Finding the “I” in Team

I watched as my daughters Laguna Beach High School volley ball team had a disappointing loss in the 3rd round of an important CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) elimination game tonight. What impressed me about these very close matches was that the victor played better together, much more as a cohesive group of individuals, like they had been playing longer or possibly more closely related.

The two schools were evenly matched in many ways, but without words or gestures the winning team held as a group of individuals that somehow knew what each of the six players on the court were thinking. They were individuals yet they worked more seamlessly as a team, so this is where you should better understand the word team a little differently. The team is a group of individuals working in concert and the word team is merely a reference to the group, there are many an “I” in team…

  • Team = a number of persons or individuals associated together in work or activity: as in a crew or gang.

The team effort I speak of and refers to here is not just associated with sports, but includes all of humanity, a neighborhood or a community gathered or associated together to achieve a mutually beneficial end or goal. I have spoken to friends and associates who have declared that they feel that this so rarely seen or felt and assume instead a vision of a pod flailing, struggling souls reaching out somtimes quite apparently for only themselves.

“I often warn people: “Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no “I” in team. ‘What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity.” ~ George Carlin

If you are involved with or part of a well oiled machine that works together smoothly and efficiently you will most obviously disagree. For it all feels so very natural and compelling when you are part of a group with the same goals and focus on helping everyone in the “family” for it is the accepted norm to work together.

Maybe we simply need more teams for the lost individuals to join in so that they too can benefit from the collective?

My favorite team is composed of a fascinating and wondrous group of individuals I refer now to as great friends, we think, laugh, tease, share, and in some ways provoke each other to be the best we can be. It is an unspoken support group, that leaps to the aide of others before it has been made apparent that someone needs help. The very best team that there is and a bond that I give thanks for and give of myself in every single day.

A word of warning if you do indeed choose to pursue a collaborative effort of like-minded crew members where you can willfully chime in and work together for a common goal. It is truly addicting and you will find yourself giving more of your time and energy than you have ever done in the past or perhaps even thought possible.

A team effort relieves us of the desire or assumption that we must struggle alone, it is not a hand out, it is a leg up and true giving is a lifting gesture of faith in our ability to participate, share, learn, grow and succeed.

I have recently been blessed with many new friendships, those willing to give and share in my efforts, my successes, my struggles and my passion to continue in the right direction. I have noticed that there are some who are reluctant to join in groups such that I have been so fortunate to discover and my only guess is there fear of rejection. What I can assure you of more today than any other time in my life, the right group, crew, gang or team will accept you for who you are once you have shown that your desire to participate and assist others is as important as your own challenges.

The opportunity to give and receive are synonymous and apparent in those who join into help in any way that they can, yet I have seen many resist the leap into a collaborative. An individual who is seemingly overwhelmed may not wish to involve themselves with others thinking it is better or even a directive of their plight, and their conflict or their skirmish should and must be overcome alone.

We must look beyond ourselves and help these individuals better understand that helping is typically the mantra of a team as there is a cooperative understanding that individuals though very important are much weaker alone than in a cohesive group.

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” ~ Babe Ruth

The team effort and team spirit will eventually bring together more and more people who desire to accomplish their goals and their true desire for happiness. The team and the community can and must show a consistent source of support in offering of answers and a guideline of assistance. I have felt the warmth of extending a helping hand, the feeling of offering simply a shoulder to cry on is indescribable if accepted and if you have not received a hug from someone who you have helped in even the smallest and simplest way, you my friend have not lived.


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