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A couple of years ago I mentioned in a blog that I was reading a book called “The Virtues of War” by Steven Pressfield. It is a novel of Alexander the Great. I’ve decided to put it on the podcast with a few different twists. Now let me say, I already knew that Alexander, King of Macedonia was great, or they wouldn’t have called him The Great. Right? Now that I’ve read the book, I REALLY KNOW WHY THEY CALLED HIM THE GREAT! I would have to write a term paper to describe what made him such a leader of men. For that, I recommend that you read the book. We always talk about Xs and Os, culture, scheme, great coaching, great athletes, and these are all important ingredients to have a winning team but unless youve got guys that have the next two ingredients – tough to win a championship.
I highlighted many areas of the book because I thought so much of it could be applied to football and football coaches. One passage that really made an impression on me was when Alexander talked (in Pressfield’s words) about the success of his army. “This force has been insuperable not for its numbers, for in every campaign it has entered the field outmounted and outmanned; nor for its generalship or tactics, though these have not been inconsiderable; nor for the proficiency of its supply train and logistical corps, without which no force on the field can survive, let alone prevail. Rather, this army has succeeded because of qualities of warriorship in its individual soldiers, specifically that property expressed by the Greek word dynamis, “the will to fight“. What drives the soldier is cardia, “heart”, and dynamis, “the will to fight”.” Substitute the word “soldier” with football player or any athlete. Of all the qualities I admire in great athletes, these two qualities have always been the two I most admire.
I think Alexander was being way overly modest about his own abilities as a general. Aren’t most great coaches the same? He was a superb tactician and planned for hours how to keep his army well fed and supplied. That’s what he did. But when its the 4th quarter in a tough game against a good team, many times it comes down to the team that has cardia and dynamis. As I discussed these two concepts with a coach near and dear to my heart, he paused for a second and asked, “What’s the difference?” I thought for a few moments and said, ” Hmm, I’m not sure.” As I thought, I came up with what I thought was the difference. Now mind you, these are MY thoughts. I could be way off, but here is what I think.
Cardia is that quality of being in a fight or battle and there is no quit in the soldier (player), he will fight you to the end. No matter the odds, no matter how tired or beat up, there is something inside that pushes on. Dynamis, on the other hand, is having that desire to enter battle. He relishes the training and welcomes the opportunity to go into the fray. He looks forward to the next campaign, or looking at it from a football coach’s perspective, the next Friday night game.
Is it possible to have the will to fight but when things are going badly or maybe losing, one loses heart and gives up? Hmm…maybe – no, probably. Here are a couple of stories that go WAY back. It was 1989 and we were playing in the quarterfinals of the state tournament. We were 11-0, they were 11-0. We were both really good…they had 2 running backs…Green Bay Packer offense…14-14 at the half. Rest of story…Then in 1990 or 91 we played a team in the 2nd round 10-0 and 10-0…Did we ever have a team that lost heart? Yeah, in the semis… Finally, I love HS wrestling….quick, strong, explosive, great technique, endurance, no chinks in the armour…and they have cardia and dynamis.
And yes, I caught a little of the 30 for 30 about Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. OK, it was an intriguing summer. But did you see the way these guys were hittin the ball out of the park every 5 minutes it seemed. Bam, bam, bam, one after another. It just wasnt natural – thats why I wasnt goin crazy in 98. To me it just wasnt real baseball. I like singles, doubles and triples. I like guys flyin around the bases. Hit n run, bunts, stealing bases. And yeah, 1 or 2 homers a game, cool. But we would have these guys hittin 1 or 2 every day. Sometimes 3. Griffey was hittin a bunch too in the American League. He cooled off a little and finished with 56 – still a heckuva number. But I never thought he was on steroids cause his numbers didnt suddenly spike like the other two and he didn’t suddenly get BIGGER. Remember Barry Bonds? He blew up.
Whats new on the Online Clinic? Plenty! To start with we just released two videos from retired, veteran football coach Don Herman of Marthas Vineyard Regional HS. Video #1 Stories of accountability, character building, and discipline. And he’s gotta bunch of em. One of the nice things about gettin old is, you sure have a bunch of good stories to tell. Video #2 is Top Ten Ideas from a long career – also by Coach Don Herman. Lot of wisdom from Coach Herman in these two videos. And then – every Monday, Tuesday, Wedenesday, and Thursday nights you can tune in to UNDER THE LIghts. A live show that gives you a chance to hang out, share, and talk ball as Coach Albaugh brings on a coaching guest.
Top 10 HW boxers of All time. MY TOP TEN. 10. Evander Holyfield (44-10-2)…9. Sonny Liston (50-4)…8. Jack Johnson (55-11-8) Jack Johnson held the HW title from 1908 to 1915 and defended the title 17 times. That came on the heels of being the Colored HW Champion of the World from 1903-1908. So he was the Colored Champ of the world for 5 years then the overall champ for another 7. That’s an incredible 12 year run as a HW champion. He wouldve been the overall champ sooner but was of course ducked by some of the white fighters. However, as the colored champ he also ducked some of the best black HWs at that time. He eventually fought them all and based on that record I believe Jack Johnson has to be in the top ten and he’s my #8. Next week, #7.
One more thing…wanna see a great example of cardia and dynamis? Go to youtube and watch the fight between Archie Moore and Yvon Durrell. Incredible heart from Archie Moore, one of my very favorite boxers.
Wanna make a comment on anything I’ve discussed? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wanna take a look at the transcript of this podcast? Go to the website at clinic.chiefpigskin.com and click under “more” then click on blog. There are more fun things to look at and read.
Hey, join us next week for another CP coaches podcast and we’ll see you then!
Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair. Nelson Mandela
Sweet 16 Countdown: 51. Alaska -9.2 50. Vermont -1.7 49. North Dakota 3.3 48. Wyoming 5.2 47. Rhode Island 8.4 46. District of Columbia 8.4 45. Delaware 14.7 44. South Dakota 15.3 43. New Hampshire 16.7 42. Montana 19.2 41. Maine 19.5 40. New Mexico 20.5 39. Oregon 24.2 38. West Virginia 26.3 37. Nevada 31.2 36. Idaho 32.2 35. Nebraska 32.6 34. New York 33.0 33. Iowa 34.4 32. Minnesota 35.9 31. Kentucky 36.3 30. Hawaii 36.5 29. Connecticut 37.3 28. Massachusetts 38.3 27. Wisconsin 39.9 26. Virginia 40.8 25. Oklahoma 41.5 24. Michigan 41.53 23. Kansas 41.8 22. Tennessee 41.9 21. Washington 42.6 20. Indiana 43.9 19. Colorado 44.4 18. South Carolina 44.61 17. New Jersey 44.63 16. Arkansa 45.0 15. Arizona 45.2 14. Mississippi 45.6 13. Alabama 45.8 12. Utah 46.0 11. North Carolina 46.7 10. Missouri 49.0 9. Pennsylvania 49.9 8. Illinois 50.3 7. Louisiana 51.9 6. Maryland 52.8 5. Georgia 57.2 4. Texas 60.8 3. Ohio 61.0 2. Florida 62.5 1. California 69.4
Coach Albaugh coached high school football in Illinois for 28 years. During that time he coached at every level and on both sides of the ball. He was the offensive and defensive line coach for four undefeated teams and was a defensive coordinator in his last 11 years, twice reaching the semi finals of the Illinois state playoffs.