Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen some of the most consistent programs do what we’ve expected them to do: be consistent. Alabama now has won 5 of the last 9 FBS titles, North Dakota State University has won 6 of the last 7 FCS titles and the New England Patriots are back in the AFC Championship for the 7th straight year.
Teams will emerge to try and “dethrone” the champions. Sometimes it works, teams pop up, win 1 or 2 titles and then back into the pit of mediocracy they return. It’s not the success that’s most challenging, it’s the consistency.
We can all have successful days, months, and even years, but how consistent can we be? A lot of us are honestly shocked when a 3 pointer from Steph Curry DOESN’T reach the bottom of the net. That is literally consistency in it’s purest form. People gravitate towards success. Players will take pay cuts to be around success, NCAA athletes will choose a school hundreds of miles away from home so that they can experience what consistent success looks and feels like.
Consistent success is envied by so many, because consistent success is not for everybody, it’s only for those that are willing to respect what it takes to get there… and then GO GET IT!
When I was in high school, I was lucky enough to play for the most consistent football coach (Rick Streiff) at the most consistent program in the history of Indiana. During my 4 years at Cathedral we won 3 consecutive state titles; 2010, 2011, and 2012. During this time period other programs across the state such as Bishop Chatard, Bishop Luers, and Lafayette Central Catholic were racking up titles as well. There was too much consistent success in the air and the "success factor" was born.
IndyStar - The IHSAA added the tournament success factor in 2012. If a program achieves six points over a two year period (four points for a state championship, three for a semistate, two for a regional and one for a sectional), it moves up a class. If a program that moves up doesn’t achieve three points in the next cycle, it is bumped back down a class unless it chooses to play up.
Cathedral went up to 5A and won 2 more, in 2013 and 2014 and then went up in 6A, lost, back down to 5A in 2017 and then lost again.
It would have been nice to see my alma mater keep the streak going, but I don’t think the success factor was ever truly what the IHSAA needed. No matter what size your enrollment is, and no matter where your kids come from, consistency is only allowed if you play 6A football.
It’s almost as if consistent success is so hard to achieve that the schools that couldn’t achieve it banded together to make sure that nobody could. The teams that were the closest to “breaking through” have now won their titles and returned to the pit of mediocracy. They have eliminated their own chance at consistent success.
These teams wanted to capture one title soooo badly that they were willing to sacrifice their chance to become consistent champions.
In college I played at Indiana State, where we shared a conference with the captains of consistency, the North Dakota State Bison. I was able to see first hand what consistency looked like from the other side. Through playing the sport of football I learned that being a champion means nothing, and that being a consistent champion means everything.
In all that you do, don’t work to be a champion, work to be a consistent champion.