By now, anyone with a television or computer has seen the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron signifying the opening of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The 2014 Winter Olympic Games began on February 7th and will continue through February 23rd, with the flame continually burning until the final ceremony. This tradition has deep roots.
The ancient Greeks believed that fire was given to humankind by Prometheus and they felt fire had sacred qualities. Mirrors were used to focus the sun’s rays to ignite flames that would burn perpetually in front of Greek temples. Greek rituals also included torch relays which are now an important part of the dramatic Olympic spectacle.
“I believe this ‘passing of the torch’ is an important metaphor for all sports, including our soccer club,” said Brent Coralli, CEO of Sting Soccer. “Over the centuries, it has become a tradition that ties all Olympic athletes, from every country, to this amazing athletic event.”
Today, the Olympic flame is lit in front of the ruins of the Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece. The flame emphasizes the connection between the ancient games and the modern ones. The modern use of the Olympic Flame began in 1936. It coincided with the advent of a long relay of runners carrying torches to bring the flame from Olympia to the site of the games.
The Sting Tradition for Excellence
Just as the Olympians pass the torch from runner to runner while keeping the flame of the Olympic spirit burning, the young athletes of Sting Soccer have their own traditions which give them a strong foundation based on the club’s outstanding history. This unique tradition enhances strength of character which sets these young women apart from every other soccer club.
These two concepts – tradition and character – are two of the five pillars of the Sting Soccer mission.
A Tradition of Excellence
Every successful organization is built on a foundation of tradition. Whether it is an outstanding sports organization or a great company, traditions are powerful elements for differentiating one “tribe” from another.
“In the business world, Southwest Airlines has consistently been successful in good times and bad,” said Brent Coralli. “It’s first CEO, Herb Kelleher, was a genius at harnessing and encouraging a tradition of fun among every employee.”
“When other airlines were known for arbitrary rules and scowling flight attendants, the Southwest employees were singing the pre-flight instructions and making customers feel good about the trip,” Brent noted. “The baggage handlers, flight attendants and gate employees were dressing in costumes for Halloween. They were ‘spreading love!’ That tradition has made it one of the most successful
airlines on the planet.”
The traditions of Sting Soccer serve as a foundation for new players who join the club, helping them to understand the club’s storied past and realize personal strength from this. With a remarkable history of success – on and off the field – since its formation in 1973, the club’s traditions are similar to the “Power of the Myth” outlined by anthropologist Joseph Campbell.
“Campbell felt that myths are the body of stories and legends that a people perceive as being an important part of their culture,” noted Coralli. Before TV, the Internet or even writing, these stories and legends were handed down from generation to generation in the form of rituals and oral traditions.
“The presentation of tassels to our new members is just one of the very powerful traditions or myths that give our young women an immediate connection to the women who came before them,” noted Brent. “This is our passing of the torch.”
The Sting Soccer philosophy dovetails perfectly with the next pillar of the club’s mission – Character. As the clubs website notes, “The Sting Soccer Club exists to create a positive environment for female athletes to improve and develop as individuals through the sport of soccer with strong emphasis on character, work ethic, discipline and attitude.”
“It’s so important for young people to have character,” said Brent. “Our kids learn character development lessons by dealing with other players or even when they’re hurt.”
Part of this character development comes from the club’s requirement that its players give back to their community. Sting Soccer club members assist non-profit organizations, they tutor young kids who need more scholastic attention and they are all actively involved in community service of all types.
“We want to encourage these naturally competitive and gifted young women to apply some of their energy and talents towards helping those who might not have their advantages or drive,” said Coralli. “We have seen how this makes them better athletes and people. When our young athletes build character, they will never lose. They may not win every game, but they will never be losers.”
The poet Maya Angelou could have been referring to the young women of Sting Soccer and the character they learn to develop when she said, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
What traditions and character developments have helped you to become a better person? Comment below and we’ll share them with our readers.