My View from South Hill
Tagged as “Athletics and Events Center”
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I had the opportunity recently to join a group of Ithaca College alumni, parents and friends in the owner’s box for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers football game, courtesy of Ed Glazer, co-owner of the team and member of the Ithaca College class of ‘92. The evening before, we took a tour of the team’s new training facilities, including an opportunity to talk with Coach Jon Gruden. As we walked from the magnificent lobby through locker rooms, weight rooms, training rooms, meeting rooms, and media centers, our group of Ithaca College supporters could not help but note features that we might want to incorporate into our own Athletics and Events Center, an ambitious undertaking on which the College hopes to break ground next spring.
The most striking aspect of the tour, though, was to see how strongly team images were incorporated throughout the facility. Our first hint was the giant Buccaneer flag that flies between that stadium and the training center a half mile away. Within the training center itself, the Buccaneer red and silver is everywhere, along with the team logo. Giant photographs of players in action adorn the walls, as do reminders of the team’s triumph in Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003 In the weight room, where players push their capacities and in which the team gels into a band of brothers, banners spur the players on with such slogans as “You Get What You Deserve” and “How Much Do You Want It?”
An NFL team in a typical year will have a large number of players who were not on the team the year before. Since the average professional career is less than five years long, a significant fraction of the players will be new to the league. Others will be new to the team through trade or free agency. Molding 53 athletes into a cohesive team is a challenge renewed every fall.
A college campus, by contrast, is a bastion of individualism. Students are on campus to extend their horizons and hone their skills as individuals. Dorm rooms and faculty offices are decorated according to personal taste, and adornments are carefully chosen to proclaim one’s unique identity and interests.
Despite those differences, a professional sports team and a college campus are united by the pursuit of excellence. Every day on South Hill sees the creation of several thousand stories of striving for greater insight, capacity or performance. Breakthroughs are made in studios, seminar rooms, laboratories, clinics, practice rooms, and rehearsal spaces. Students have their “Eureka!” moments in the library and on stage. Although we never come together as a single unit on Sunday afternoon to measure our progress in competition against an opponent, the Ithaca College campus is as focused on the development of human potential as are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On the day we were there, Tampa Bay soundly defeated the team that had previously been in first place in their division. You get what you deserve.