The birth of a new season peaks around the corner of winter break’s end. Regardless of how their team did last season, players and coaches cannot help but imagine what might lie ahead for them in 2013. Another way to describe this imagining of the future is “vision”. In terms of college baseball, the ultimate vision is to win the Division I, II, or III national championship. This presents the question: which three teams’ visions will be fulfilled?
Often times, championship teams refer to a “moment” in which they “really came together” or experienced a “turning point”. A few examples include: “that comeback win against so-and-so in the conference tournament”, “that team meeting we held midseason”, or “that time we all sang ‘Hurt So Good’ in unison on the bus ride home”. Whatever it may be, such a moment usually garners credit for forming the vision – and completion – of winning a championship.
These so-called visionary/team-bonding moments, however, are not the source of championships. They are not even the source of real vision. The real source of vision lies in repetition – repetition that involves perfecting one’s craft. Let the following illustrate.
In 1943, Edwin Land, the inventor of the Polaroid camera, experienced a visionary moment on a beach in Santa Fe. “My daughter, Jennifer, who was then 3, asked me why she could not see the picture I had just taken of her,” said Land (Westley, 1989). From there, Land paced the streets. The inventive process and physical chemistry of such a camera became so freakishly clear in his mind that he finished the construction of the first Polaroid shortly after.
It is naïve to believe that Jennifer’s question was the source of her father’s clear vision. The real source of his vision was the years he spent working in the laboratory, his scientific and inventive abilities, and “practicing and repeating, learning his craft” (Westley, 1989).
Likewise, it is naïve to point to such “turning point” moments as the source of a championship. The real source of vision-based moments – and ultimately championships – comes from teams, players, and coaches who tirelessly work on perfecting their crafts. In other words, vision is not a spontaneous, isolated event. It is the result of passionate repetition. • PI
Westley, Frances & Mintzberg, Henry. “Visionary Leadership and Strategic Management”. Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 10. 17-32 (1989).