Column by Carly Grenfell
Grenfell is a junior public relations and management double major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have to admit that it has taken me awhile to truly grasp, what in my mind, a successful team is made up of. I’ve thought about a million different ways to describe it — but I think I finally have it. You’ll hear the words “investment” and “awesome” quite a bit. As you know, I’m pretty big on quotes. I read one not that long ago that said, “Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.” With that, I’m confident that collectively becoming what I describe as a true team is 100 percent possible.
I’m going to use a couple stories to help illustrate where my thinking comes from. And the first one happened to me my sophomore year in high school. As you all know, big, bad York High School (located in York, Neb.) is pretty small. Everyone knows everyone, and over the years I developed great relationships with my teachers. My English teacher was one of them — and she began almost every class with some sort of story. On this particular day, it was about a basketball player that yelled at her teammate for “not catching the ball.” I instantly knew she was talking about me. It opened my eyes big time that some people are just born with stone hands. Just kidding. I never realized how selfish that was until it was brought to my attention. It could have been a two-foot bullet pass that no one could have caught, but I didn’t think it was my fault.
The second story has probably been the biggest revelation for me since I started playing college basketball. I came into college thinking, “Oh, by this time, I’ll be averaging this many points, playing this many minutes and maybe I’ll snag a few awards along the way.” And I absolutely hate to admit that. I’m disappointed I was even headed down that path — but luckily when I recognized it I was able to squash it completely. I have realized that no amount of points, honors or awards can ever match up to being on a team where everyone invests their time and energy into each other. I think we have experienced glimpses of it, and I doubt anyone can argue how awesome it is. Our coach always talks about being “the fist.” So if our motivation is derived from investing fully in one another, we will become that fist.
When you’re in the gym by yourself or during practice for that matter, change your thinking from, “I need to make these shots to boost my average,” to, “When a teammate hits me in the corner, I’m going to give her an assist.” From “It’s so annoying she doesn’t know the plays,” to, “Let’s work with her outside of practice.” From, “Catch the ball!” to, “That’s my bad!” There is always going to be someone that reads into your actions. But if you can back them up with selfless proof, you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
Teams that win are teams that fully invest in one another. Teams that win make each other awesome. And teams that win are invested and, therefore, awesome. It may take some trials and tribulations, but together we can get there. Believe it.