Monday, April 18, 2016

No "I" in Team

Lately I feel that the concept of being on, and working as a team, gets lost.  There is so much competition among athletes, students and families that the focus becomes who is the best.  The strongest.  The fastest.  The smartest.

It’s exhausting.

I see with my kids how easy it is to comment about other players on the team.  How all too often parents get consumed with playing time, who is playing well, who isn’t playing enough in every game.  I’m guilty too.  It’s a slippery slope.  We want so much for our kids that we lose what it means to be a TEAM.  To play as a team.  To behave as a team.

There is a kid at school who approached my son to tell him how his dad said my son isn’t a good fielder.  There was more said (unfortunately), but you get the idea.  There is so much about this that bothered me, but what bothered me most is that off the field the concept of team was being ripped apart.  The idea we should all cheer for eachother and encourage eachother was null and void.  It became “let’s sit in the kitchen and talk down about the players” instead of “let’s sit in the kitchen and talk about what’s working.”

It’s poison.  And I know we are all guilty to some degree of the exact same thing that I described above.  I had to remind my son that just because someone said something doesn’t make it true, and his abilities are being attacked to make someone else feel better.

That’s a hard lesson to teach, and now my son looks at this boy’s family like they are out to get him.  Which is pretty distracting when you’re trying to play a game.  All of it is unnecessary, and it reminded me to not to behave in a manner that causes the cycle to continue.

I realized a few years ago that when I just enjoyed the game, and cheered for everyone on it, the experience was more fulfilling.  My kids were happier too.  The focus was on growing as individuals and as a team.  Which is exactly what team sports is all about.

Every player makes mistakes, and every player needs to grow in a different area.  This holds true in school and other activities as well.  We all have our areas of strength and our moments of weakness.  And it isn’t right, especially when dealing with children, to set an example that brings down other children.

We need to build eachother up.  And we need to teach our kids to do the same.  At the end of the day, this isn’t a race.  We can all be winners and support eachother along the way.

This world needs much more “you got this.” Let’s start the trend now.

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