Not the Best Player on the Team

Photo by    Geoff Scott    on    Unsplash

Photo by Geoff Scott on Unsplash

By Bruce Williams

I’ve participated in sport of some kind for most of my life. Like most people I was exposed to pretty much every sport available when I was a kid through either school or local recreation programs. I grew up in what, at the time, was a small town. There’s a teamwork feel in towns where you know a lot of the residents. There were public tennis courts, parks with baseball diamonds and soccer fields, playgrounds, basketball courts, horseshoe pits, golf courses, Nordic ski trails and downhill runs, running tracks and lots of places for touch football gamers to gather. I played sports all through school and outside of school too. I loved it. I wasn’t a very good athlete, but I still loved it.

There’s a lot to learn from literally being a team player. You develop human skills by how well you adapt and integrate into that dynamic. It’s social, strategic and hopefully mostly healthy aside from the inevitable injuries or aches and pains. Of course, learning to lose a game was as important if not more important than winning. I think that’s the healthiest part of participating in a sport. In golf or tennis, you’re mostly playing as a team of one of course. However, you’re still competing, often against yourself.

In any of these scenarios you come to learn your own skill level and capability. How good you are evolves with the will you have to be good, or better. Some are okay with being mediocre, some will settle for nothing less than being the best and winning.

It’s no surprise to find that most very successful people were at one time or still are involved with sport and activity. Aside from the mental acuity that comes from being active it presents a way to bring perspective into the business world. How well a team functions depends on their cooperative and cohesive dynamic, whether it’s a sports team, a business team, and industry team, a non-profit team. In a team setting you learn where the strengths are and where support is both needed and offered. You come to know who the leaders are, and if you’re one among them. You adapt and find where you best fit, what you like and don’t like. You learn your management of feeling like a winner and tolerance for losing.

After all these years I’m still a bad golfer. I was never a good skier. I shot a basket on my own basketball team’s net in high school. I was a plodding tennis player, too small to make a difference in football. However, I did set a sprinting record, scored a championship winning soccer goal, and learned to be a pretty successful switch hitter in baseball (hitting from both sides of the plate), but didn’t always make the big catch.

I tried my best. I worked at being as good as I could be. I’ve always worked the same way in a career setting doing any job or volunteer role. I feel healthy doing things that way.

I was never the best player on the team. But always striving to be has made my successes feel more satisfying.

Amanda Wilson