Hmmmm? I’m reading an interesting proposition on the front of today’s OWH Sports page. “Two area teams seeking greater success combine their talents.” The Nebraska Development Academy is the result of combining the Omaha Futbol Club and the Nebraska Futbol Club. According to Omaha FC ex. dir Tim Bennett, “If we continue to fight for the same players and dilute the age group, we’re doing a disservice to our players.” Interesting indeed!
I won’t speak to soccer, but I know running, especially competitive and elite level running. Especially when it comes to founding, directing, and fighting for.
So let’s imagine the same thing with our top Nebraska runners. Trying to bring them together under one kit. Let’s imagine that this club has unprecedented success in the history of our state. Let’s say this club, after years of hard work, gains the respect of the entire U.S. Let’s say this club has the Necessary Fire at the Very Top. Let’s say this club, for illustrative purposes, and only because I must speak from personal experience, is called “Team Nebraska.”
What happens next?
The Necessary Fire must commit to the club Full Time. Expect anywhere from 40-60 hours a week, depending on the size of the club. The bigger the club gets, the more time. At the Very Top you will need very thick skin. We are not, as some have tried to press, one big happy family of runners. Find someone that endures whispers, sneers, lies, insults, ridicule and still presses on With Gusto, this is Your Leader.
Get the Best Coach. One that is committed to every athlete that is serious. Keep the club small.
Egos. Goes with too much club growth. That is the number one pitfall. You need someone strong enough to dismiss any athlete, despite their star power, that is not a Best Fit. Hard to do and doesn’t help your popularity rating, be forewarned. So, don’t be in the position for popularity or prestige, wrong on so many levels.
There was more to the article that interested me. Bennett cited club politics as one of the biggest challenges. And, Elite Girls Academy has had no such issues with diluted talent, having won their Regional Champs in 2008 and 2011.
As one that has Been There, Done That this is my opinion. Keep the clubs separate. Its not the talent pool. Its the leadership. USATF Nebraska LDR was founded on competition between individuals and clubs. No one can argue that point with the founder of the program. Let the individual talent from each club rise and then battle it out for bragging rights. That is the motivation. Nothing gets more boring than racing your own mates only, believe me. The heck with trying to put together all star teams. Its been done, part of the fabric and lore in Nebraska athletics, absolutely required at the time, no reason to repeat that history.
And anyway, what would you call such a combined team of Nebraska runners. What name would satisfy the egos on both sides of the Platte? Team Nebraska? No, that’s been done. Lincoln Running Co. Racing? No, that wouldn’t speak to the statewide membership, there are those that would just not cross that line. But I could be wrong on that, I’ve been wrong before.
How about Nebraska Run Guru Elite? All inclusive. Necessary Fire. Coaching.
For The Record.