It's been a season of ups and downs for the Toronto Rock. After starting the season like the proverbial house on fire, they suffered a mid season swoon and dropped five games in a row. Their efforts at home during the swoon can only be described as lack-lustre.
Now, their fortunes seem to be on the up-swing again. Wins last weekend over Calgary at home and Philadelphia on the road have boosted their over-all record to 8-6, which is not spectacular, but is still good enough for second place in the hotly contested East Division. Two games remain, this weekend in Buffalo against the desperate Bandits, followed by a home closer against the Rochester Knighthawks. Both opponents are in the playoff race also, and will probably play hard against the Rock. Nevertheless, the Rock hold their destiny in their own hands. Wins will solidify their place in the playoffs and probably secure a home date.
What causes teams to do what the Rock have done this year? A promising start seemed to indicate that their past problems had been solved. They played the first 7 games with great confidence: goaltending was spectacular, the offence was productive, and the defence seemed to be solid. Then, the losing slide began with close but uninspiring games in Alberta. Confidence waned, and all parts of their game looked shabby and unpolished. Key players began to look average, especially the captain, Colin Doyle, who appeared to be disinterested. Mistakes piled on top of each other and players looked at each other as though expecting a disaster to happen at any time. The result: going from a solid first place team to just one more in the pack of the division.
Organizations of any kind go through dry spells, where focus is lost, creativity seems to disappear, and members lose confidence in their colleagues and try to do their jobs for them. There are only two ways for a rebound to occur: blind luck, or the ability of a leader to see the problem and do what is necessary to correct it in time to restore the faith of the members and put the organization back on track. Teams, businesses, schools, armies, and governments all run the same way.
Let's see if the Rock can keep the winning ways going. If they do, it will prove that leadership is solid on the team. One might say "Rock solid".