There is No I in Team

Passing Shots

There is No I in Team

By Mary Lynn Garger, Tennis Professional

The first time I watched the movie “Miracle,” I had goosebumps throughout my whole body as the last 10 seconds ticked away and the United States hockey team defeated the Soviet Union in the semifinals of the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY. And I knew the outcome! I probably have seen the movie 15 more times and I keep getting those same goosebumps. One of the things that resonates most with me is how Herb Brooks, the US hockey coach, went about getting 20 amateurs from very different backgrounds to believe in something bigger than themselves. Brooks said he wasn’t looking for the best players to fill the team; instead, he was looking for the right players. It was truly masterful how he got so many individual players to set aside their egos and rivalries to form a unified team with one goal in mind: Team USA – a team that could compete with any team on the world stage for Olympic gold.

Fast forward to June 2023, when we just witnessed the Denver Nuggets basketball team defeating Minnesota, Phoenix, LA and Miami on the way to their first NBA championship in franchise history. Similar to the 1980 Team USA hockey team, the Nuggets were comprised of the “right” players – players willing to fill a role, players willing to come off the bench, players willing to cheer from the bench, players willing to play defense, players willing to let other teammates shine, players willing to put the team first, above anything else. We live in a time where winning is everything and jobs are lost if winning doesn’t come quickly. Thankfully, the Nuggets ownership, coaches and players alike have taken a different approach. They’ve learned from years of painful losses and critical injuries to believe in the process, patiently building upon their solid foundation in order to form an even more unified team with common goals.

 “When you pull on that jersey, the name on the front is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back.”

Herb Brooks

Since most of us are not on teams competing for national or world championships, how can we achieve this sense of “team” in our daily lives? The process is the same. Teams are built wherever we are – in our homes, our places of work, our communities, our neighborhoods, our houses of worship, our health clubs, etc. It is up to each of us to invest our time and energy into building good teams, maintaining those teams and doing what’s best for those teams. We probably won’t receive any medals or trophies, but what we will achieve is infinitely better:  a sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves.

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