What it means to be a Teammate.... PreSeason Primer
I had a great discussion during a consultation call with an NFL player that I don't yet represent but hope to in the future. We had a great talk about the importance of being a good teammate and the types of events and situations that make us need to dig deeper within ourselves to pull out the better person in team environments. I've always tried to emphasize to my clients the importance of cultivating love and trust for their teammates. Trust is something that must be earned.
Your teammates, especially when you are new to a team, they are getting their first glimpses of you as a person and you as a teammate when you are first introduced. Even if you've been with a team for years, trust is built through the little things you do consistently. I tell my clients all the time that true trust is built through a series of consistent verifiable truths. What does that mean, really? Well, your teammates know what you do at practice. They know your attitude and how you feel about your work. They know if you take direction well, if you take notes, and if you make appropriate adjustments with ease. They'll also know if you make those adjustments with clear understanding of the separation between personal criticism and constructive criticism for the benefit of the whole.
Over time, your teammates will learn whether you are truly committed to the team and whether or not you are worthy of their trust and respect. Let's break it into football terms: on nearly every offensive play, if someone misses a block, the results can be devastating for the ballcarrier. While trust is earned... love is quite another thing. Love is a decision that someone consciously makes. Love is an act of putting others before oneself.
When someone asks how we cultivate a spirit of love for our teammates, I remind them of Corinthians 13:4-7. "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. Id does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."
We can apply these principles when trying to cultivate love for anyone. Football is a game that requires teamwork. On every play, eleven individuals must lose themselves for the identity of a team. Of course, there are many instances where some players will get individual recognition for plays they make, but for a team to take ownership of working together, they must continue to put one another before self.
Love and trust are vital. As we move into pre-season, if you're looking for ways to strengthen yourself as a member of your team, consider 2 Peter 1:5-7: "Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone."
This talk with this player really got me excited about what it means to be part of a team. I am greatly impressed with Pro Players who are already priming not only their bodies for the upcoming seasons, but their minds and spirit as well. These great men are putting on armor that you can't even see. It is inspiring to know that they want to learn to be better teammates so that they can have better relationships with those around them.
What are some "teams" that you are a part of now? What role do you serve on these teams and how do you work to cultivate trust and love in those environments?