The Clarkson Women’s Hockey Team won their third National Championship this weekend. We are so fortunate to frequently host the team at Jake’s. My other job as a Clarkson professor gives me a chance to get to know the members of the team. I have, at one point or another, had most of them in the classroom.
I spent some time with the coaching staff recently talking about what it takes to consistently win. I was curious from a hockey fan perspective, but also wondered if I could learn a few things that might translate to Team Jake’s. While the fight that the Clarkson Women consistently win on the ice is a unique battle, I did learn a few things that will translate well to our team. And, the timing is perfect as our busy season is just about to arrive.
Lesson 1: They need a break. The week before departing for Minneapolis and the Frozen Four, the coaching staff gave the team plenty of space. The goal was to keep them healthy and reduce the stress a bit. We work hard to give each member of our team a 48-hour break in the schedule each week to recharge the batteries. There needs to be lots of life outside of the kitchen to balance the heat they feel when here.
Lesson 2: Trust your captains. The coach is the last to know and that’s the way it should be – as long as the coach knows what he or she needs to know. The coach needs to trust the captains, but the team needs to trust their captain as well- a tough and important balancing act. We have a few leadership roles at Jake’s, trust and respect of each other’s roles is the key to keeping a large and diverse team happy, while also respecting the needs of the business.
Lesson 3: Learn from the loss. The Women’s team won 36 games this season, impressive for sure.
And they lost 4.
Moving past a loss means examining it carefully and learning from it. Perhaps it was a better team, but not likely this year. More than likely, it was something else that can be controlled for, or something that can be predicted in the future and adjusted for. We have had some bad nights: short staffed, accepted reservations we should not have accepted, run features that just take too long. We get through it, we give the team the night to cool off, and with fresh heads, we review the mistake, learn from it and move forward.
Lesson 4: Soak up the win. I imagine 23 young women are at home with their families today, as Clarkson is enjoying Spring break. As the reality of their accomplishments settles in, I imagine private smiles and reflection on what it took to reach the top. That feeling is theirs to keep…forever. That feeling will drive future success and a commitment to pushing through tough days; a gift that will impact them as professionals. We have tough days for sure-the winters can be long and the bills still need to be paid. This sometimes means shortening the staff and pinching their personal budgets. We are learning to focus on the wins. Easter weekend is 10 days away and graduation weekends, our Superbowl, are on the radar.
There is a bounce in our step today at Jake’s as we remember our own victories. The anticipation of the taste of victory is again making us hungry.
Congratulations to the Championship team, and thanks for the inspiration!