Pound the Rock

by Ryan Krzykowski

I’ve coached a handful of different sports at a variety of levels since coming to Kansas City in 2008, but this fall I’ve joined a high school football staff for the first time in many years.  It’s a new staff with a dynamic head coach, who is new to the area, and starting from square one is a challenge.  Being part of a staff working together in its first season is such a feeling out process for every person involved, and while we have made encouraging progress, the win-loss record stands at 1-4.  Winning feels much better than losing, and 1-4 is tough to swallow.  But it’s where we are — there’s no getting around it, and last week I took the opportunity to share with a group of our team leaders a message about Pounding the Rock.

The message to the team largely came from The Champion Teammate, referenced here often and written by Jerry Lynch and John O’Sullivan.  Jerry and John tell of Gregg Popovich’s San Antonio Spurs, and how that franchise has adopted the mantra “Pound the Rock”, based on a quote by Jacob Riis.  Riis came to the US as a Danish immigrant at age 21 in 1870, and ended up doing considerable good on behalf of the nation’s urban poor.  His books and photography helped paint a picture that resulted in meaningful urban reform.  He also provided a quote about the nature and pace of his work, one that has been embraced by many, including the Spurs:

When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.

Check out this article for more on Jacob Riis and how he’s inspired the Spurs.

As for our high school football season, we recognize the reality of where we are and where we are working to be.  As coaches, we Pound the Rock, doing the things that champions do, knowing that we’ll arrive somewhere great on that proverbial 101st blow.  Probably most importantly, we train and encourage young men to do the same, doing what champions do in the weight room, at practice, and in their daily habits, knowing that the results we seek will come eventually, and that the results we experience along the way are part of our story.  We all keep pounding the rock.

Let’s Coach With Purpose…