In the wide world of sports, the contribution of each team member, both on the field and off, determines the success of the season. It is the responsibility of each athlete to give his or her best performance, and it is the role of the captain to ensure the success of the team by maximizing each of his or her teammates’ contributions through example and leadership.
Josh Greenberg ’06 and Lisa Jacque ’06 are the captains of men’s varsity basketball and women’s varsity ice hockey, respectively. But they are unique captains: Greenberg has averaged 0.9 points per game this season, and Jacque is the fourth-string left wing. Without the game time their teammates receive, their leadership is characterized by a behind-the-scenes style. They add intensity to practices and games, albeit from the sidelines. They ease the transition from high-school athletics to college for freshmen. They support players during disappointments and cultivate their teams’ personal characters.
Men’s basketball head coach James Jones and women’s hockey head coach Hilary Witt said they have great relationships with their captains and believe Greenberg and Jacque have incredibly hard tasks because their moods set the tone of practices and games.
“When [Jacque] smiles, they work harder, and when she is in a good mood, then the team performs better,” Witt said.
The coaches also said their athletes are motivated by a desire to do well for their captains.
“[Greenberg's] teammates want to make him happy,” Jones said. “They want to match his intensity.”
Jones said one of the great examples of Greenberg’s leadership this year involved Casey Hughes ’07. The junior swingman did not do as well in the contest against Harvard this year as he is used to doing, and the flu kept him from participating fully in the second half the following weekend against Dartmouth. Greenberg helped Hughes through the frustration of not playing by pointing out that he has more value to the team than simply being a high scorer.
Both coaches said Greenberg and Jacque always come to practice and games with the right attitudes to help their teams achieve.
Greenberg’s teammates and friends have made their appreciation known publicly. The members of the facebook.com group “General Greenberg: the official Facebook Fan Club of the General Josh Greenberg” swear their allegiance to their captain “because his presence inspires us to achieve our highest state of being” and “Because he is the only person who goes out at night with no shirt on and manages not to get thrown out of Toad’s,” among other reasons.
Jocularity plays a large role in Greenberg’s success as captain, and the balance between fun and diligence is the most appreciated aspect of Jacque’s leadership as well.
On Feb. 3 and 4, when the Elis wanted to sweep Harvard and Dartmouth away, Jacque brought brooms to set the mood. To get pumped up for Princeton on Jan. 6, she bought a pinata, supposedly of a Princeton tiger. It was actually a dragon, not a tiger, but the team painted black stripes on it to make it more appropriate.
Jacque’s teammates said her ability to lead is all the more striking because her energy and enthusiasm do not come solely from the rush of competing.
“It’s hard for anyone in that position to lead,” Danielle Kozlowski ’09 said. “But when she is on the ice, she goes that much harder. She’s the spark that ignites the team.”
Both Greenberg and Jacque said they see their lack of playing time as a potential weakness in their leadership but overcome that by bringing intensity to the court and the rink, respectively. They serve as standards on which their teammates can model themselves in more than just athletic ability.
Each team’s sentiments toward Greenberg or Jacque can be applied to the other.
“Josh cares about the team maybe more than anyone,” Ed White ’09 said. “He could be a leader and a source of inspiration without being a starter.”