring football because this was a general tryout with about 75 participants and about a thrid of them are no longer with us. Lastly, it didnít happen in the summer for a number of reasons that are not important anymore. When we actually become a TEAM is now up to you and the coaches will let you know when that moment occurs.
What time is it?
It is time to become a TEAM.