“The evil spirit of defeatism is brother to the temptation to separate, before its time, the wheat from the weeds; it is the fruit of an anxious and self-centered lack of trust.”
Among my most important, but perhaps least well known titles is that of the proud younger brother of one of the country’s best collegiate field hockey coaches. My sister Lisa has coached the Division 1, Big Ten Iowa Hawkeyes for the past 20+ years, following an incredibly successful playing career there. Needless to say, Hawkeye fever has run deep in the Cellucci blood for a long time. This year, the Hawks remain undefeated, notching an incredible 16-0 record with most games not even allowing their opponents to score a single goal. During this incredible season, I have watched only one game, reluctantly, because it was taking place within an hour of my house and my kids wanted to see their aunt. Why am I so resistant to watching the games? I love my sister. The team is an amazing collection of young women. I look good in black and gold. Well, apart from my nerves, I’m afraid I will make them lose. After all, it happens any time I watch the Phillies or the Eagles. I’m not sure the Sixers are my fault, but they very well might be. So as the Hawks played their last regular season game, the family gathered around the Big Ten Network and I prayed my rosary. My eldest asked me to come watch multiple times and I stoically refused, you know, for the good of the team. "Dad, do you really think the universe revolves around you that much? Perhaps the team’s effort and hard work is what might help them win?"
Yesterday, the Hawks beat Ohio State 3-0. As I thanked the Blessed Mother and patted myself on the shoulder, I also reflected on my Annie’s challenge to my superstition. While my sacrifice to forgo the excitement of the game for the sake of the team is unquestionably silly, I couldn’t help but wonder where else in my life and leadership am I trying to place myself as the center of the universe? While I should strive to live and lead with intentionality and virtue, am I giving my decisions and actions weight they don’t deserve? Does the way I see myself draw out or diminish the dignity and contribution of others? Plain and simple, do I believe others can win without me? As we begin the postseason, let’s make sure that we claim all our wins for the Deliverer of the ultimate victory. Go Hawks!