Thursday 2 May 2013

Clear eyes

I am such a sucker for the American sports myth. I died a little death over most episodes of Friday Night Lights, and I wept over the original book. I inhaled books that unpick the mythologies. I recently fell in love with the Mike Schwartz, the burly, bearlike retaining wall of Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding.

And I am intrigued by this article on the recruiting criteria for Stanford's football team. The lede picks out vocabulary, but what the coach says they're looking for is kids who can lock eyes with someone and hold that gaze:
They need a kid who will confidently stare another person in the eye, whether he's a coach on a recruiting visit or an acclaimed professor in class or a USC linebacker across the line of scrimmage or whatever comes later in life. 
"I tell these guys all the time, the same mentality you take into a football game, you're going to take into a board meeting," Shaw said. "When you're the CEO of whatever company, you are going to walk into that board meeting with the same mentality we walk out onto the football field with."
What they're offering is a chance for kids to find other kids like themselves: the almost insane 1%, the academically, physically and socially talented. Having recently finished Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In, I'd love to know if there are coaches of women's sports doing the same thing.

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