by Jason Law
Lock and Flanker
I have the privilege and honor to speak on behalf of our fearless leader and chief, Coach Clark.
A new member to a national championship rugby team, now on my own, free from the restrictive reigns of my parents, with loads of parties to attend and hours of class to sleep through, I entered into the Cal Rugby program a cocky little freshman who thought he knew it all. More specifically, I thought I knew what it meant to be a man. I believed how much I bench pressed, or how well I could engage in witty conversation with my boys, indicated my level of manhood.
However, Coach Clark had different thoughts. As Coach would say, "I didn't know, what I didn't know." Our team definition of leadership is, "To make those around you better and more productive." Coach Clark embodies these words to their fullest. He has a unique way in recognizing how to reach the core of each of his players and empower them to be the best they can be. Whether it is by the shear intimidation of his yell, or by the passionate fire you sense in his one-on-one conversations, coach is a motivator. Coach exemplifies all the qualities of leadership.
Qualities such as character, charisma, passion, focus, responsibility and hard-work. Through these qualities he stands as a role model for us all. His influence over 27 years of cal rugby men is unprecedented, and his influence on my life and this years team is incomparable.
This September when we heard word about our relegation, the team felt confused, and frustrated. We couldn't believe the university would remove such a high-performance, tradition-rich, and successful program as ours. However, when Coach Clark called all 65 of us into a meeting at Memorial to look each one of us in the eye to insure us that all we needed to worry about was winning a national championship and that he was going to do everything in his power to get us back to varsity status, deep down we all knew our reinstatement was inevitable. Being a man of his word, and a workaholic that is exactly what he did. Coach is never one to speak about himself and his arduous activities, but this past weekend at a bar in Sandy, Utah coach let it slip that he hasn't taken a day off this season since Christmas. This relentless, no quit attitude is why Cal Rugby is as successful as it is. This is the reason why we continue to be recognized as a Varsity sport and why we were all able to raise our fists above our heads in victory.
Personally, Coach Clark has significantly shaped who I am. With the team ethos he has implemented, I have learned many life lessons I know I will carry with me forever. For example, I now understand that nothing is given to you in life, and that if you want something only through hard work and dedication will you achieve what you want to achieve. And to always chase excellence and to strive to be the best that I can be. Team sayings such as, "entitled to nothing, grateful for everything" or "you are either getting better or you are getting worse, there is no in between," are the reason why CAL Rugby continually produces national championships and more importantly successful young men.
Although this speech may make coach seem like some sort of God, there will always be a few things that I will never understand about coach. Like his weird syndrome of paranoia, where he only feels comfortable when he worries, and if he isn't worrying then he worries even more, or the simple fact his life outside of rugby is a complete unsolved mystery, or how in the hell his hair stays perfectly curled at the peak of his forehead at all times and climates.
But the fact of the matter is that Coach Clark is not only a master of earning national championship victories, but he is also an expert at molding young college men into becoming successful professionals, husbands, brothers, and friends. Playing five years under coach Clark was not an easy experience, however it is something I would never trade for the world. I am extremely grateful, and feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from such a respectable, and prominent man as Coach Clark.
So on behalf of the 2011 team we thank you for everything Coach and would like to present you with this picture.