Last week, a couple writers for Field Gulls were able to attend the Win Forever Workshop at the VMAC, hosted by Pete Carroll and John Schneider. Living in Los Angeles, and not in Seattle, I do have disadvantages when it comes to many Seahawks-related activities that I am unable to attend on a regular basis. When the Seagals were hosting open auditions awhile back, I thought it would be a great opportunity for the YouTube channel, but of course I was too many miles away.
(Get your heads out of the gutter, it would have been a tasteful video!)
On the other hand, I'm going to assume that all of you are aware of Carroll's connections to Los Angeles and Southern California. He's more revered in LA than he is anywhere else in the world. His supporters in this neck of the woods outnumbers supporters from everywhere else, including Seattle, so of course he's going to be in LA a lot and still have Win Forever-related activities in Southern California. This past Saturday was the first inaugural "Always Compete Speaker Series" which features Carroll, and other people with amazing pasts, talking about competition and life.
Per invitation, I went down to LA Live (the Staples Center and many other venues, shops, etc.) to the Clive Davis theater to hear Carroll and WWII POW-Survivor and Olympic Athlete Louis Zamperini talk about competition. Make no mistake that Zamperini was the star of the night, and rightfully so. His story is an amazing one (he was roommates with Jesse Owens at the Berlin Games, went to war, plane crashed in the ocean, spent 47 days on a raft in the middle of the Pacific, before spending the next two years in a POW camp) and the 95-year-old USC-alum spoke a lot about his story and how he's been able to overcome the tragedy he faced during and after the war.
However, seeing as this is a Seahawks blog, I will stick to Carroll.
As a media member, I was able to get myself three minutes with coach Pete. It was my first ever Seahawks interview, and I think I was visibly nervous. Thank goodness I got it all on recorder because even though I was asking questions, I think I spent those three minutes thinking "This is great!" and not hearing or seeing much else. I did not break a whole lot of new ground with the interview question and answers. Knowing that Pete wanted to talk about Win Forever and not wanting to make an improper step along the way, I just tried to connect the talk of the night with our beloved Hawks.
This was the biggest interview I've had since I spoke to Uncle Phil at a teacher's rally when I was in college and I didn't want to screw up and ask Pete what Will Smith is like in real life. I had three minutes with Pete. This is what I asked and these were his answers.
"You talk a lot about competition and how important it is to compete, but things got a little heated last week and you lost some practices. How do you balance competition and getting too personal?"
"Well everybody's got to find the levels that we can compete at under the rules and guidelines. So, as we tried to maximize our opportunities we went farther than the players association thought we should have so we had to back off a little bit. Our practices were great, I told our guys we had 10 OTAs, we just did it in 8 days."
"Me: (Laughter!) So you liked the passion that the guys had..."
"Absolutely. We practiced great. We really were working hard, the intensity was there, the teaching environment we wanted was there, there was just a little bit of stuff that got too far. So we backed off a little bit but we still were able to keep it at a high pitch. We're trying to practice better than anybody's ever practiced before so you have to find out what the limits are. There were a few guidelines when we entered into this so we kind of had to figure it out. Maybe the league will learn a little bit from our (situation.)"
"How do you know when you're bringing guys in that they're ready to buy into the Win Forever philosophy?"
"Well, I don't know that they're ready. We try to pick guys that are really competitive and have a big will about them and then we just start teaching them where we're coming from and what our principals and approach is and then we just find out from there. One of the main criteria we're looking for is 'competitive,' we want the big time battlers, we're not looking for the guys that think they don't need to. We want guys that love to compete and fight and claw and scratch and they find their way to being very comfortable with us. It isn't an immediate transition, they have to take some time and we're patient with it. But if they can't get it, then we go onto other guys."
"And how much, if any, does that have to do with guys that went to USC?"
"It does have some. You've seen a lot of 'SC guys come through, we've always given guys a chance. I kind of like that feeling, going back to the program and all. We've given guys opportunities. Some have made it, some haven't. But those guys, they know. They have an indoctrination to our way. And they add to it and kind of attribute to the energy and enthusiasm that we like, and so they add something all the time and sometimes they make it and sometimes they can't."
I wanted to add "You're my best friend and my honorary father on Father's Day Weekend!" but I don't want to scare him away so fast. When I said I was with FieldGulls, Yogi Roth (co-founder of Win Forever) piped in that we "do very good work!" so thanks, Yogi! And by the end, Pete was aware of FieldGulls, too.
Hopefully, my questions were adequate to you, the reader.
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