Director Diary #1: Mary Zider

Director Diary #1: Mary Zider

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I love March and April for two reasons: 1.) It’s the start of the cycling season and 2.) March Madness. I always look forward to filling out my bracket, but I always chuckle to myself because no matter what I always put DUKE as the National Champion, no matter what they are seeded or how their season has gone up to that point. Tournament time to me is the start of the “real season”, where everyone's record is wiped clean. Anything can happen from this point on...March Madness showcases what each team is really made of at the core. It’s more than just playing ball and throwing on the uniform. It requires going deeper and being more hungry than ever before. It’s all about heart, hustle, passion and all those other warm, fuzzy-feeling words that get you all fired up and before you know it you are throwing fist pumps at the TV, all while wondering if anyone is watching you. For me, it’s never tough to fill out the center line on the bracket because I always take the chance with Duke and put them confidently as my national champion. Yes, of course I'm a die-hard Coach K. fan because I know Coach has set a standard for his program that is unmatched. He is the true definition of a leader. When I feel like things are becoming unbalanced in my approach to sport and life, I often re-read his book, Beyond Basketball because it helps bring me back to center. I find it rejuvenating and helpful to revisit the basic principles Coach K talks about. Each time I read it I take something new away that really resonates with me in that moment. This book is absolutely a great read for everyone! Whether you like basketball or not, the power of words used by Coach will certainly resonate with your own life experiences.

Over the past few days I've been reading through some chapters and the main word that stands out the most is: Selflessness. In professional bike racing the act of selflessness is a must in order to be a true teammate and a successful team. To be a winning team/program it takes everyone involved to be committed to this and in doing so teams always reap the benefits in the long run. It’s such a great feeling to know that my teammates will toe the line and will ride their bikes with a selflessness mentality because we have all committed to "holding the rope" (I'll save that analogy for another day) this season. As a collective unit we have signed on to do a job and will hold each other accountable to do that job with integrity, passion, and 100% confidence in each other. It’s an amazing feeling and an honor to be apart of that type of program, both on and off the road…it makes the act of selflessness an easy one which ultimately leads to what Coach K refers to as “The Fist”.

“Selflessness means that you will do what is best for the team. Jimmy Valvano once told me, “A person does not become whole until he or she becomes a part of something bigger than himself or herself.” It is the best and most simple description of being a member of a team and its rewards that I have ever heard. Being a part of something bigger than yourself requires selflessness and an understanding that there will be personal sacrifice for the good of the team. And most people desire to be a part of something bigger and to feel as if their actions are for the greater good.”

“The Fist" is a powerful collection when collectively orchestrated. Five fingers held together in a tight formation, a fist, is far more effective and powerful than five fingers held outstretched and working independent of one another. There's no collaboration or unity. I'm excited to continue to work with my team and build upon the selfless foundation we've worked to establish. It's also exciting to see that this concept actually works, as evidenced through Duke winning the National Championship last night. That was not an accident or a fluke. It was a result. Winning is always a result. I'm pumped and can’t wait for the next race.

#HoldTheRope