Oct. 19, 2006
In the book "Gates of Fire," author Steven Pressfield speaks of ancient Sparta and the high class of warriors the Greek city state produced through training and discipline. The book's focus is on the battle of Thermopylae when 300 Spartans held off the entire Persian army to protect Greece from invasion. At one point, a captured Persian spy tells the Spartans that Persian archers are so numerous that their arrows will blot out the sun. Dienekes, one of the Spartan leaders, responds, "Good. Then we will have our battle in the shade."
What is the relevance? This past week in East Lansing, we had quite a bit of weather. On Thursday morning we had near blizzard conditions. Our training schedule that day called for our entire team to train in the outdoor pool (which is heated to 83 degrees). The team responded not by complaining or crying, but instead they "had their battle in the shade." The result was a full practice in winter like conditions. It is a time honored tradition at Michigan State that no matter the weather, the Spartans will swim outside until November. It is something in which we all take a great amount of pride. It is also something in which I believe creates an atmosphere that leads to incredible character by all who train here at MSU.
I want to say a special hello to members of the women's class of 2005. I got a chance to see a few of them while tailgating before the Ohio State game. I also want to thank the Yocum's for hosting me and my staff at their tailgate, and for feeding Coach Mull so well.
Please don't forget that we have a great stretch of home meets starting this Friday when the women take on Akron at 5 p.m. Saturday the women host Illinois and then on Wednesday, Oct. 25 they host Michigan. Next Saturday, Oct. 28 at 12 p.m. the men open their season against Iowa and the women close out a four meet homestand with the Hawkeyes.
Until next time,