Lessons Learned from Lacrosse, Part III
I quoted my son at the end of my previous post on Taking a Leap of Faith. He stated that he went to Frostburg because he wanted to build his own culture with a group of guys that love the game. While the boys were busy building their traditions and culture, the parents worked to enrich the players’ efforts. There were very few spectators for the first Frostburg Men’s Lacrosse game. I can’t even recall if there was one student spectator, and all of the other spectators were the Frostburg Parents who came to watch the first home game. Scott and I were the only adults tailgating pre-game, the parents provided a post-game pot-luck spread that continues today.
The men’s lacrosse experience was markedly different by the time we arrived at the 2015 men’s lacrosse senior day. There was a full-on pre-game tailgate event completed with food and beverage. The new stands were filled with students decked out in red and black. The student spectators had their chants down pat, and cheered their team on. When Frostburg lost to Salisbury in sudden death over time there was stunned silence followed by cheering for how well the men played. It was night and day from the first home game four years prior, and it was a joy to participate.
Five Steps to Craft Your Vibrant Culture from Nothing to Something
- Focus on Joy: Create a culture of joy. Joy can be found in many ways. For FSU it was the joy of celebrating our sons’ athleticism and creating a community of family and fans. In associations it can be the joy of contributing to the greater good of the order.
- Have a vision: Know your destination and visualize what the end creation will look like. In year one we visualized many families having fun and connecting pre-game at a traditional lacrosse tailgate. The first game was a bit lonely. The 2015 seniors’ day game the parking lost was full, with spectators enjoying food, beverage, and parking lot games. The Athletic Director made a point to walk over and thank all for their support and coming to the game.
- Model the way: Behave in the manner in which you expect others to behave. Seventy percent of all communication is nonverbal. We need to act in the way in which we expect others to act to develop cultural norms.
- Be Consistent and Expect the Best: At every game we brought snacks and beverages to share. Before long it became the norm. We all wore our red and black men’s lacrosse gear and cheered the team on win or lose. Consistency is comforting. It cuts down on confusion.
- Create Regular Touch Points: Each week my husband, and the team Mom sent out emails to ensure we all knew what was planned for each game. We all touched based with one another and shared our hopes and dreams for the athletes.