The power of the team
It’s hard to overstate the impact sports have had on my professional and personal life. From little league baseball to tennis at the University of Notre Dame, sports have provided me the opportunity to travel the state, nation, and world. Playing tournaments across the world (France, England, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Mexico, to name a few) didn’t just let me see the sights, it instilled in me a greater appreciation for other cultures and ways of life.
Sports aren’t just about expanding your own experience, however, playing as part of a team can also teach valuable lessons that apply to your life at home and at work.
Team sports teach you community and the value of shared accomplishment. Usually a single person is not to blame, or to thank, for any given win or loss. Victory and defeat become shared experiences on a team.
Because of that, even an extremely successful team athlete must internalize some humility, knowing that his success depends on his teammates. He also can’t be too hard on himself, knowing that failure is also a collective phenomenon. Humility doesn’t mean low self-esteem; on the contrary, sports require strong self-belief.
Team sports teach you to be a better communicator. No matter the sport, coordination with your teammates is key. You need to engage in give and take, be able to assert yourself, and be ready to give both criticism and encouragement to your teammates at the appropriate times.
I’d encourage every parent to involve their children in team sports, no matter the level. My experience, representative of so many others’, has had a positive impact on my personal and professional life.