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Remember the Lobster

How do we grow and become stronger?

When I think about this fall season, one thing comes to mind: Lobsters.

Bear with me.

When asking the question “how do we grow”, this may best be answered by asking “how do lobsters grow?”

Lobsters, themselves, are very soft, vulnerable creatures that live inside a hard shell. Although the lobster, itself, grows, their hard, rigid shell never does. As the lobster grows inside this shell, it becomes very confining and the lobster becomes extremely uncomfortable. It finds itself under an incredible amount of pressure. The pressure and the stress eventually becomes so unbearable that the lobster has to risk its life (because without his shell, he’s defenseless) and literally break out of its shell. It then hides out under a rock while it’s new, thicker, harder shell grows in. Eventually, that shell becomes too small, and the lobster goes through the entire process all over again...and again, and again. In fact, in its first 5 years, a lobster will repeat this process over 25 times - each time coming out with a better, stronger shell.

Pressure, stress, feeling uncomfortable - all of these make the lobster grow. They make him stronger.

I’m sure you have an idea where I’m going with this.

Our teams this fall were under a lot of pressure. We were under a lot of stress. There were many times this fall that we were uncomfortable.

Whether it be our crew team, who has worked tirelessly on the ergs and on the water morning and night for a chance to make history at Head of the Charles, only to fall just short of their goal.

They’ve grown stronger.

Or our Sailing team, who lost many of their top sailors to graduation last year and struggled at the beginning of this fall, only to come back and have a very good season, successfully rebuilding for an even better spring.

They’ve grown stronger.

Or our Rugby team, who is hungrier and already training hard for spring after a disappointing sevens finish. They’ve grown stronger.

Or our Soccer team, who lost 10 senior starters off their state championship team last year and fell short in the Shore Conference Tournament, but never quit and played together as Brothers to prove all the doubters wrong and win a Sectional Championship.

They’ve grown stronger.

Or our Cross-Country team, who after suffering a tough loss at MOC’s last year have logged more miles and worked even harder for their moment that will come this Saturday, when I know in my heart they will be hoisting that trophy.

They’ve grown stronger.

When I look around this room, I see young men and teams who have been challenged, who didn’t get everything they wanted, who didn’t accomplish every goal they set – but who are STRONGER now because of it.

After all, if you hit every goal you set than you aren’t setting your goals high enough.

Gentlemen, thank your coaches.

When they get on you or bench you for falling short of expectations, say thank you. When you complain that practice is too hard, and they tell you to stop crying and to keep working, say thank you. When they demand more of you because they know you have more to give, say thank you.

They know that, like lobsters, in order for you to get stronger you will have to grow through adversity.

And gentlemen, thank your parents.

Besides how hard they’ve worked and how much they sacrifice to send you to Christian Brothers Academy, they also do not always make things easy for you for a reason.

Every time they don’t give in, every time they give you responsibility and make you fight your own battles, no matter how uncomfortable it might make you, say thank you.

They want you to grow stronger, and without them you would not be here.

I often say I have the best job in the world because every day I get to watch great kids do great things. It is an absolute pleasure to watch you compete, Gentlemen. Thank you for pouring your hearts out for CBA and for always representing us with pride and class. And know that although I am as disappointed as you when we fail to win and fall short of our goals, I’m smiling on the inside knowing that this set back just made you stronger.

Stress will continue to come. The pressure will continue to mount. Life after high school will continue to throw uncomfortable and difficult situations at you. And when it does, remember the lobster.

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