By Michael Callahan
“NOW this is the Law of the Jungle—as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.” – Rudyard Kipling
We set out on the 2016-17 season to re-establish some specific common values for our team. The first line of Rudyard Kipling’s poem sets the theme: “Abide by the values of the team or leave.”
It was a remarkable turnaround in the performance and strength of the team from 2016 to 2017. Those who bought in understood the key tenets of the program:
1. We work hard.
2. We respect everyone. Yes, especially California.
3. Competition is our key to success, and we embrace it.
It was a tribute to the buy-in to common values that brought us the V4, 3V8 and 2V8 National Championships at the IRA – and the “Ten Eyck” Team Points Trophy. It was a tribute to those values that earned the team the PAC-12 Team trophy and the Varsity 8 Championship. Every effort mattered, and everyone on the roster and our staff proved important to the overall culture and performance of the team. The narrow loss in the IRA V8 final—as painful as it is—reflected a veteran Yale team with three years of momentum as a program. At the same time, it showed our raw ability, our potential, and our youth.
The Class of 2017 set a new foundation. Strong and wide enough to now build a championship-level team that is resilient enough to win on our worst day.
The program had a major re-boot in 2017 and it is visible in our team performance. As difficult as it has been, those who have abided by our values have learned to be better citizens. Our grades are up again; we graduated all our seniors; and our boat speed is up. I am looking forward to September 13 when this group reports back to the Conibear.
We are excited to start the 2018 season and ready to take the next step in our pursuit of excellence.