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Beating the Odds

How Unity Creates Miracles

A few years back, a survey asked if we lived in a divided country. Fifty percent said yes, fifty percent said no.

Not much takes place in this divided land without people taking sides and shouting at each other.

Just take two big new stories, Jeremy Lin and Whitney Houston.

The saga of Lin and the New York Knicks has led at least one person, Floyd Mayweather, to inject race into the story.
Houston’s death has brought ire from some people who say that she is not worthy of the attention.

These culture wars underline what coaches face when they try to unite people toward a goal. Now and then it works. Saturday night, the St. John’s women’s basketball team stunned UConn, breaking a 99-game home winning streak for the Huskies.

“It’s truly unbelievable,” St. John’s Coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “There aren’t many teams that can say they beat UConn in this place, and now we’re one of them.”

Thirty-two years ago, coach Herb Brooks found a way to unite hockey players in an effort that became known as the Miracle on Ice. Craig Patrick, who was assistant to Brooks on that team, once warned Brooks that he was missing the best players.

“I’m not looking for the best players, Craig,” Brooks replied. “I’m lookin’ for the right ones.”

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you,” said Winston Churchill.

Too bad that enemies often lurk in the clubhouse. Egos, jealousy, cliques all can ruin a team. You can’t blame people. We live in a culture where no one wants to give a single inch. People talk about compromise, but no one seems to want it.
That’s why Brooks was looking for people who could unite.

“You’re looking for players whose name on the front of the sweater is more important than the one on the back,” he said.

You won’t find them everywhere, that’s for sure.

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