Friday, March 23, 2007

UCLA vs. Pitt -- buddies

A deal was hatched between the coaches of UCLA and Pitt men's basketball team. They agree to NOT play against each other, except if they happen to meet in the NCAA tournament.

Pitt's old coach won the contest last night and goes to the elite 8, but he got emotional with the cameras rolling.

Meanwhile, on the gridiron, Pitt does not play against Penn State. They don't play because they were rivals, not best of buddies.

Go figure.

I'm a coach. I have scheduled matches and contests. But I don't think like they do. In swimming, we have different perspectives.

When I'm a coach, I want my team to race against the teams that are coached by my friends. If you have a good or great team, I want to go against you. I say bring it on.

That that does not kill us, generally makes us stronger.

Swimming has a different method for keeping score. In swimming, the prime aim is to improve, not to win. Our mission is more about getting better, not being 'on top.' We want improvement, and we want great rates of improvement. Just as everyone gets older and moves forward, I'm most interested in accelerated rates to excellence.

I think it is a human trait to aspire to be better. That should be our target, more so than being king for the day.

Some are fine at being a big fish in a little pond. Some want to be a little fish in a big sea. I'd like to be a big fish in a healthy environment with diversity and schools that go with and against the currents.

The same general concepts hold true for me in politics as well. My running or not does not hinge upon the opposition being my buddie or not. Loyal opposition can exist.

I would have loved to have run against Bill Peduto. There would be many instances were growth could have been expected as we took discussions to different places. That makes people uncomfortable.

Too often, Pittsburgh's political landscape is about living in a 'comfort zone.' As a coach I want to push, pull, and use what leverage I can muster and find to take people out of their comfort zone -- to improve.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Trib Whispers, a few days after this posting:

Sunday, March 25, 2007

With all the issues facing state government -- a potential $2 billion deficit, legislative reform, the possible sale or lease of the turnpike, etc. -- it's nice to know state Sen. John Wozniak has his priorities in order.

The Johnstown Democrat issued a news release last week heralding his efforts to renew the dormant Pitt-Penn State football rivalry.

"The economic gains, not only for State College and Pittsburgh, but for the entire commonwealth, would be tremendous," Wozniak said without offering a shred of evidence to back up the claim.

Wozniak said he has talked with Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and has written to Penn State President Graham Spanier asking them to renew the schools' gridiron ties.

Wozniak, a 1978 Pitt grad, likely has additional personal reasons for suggesting the matchup. One of his children enrolled at Penn State last fall.

As much as we would like to see Pitt and Penn State play again, we have to ask: Doesn't Wozniak have anything better to do with his time?