Tuesday, February 10, 2009


In response to this article in the Seattle Times about the Seattle University basketball team's move from Division II to Division I...

And as interpreted through the lens of Isocrate's phrase: 

"The root of education is bitter, 
But sweet are its fruits"

I see two points to make: 

1.     The team has been traveling non-stop, working and practicing and exercising their physicality and mentality, in retrospect, to the limit. The bitter and difficult process of becoming a team, becoming better, can be hard to digest. Following these months of such activity—such “travel and grinding”—you would think exhaustion from the wear-down would result in lost games. But the opposite has happened. The fruits of Isocrates “education” are, for the Redhawks, the undefeated triumph of being an underdog.

2.     In the past, the team has held a perhaps “bitter” position as heroes fallen from their greatness of the 1970s, hanging on the gym walls in taunting motivation. Now, however, the same jerseys of a time past act as positive reinforcement for another burgeoning round of greatness: a winning streak. The odds were “bitter” for a small university team transitioning from D-II to D-I, the shoes hard to fill. Without a star player, without intimidating size or athletic prowess, without a manual for transitional coaching, some might cringe at the position of these athletes and coach as March draws near. In fact, far from puckering their lips, the team is smiling.


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