There is No “i” in Team… Right?

tumblr_mq977uOh4R1rzxujso1_500I’ve been having some work issues as of late having to do with teamwork. No need to get into the soapy, dramatic details but when things start to go south I think of this saying. It’s an interesting catch phrase really, I mean, anyone with basic reading/writing ability can plainly see that there is no “I” in team. Yet the phrase, used to motivate multiple individuals into thinking of themselves as one unit as opposed to several random people is much more complex than that. It’s funny to me now that we are inundated with this phrase at a young age when our sense of self-importance is maybe at it’s highest. We don’t yet realize that there are consequences or repercussions and yet we are expected to learn that in order to function on a team there has to be some level of self sacrifice (and wow is that heavy for a 6 year old who doesn’t even want play soccer, to understand). 

I’ve been thinking a lot about that concept lately. What being in a team means when you’re in, easily, the second most selfish phase of your life, your twenties. It isn’t easy at that age either, the constant emotional up’s and down’s that go with not having your shit together experiencing life. How can you positively contribute to anything when you can’t even positively contribute to yourself? I feel like in your twenties you lose sight of what it means to help each other, to succeed together, to fail together, to you see yourself as part of a bigger picture instead of just random snippets. There isn’t a sense of completing something together as it is surviving something together and not dying….

Who cares right? Teamwork is overrated anyway. Why not just say “Fuck it!” walk away and keep going about your own personal life? But there are so many valuable things that contribute to ones personality when you’re on a team. My Dad, who is one of the worse people alive, insisted that my brother and I be on a high school team. He said that “Being on team builds character and a point of view that other people are just as important as you are.” And although I mostly think that my Dad’s full of bullshit I have to agree with him on this. The people I know who stuck with teams in high school and in college are more well rounded, more likely to pitch in and help, they understand that we have to look out for one another, not just because it’s the right thing to do but because it might hurt the team if we don’t. Why is it so hard to do…? To work with, and not against each other is basic, right? Or am I the only one that still thinks being on a team means something….

When I was in high school I cheered. I remember during our football games on the sidelines we’d hear the coach scream “There is no ‘I’ in Team, not on my field, on my field we win and we lose as a team, and the last time I check you can’t spell it with an ‘i’.” And they did. Not one player was the star or the leader, they took turns being Captain for a game. They had discipline, like every sport it takes practice and hardwork, but they fun had too. They cared about each other like family, not because they didn’t have families or lives outside of football but because they knew that the win would be so much sweeter with people that they cared about. I wonder now how those same football players would act if they had to be one the same team again. I wonder if at this age, you can find room in your life to be a little self sacrificing and a little less of an “i”. Or can a team really be a team if everyone is on a different page. I told you, it gets complex… and most of the time I wish I was just out there again, kicking the soccer ball in the wrong direction up and down the field thinking that a team was nothing more than a group of people who I wanted to be my friend, and cared enough to feel the same way.


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