It occurred to me that I’ve been writing several stories that circle around the topic of basketball, and—considering that they are all related to my two girls and their adventures in the sport—I’m okay with that: there is much to comment about. But first, today’s narrative is sponsored by Cliché Destruction of the Day.
No doubt, you’ve heard the cliché before: There is no I in team.
Check your corporate break room, there’s probably a poster on the wall that displays the well-known phrase, which will be accompanied by some majestic and inspirational photograph—most likely a bald eagle wrapped in an American flag. As popular as it can be among the corporate stack of employee and supervisor relationships, equal (or greater) importance has been placed on this notion, within the world of sports.
There is no ‘i’ in team but there is in win ~ Michael Jordan
But here’s the thing: I think the creators of that cliché were wrong—in fact, 100% wrong, so much wrong in the sense of “you couldn’t be more wrong, if you tried” type of wrong. And I declare that statement with multiple caveats, of course.
Basketball is a sport of five players, working in tandem, to achieve one goal. Each player steps on to the court, bringing their own strengths and skills, which are different than that of the other team members: some are great offensive players, some are great defensive players, some are quick, some are tall, and some serve the purpose of building a human brick wall. Each person has a specific task to accomplish—on an individual basis—in order for the team—as a collective whole—to win the game. In this sense of Team, the Individual is an essential component.
Additionally, I would go as far as saying that an Individual (in the general sense, not specific to one certain person) is the most important part of the Team. When the player performs to their skill level, whether blocking or shooting or whatever, they are becoming the most essential asset that a team can request, at any given moment.
The last point, although it shouldn’t require clarification, is that an inflated Ego does not belong on a team. You cannot win a game with only one player, no matter if she is the fastest or most accurate athlete in the room. Team work is a successful combination of multiple players, successfully working together, to achieve success in a common goal. Wait, maybe that was too many successes in one sentence? You should know what I mean, at this point…moving on.
With that being said, if there is an actual “i” in Team (and I believe it to be true), maybe we should spell is as T-E-I-M now? And, oh yeah, we will have to reprint all of the motivational posters in the world, starting today.
To me, teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless. ~ Mike Krzyzewski
I am tickled to be afforded an opportunity to watch another basketball game on our home court, and I’m perched in the stands with my iPhone in hand. Having intentionally left the digital camera at home, I’m determined to capture some video on my mobile device. I’m hoping that one of my two girls will have an opportunity to, at least, take a shot on the basket.
Both of my daughters are on the court together, the youngest is ready at mid-court, defending against the advancing point guard. Pressure is applied, and #20 from the opposing team is finding difficulty in getting past the center line. My youngest isn’t letting the girl advance, and the rest of the team, waiting under the hoop, is just watching. My oldest daughter quickly sneaks into the equation and steals the ball from a distracted offense. She breaks away and dribbles down court, completing a lay-up for two points. Teamwork is more than one player, working together, balancing their skills, to accomplish one specific agenda.
Of course, I’ve only captured this gem as a video clip. No worries: post-game, I review the snippets and pull a good, individual frame, of both my girls working together, for today’s illustration.
The rest of the game was terrific: we ended with a victory of 24-11, both of my girls scored once, and the individual team members worked together as one collective team—probably, exhibiting the best sense of Team, to date.
The take-away that I’m left with, is that we (as adults) can learn as much from our children, as we hope they learn from us as parents. This seems to be a common theme to my latest narratives, and not just because I’ve saved all of these stories for the exciting conclusion of my yearly project.
I am learning, as much as I wish to instill knowledge in my children, that I have much to learn from them as well. This personal revelation is pleasing to me, because it reminds me that I’m not all that and a bag of chips, and that I’m on my road of personal discovery and learning too—I have miles to go before I sleep.