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Friday, April 12, 2013


The following comes from a 2006 interview on North Carolina soccer head coach Anson Dorrance by John M. Silva III.  Under Coach Dorrance, the Tar Heels have won 21 of 31 National Championships and dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference.  Here is an excerpt of that interview.

We have all the elements that we think are most critical for developing a championship environment. These are called the Core Values of our team:

 Let’s begin with this:

 1.      We don’t whine
“The true joy in life is to be a force of fortune instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” -George Bernard Shaw

2.      We work hard
“The difference between one person and another, between the weak and the powerful, the great and the insignificant, is energy – invisible determination…This quality will do anything that has to be done in the world, and no talents, no circumstances, no opportunities will make you a great person without it.” -Thomas Buxton – Philanthropist

3.      The truly extraordinary do something every day
“Roosevelt, more than any other man living within the range of notoriety showed the singular primitive quality that belongs to ultimate matter, the quality that medieval theology assigned to God; ‘he was pure act’.” -Henry Adams Theodore Rex – Desmond Morris

4.      We choose to be positive
“…everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decisions which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance…in the final analysis it becomes clear that the sort of person (you are is) the result of an inner decision…therefore, any man can…decide…that (this) last inner freedom cannot be lost.” -Viktor E. Frankl Man’s Search for Meaning
5.      When we don’t play as much as we would like we are noble and still support the team and its mission
“If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete. The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity – even under the most difficult circumstances – to add a deeper meaning to his life. It may remain brave, dignified and unselfish. Or in the bitter fight for self-preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal. Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or to forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decides whether he is worthy of his sufferings or not.” -Viktor E. Frank Man’s Search for Meaning

6.      We don’t freak out over ridiculous issues or live in fragile states of emotional catharsis or create crises where none should exist
“What an extraordinary place of liberties the West really is…exempt from many of the relentless physical and social obligations necessary for a traditional life for survival, they become spoiled and fragile like over bred dogs; neurotic and prone to a host of emotional crises elsewhere.” -Jason Elliot An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan).

7.      We are well led
“Not long ago, to ‘believe in yourself’ meant taking a principled, and often lonely, stand when it appeared difficult or dangerous to do so. Not it means accepting one’s own desires and inclinations, whatever they may be, and taking whatever steps that may be necessary to advance them.” -William Damon Greater Expectations

8.      We care about each other as teammates and as human beings
“No man is an island, entire of itself, ever man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never sent to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” -John Donne For Whom the Bell Tolls

9.      We play for each other
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Note given to me by Rakel Kervelsson (UNC ’98)

10.  We want our lives (and not just in soccer) to be never ending ascensions but for that to happen properly our fundamental attitude about life and our appreciation for it is critical
“Finally there is the question of whether we have a duty to feel grateful. Hundreds of generations who came before us lived dire, short lives, in deprivation or hunger, in ignorance or under oppression or during war, and did so partly motivated by the dream that someday there would be men and women who lived long lives in liberty without fear of an approaching storm

Suffering through privation, those who came before us accumulated the knowledge that makes our lives favored; fought the battles that made our lives free; physically built much of what we rely on for our prosperity; and, most important, shaped the ideals of liberty. For all the myriad problems of modern society, we now live in the world our forebears would have wished for us--in many ways, a better place than they dared imagine. For us not to feel grateful is treacherous selfishness

Failing to feel grateful to those who came before is such a corrosive notion, it must account at some level for part of our bad feelings about the present. The solution—a rebirth of thankfulness—is in our self-interest.”- Gregg Easterbrook, The Progress Paradox

11.  And we want these four years of college to be rich, valuable and deep
“College is about books. And by the word books, the proposition means this: College is about the best available tools—books, computers, lab equipment—for broadening your mastery of one or more important subjects that will go on deepening your understanding of the world, yourself, and the people are you.

This will almost certainly be the last time in your life when other people beat the expense of awarding you four years of financially unburdened time. If you use the years primarily for mastering the skills of social life—as though those skills shouldn’t already have been acquired by the end of middle school—or if you use these years for testing the degree to which your vulnerable brain and body can bear the strains of the alcoholism with which a number of students depart campus, or the sexual excess that can seem so rewarding(to name only two of the lurking maelstroms), then you may ultimately leave this vast table of nutriment as the one more prematurely burnt-out case.” -Reynolds Price.