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What does it mean to be 'part of a team'?
|London - 5:49pm, July 4th, 2006
I've been thinking about this a lot recently. Primarily due to my current situation with Fire of London and just compairing it to teams I've been involved with in the past.
Since about the age of 7 or 8 I have been playing organised team sports. Starting off with Home Farm Mini-League footbal and then moving on to rugby in Belvedere for 10 years. Throw in brief stints with basketball and football teams and then on to playing basketball and water polo in college before eventually getting involved with ultimate and a large variety of teams in a rediculous number of places.
When I was in school, the rugby team was always very well drilled and we went out to be competative in each game. I doubt I was ever aware of it at the time but looking back, I don't think there was much friendships through the team. Although we were only kids (well, we started as kids but kept going until age 18), it was as if we all knew it was our job to be out there playing and putting the work in.
When I was in college and playing basketball, it was a whole new experience and one that I greatly needed. While the team was eager to do well in games, we never pushed ourselves too far. While we did want to do well, we were aware that we were not the best basketball players in the world and instead took great advantage of the fun and friendships that were possible. I have little doubt that the basketball team was my favourite experience in college.
But now I'm playing with Fire of London. We are about to play the first round of the UK Open tour and then later in the year we will be going to the World Club Championships. As excited as I am to be competing at this level and excited to see what I can do once we get on the field, I must admit that I am very disapointed at the lack of comradery within the team.
Sure, some people are friends and there are times when some of us will hang out after training but I had expected more. I had expected that in order to make the team stronger there would have been more interaction off the field and not just on it. Build up a sense of purpose, a reason to compete for each other and a sense of having achieved along side each other.
Instead I fear that we are going in to this weekend with a few pre-existing friendships but with a lot of straglers on the outside.
How much of this is just my interpretation of things though? Does anybody else see it this way or have they even noticed this happening? Is everybody else happy with the level of friendships within the squad?
Thinking back I picture the friendships I had while playing basketball and how I was willing to go as hard as I could because I felt I was doing it for my friend. I remember being happy when my friends had good games and not being disapointed in my own achievements that game.
I don't feel the same way with Fire though. I don't get a sense of people pushing themselves for the benefit of their friends. I also sometimes feel that some people go out on the field looking to see how well they can do rather than what they can offer the team. The mind set seems to be "What opportunity am I going to get to do something good this point" instead of "How can I benefit the team this point".
Hopefully I'm wrong and I'm just mis-reading people. Maybe it's just part of my ongoing transition to playing at this high level as opposed to what I'm used to. Perhaps I'm putting my interpretaton on things instead of just taking actions at face value and people at their word.
Like I said, hopefully I'm wrong. Perhaps if the friendship level within the team was increased we might loose our hunger and desire to do well. We might just take the field being happy to be with friends and might thus miss out on winning a game or a tournament.
Perhaps what I enterpret as a some what selfish attitude is actually people just being confident and knowing what they have to do in order to best serve the team. It is probably better that a big thrower go out there and look to make the breaks that will get us a few extra points rather than sit back and let the other team just grind us down.
I guess everybody has different opinions and attitudes. I shouldn't spend so much time worrying about what other people do and instead just look to go out and do as well as I can. I know that I've put in the hard work at training over the last few months and that I have improved my skills and decision making in that time.
I also know that other people have done the fitness work and have put in just as much if not more effort than me and so deserve the reward of going out and haveing success this weekend. The time has come for me to show what I'm capable of on the field and to show my team mates how much I am willing to give in order for us to achieve success.
If any of the things I said above are true than perhaps this weekend will be the opportunity for things to start changing. Alternatively it will be the weekend were I get to see how wrong I was in my assumptions!