Back to the Fundamentals in 2023

04 January, 2023

Written by Robert J. Gross

One of the most awesome things in my life was that I graduated from Marquette University in Engineering during what many people call their glory days.

As a commuter student, I was not able to enjoy the dorm lifestyle or some of the many things that we take for granted as part of campus life. Every so often though, I would sneak into one of the dorm cafeterias and just chow down on the unlimited food available. Well, I’m paying for some of that now and we’ll save the weight loss for another discussion in the future on goal setting. ๐Ÿ™‚

An organization that I was proudly able to participate in was the Marquette Pep Band. The band was a hidden gem of the University, hidden in the bowels of the Varsity Theater on Wisconsin Avenue. Our director back then was Bill Geischeker and everyone who was there was there because they wanted to be there – and it was fun! We received no credit for being in the band as Marquette had no music program. I did make many lifetime friend while in the band.

The famous head coach, Al McGuire, referred to us as the 6th person on the basketball team. That was our job. To go to the games and spice things up with energy and enthusiasm – and some really bad music, but who was rating us? I remember one particular cheer that ended with “Give me an alumni cheer – Zzzzz!” Of course, we “Ring Out Ahoya” in our sleep and never really did figure out what an Ahoya was.

What Marquette was famous for back then was the fundamentals. They put the fun in fundamental! There were not shot clocks like today. There was no 3-point line. While some of the players went on to be superstars, it was all about executing the fundamentals as a team. The team would come down the court, set up the four corners, and execute it flawlessly. This has the effect of causing absolute frustration in the opposing team, usually resulting in a foul of some sort.

Then, you NEVER, never, never missed a free throw. No matter your position, you made all your free throws. Miss one, and that player would spend the next week in “free throw hell” and would not miss again. After all, it was a FREE throw!

Of course, the basketball team did other things equally proficiently, but what ultimately impressed upon me, and that they won consistently because of it, was the emphasis on the fundamentals of the game. Dribble and pass, play as a team, and never miss a free throw.

And I was there, playing in the band, front row, witnessing Marquette’s glory days.

As we enter 2023, what are your core fundamentals? We’ve had 3 pandemic years now and things have slid sideways accordingly. Bright and early on Monday, January 2nd, my team will be discussing and building upon the sales equivalent of dribbling, passing, and making those free throws, something that has been missing recently. We will set the four corners, we will operate as a team and we will take advantage of low-hanging fruit.

The benefit to you in 2023 is that you will be part of a consistently winning team, with flawless execution, and making those goals that you set for yourself and your team.

Happy New Year everyone!


BTW – I’ll buy an IBAW coffee for anyone that can identify me in both the pictures. I know, they are scans of old analog pictures but that is all we have from back then. My kids say that it was before computers and digital cameras were created… I think they are calling me old.