Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Winning Ways" presented by Robert Kehoe

For my event I attend a student athlete workshop presented by Robert Kehoe called “Winning Ways.” The lecture discussed a guide for building champions and pursuing championships while abiding by Loyola’s Jesuit core values. Robert Kehoe defined winning ways as “the display of performance excellence consistent with potential.” This idea means the ways an individual seeks to excel. He goes further to define excellence as “the demonstration of rich character, discipline, and diligent effort, in all aspects of life.” This definition relates especially to Loyola because it is a Jesuit core value. The core value is more specifically directed to academic excellence, but overall it embodies the same meaning of devoting time and effort to achieving one’s goals to the fullest extent. Robert Kehoe uses a quote that I believe also represents to Jesuit community well. He states “Good, better, best; never let it rest; until our good is better; and, until our better is best.” I think this represent the meaning of his lecture as well as the Jesuit community because both teach to strive for excellence and be the best person you can be. The lecture, “Winning Ways” describes how to be successful as a student athlete, and although many students are not part of the “student athlete” group, the elements discussed relates to all students. For example, Robert Kehoe brings about the idea of balance. He defines balance as “properly timed, appropriately directed mental, physical, and emotional energy to priority activities.” All students must have an understanding of balance in order to be successful. Robert Kehoe breaks the priorities into four categories: personal, academic, athletic, and community. He discusses how important it is to have discipline in order to fulfill each category and stay on task. Robert Kehoe’s lecture is comprised of many ways to be successful as a team and how to form team unity. He set up a pentagon and labeled each of the five sides with the principles of performance excellence. These principles include: communication, concentration, commitment, cooperation, and condition. These five elements can be considered the main focus in Jesuit education as well for if all of these are satisfied it is easy for an individual to stay organized and on task. The most interesting point Robert Kehoe makes is this idea of “winning the moment.” He discusses this in a way that relates to athletics, but it can also be interpreted in life as well. For example, he states “the key for winning moment and small victories is one play at a time and with the elements of mind, body, and heart.” In life we are presented with many opportunities daily and it’s up to us to decide what we make of these opportunities. When the mind, body, and heart act as one it is easy to achieve daily goals. Finally, Robert Kehoe develops three different categories: character qualities, condition goals, and competition goals. He asked us to write what would best fit in each category to compose a winning team. Some answers included hardworking, determined, positive, supportive, dedicated, trustworthy, respectful, team unity, personal best performance, and highest quality play. Now although these qualities are being specifically directed towards athletics again, these qualities and goals are easily seen in the classroom day-to-day. Overall Robert Kehoe’s lecture was motivating and encouraging. Although it was directed towards student athletes, much of the discussion could be related to anyone student in the Jesuit community and in education. If we perform to the best of our ability in all aspects of life the outcome will be positive. We may not succeed all the time, but we will improve and learn for the future.
To relate this lecture experience to class discussion the major idea can be linked to the poem, “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” by John Donne, on a broader scale. Donne passionately describes the relationship of two people whose love knows no end. He makes references to a circle and to gold which represent never ending and precious, true, pure love. His rhyme scheme ABAB demonstrates couples and distances, but shows how the pattern still continues like their relationship. These ideas can be linked to the Robert Kehoe lecture in a way because they both invoke passion and love for something/someone. Kehoe’s lecture discusses team unity and team habits. It describes the quality individuals on a team all must have to create one heart the shares a common goal. Kehoe incorporates the qualities of determination, confidence, trustworthiness, supportiveness, dedication, respectfulness, and positivity; all of these qualities are related to Donne’s poem “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” because it describes a long distance relationship and the idea of leaving a loved one and all of these qualities are important in order to maintain the relationship. Of course, Donne’s writing is on a more personal, deeper scale; but both the poem and the lecture, in a sense, incorporate the idea of working together to achieve a common goal in order to be successful.
The lecture “Winning Ways” can also be related to the poem “Fox Trot Fridays” by Rita Dove. The poem “Fox Trot Fridays” is written to demonstrate the emotion and style of the fox trot dance. Dove uses quotes such as “Thank the stars there’s a day each week to tuck in…” and “…With no heartbreak in sight – just the sweep of Paradise and the space of song…” (page 228), which creates a fun, relaxing, and enjoying atmosphere where you can put away all of life’s worries for one moment and cut lose. This relates to “Winning Ways” because it’s main purpose is to be a guide for building champions and as a student athlete you have to have a deep passion and enjoyment for the game you are playing. Dance and soccer are similar, in that you have to practice to become the best, but they can also be viewed as a way to escape the chaos of life’s stresses. To be a successful athlete you have to have confidence in your skill and not over think the game, which is what this poem is implying. The poem “Fox Trot Fridays” creates a fun environment and a stress free place, which is similar to the field on which athletes play. I know when I am on the soccer field in the moment of game time, of course there are pressures, but once you break the barrier of nerves it becomes pure fun and you remember why you play because you love the game.
In conclusion, I found the lecture “Winning Ways” to be extremely interesting. I learned to appreciate being a student athlete more and found the strength and passion and love of the game that I sometimes take for-granted. The lecture could be related to the readings discussed in class as well if you go below the surface of its actually meaning and appreciate its deeper value.

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