While on my recent family vacation, we made a planned stop in Dyersville, IA. Yes, we went and visited the Field Of Dreams movie site. During the visit we had the opportunity to go on the house tour (I highly recommend it). After the tour, I felt like Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) and the voice was speaking to me. “Build It And They Will Come.” Actually, I have been hearing the voice ever since. Some will thing you are crazy, just like Ray Kinsella. Some will say you are in you are in touch with the world around you. While on the tour, a woman asked a question, “what does the phrase mean? Was it a dream? The answer given by the gentleman giving the tour was priceless. I will not tell you the response, but my response would have been exactly the same as his.
While on vacation, the Notre Dame baseball team wrapped up their season with a heartbreaking loss to Mississippi State. Much to my surprise, I had been writing about the voice in my head the entire season. “Build It And They Will Come.” The voice told me to look beyond baseball and to really think about the message. After a week of putting the story together in my head, I am now ready to relate how it applies to Notre Dame sports.
The phrase “Build It And They Will Come” doesn’t have to revolve a structure. In a sports sense, the building part is how the program functions. At times you you must teardown or hit rock bottom and begin the rebuilding process. Most recently, the Notre Dame Baseball was in a tough spot and had to make a tough decision and not continue on with their Head Coach Mik Aoki, and start fresh with Head Coach Link Jarrett. Coach Jarrett gave the Fightin’ Irish the breath of fresh air it needed. After a shortened season 2020 season, Coach Jarrett took the Irish to the Super Regional after a tremendous regular season. The inspiration and publicity this team received this past season, will build an opportunity to bring in ever better recruits for years to come. Leadership builds trust within the team. A strong foundation of leadership is something to build on for a very long and sustaining future.
The same metaphor could be used with the Notre Dame football program. After the 4-8 2016/2017 season, the Fightin’ Irish also went through a rebuilding phase. You cannot recruit based upon name recognition. You need to have a culture built on understanding and most importantly on leadership. What had worked for Notre Dame football in the past was being the only team on national TV every Saturday. As time evolved the methods of recruiting changed, along with the rules of accepting student-athletes into a program. Fast forward to the following season after the 4-8 football record. The Irish finish 10-3 including a post season win in the Citrus versus LSU. Building on that success and culture change has propelled the team to two College Football Playoffs in three years.
Most of that success is behind the methodology Coach Kelly implemented. He changed the way he approached the game as well as how the coaching staff and team prepared for a season year round. Having the ability to shift gears and have success in a short timeframe is what builds a a teams confidence in the message being delivered. Some will say that the new jumbo screen and the new locker room is what is bringing the sought after recruits. When in actuality it has more to with building a new competitive spirit and a robust program under the guidance of Coach Kelly.
The Wrap UP
Amongst the the two previous sports discussed, a lot of success has come to the baseball and football team. The “Build It And They Will Come” discussion doesn’t always have to revolve around a successful season. It’s about the journey, “Go The Distance.” You have to immerse yourself into accepting the journey and see it to completion. The other sports on campus are also seeing the rewards of, Go The Distance. It’s about commitment to the team, unselfishly giving of yourself on and off the field, and willing to make a difference in someone else’s life. These elements complete the two quotes from the Field Of Dreams. So in the end, not only are these movie quotes, they are almost secrets to success to life on and off the field. Building doesn’t necessarily need to be a physical structure, building can be what’s needed to develop success in our everyday life.
What are your thoughts? Please share them with us in the reply.
Cheers and Go Irish! ☘🌩