One of the great things about getting older is the ability recognize and reflect upon the characteristics which are part of successful organizations. As I continue my tour of colleges in the Midwest, I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with the coaching staff at Ottawa. The staff was very welcoming and it was evident there is a respect and pride which extends from traditions and a culture of success which were conveyed in a genuine manner.
I believe the culture and adherence to tradition of any organization be it a family, small business or sports teams begins with the leadership at the top. Coach Kessinger is the long time head coach who was more interested in swapping stories about family than he was in Xs and Os. It was easy to discern he appreciated the opinions of others and I am sure that serves his team well. Our tour continued with player coaches, Coach Pearson, and Coach Mendez, who shared the storied history of Braves football. They spoke of the traditions which were a part of their experience as players as much today as when they played. I was exceptionally grateful for the coaching tip of having players dress in different color shorts on different days. The idea was to stress the attention to details and to give coaches another opportunity for conditioning when players were not compliant!
My takeaway from meeting with the strength coach, Coach Adams, was not his knowledge or passion for his work but instead his desire to bring back the traditions which had made the Ottawa strength program one of the most nationally recognized as it had been in the past. The desire to make something better for reasons beyond self is unfortunately less common and again is testament to the program's culture.
We are taught throughout the old and the new testaments to honor the traditions of God. We are to be mindful of our past as it directs our future and separation from God's word we know will lead to personal destruction. Paul wrote, "Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you." 1 Corinthians 11:2. "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter." 1 Thessalonians 2:15. His words implore the Church to remember the traditions so as to insure the teachings of Christ continue to prosper those who are willing to hear and employ the gospel in their own lives.
We speak about how our lives are bigger than us at Tribe. We express how the program touches the lives of so many people and how we have to be stewards of the culture and traditions which have been handed down to us. George Santayana wrote the oft repeated phrase, "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it." In the same vein, I would submit those who do not hold on to the traditions which breed success will see them disappear. Seeking success and seeking to see the gospel spread we are best served to look to the past as we move forward.