Posted by: petemangurian | March 23, 2012

Football: We ar…

Football: We are all in this together

What a great event last night with the Columbia “young alumni” at Highland Park on 34th street. The ringleaders of the whole affaire were, Chuck Britton ‘05 and Steve Dance ‘07. There were about forty-five to fifty Columbia football players, most of whom live in the city, but not all, most of whom graduated in the last ten years, but not all. This was just the guys, nothing formal, just football players hanging out together. This wasn’t about fund raising or career development, just ex-Lions reconnecting at the most basic level, teammates.

It’s funny what work, wives and children can do to make these kinds of events tough to pull off. We all want to stay connected, but it’s just hard to do. Life gets in the way. The best part about last night were the looks on these guys faces when they saw one another.  You never forget your teammates, to many stories (they get better with time). All this is really what it’s about to play at one of these schools, the friends you make. It’s not just about four years, its bigger than that.

We’ve lost a little of that at Columbia, but we are going to get it back. Truth is we never really lost it; we just haven’t created an environment that facilitates the connection. This program is about the people in it – the players that are here, the players we have recruited and the players that came before. Each generation learns from the last. All football players have that football “gene.” if you haven’t been a part of it, it’s hard to understand. It doesn’t matter how much you win, it’s the journey teams take, all together, basically all alone. Once you have been part of that, it never goes away, and it’s why we play.

That accountability to one another is what holds a team together. All the distractions that exist for all our players make it hard sometimes to draw on that collective strength.  They loose touch with their real source of strength:  each other. Our players need to see these young alums, which after it’s all said and done, still have that connection. After the tough seasons and the disappointments, they still have that connection that comes from being teammates. It doesn’t go away when you graduate – its way bigger than that.

These guys are all supportive our current players. They want to be part of what we are doing, and we want them to, and more importantly, we need them to be a part of our team. Most of these guys don’t even know or have ever met our players, but they still feel connected.  Being a teammate is a powerful bond. It is my job to bring these guys back into the family. They are too important to our identity to be on the outside looking in. It’s not about anything other than sharing a common experience. Only after we align the future, the present and the past, can we really see how good we can be. The first step in our alumni development took place last night, what a great event.

Spring Practice starts Monday…first bus departs from the Broadway gate at 4:45am.

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