Do It Right – A Matter of Perspective 


Coach Barker

Priory Spirit is moving in a terrific direction. Winning helps this cause, but early in my Master’s Program in Athletic Administration I learned that “winning is not a strategy” when it comes to building an athletic program. Instead, doing things the “right” way sets and builds a foundation that supports winning programs in many ways. 

But what is the “right” way? Doing something “right” is a nebulous term that many of us have heard throughout our lives. Whether it be parents telling us how to clean our rooms or load a dishwasher, or coaches in the beginning of us learning a sport showing us the fundamental way of making a layup or getting into a 3-point stance, ultimately doing things the “right“ way becomes innate and something that for many instances you never have to think about.  

My dad emphasized doing things right. While growing up on a farm, when you do work, you have very little margin for error. Often, especially in the winter, you are fighting daylight, machinery that is worn out or in need of repair, or you may be working with animals who quite frankly have a mind of their own. Doing things “right” eventually leads to working more efficiently, being safe, and doing things in a way that allows you to reflect upon your work with pride and integrity. Doing things “right” on a farm teaches you discipline along with better decision-making that ultimately leads to living a humble life respectful of others. The big picture of doing things “right” involves following and honoring the rules both written and unwritten to the best of your ability. 

As we look forward and continue to build our athletic programs, an integral part of our success belongs to our fans and their behavior during games and events. A list of points that have been emphasized over the past couple of years since I have been the AD is below. 

  • While we want fans to participate and be engaged during games and while we want as big a crowd as we possibly can get, please keep in mind that no one comes to games to see the crowd. The emphasis is always on our guys and the game at hand. 
  • Cheering should always be for our guys and interactions with the other team or fans from other schools should be limited and virtually non-existent. 
  • Do NOT put others down with direct attacks to build ourselves back up. 
  • Negative statements and cheering against officials and referees should be virtually non-existent and really never should happen at all.  Remember they are human beings, too. 
  • Profanity and other “adult” type of cheering or showing of displeasure, will never be tolerated. 

I recently met with The Priory Spirit Club leaders and expressed to them how far we’ve come in a little less than two years since I’ve started as the Athletic Director. Indeed, I am proud of our progress, and please recognize that we can still be better. Excellent examples of student cheering have been witnessed and now I think the challenge is finding a way to be more consistent in our approach and execution during games and on social media.  

In our recent victory during the Wickenheiser Cup Final, I received many compliments and pieces of feedback about our fans particularly about our student section. Many people were impressed with the level of enthusiasm and engagement that we displayed, and the pride that we have for our guys was evident. Many fans and workers at the game commented to me that the exact opposite type of behavior was displayed by the Lafayette fans. One person described their behavior as “a train wreck” and it was “so distracting you couldn’t stop watching.” I firmly believe that this type of behavior may have actually taken away from the excellent play of the Lafayette Hockey team. It was a tough, hard-fought battle, but I know whether we had won or lost, we would have been winners in every respect, and we would have gone away from that experience with our class and dignity still very much intact.  

I know it sounds cliché, but please understand that when you are representing Priory both on and off the field, that your actions and your behavior in public and on social media ABSOLUTELY DO MATTER. I don’t know if we are ready to establish something like the “Cardinal Way” because we may not have the equivalence of “Cardinal Nation.”  However, if we were to start thinking about creating an official “Raven Way,” I believe we are in a good place ready to build and become better.