Weekly Message - August 23, 2020

Monty Hopkins

Hello MAST Families,

Now that we have concluded a very successful "summer camp" at Oasis it's time for a little break.  With school starting it's a good time to let our kids get settled into a school routine and then get the winter short course season started.  There are still far too many unknowns regarding a meet schedule but it is important that we get started back the Tuesday after Labor Dayas long as the pool is determined to be ready.  Watch this website for updates about season start and finalized practice schedules.

Registration is now open, please get signed up.  For the time being we are asking swimmers to sign up with the group they were in at the end of winter short course before the Covid pandemic forced a stop to activities.

We are all facing challenges that were unimaginable just a year ago.  Some have been overwhelmed while other are finding ways to thrive.  With school starting and the uncertainty regarding how we deal our so call “new normal” I am reminded of the quote from the Reverend Robert Schuler “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” 

All you need is some true grit.  A study of more than 11,000 West Point cadets over 10 years found that “grit” was the most important trait for success — beating out both brains and brawn.

Researchers — who defined “grit” as “passion and perseverance for long-term goals of personal significance” — said cadets who displayed that special quality were more successful during the challenging four-year military academy that begins with “Beast Barracks,” a notoriously brutal six-week basic training program.

“Cognitive and physical abilities each enable progress toward goals in their respective domains,” the study said. “In contrast, grit seems to enable individuals to keep going when the going gets tough.”  The research team, led by University of Pennsylvania psychologist and author Angela Duckworth, studied 11,258 cadets as they entered the academy over the period of a decade.

Those who made it through Beast Barracks then took a 12-point test known as the “grit scale” to evaluate their capacity for perseverance.  Three percent of new cadets quit the academy in the first summer.  While strength and brain power all contributed to helping the 81 percent of West Point cadets who ultimately graduated from the school, the study found that “grit” proved to be the most significant factor.

“The experience and experience you have as a child — in school and in your formative years — are instrumental in developing this ‘never say die never quit’ attitude,” Michael Matthews, who co-authored the study, told the science and technology news website Inverse. “Challenges have a way of finding us,” Matthews said. “West Point becomes a kind of laboratory of learning how individuals come to succeed under trying circumstances.”

In similar 2007 study, Duckworth led a team of researchers who studied military cadets, Ivy League grads and even Scripps National Spelling Bee finalists and determined those with the strongest fighting spirits tended to fare better. , “…one characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success. And it wasn’t social intelligence. It wasn’t good looks, physical health, and it wasn’t IQ. It was grit.”

GRIT:  Author and researcher Angela Duckworth defines “Grit” at the passion and perseverance towards long-term goals.  According to Webster dictionary, grit is “firmness of mind or spirit” or “unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.”

Have a safe and enjoyable week,