Smells like team spirit
Bent over, sweat trickling down the side of my forehead; another sprint down, two to go. Doing suicides on a frosted span of green, seeing your breath in front of you as you take another lap around the field, or skimming the ball across both water and snow; such are some of the defining characteristics of the girl’s spring soccer season.
But more than that, they are the crucial images of being on a team.
Being on a team is one of the most fundamental experiences one can endure. To be a “teammate” takes a very selfless person, or selfish, I should say.
Selfless because of the fact that once you wear a uniform, you have given up yourself. You now only belong to the collective heart and mind of your group. Yet at the same time, joining a team is selfish because you crave what is good for the team, your team, a certain pride that motivates and pulls the team together: How hard you’re willing to work, or not work, how much effort you put in, or how little all contribute to the overall quality of a team. A teammate’s attitude cannot be what he or she wants, but what is best for the team, and that desire drives the player to his or her greatest work ethic and ability. So often, a team of lesser talent has beaten a team of greater skill on their synergy alone, the sheer way the team understands and supports each other, allowing them to compete with the better opponent. I was recently told that what you learn from a team, who you learn to be, and the choices you make in connection with your team influence how you can live your life. Perhaps the most important aspects one can glean for life from a team experience is that everlasting sense of camaraderie and friendship from a dedicated group of people.
Can you feel a word like ‘camaraderie?’ Is it possible to see it occur, conventional definitions aside? Well, my freshman year, on a pre-season run, in my last 200 yards I was about to give up and possibly walk until I reached the field again. My panting was intense as it escaped from my mouth in the February chill, each step barely keeping me going on the icy path; when suddenly a senior jogging in front of me caught me before I stopped running.
She ran beside me and told me we weren’t going to walk the remainder of the jog to the field, we were going to sprint it. She told me to picture this: it was the last two minutes of the game, and an offender had broken away with the ball. As we moved along that slippery bike path, my team was depending on me to stop the opposing player with the ball charging at my goalie, moving towards my goal. It was up to me: give up, walk, let down the team, or sprint. We came around the corner where the school was now in sight. I closed my eyes, and ran all out as fast as I could until I burst into the parking lot.
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