Bryan Cahill '15, currently a freshman at University Vermont, wrote the following Chapel Talk for the Trinity-Pawling community. It was delivered by Dean of Faculty Todd Hoffman on January 28, 2016.
Originally, I pictured myself surprising all the boys with a chapel talk. Like out of nowhere, THE Bryan Cahill, former thirds soccer captain, former 4th line grinder on the thirds puck squad, former 7th prefect if there was one, former proctor and leader of the famous Dunbar Dormitory, former Live play by play Broadcaster, and current Trinity-Pawling lacrosse LEGEND... would walk up to the podium and the boys would erupt and cheer because they’d be so stoked to see me. Maybe I’d say something fun like “sup guys” instead of the typical “Good morning!” and get a couple laughs out of the crowd. Guess I’m not as legendary as I thought. But I’m sure Mr. Hoffman will be able to get my message across just as well, if not better.
I’m currently writing this on my way to visit one of my best friends that I met through Trinity-Pawling, which is enough to show my gratitude towards T-P. I didn’t think life could get better after the day I graduated from Trinity-Pawling. After all the stress and boredom I thought I was facing, after constantly saying “oh my god, this place sucks.” Or, “Why didn’t I go somewhere with girls.” Or, “Wow, I’m being forced to go to dinner where an underclassman literally brings food to me.” Life was tough as a student!
But a couple of days after I graduated...it hit me. It may have been the last time I see the people I call my teammates, my brothers, my family. I can honestly say, after all the tough times and stress I went through, I couldn’t miss T-P more right now. Everything the School did for me, the people I met, and the doors it opened up for me have changed my life. I am forever indebted for the friendships and memories Trinity-Pawling provided me, and that's all I have tangibly besides a diploma, a broadcast team cup, a hockey puck and a couple of pictures….I have so many more intangibles, like my memories. I could go on and on about how easy I had it at Trinity-Pawling, I was surrounded by a faculty who supported me and had nothing but my best interest at heart and literally, (I know Mr. Reade is smiling right now mouthing “literally” to himself, maybe rolling his eyes,) literally chilled for most of the day with my best friends playing “Chel”, or ordering food, or tickling some twine down at the turf, or dangling some scrubs during pond hockey, but I’ll touch on something that I regret every day while I was at T-P. Attitude.
The people I’m targeting mostly with this chapel talk are the juniors, seniors and PG athletes who are sitting in their rows with their faces buried in their phones, not wearing a belt, wearing a quarter-zip zipped all the way up hiding the fact that he’s not wearing a tie, thinking they’re too good to listen, and whatever I’m trying to say doesn’t apply to them. Well, it does. The way you act in Chapel, the classroom, at dinner, on the bus, reflects your performance on the field and in the classroom. I don’t care where you’re committed to play, or accepted to college, or have offers from, because news flash: everyone to your right and everyone to your left can be just as good, if not better. Teachers, coaches and underclassmen admire a leader who can bring intensity, someone who brings a smile, someone who inspires others to be great. Just because you hashtag #D1Bound doesn’t necessarily mean you are, and it definitely doesn’t mean you’re #ProBound because the #HumbleAndHardworking make it to the top and succeed while the others with poor attitudes lie to themselves and believe a coach or teacher is out to get them or that they’re being treated unfairly.
Have some PRIDE in where you go to school, in your performance; love your teammates and classmates like you love your family at home. SELL OUT for the guys around you and be great. Don’t pout and mope around because Coach X says you can’t wear 3/4th leggings, or quit the team because Coach Y has you playing defense when you think you’re an offensive threat. During my time here, I only played one varsity sport and by the spring season of my senior year, my LAST time suiting up in a Trinity-Pawling uniform ever, my last game ever against Taft, I saw one shift and didn’t touch the ball. I was a Division 1 commit, playing his final senior game against one of Trinity-Pawling’s biggest rivals...and I wasn’t involved. And after that it was all over. Maybe if my attitude was better, I would’ve played better, and if I had played better, maybe someone else would’ve played better. It’s a chain reaction of one feeding off one another’s energy. Push one another to be great. I never beat a few of our rivals. Wanna know why? Attitude. It wasn’t because we weren’t good enough because trust me we were. It’s because guys like me poisoned the team with poor attitudes. “Well I’m not gonna play anyway so why bother?” I can’t stress enough how many times I heard this, or even said this. GET OVER IT. Give the coaches a reason to play you.
Upperclassmen, the underclassmen look up to you, they respect you, they wanna be like you! Show them that working hard to be the best, getting good grades, being positive about everything is cool! Because they’ll feed off of that and strive to become the best, just like you.
One of my favorite quotes is, “attitude reflects leadership.” Look at your captains, look at your prefects, look at your coaches, look at your teachers, they all share one thing: a positive attitude.
It’s really easy to make it through T-P, wake up, put your clothes on, put on a belt, show up to class with a smile, learn, and work hard. You get to hang out with your boys all day! There are no girls around to distract you, no parties to tempt you, no parents to make decisions for you. Love each other, care for each other, go to war with each other, recognize how great you have it and take advantage! You have all the tools to succeed here - all you have to do is embrace what this place offers.