Imagine the African Savanna, a hungry pride of lions and an unsuspecting herd of antelope. The pride sends the oldest lion to rush the antelope while the other lions create a perimeter. When the attack occurs the antelope flee and fall right into the hunters trap. The irony is that the old lion looks the part of a ferocious hunter but in reality is harmless. If the antelope were to challenge the old lion they would easily win and live to see another day. However, the perception of fear combined with the instinct to flee is so great that the antelope never fight the old lion. Instead the antelope flee right into the hands of the anticipating pride.
Paul Assaiante and James Zug tell a story about the rise of one man’s career as a mentor, coach, and leader and simultaneously tell the story of the struggles and trials of the same man’s personal life. What Paul Assaiante accomplished as a coach starting from his days at the United State Military Academy to Williams College and now most notably as coach of the Men’s Squash Team at Trinity University in Hartford, CT could not mask over what he wasn’t able to do as a father to his son Matthew. The masterful way he was able to understand, empathize, care, and simply meet his players where they needed to be met, he was not able to do for his own son. Run to the Roar parallels the stark difference in how we intend things to work out in life and the reality of how things actually just work out.
There is much to learn and take away from this book. Paul Assaiante leaves himself vulnerable and transparent so that we-the reader-can gain a glimmer of insight that will leave us better than we were before we read the book. It may help us reflect and learn how we can deal with changes in our lives, how we raise our children, and how we can balance our work and family. Run to the Roar will resonate with people differently based on the circumstances that you have experienced and are currently experiencing. That is the beauty of it. Run to the Roar will relate to you and as it does you can use the story of another person – Coach Paul Assaiante, the coach of the team who had the longest winning streak in intercollegiate history – to learn how to live a better life.
My heart broke for Coach Assaiante as he never seemed to have the right answers for his son. I am not yet a father but I can only imagine the hurt that is left in a father’s soul when seeing your son trapped by the lure of addiction. I am reminded that love is not easy and that it s so easy to be distracted by career and people outside of one’s family. As a son, Run to the Roar reminds me to empathize and understand the heart of my own father. I wonder how difficult it must be to see one’s intentions as a father not have the desired impact. I see the reality that accomplishments and honors can’t replace what a relationship between father and son can bring. For some reason it seems that being the best for one’s own family may be the toughest task. Run to the Roar encourages me to run straight to the fear that makes me want to flee.