Mid July, 95 degrees, West Point Military Academy. Army Lacrosse coach Joe Alberici screams, or shall I say “communicates” in the Army manner, the words, “A tough guy gives one hundred percent, one hundred percent of the time. Are you a tough guy?”
What the hell was this guy talking about? I never thought I was a tough guy. (It’s hard to be a tough guy when you are 5’6” at best.) But just maybe I can be a tough guy if I listen to the coach. I’m thinking that he may be on to something.
This one sided “conversation” was not meant for me; it was meant for my younger, 13-year-old son, Sam, and all the other sons who came to West Point’s Summer Lacrosse camp. The coach’s soliloquy was directed at our young, impressionable youth. He was trying to prepare them for life. According to Coach, a tough guy:
- Gives one hundred percent, one hundred percent of the time.
- Cares about his teammates (fellow soldiers) and helps them succeed.
- Takes the bully aside and gently explains that he is not cool.
- Gets the A in school if that’s his best and doesn’t settle for an easy B.
- Gets the B in school if that’s his best and doesn’t settle for an easy C. (Personally, I had trouble getting an easy” C in Biochemistry.)
- Honors his parents for them paying for the West Point Lacrosse Camp.
Is there a lesson here for us? Of course, otherwise this wouldn’t be in VEIN magazine.
Now I’m not the military type. I grew up in the Vietnam era. I was going to Canada if my draft lottery number was low. I am not the type of person you want in your army. My idea of a good job description does not include learning how to kill someone, or perhaps being killed. I never thought I could be a tough guy. But according to Coach Alberici I could be if I tried.
We have tough guys in VEIN this month, according to Coach Alberici. Ever think of Joe Zygmut or Mitch Goldman or Mike Dalsing or Helane Fronek as tough guys? (Well, maybe Helene–one tough cookie. You don’t want to tangle with her.) They are tough guys. They don’t give anything less than 100%. They have helped the understanding and management of vein disease advance to where it is now. They have done it, as Coach says, by caring and supporting their team members. In every issue-we try to expose you to the vein team. These are the people who have, who are, and who will help all of us better understand vein disease from all aspects. They are the vein tough guys, according to Coach. They give one hundred percent, one hundred percent of the time. They are team players. They try their best and encourage us to do the same.
After listening to coach Alberici, I almost wanted to sign up right there and then, despite the heat, despite my feelings about war, and despite the fact (or maybe because of the fact) that my son wanted to be a tough guy.
Read the articles in this issue-of VEIN with the Army “tough guy” concept in mind. Our contributors work hard to share their thoughts with you. Lucky for all of us they are not having the unilateral “conversation” coach was having with us. Although, I must admit; it made a very positive impression on my son and his friends. During the week of camp, apparently another motivational speech was given by Coach, something about, “Are you the temperature or the thermostat?” Sounds interesting…maybe it was the summer heat that inspired him. For now let’s settle on reading the thoughts of our tough guys. I love that term. Thanks, Coach!