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Old 12-11-2011, 08:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Pound the Rock - new mantra

Toronto SUN

“When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”
- Jacob Riis, 19th century Danish American social reformer

Pound the rock. Those words adorn the walls of the Raptors practice facility. They are also splashed across the doors as you exit the team’s locker room.
And right beside that, just as you leave or enter the locker room in case you’ve missed the message is a 1,300-pound slab of granite. It’s all part of head coach Dwane Casey’s master plan to get his players to buy in.

Casey wants his players to have the mindset that whatever the obstacles they face, and however long it takes them, they will overcome. Eventually that rock will split, or in the Raptors case, eventually that defensive mindset will become second nature.

Casey isn’t the first head coach to use Riis’ lessons to teach his own. The same words have hung in the San Antonio Spurs locker room for the past decade, written in the native tongue of every Spurs player. Even Jon Gruden’s Tampa Bay Bucs used that motto on their way to a win in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Casey is well aware he’s not the first to use the words, but he likes the message so much, he couldn’t resist following suit.

“San Antonio has it, Miami has it, a lot of college programs have it and you can put it to any walk of life,” Casey said of ‘Pound the Rock.’ It’s about having a hard time, fighting through hard times and taking advantage of opportunities. Jacob Riis is the authors’ name. He came over to the U.S. as an immigrant from Denmark and he fought for workers rights and living rights. Every day he kept hitting a wall with the government, with city hall.
You can’t do this. You can’t do that. But he continued to fight and subsequently he kept on getting things changed for workers and poor people. That’s when he came up with the poem, “Pound the rock.”

Casey is no pie-in-the-sky dreamer. He knows he and the Raptors have their work cut out for them this season and this is just a reminder that no matter what, they have to stay the course.

“That’s just how hard we have to work,” he said. “Some days our shots may not fall, some day you may not get the defensive stops you need but you got to continue to do it and that’s the motto we will take and the patience we have to have as a coaching staff and as a program. It’s not easy because if it were easy everyone would be doing it.”
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